Forgotten Designer's MCM Gem

Well-kept-secret of a home from architect of government buildings and courthouses
Fridays on the Homefront
The Hellman House above is credited to Thomas Lindsey, who's relatively forgotten these days even though, for a time, he worked in Palm Springs for groundbreaking desert modernist William Cody. The house, presently on the market, lives on intact in Los Angeles' Nichols Canyon as a "really interesting house" deserving of its Historic Cultural Monument status. All photographs: Zach Cluxton

As Los Angeles nearly doubled in size between 1940 and 1970, the demand for modernist architects grew even faster. You couldn't swing a Felix the Cat doll without hitting one whose design achievements may or may not go unnoticed for decades.

The School of Architecture at University of Southern California in L.A. churned out dozens, including Thomas Lindsey, a comparatively forgotten architect who designed a stylish home for sale this month on the edge of the Hollywood Hills.

"Everyone involved in this house loves it. It's a really, really interesting house," said realtor Amy Dantzler, who recently listed a Lindsey home at 1845 Courtney Avenue for $1.8 million with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Beverly Hills.

Fridays on the Homefront

The two-bed, 1.75-bath was built in 1964 in a Nichols Canyon area that Dantzler said was "sleepy" back then, allowing a tasteful home such as this to go uncelebrated for decades.

"It's not Laurel Canyon, but it's definitely busier," said the realtor, who lives in the same neighborhood. "So, somebody has to be OK with that…[but] for a Hollywood Hills or canyon house, you have a tremendous amount of parking."

The flat roof, glass walls, and open floor plan often employed by famous USC alums like Pierre Koenig and Eichler architect A. Quincy Jones are very much in evidence here.

Fridays on the Homefront

Lindsey graduated USC in 1955 and went to work in Palm Springs for groundbreaking desert modernist William Cody. Later, he was a prominent architect and Rotarian in the San Gabriel Valley, where he had grown up in Pasadena. Highlights of his career include three county courthouses, numerous Farrell's ice cream parlors, and early input on the planned communities of Rancho Bernardo and Sun City.

"I like the open floor plan and all that glass; it just feels like one giant space," said Dantzler, who has sold homes designed by architects like John Lautner and Harwell Hamilton Harris, but admits this is her first Lindsey.

Fridays on the Homefront

The property is called the Hellman House, apparently for its first owners. It was designated an Historic Cultural Monument by the city in 2005 and has Mills Act tax status. The interior space of 2,444 square feet is indeed fairly spacious for a two-bedroom, and it sits on a modest, 4,985-square-foot lot. Several rooms open up to a backyard patio with a spa.

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