Sometimes one thing leads to another, and before I know it I have done rather a lot of research on something that has piqued my interest. Today’s installation of this phenomenon is the architect Richard Neutra.
Easily one of my favorites of the mid-century modern architects is the Jewish Austrian-American architect Richard Neutra. Born on April 8, 1892, he came to America in the 1920s, working with Frank Lloyd Wright before setting out on his own in the 1930s. Neutra’s houses are generally characterized by long, sleek lines; big, floor-to-ceiling walls of windows; and natural materials inside like wood and stone, honed to perfection.
This deep dive began with an article about the sale of one of Neutra’s houses in South Pasadena to the supermodel Elsa Hosk in December. According to this Variety article, the house was not considered special until earlier this century when it was discovered that the house is an exact replica of one of Neutra’s Case Study houses (read more about that here).
The only other existing Neutra Case Study House is the Bailey House (Case Study #20). It was built in 1948 in Los Angeles with the idea of being able to expand as the family, and its finances, grew. Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons, bought the property in 2004, restoring the Bailey House and, in 2010, built an LEED Gold-certified, 9,000 square foot modernist mansion behind it. The property went on the market last August and both houses come fully furnished. Check out those rad Shibori pillows!
The red base cabinets mixed with the natural wood toned uppers in the Bailey House kitchen are exciting. Feng shui principles would advise against using red in a south-facing kitchen (too much fire) but I love all of this. It feels fresh and exciting.
Back to Hosk’s house in South Pasadena, though. It first came to my attention last summer when it was listed for sale. The guest house had been listed on AirBnB. It’s doubtful that Hosk will preserve it as a vacation rental (can you imagine the creepers who would want to rent property adjoining that of a skinny-dipping Victoria Secret angel?!) but architecture lovers can always hope!
The interior of the AirBnB was uniquely decorated and welcoming. I love the Be Kind, Be Kind, Be Kind print by the door among the many other special touches. It has a neutral base of white walls, but lots of fun color in the art and accessories.
Who is Elsa Hosk? A 32-year-old Swedish supermodel whose partner is a Danish entrepreneur, they had their first child in February. She’s followed by The Conscious Kid on Instagram — and by me(!) in order to get a peek into how she’s decorating that Neutra. For example, I see that a lamp from her NYC loft is being used in the kitchen below, which is a totally different view of the kitchen from the listing photos (see above link). I imagine that’s not the focus that everyone has when viewing this photo, though. Architecture lovers unite!
If you can drag your eyes away from Hosk’s gorgeousness, note the lamp in her dressing area under the stairs in her SoHo loft (below) looks to be the same as the one beside her on the kitchen counter (above).
That former home in New York City’s SoHo was featured last summer in Architectural Digest. Hosk decorated it herself, showing a real flair for interior design as well as an appreciation of mid-century modern décor. Check out those oversized Noguchi lanterns!
Do you have a favorite Neutra? (I didn’t even begin to tell you about the Kaufmann Desert House, immortalized in the iconic Slim Aaron’s photo below. Read more here.)