Holiday Glow over Hollywood

Modern Christmas Tree entrepreneur takes his unique design to renowned Stahl House
Fridays On the Homefront
The Modern Christmas Trees story glows with holiday spirit and family
tradition. So is the story behind its meeting with the famous Stahl House (pictured here). Photos: courtesy Modern Christmas Trees
Fridays On the Homefront
Three different Modern Christmas Trees models.
Fridays On the Homefront
Bliss' tree gets inside the Sleeper House.

It's a fascinating story glowing with lively holiday spirit and family tradition—how Matt Bliss took his grandfather's unique, 50-year-old Modern Christmas Tree design and made a fledgling venture out of it.

There’s been so much interest surrounding Bliss’ Modern Christmas Trees in the last few years that he decided, in 2014, it was time to expand.

While Bliss felt emotional attachment for his own mid-century modern home in the landmark Arapahoe Acres neighborhood in Englewood, Colorado, he also knew sacrifices would be in order for his business to move forward.

“So I sold the house about a year ago to help fund this project,” Bliss related with a trace of regret of his move to Denver. “I’ve been a fan of mid-century modern architecture for a long time.”

As another part of the plan, Bliss began to seek out unique modernist settings in which to showcase and photograph his tree design. He looked around the country for premier modern locations, and then he zeroed in.

Bliss started with the Sleeper House, so named for its appearance in the 1973 Woody Allen film of that name. He found the Sleeper House owner through the Internet, became Facebook friends with her, and then was granted a visit, something that had been denied even to celebrities Prince and James Taylor.

“They wanted to see her house, and she wouldn’t let them—but she let us,” he said with a smile about landing a 2014 shoot in the fantastic Charles Deaton-designed home near Golden, Colorado.

Then he made advances in the direction of Mies van der Rohe's trailblazing Farnsworth House in Plano (near Chicago), Illinois. But, first, he had one other landmark site in his sights to approach: architect Pierre Koenig’s iconic Stahl House in the Hollywood Hills.

“I was very familiar with the Stahl House and Julius Shulman’s photos of that house,” he said of Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House No. 22, famous for the spectacular views of Los Angeles from its perch high above.

“I just thought it was the perfect house to showcase the tree,” he explained of his outreach to the family of the late Buck Stahl, who helped inspire Koenig’s design for his family’s remarkable cliff-side home.