Wednesday, August 29, 2012

john lautner hiding in orange county on balboa island

We live within a 5 minute walk of Balboa Island, in Newport Beach. And for years, I have admired this magnificent modern home which sits on a prime west facing bayside location. I had often noticed, a little elderly lady sitting in the window in a wheel chair or watching TV. You could usually see her nurse nearby. For the past several years the home has sat vacant. I decided to investigate.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
John Lautner's Rawlins House

Note: all images are by Michael Andrew McNamara Photography and can be found at www.804bayfront.com.


It was easy to discover that the home is indeed a renown piece of construction. It was built in 1978 and commissioned by Robert and Marjorie Rawlins who selected John Lautner to be the architect. Can it truly be classified as mid-century? It edges more toward modern. But it is interesting to note that John Lautner studied for years under Frank Lloyd Wright, working with him on many important works, and the Rawlins had lived previously very happily in an Eichler home in Palo Alto (we have Eichler's in Orange County too). This home, with its open floor plan, beam construction, expansive windows bringing the outdoors in, clearly has its roots in mid-century.



John Lautner's Rawlins House
One great room
 From a Wikipedia article about the Rawlins
In the late 1970s, the Rawlins decided to return to Southern California to retire, and acquired the last unbuilt bayfront plot on Balboa IslandNewport Beach. Having lived for two decades in a modernist "Eichler" house, they chose architect John Lautner to realise Joseph Eichler's notion of "bringing the outside in" on a waterfront plot 30 feet wide and 70 feet deep, hemmed in by other houses. The result was a very individual, open-plan building of wood and concrete, with all of its curved seaward end filled by glass panels that could slide aside at the touch of a button. Initially resistant to Lautner's insistence on providing the two-story house with an elevator, they were later glad that this allowed them to spend the rest of their lives there.


John Lautner's Rawlins House
Check out the ceilings
A June, 2011 article in The Register about the Rawlins house said, "A distinct house on Balboa Island designed by the famed late architect John Lautner is back on the market, with its asking price cut to $4,695,000. The house at 804 S. Bayfront was listed last June at $5,495,000. But it failed to sell after the asking price dropped to $5,195,000 in October, and the home was taken off the market in March." The Lautner house is currently listed at $4.5M according to Zillow which means the price has been cut a million since the first listing.  A lovely house a few blocks down from this architectural treasure on Bay Front, is listed on Zillow for $4.3M and is 2,700 square feet. The Lautner is only 2,100 square feet. The Register article also suggests that the house has been owned by an investor since the the death of Mrs. Rawlins in 2009. In 2009, this investor could have gotten a great deal.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
The doors open all the way, back into the side of the house.

The Rawlins were big philanthropists. They gave both to the University of South Dakota and extensively to UCI. In 1996, they gave a gift of $1 million to the UCI music department. According to the LA Times aricle,
The money will create the Robert and Marjorie Rawlins Chair in the Department of Music, named for the donor and her late husband, a former engineer and venture capitalist. Rawlins, whose love of music was instilled by her parents, said she is fortunate to be able to help UCI students discover "the timeless grace of beautiful music." She said she's engaged by the liveliness of the music department's 114 young artists and has "a lot of faith in young people."
They must have enjoyed Balboa and the unique, folksy culture of the Island.


John Lautner's Rawlins House
Note the corner fireplace

In a 2003 Los Angeles Times article about the Lautner home, 
Even in its compact domain, the house seems larger than 2,100 square feet because it holds more light than a supernova. The narrower second floor is suspended on steel beams and, because it stops about a yard short of reaching the outside walls, sunlight from well-positioned skylights shoots from the roof through to the ground level's ceramic tile floor. There are no interior walls downstairs to stop beams from illuminating every inch of the expansive living room-dining room-kitchen, only a shoulder-high cabinet that stores pots and pans.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Better view of the fireplace

John Lautner's Rawlins House
The curtains are typically closed, they are shabby, sun-faded and probably original.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
View to the stairs

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Love the concrete stairs with wood rail and glass.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Neat and tidy galley kitchen

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Potentially master bath. The wood used throughout the home is exquisite.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
The curved ceiling in this first floor bedroom must have been a challenge.
The narrow windows can be seen from the outside. Check out that curved beam.

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Maybe this is the master.
I wonder what the sinks are made out of, alabaster?

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Looks to be built in bureau down a hall. 

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Closet

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Stunning Balboa view.


John Lautner's Rawlins House
Right outside their patio

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Upstairs balcony

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Upstairs bedroom

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Upstairs bathroom, love the bright yellow tub

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Detailed slatted ceilings, same tile used throughout

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Upstairs bedroom, built in headboard

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Lots of great built ins, looks like an office

John Lautner's Rawlins House
More built ins

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Guest bathroom

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Good view of the tile wall, patio, extending into house

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Twilight

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Twilight upstairs balcony


John Lautner's Rawlins House
Incredible sunset photography

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Bay shot

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Upstairs balcony

John Lautner's Rawlins House
Upstairs balcony
For the view, the location and the providence, this house is quite at deal in the $4 million range.

Note: all images are by Michael Andrew McNamara Photography and can be found at www.804bayfront.com

Related Posts: An Eichler in Orange


4 comments:

  1. Beautiful--I was meant to live here. Maybe I could hire on as a housekeeper and/or caretaker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? After spending so much time with those pictures I thought to myself, "I think I need to start playing the lottery again."

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  2. Do you know if the home ever sold? I lived in Orange Co for about 6 mos in 1991 with an office on PCH. I would spend an hour every evening walking around the Island while waiting for traffic to thin out on the 405 and always loved this place. I hope no one changes a thing about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question. It looks like it came off the market 11/2012. http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/804-S-Bay-Front-Newport-Beach-CA-92662/25137715_zpid/
      The property taxes are at the $4.3M price point though which indicates an estate or somebody owns it at current market value. I am shocked it has not sold.

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