Sold!—a Modern Masterpiece - Page 2

Frank Lloyd Wright's 'textile block' Storer House of Hollywood fetches record price
Modern Masterpiece

architectural historian Alan Hess. "Now they're enveloped."

Hess, who is also an author, architect, and critic for the San Jose Mercury-News, has written several of his 19 books about Wright. Of Wright's effort to find clients for his newly evolving style, he said, "California and definitely Southern California had a really vital modern community, all through the oughts and into the '20s, and these buildings are definitely part of that."

The 2,967 square feet of Storer feature a wing for staff, tall narrow windows to help merge rooms visually with the outdoors and each other, a signature two-story-ceilinged living room that opens onto several terraces, and, of course, the uniquely formed concrete columns.

Influenced by recent discoveries in the Yucatan, Wright designed houses where intricate blocks would be formed on site, assembled without mortar and bound together with grouted reinforcing bars.

About the same time in the Hollywood Hills of '23, construction began on the Wright block house for Samuel and Harriet Freeman. Construction on both homes was supervised by his son Lloyd. The Freemans owned it and lived there for 60 some years before she bequeathed it to the current owner, the University of Southern California School of Architecture—testimony to the livability of the Modern design.

"If I had the money, I would definitely buy one of these homes," admitted Hess. "They're incredible to live in."

The homes for Storer and Freeman were followed immediately by the Millard House and soon after by the larger Ennis House in the Los Feliz district, purchased for a reported $4.4 million-plus in 2011 by supermarket billionaire Ronald Burkle.

It's difficult to overstate the presence of the Storer House in the public eye these past 90 years. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, its drawings are in the Library of Congress, and it boasts a big-budget documentary's worth of lesser distinctions: Martha Stewart's folksy Internet video tour, model for a restroom and seating area at Disney's California Adventure, etc.

For more photos of the Storer House, click here.