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Publication Date: 2017-06-12

Get the Look

Get the Look: Modernist California Masterpieces

Embracing a personal design aesthetic and selecting timeless furniture and accessories are key to creating a well-decorated home. Step inside six historic Los Angeles homes where modern furnishings by Design Within Reach combine with sleek architecture and airy views to impressive effect. 


Located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with spectacular views of the Santa Monica Mountains and surrounding canyons, this home is a celebration of everything that’s wonderful about Los Angeles. In 1949, John W. Wallis precisely positioned this house on its lot in order to take full advantage of the beauty that surrounds it, then designed the house with walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors to maximize exposure to the scenery and access to exterior spaces.

Culver West is an up-and-coming part of the city, conveniently located near Marina del Rey and Venice. For this 1939 home, the owner wanted to create an interior she described as “touchable modern,” with pieces that incorporate multiple layers of textures, ranging from earthy surfaces to plaster walls.

Architectural photographer Julius Shulman lived in this unique Hollywood Hills house by Raphael Soriano for nearly 60 years. The glass and steel structure is a series of boxes that frame the view, much like the lens of a camera. After Shulman passed away in 2009, the house went through a thorough but sensitive renovation. Designated a Historic-Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles, the home still features the original built-in fir furniture, including living room cabinets and daybeds.

For the transformation of this 1927 home in Fairfax, a neighborhood in Central Los Angeles, the homeowner wanted to create an open, bright interior that she describes as “Spanish modern.” Pieces in the space include the Cross Extension Table, Folk Ladder Shelving, and the visually striking Melt Pendant.

Located on the Malibu coast, the Hunt House was designed by Craig Ellwood and Jerrold Lomax and completed in 1957. Its green garage doors face a busy street, but as the house steps down to the beach, its simple, well-organized structure is all about maximizing the pleasure of indoor-outdoor living and the enjoyment of stunning ocean views.

In this Hollywood Hills residence designed by Joey Shimoda, floor-to-ceiling glass windows and doors allow the living room to expand and blend with the deck. When open, the doors allow both areas to merge into one giant space. “We spend as much time outside as inside,” says the homeowner. “What I love about being in this house is the feeling of tranquility. When I walk in the door, the first thing I do is look at the view. At night, it looks like a sea of light.”

With such beautiful views at the Shimoda home in the Hollywood Hills, the outdoor furniture became an integral part of the design scheme. The homeowners chose the Terrassi Collection, by husband-and-wife team Julie and Mika Tolvanen. Its tapered legs, rounded corners, soft edges and balanced proportions all help to ensure visual and spatial continuity while also withstanding the elements.


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