House of the Week: Richard Neutra By Way Of Devo
We couldn’t resist: it’s a modern architecture masterpiece restored by an ’80s icon.
Price: $3,500,000 Details: Main House 1,732 sq/ft. 3 Beds, 2 Baths
Neighbourhood: Nichols Canyon, Los Angeles
The Skinny: Usually when we feature an American house, it’s to illustrate just how crazy our real estate is up here: A Malibu beach house for the price of an Elbow Park bungalow sort of exercise. This isn’t that. In fact, per/sq/ft this house—a cozy 1,732—is really pricey, even for LA. But factor into the equation that it’s designed by Richard Neutra, that Neutra called it his favourite house of the period, and that it’s been painstakingly restored over seven years by one of the founding members of Devo and suddenly it doesn’t seem that pricey.
The Pros: Neutra’s reputation as a residential architect has been rising steadily for the past few decades (check out our story in September 2013) such that I think it’s fair to say that only Frank Lloyd Wright could be considered his equal (and even the FLW house like this one and this one seem to be less desirable for buyers). And while this house is small, it’s spread out over three levels giving the illusion of much more space. It has amazing views of downtown L.A. that Neutra took full advantage of. This is the type of iconic home that noted architecture afficionado Brad Pitt might one day stop by to ask if it’s okay if he could look around, and next thing you know you and Brad and Angelina are hanging out all the time.
The Cons: We don’t live in L.A. and an earthquake might cause this baby and it’s occupants some concern. And subscribing to the modern credo (the real less-is-more idea, not the “we’ll design a 5,000 sq/ft 7 bedroom box and call it ‘modern'” B.S) means there’s not enough space to have family of friends come hang out for a few days at your really expensive house. Plus, where do you hang a 70 inch flat screen in a place like this? And will you have a steady parade of Devo fans knocking at your door wearing those funny cone hats looking for autographs?
The Verdict: Think of this as a smart usable investment in art—it’ll definitely go up and it’s a lot more fun than a second-tier Warhol.