Living in a Lautner home

Sitting in Awe

I bought this house in my early thirties, my first home. I’d lived in apartments, Hollywood bungalows, and NYC railroad flats for all but about two years of my life. Suddenly, and almost accidentally, I found myself living in this inspiring space. That was almost thirty years ago.

 

I was professionally creative, and my eyes were always wandering appreciatively on the world around me. Now, I found myself sitting in awe of the simple grace of this home. 

The more time I spent quietly contemplating the space, the more I came to understand it. Every architectural decision revealed itself as the obvious best choice. My early questions of “why did he do that” turned into “of course he did that” as I grew to be in sync with the experience offered by this simple and modest home. 

I remember many nights looking at the now mostly hidden city lights feeling lucky to be there, the house felt to me like an embrace. 

Now, some thirty years later, the trees have matured in this little canyon and the home feels more intimate, more private. It’s truly a redwood and glass treehouse and with the windows and skylight open the canyon breezes flow through, sometimes accompanied by a butterfly or small bird.

 

A few years after I purchased the house, I assembled an amazing team led by contractor Sid Loving and architect Tracy Stone to do a full and faithful restoration. With the invaluable advice and support of Helena Arahuete of principal architect of Lautner Associates and Lautner archivist and architect Frank Escher we took the house to framing and spent 15 months rebuilding. Our goal was to realize John Lautner’s original vision for the house while embracing his belief that architecture should evolve with technology and the financial ability of the owners. Taking inspiration from his other works, especially the Sheats–Goldstein residence, we added four skylights, one of which opens, and we opened up the corner of the living room with ten-foot-wide operable windows.

 

The Tyler House by John Lautner is about to turn seventy years old. The building permit was issued in 1950 and it received its Certificate of Occupancy on June 1, 1951. The house is made up of two main equilateral triangles, and it was created four years before color television! John Lautner was a visionary who balanced the physical and the emotional. He understood the hundreds of factors that affect life and create architecture with a built-in natural concern for light and air and sun and freedom and space. He was a master and I believe the Tyler House is one of the finest examples of his work.

 

The full restoration of the home in 1996 included all of the structural and safety benefits of the day and so I believe it is ready for the many generations of people who will live in and experience the home in its next 70 years.

History

1949 – 1954

Theodore K Tyler and Helen D Tyler

1954 – 1975

Frank A Crossen and Thelma E Crossen

1975 – 1976

Ray R Thurston

1976 – 1977

Geoffrey A Tucker M.D.

1977 – 1993

Gary Abrahams and Gary Essert

1993 – 2021

Peter Tangen

Books, Movies, Television

2001

The Architecture of John Lautner

Alan Hess (Author)

Alan Weintraub (Photographer)

2008

The Human Contract

Jada Pinkett Smith (Writer, Director)

Idris Elba, Paz Vega, Jason Clarke (Actors)

2019

Lautner A-Z. An Exploration Of The Complete Built Work

T Saariste, JR Kikkert (Authors)

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