Walker House, Carmel, CA

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Walker House, Carmel, CA

Post by jhealy »

Why isn't this house more published / popular. The site into which the house is built, although maybe not as daring as Fallingwater, is quite dramatic and beautiful. Storrer says that the MBR was enlarged, but it does not seem like that would have ruined the house --- at least from the (minimal) pictures I've seen. Talking about pictures, the few published ones are always the exact same.


Naperville, IL[/i]

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Post by SDR »

These were taken a little later than most published photos of the house, I believe. (Please correct this if you can.) They are by Scot Zimmerman, published in "Romanza" by Chronicle Books, San Francisco in 1988. Image



I wonder what this soffit material is. . .


Last edited by SDR on Mon Mar 05, 2007 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by JimM »

That's true, Walker is probably underappreciated. Another perfect solution for a dream site. The house is actually quite small, and the extra space added was very well done and sympathetic. I'd like to know who did it, Wright? If not, whoever, they deserve thanks for not ruining a great work.

Two things, the "point" of the terrace is an interesting treatment where Wright turned the top of the stone wall inward, purposely to avoid a sharp, angular termination where the terrace meets ocean and sky, which is what there would be a tendancy to do. Always thought that was interesting. It gives the prow more of a buttressing relationship vs. a confrontational one with the ocean.

Also, you don't see in many pictures of the gate (I wish my tons of pictures were digital!). The house is right off the road behind some thick bush's, and nestled in there is just the neatest, double, wood gate. I have to assume it's original, but the same quality is found in the residence addition. It's also interesting that severe restrictions since Walker was built has kept it one of the few buildings on the ocean side in that area.

Last time I saw it there was still a white statue/piece of art on the terrace that really annoyed me; I always wanted to drag it off. Even if it's a Moore, it still ruined the enjoyment of viewing the house from the beach...

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Post by pharding »

Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

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The walker house

Post by KevinW »

While working for Aaron Green, he gave me this little history of his participation with the Walker House. During construction Mrs. Walker had befriended local Architect, and former Wright apprentice, Mark Mills. Mills had left Taliesin on not the best of terms, so he is not to be confused with one of Wrights' "boys" to supervise construction. Walker would "consult" with Mills whenever she would receive current drawings from Wright, and Mills would boldly offer his "services" to review the new plans. In the beginning, Wright had former apprentice, and extremely capable Walter Olds oversee construction. But Olds was working full time for S.O.M. in San Francisco, and was helping Wright out as a courtesy, and out of respect. Now, Walter, whom I know well, (he built both Buehler residences) is a very soft spoken, gentle man. Mills, on the other hand was a bit more "self promoting". With the assistance of Mills, Mrs Walker became very difficult to deal with. By this time, Aaron Green had his joint office with Wright in downtown San Francisco, so Aaron was summoned to give Walter a hand. If anyone could diffuse the combination of a strong willed client, and Wright, it certainly was Aaron.......sorry gotta go, dinner is ready.....more later.

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Post by DRN »

SDR: You wondered what the soffit material is on the Walker House. It is a striated plywood product called Weldtex which was developed by an industrial designer named Donald Deskey in the 1940's. It was popular in the '40's and '50's and disappeared from the market in the '60's or early 70's. My grandparents were taken with the look of Weldtex and used it as an accent paneling in a few locations in their home built in 1950.

I'm not sure if Wright used the product on any other projects, but it was used on a non-Wright designed house in Usonia in Pleasantville, NY.

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Post by jim »

I think perhaps why this house may not be as well known as some others is that it is still in the owerneship of the Walkers. Della was 75 when she commissioned this small house for herself. Several years later, she got married, and that is when she had her grand -nephew Sandy Walker, AIA design the new master bedroom. The addition is indistinguishable from the original house on the exterior. She lived there until age 100, when the house passed on to her heirs. It is kept in excellent shape - in the last year they replaced the fence along the road, using the original FLLW drawings.

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Post by JimM »

Amazing, the interesting nuggets that can surface on a simple query of a Wright building!

I recall Wright was indignant that Mark Mills' desert/domed house was included in a MOMA exhibit, perhaps he self promoted himself into that, too? It would appear to be righteous indignation on Frank's part to be showcased with such an unproven upstart!

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Post by RJH »

House + Home magazine, March 1954 did a entire story with pics on the house. They quoted Wright as saying
"As transparent as the waves, yet as sturdy as the rock...with the long white surft lines of the sea. That is the kind of house I promised my client."
They state the house only has 400 sft of living space (not incl. the BRs). The gallery only 30" wide while a Pullman corridor has 26". Bathrooms only 25 sft.

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Post by CEP »

I've spent a lot of time on the Monterey peninsula - Carmel in particular - and have always loved seeing this home through the lens of the wonderfully variant weather moods of the area. It should certainly be included on the short list of quintessentially organic structures by Wright - in the simpliest of terms, it just plain belongs on that site. One of the standout design characteristics for me is the "stepped down" window design to guard against surf spray and wind. These corbelled bands of glass, opening from below to allow air circulation but protect from sea mist and spray, were first explored in the House On The Mesa project of 1931 (a model of which was included in the infamous New York MOMA sponsored International Stye Architectural exhibit curated by Philip Johnson), then incorporated into the Haldorn project design (also for this area), and finally realized in the Walker home. This design idea, although originally meant for a quite different area, still was used for its principal purpose - an alternative form of air circulation when standard windows would not do - to great effect.

I've also done a bit of research into the unbuilt homes meant for this area. Had they all been brought to fruition, there would have been a crescent of oceanfront homes covering just a few miles, from Cypress Point on the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach to the northwestern point of Carmel State Beach -

Nesbitt - on a dramatic, three acre, ocean front property N.W. of Pebble Beach on the 17 Mile Drive at Cypress Point,

Haldorn - at the northwestern tip of the Carmel River State Beach (just around the point from the Walker house),

Clark - on the sand at the foot of 8th Street and Scenic Drive on Carmel Bay (built a few years later as the virtually identical Boomer house in Arizona).

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