Monday, December 12, 2016

A Most Unusual Home

This past Saturday Larry and I drove over to Los Feliz for an L.A. Conservancy Volunteer special tour of the Sowden House. I visited the house over 30 years ago when it was in less than perfect condition. I was delighted to see it again. 
Here is a description of the house on the L.A. Conservancy website:
The Sowden House was designed by noted architect Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, for his friends John and Ruth Sowden. The Sowdens, who were part of the Hollywood film scene, wanted a house that would accommodate lavish parties and entertaining, and they encouraged Wright to create a distinctive showplace.
The distinctive front gate to the Sowden House

With a design incorporating patterned concrete blocks similar to those of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “textile block” houses (on which Lloyd collaborated), the house’s dramatic appearance envokes a sense of mystery and exoticism.

The dining room, looking toward the kitchen

The street-facing façade is arranged in a stepped pyramid configuration that emphasizes the home’s central entrance. Visitors pass through copper gates with a stylized leaf-and-water motif and ascend the scissor-style stairs to the main entrance.
Inside, the house is rectangular in plan, with four connected wings around an enclosed central courtyard. This space was originally designed for open-air gatherings and musical or dramatic performances.
Looking toward what was the stage, now the master suite, from the courtyard

The house underwent a substantial renovation in 2001 that updated lighting, plumbing, and electrical systems and repaired many of the deteriorating concrete blocks. A swimming pool and spa were also added to the courtyard. Several rooms were reconfigured, though the home’s original façade has remained intact.
Vintage view of the courtyard before the pool and jacuzzi were added

It was really interesting walking through the space. It seems that the house is for sale, quite a steal at just over $4 million.  This includes another house, right next door!
A portion of the bookcase slides into the wall to reveal a hidden closet area
The floor plan is rather odd, due to the configuration of the lot. It's like a fancy shotgun house!
Click on floor plan to make big

The remodeled kitchen is the best room in the house
The grand living room with LAC Volunteer, Sandra
I must say, the house is very impressive, but I don't think I would want to live there. Give me a little cozy cottage around the corner. The Sowden House is the opposite of cozy!
Larry and Ellen reflected in the mirror over the master bed
There are many stories about this house, including this one! The story may or may not be true. You be the judge. I can definitely envision spooky things going in this house!
Garages and back entrance, off the alley. Even the alley entrance is grand!
Some added color to the darkness of this home was this volunteer's gorgeous cloche hat!

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