John Lautner, one of the acknowledged masters of innovative midcentury architecture, is known to architecture and design aficionados around the world for the many fabulous and flamboyant homes he designed in some of L.A.’s most coveted areas. There’s the spaceship-like Chemosphere in the Hollywood Hills, the multi-story Wolff Residence just above the Sunset Strip, and the Sheats-Goldstein Residence that cantilevers over a steep hillside in the Beverly Crest neighborhood above Beverly Hills.
Lautner studied in the 1930s with Frank Lloyd Wright, and Wright’s influence can certainly be seen in one of Lautner’s lesser-known commissions, an unassuming ranch-style home in Long Beach, about 27 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. It is the only Lautner-designed home in the coastal harbor city.
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The residence, designed and built in 1951, is known as the Alexander House after its original owners, local dentist George Alexander and his wife Grace. The home stayed in the Alexander family until 2018, and tax records show it last changed hands just over a year ago for a bit more than $3 million. Now, with few visible improvements or substantive alterations, the home is back up for sale for $3.4 million.
The modestly proportioned and extensively updated home, measuring almost 2,900 square feet with four bedrooms and four bathrooms spread over one floor, sits on almost one-third of an acre in the established Park Estates neighborhood, along a curving street lined with trees and tidily maintained homes of various styles, some of which were designed by other illustrious architects, including Paul Revere Williams, Richard Neutra, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright.
Midcentury hallmarks include post-and-beam construction with interesting angles held in check by taut horizontal lines, an open floor plan, and extensive glazing that allows for seamless integration to the outdoors. Many original features, including tons of built-ins and wood paneling, are intact, while the home’s bathrooms have all been renovated, as has the sleek, open-plan kitchen with its cotton-white counters, powder blue laminate cabinetry, and matching AGA-brand range.
There’s a home office (or possible fourth bedroom) and a bathroom overlooking the walled entrance courtyard; next to the kitchen, a paneled den flows out to the backyard; and a trio of bedrooms and bathrooms are located off a long, window-lined corridor.
Carefully positioned cutouts in the roof bring light and air to the covered dining and lounging terrace at the back of the house, while a tall perimeter wall and mature plantings provide a sense of seclusion. The professionally landscaped yard was also designed for entertaining. There’s a bar just outside the den; an outdoor kitchen is complete with a built-in ceramic grill/roaster/smoker; and the mosaic-tiled saltwater pool follows the angle of the home, with a baja shelf at one end and a party-sized spa at the other.
The listing is held by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties with Keegan Cin of the Cin Coast Realty team.
Click here for more photos of 5281 East El Roble Street.
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