This is the introductory post of what I hope to be a series where I document tours I have taken of significant buildings, some of which are off limits to the public including this particular house, La Miniatura.  Also known as the Millard house, it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1923.  It was the first of four “textile block” houses completed in California, including the Ennis House, the Freeman House and the Storer House.  During my visit to Los Angeles last December, we took a whirlwind tour of as many interesting buildings that we could fit in.  La Miniatura was still vacant and listed for sale (on the market for over two years).  In addition to a high asking price, the house needs substantial restoration, as Wright buildings typically pushed the limits of experimental materials and structural engineering, and were not built for longevity.

 

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The house is located at the end of an alley, this is all that is seen from the street. Two heavy wood doors hide a garage. In typical Wright style, he hides the entrance to the house around the corner (at the left).

 

IMG_1911INEntrance court with a small fountain.

 

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The fountain runs slowly and adds gentle white noise that echos in the court.  The inconspicuous front door is behind the fountain at the right.

 

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The first glimpse of the building and yard is similar to discovering an ancient ruin and completely overloads your senses.

 

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There are a series of outdoor spaces on different levels connected with paths, stairways, and bridges, making this truly an enjoyable place to explore and discover.

 

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As you make your way towards the rear, you realize that the covered loggia/walk is also a catwalk with stairs up to the roof.  A door below leads to a two-story den/office space.

 

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Looking back towards the entry court stairs.  The landscaping is gnarly but not overgrown.

 

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A better view of the catwalk  — no handrails!

 

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The two-story den/office is a not internally connected to the main house.  It is built into the side of a hill, with a short bridge leading to a terrace accessible from the loft space of the building.  Below the bridge are retaining walls that allow light shafts into the lower level.  This is the north elevation.

 

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This is the opposite side, the south elevation of the den/office which overlooks the main courtyard with a pond.  A large tree has grown intertwined with the catwalk roof structure.

 

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Standing at the southwest corner looking back towards the main house.

 

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The view of the main house on the south side of the building, which is the lowest point on the site.

 

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Main house cantilevered balcony with redwood door frames.

 

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Custom concrete textile block frieze.

 

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Leaving the yard, two lions guard the stair back to the entry court.  This house is one of the most memorable Wright houses I have ever seen, I would definitely buy it if I had the 4 mil they are asking.

 

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We were not able to see the interior, but here are a few images from other sources……

Photo Courtesy Scott Mayoral

 

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Photo Courtesy Scott Mayoral

 

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Loft in the den/office two story space.

Photo Courtesy Scott Mayoral

 

RELATED LINKS:  Archdaily: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Textile Houses