A great classic becomes timeless, but the Lovell Health House has recently returned to the spotlight in 2020 when it was put up for sale on the real estate market for “only” 10 million dollars (a more affordable price than one might think). Eventually, it sold for just under 9 million to Swiss gallery owners Iwan and Manuela Wirth, who have been defined as the most powerful and influential figures in the art world. The two undertook the important task of restoring the glory of the signature house designed by Richard Neutra built in 1929 in California. This building, which has become an international architectural reference point, still represents today with its structure and position, a masterpiece of continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces.
Perhaps, seeing it in photos, it will look familiar to you since the mansion has appeared in several Hollywood films such as LA Confidential (1997) and in the 2010 romantic comedy-drama Beginners. Its appeal is so magnetic that the Lovell Health House has been described as “a Mondrian painting come to life” and its importance has been sealed by its inclusion into the Museum of Modern Art’s 1932 Modern Architecture exhibition, which ignited Neutra’s long-lasting career.
Austrian Richard Neutra relocated to the United States in 1923, where he had the opportunity to work with Frank Lloyd Wright. Later, he chose Los Angeles as his headquarters, where he collaborated with his compatriot, friend and rival Rudolf Schindler on major projects. Later on he founded his own studio and this became the turning point of his career.
Now called a pioneer, Neutra designed the Lovell family home in the Los Feliz neighborhood with a light prefabricated steel cage (it is said that the on-site assembly took only 40 hours) nestled atop a canyon. Spread across three levels, the home features an open floor plan with a double-height living room, five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a two-car garage on an approximately 450 square meter lot. There is also a swimming pool, now no longer in use. From the large windows, your gaze gets lost on the picturesque hills of Los Angeles, giving the impression of being on a suspended terrace vessel. From here you can see into the distance the famous Griffith Observatory as well, a popular tourist attraction.
The house was commissioned by the physician and naturopath Dr. Philip Lovell, whose health-conscious lifestyle inspired the design of the home with its open air design, large windows and porticos, designed to enjoy the outdoor spaces in the open air under the California sun (rumor has it that the doctor was obsessed with tanning, preferably in the nude). The house featured a particularly well-equipped kitchen that allowed the doctor and his family to follow a vegetarian diet, several decades ahead of the trends of the new millennium. The bedrooms have direct access to the outdoor terraces, making it easy il to sleep under the stars. .
The Lovell Health House has remained relatively intact for nearly a century as a sanctuary with an elegant and essential design, closely linked to nature.
It can be said that there is always a moment, more often a project, which marks the turning point of a creative and professional career. Richard Neutra, with the Lovell House, caused the spotlight to be shone on his work and the home quickly galvanized his career. At that time, many were impressed by the walls of steel-framed windows which allowed the house to be literally flooded with sunlight. Definitely the right place to bring the beauty of flowers and potted plants indoors and not just outside.
Thanks to the half acre of private property land that surrounds the house with a lush landscape, its minimalist and square structure, the extensive use of glass and its perched location, it can be said that if today the hills of Los Angeles are dotted with similar structures, the merit goes to pioneering architects like Richard Neutra who, at the beginning of last century intercepted the need of the inhabitants to live in contact with nature, in a space of well-being and who created what are now true signature homes, inspiring many other buildings to be built.
Looking for inspiration? If special care and attention is placed on furnishing the various areas of the property, every home can become a personal signature house. Especially outdoors, in all seasons, high-quality outdoor furniture in harmony with the surrounding space should be a must-have.