John Lautner – Part 1


The Malin ‘Chemosphere House’ (1960), Los Angeles designed by American Architect, John Lautner.

MY LATEST OBSESSION IS AMERICAN ARCHITECT, JOHN LAUTNER! I say obsession because I have spent the best part of the last 48 hours researching his work and cannot get enough! So much so that I had to split this post into two because I found so many incredible images of his work – 50 shortlisted to be precise – far too many for one feature. It all started the other day when I took a break to watch TV (a rarity in my life) and the old Charlie’s Angels movie with Drew, Cameron and Lucy Lou was on. The house where Drew gets shot out of the window caught my attention so I googled who the designer was. Turns out it was an exact replica set based on Lautner’s ‘Chemosphere’ house (above) and as you can see, the pictures did not disappoint when I embarked on my hunt for more.

As my regular readers will know, I am a huge house porn addict. Upon further study of Lautner’s Architectural design I learnt that THE HOUSE I’ve been telling myself I will one day own – the house featured in Tom Ford’s, A Single Man film – is also a John Lautner creation! On reflection I realise I hadn’t even seen it properly until discovering these pictures online but something caught my eye when I watched that film and now I know what it was! John Lautner. So there you have it, I was hooked. Since then, two days ago, I have not stopped researching every single custom-made, domestic house he designed in his long career. I LOVE all of them! I am now not sure that The Scaffer House is my absolute favourite because the more you look, the more they get better and better. This discovery is a long time coming for me and truth be told, this story goes a lot further back than this….


Chemosphere House was replicated for the set of Charlie’s Angles (2000).

The reason a discovery like this for me is SO very exciting – discovering my favourite Architect that is, is because as someone who spends their whole life thinking about style, design and aesthetics – rather ironically – I can never seem to pinpoint ANY of my favourite things within that realm and it is slightly frustrating at times haha. If I get asked my favourite designers or favourite clothing in my wardrobe or what my personal style is like in interviews – I genuinely don’t have an answer because I have never had the ability to favour anything particularly. Not male actor crushes, not colours, not photographers or stylists – I can never say a favourite! Until the other day I especially wouldn’t have been able to tell you what my favourite house looked like, yet I have really been searching since I was a little girl – a girl who just so happens to be the child of an Architect. Usually not having favourites doesn’t matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things because I am an ever changing individual, however I do feel like it is important to know what at least SOME of your favourite things are – in a world filled with things, it helps to narrow it all down. I believe it is important to try to pinpoint what some of your favourite things are, especially when it comes to your dream home because it gives you something to aspire to. And in order to achieve what you aspire to, you must be able to visualise it. I’m sure you have all heard of the ‘power of attraction mood board’ scenario, you print out imagery of things you aspire to in life, vibe them, be grateful for what you already have, work hard and watch it all take shape before your very eyes. I guess you could say with this post, I am starting to build mine, albeit virtual for now.

If you share the same taste as me, I am honoured to bring you a possible glimpse into what your future may look like – let’s build our empire SV gang!


1960’s Interiors at John Lautner’s Chemosphere House. The building stands on the San Fernando Valley side of the Hollywood Hills, just off Mulholland Drive and was once named “The most modern home built in the world” by Encyclopædia Britannica. Since 2000, it has been the Los Angeles home of Benedikt Taschen, of German publishing house Taschen – lucky man!!

I have spent a long time obsessing over Louis XIV style French Château’s but realistically I know they wouldn’t suit my lifestyle. I am not prim and proper, I am messy, expressive and creative. I am the girl who shouldn’t wear white, nor would shop for French country style crockery. I accidentally break nice things and like to cut up hard-copy magazines and leave the scraps all over the floor for two days just because it looks cool. John Lautner houses would enhance every single experience you have in your life in my opinion. You would meet crazy interesting people, you would thrive even more in creative ways, you would write interesting novels and you would do it all with the SICKEST views ever, looking over a forrest of the greenest and most thorny cacti and succulents one could ever lay their eyes on!

I found this quote taken from an article written by Edward Lifson on NPR by an owner of a Lautner residence. “I would be lying if I said that I giggled every morning,” he says. “But the truth is when you see the play of the wood and the concrete, inevitably by the time that I’ve walked down to have my first espresso I’ve at the very least smiled, if not giggled out loud.” Says Michael LaFetra who has lived in a Lautner in Malibu for years.


Chemosphere House interior.

John Lautner’s modernist design through his mid-century style architecture is especially significant for its organic flow between indoor and outdoor spaces, bringing together nature and man-made construction. His radical use of space and love of all things technologically advanced has made him one of America’s most famed domestic Architects. His designs, mainly California based, have become iconic Hollywood legends in their own right.

He has pioneered the use of glue-laminated plywood beams, steel beams and sheeting, and especially his ongoing exploration of the architectural possibilities of reinforced and prestressed concrete — through his use of non-linear, open-plan and multi-level layouts, shaped and folded concrete forms, skylights, infinity pools, light-wells and panoramic expanses of plate glass are trademarks he mastered over his long and successful career. Skills he took with him when passing on October 24th, 1994, leaving in his wake over 200 artful concept buildings that stand to prove as famous as the Hollywood name they are synonymous with.

I can definitely visualise myself in one of these places and it is safe to say I have finally found a favourite in Architect, John Lautner!


Sheats-Goldstein Residence, Beverly Hills, LA – above & below.

This private residence featured in ‘The Big Lebowski’ movie. Many of Lautner’s designs have appeared on the silver screen in Hollywood films.


The saying ‘A room with a view’ is an understatement where Lautner is concerned.


Reiner ‘Silvertop’ Residence, A modernist design by famed mid-century American Architect, John Lautner.


An interior shot of the Silvertop house.


Silvertop at night.


A modernist design merging nature and man-made structure over a forrest of succulents in LA.


Water features are a must when it comes to Lautner exteriors.


The Schaffer Residence (1949) appeared in Tom Ford’s film ‘A Single Man’.


Schaffer House – above, below and bottom.

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John Lautner’s Garcia House ‘Rainbow House’ (1962) – both above and below. The main living space is located 10 feet below street level off Mulholland Drive, LA.


The house was built for music composer, Russ Garcia who’s wife was a big social entertainer and loved to have parties with upwards of 200 people in attendance at any given time. As an arranger of Jazz, Garcia briefed Lautner that they must be able to do both and the same time and he not be disturbed with his music. And so it was done. The house is separated into two living areas and not a peep can be heard between either side.


Garcia Interiors and decor – a new resident has completely done up the property since the 1962 construction. You can read what he says about it here, very interesting. Lucky thing!

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Villa Segal (1979) Malibu, California.


In the mean time, follow me on instagram @stylevoyeur

’til then,

xxx SV xxx


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