The 1948 Lechner House is one of the last masterpieces of architect Rudolph Schindler, a mandarin of California modernism and a hugely influential force in 20th-century design. Nestled into the rock and hugging the contours of its canyon setting, the structure epitomizes Schindler’s late-career “space architecture.” The state in which we found the house was, in a word, bleak, so our mission was clear: save it, restore it, and give it a new life for a new century.
Many of Schindler’s signature details—including humble plywood walls and a bold, angular stainless-steel fireplace—had been entombed in Sheetrock and other materials incongruous with the architect’s vocabulary. We had to liberate the Schindler within.
The key to turning the historic house into a contemporary home was to avoid slavish devotion to Schindler’s original design while maintaining the spirit of his work and reconstructing his most brilliant ideas.
The house is not merely a Schindler brought back from the near-dead, but a reflection of its owner’s unique aesthetic of streamlined California cool studded with warm, organic touches and high-low wit.
No one wants to live in a museum, suffocated by the past. This exercise in respectful reimagination pays the ultimate compliment to the architect. It is decidedly a Schindler; it’s just not your grandmother’s Schindler.