Hi, How Can We Help You?
  • Address: Veternik, 10000 Prishtinë
  • Email Address: office@tecol.eu


April 5, 2024

A Richard Neutra-Designed Home in L.A. Lists for the First Time in Decades

Carmen Radulescu-Devine knew little of Modernist architecture when she started dating her future husband, Frank Devine, in the early 2000s. She had been raised in Romania, among medieval and classic Gothic structures.

So when she saw Devine’s home in Los Angeles—a trophy of the Modernist movement designed by the famed architect Richard Neutra—it wasn’t exactly her style.

MORE: London Mansion Carved From Former British Army Barracks Lists for £42 Million

“The first thing that hit me was the air and light,” she recalled. “But it was pretty bare in there. Cozy is not a word I would have used.”

Advertisement – Scroll to Continue

She learned to love the Hollywood Hills property over the years. But after her husband’s death, she is putting it on the market for the first time in nearly half a century, in part because she still considers it “his house.” The asking price is for $3.8 million.

Perched on a hilltop, the early-1930s home has vast swaths of glass revealing views over Los Angeles, and a spindly support that seems to jut out like the leg of a spider. Roughly 1,500 square feet, the house has two bedrooms, three bathrooms and a large basement level. The main living space is a long gallery with a 16-foot sliding-glass door.

Mansion Global on YouTube: Inside the Most Expensive House in Arkansas’s Capital

The house was originally designed by Neutra for his friend Galka Scheyer, a German painter and art dealer. Neutra and Scheyer are said to have warred over the home’s aesthetic: Scheyer wanted wall space to display her art collection, and Neutra wanted glass, glass and more glass. 

“There were numerous confrontations. She would telephone at all hours of the night,” according to the book “Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture.” They eventually compromised when Neutra suggested removable panels that would allow for expanded exhibition space without closing off the views. 

The cost of the house in the 1930s was just $3,000, thanks to Scheyer’s limited budget, according to the book. “The small kitchen, bath and bedrooms allowed Neutra to give the remaining available space to the large living-exhibition room with its glazed south wall and its long adjoining porch deck,” the book said. 

Thanks to the “frequently tense and ultimately strained relationship” she developed with Neutra, Scheyer turned to another architect, Gregory Ain, when she decided a few years later to add an additional bedroom. 

The house sits above Sunset Boulevard on Blue Heights Drive, which was named for the “Blue Four,” a group of artist whose work Scheyer promoted in the United States. 

Devine, a homewares manufacturer, bought the house around 1977 for just $250,000, his wife said. New to L.A. at the time, he would frequently jump in his car and drive around a new neighborhood, getting a feel for the place. Driving up the hill one afternoon, he spotted the Neutra-designed spider leg and got out to take a look. It so happened that a real-estate agent was on the property that day, installing a for-sale sign. She told him to come back the following week if he was interested. He was.

Devine did some work to the property over the years, said Radulescu-Devine, 51. He added a driveway to the house, which had been accessible only by a dirt road, and redid the floors by hand. But he was careful not to change too much, she said, because he wanted to stay true to the original design. In fact, he was so afraid to ruin the home’s simplicity that he filled the basement with his possessions, including beautiful glassware and art. After Radulescu-Devine moved in, she encouraged him to take his things out of storage and display them. 

MORE: Cliffside Mansion Built Like a Lighthouse in Coastal Oregon Heads to Market for $10 Million

“It was so hard to convince him to put a nail in the wall,” she said. “But I believed the house could offer more than just architectural lines. It could be a home.”

The debate reminded them of the back and forth between Scheyer and Neutra, she said; they felt close to the history of the home and considered Scheyer and Neutra their earlier counterparts. “We’re also both perfectionists with a temper,” she added with a laugh.

Sometimes when they heard a sound in the house, they would joke that it was the spirit of Scheyer. “We’d say, ‘You can’t say that, Galka!”

When Devine was sick in his later years, the couple would stay up all night and talk, often about what she might do with the house after his death. In the nine months since he died, spending time there alone and maintaining the house has made her appreciate the property even more, Radulescu-Devine said. Still, she ultimately decided to sell.

 “There’s so much of him here and it doesn’t make sense without him,” she said. 

Neutra, an Austrian-American architect, primarily practiced in Southern California and became known as one of the most prominent voices in Modernism. He died in 1970. 

Homes designed by Neutra trade at a premium, said Ilana Gafni of Crosby Doe Associates, who is listing the property with her colleague Crosby Doe. In 2022, a Neutra that appeared in “Poolside Gossip,” a popular 1970 photograph by Slim Aarons, sold off-market for $13.06 million, setting a record for Palm Springs.

Write to Katherine Clarke at Katherine.Clarke@wsj.com

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This field is required.

You may use these <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">html</abbr> tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*This field is required.