Samuel Freeman House for Sale

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Craig
Posts: 576
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 7:25 am
Location: California

Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Craig »

I never thought I would live to see this day. Perhaps this house will find a savior:

https://deasypennerpodley.com/propertie ... lencoe-wy/

Image
ch

DavidC
Posts: 8237
Joined: Sat Sep 02, 2006 2:22 pm
Location: Oak Ridge, TN

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by DavidC »

That is very much unexpected. Perhaps Joel Silver or Ron Burkle might have an interest? It's going to cost an absolute fortune to resurrect it.


David

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10778
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Roderick Grant »

It's time to call upon our master, tech-savvy renderers to take on a thorough examination of Freeman. The video is interesting and informative, but a bit too simplistic to serve as a record of this major masterpiece. It gets all the spaces and general details correct, except the roof over the garage that extends over the entry porch; as built, it was a straight line, beginning to end. It did not drop 16". That was one of Schindler's first alterations to the design.

This poor house is in such bad shape - especially after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake - that restoration would be impossible. Reconstruction would be the only possible recourse, and as David points out, that would cost a fortune.

Craig
Posts: 576
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 7:25 am
Location: California

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Craig »

I was fortunate to see the house way back when USC opened it for tours at odd hours. At that point the Schindler furniture was still present. They removed all of that only to have several pieces "stolen" from their storage area.

I was under the impression that the house had been stablized at least. Wasn't that the purpose of all the new plain concrete columns which now exist? The interiors must be in sad shape at this point. The roof was covered with a tarp for a long time.

I can't see someone with 4 million actually residing in this house. Considering how long another trophy property, the Neutra Health House, languished on the market I don't see this one going anywhere anytime soon.
ch

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Flying buttresses, perhaps ?

"Ovaltine ?"

Pope, Gordon, Bachman-Wilson, Duncan, McKinney and perhaps others have been relocated and their masonry recreated on a new site. Here, the house is virtually all masonry and would (presumably) be replicated on the same site.

The very quiet fellow who owns the Berger house and I believe other significant architectural properties might be looking for a new project ?

S

Matt2
Posts: 309
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:07 pm

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Matt2 »

Whatever happened to the Health House, or the Sturges House? Last I heard, the latter was going to be sold at auction with proof of funds to restore. I don't think that resulted in a new owner. Is the Health House in good hands? I don't believe it was anywhere near the condition of Freeman.

Tom
Posts: 3312
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Black Mountain, NC

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Tom »

Wow
BIG news
Gorgeous rendering

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

https://library.artstor.org/#/search/Wr ... =1;size=48

Six drawings (#s 15, 16, 17; 22, 23; 29) well describe the design.

Drawings of the living-room benches satisfy the urge to verify that Mr Wright would not have drawn them as they appear in the otherwise charming and useful video linked on the page provided above.

Two sheets of kitchen plan and elevations show an intriguing glass-and-wood fabric separating the room from the main space, in one case, and a simpler solution on the second drawing. The octagonal table with cross-shaped base appears consistently; I do not see indication that this table can be moved or expanded . . .

He invents a new sash for this house; the members are typified by side faces (and glass stops) beveled to 15º, a favored angle when 30º is not a workable choice.

The final ten items in the Freeman file are for a charming house for a W H Freeman of Hinsdale, IL, 1903. One thinks of Walter Griffin, who joined Wright's studio in 1901 and left in 1906.

S

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Image


It is a bit disconcerting to see kitchen base cabinets drawn with no toe kick, the doors sweeping the floor. Wright knew better, as many other designs demonstrate.

Image

Image

Craig
Posts: 576
Joined: Wed May 04, 2005 7:25 am
Location: California

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Craig »

Apparently the Neutra Lovell house has gone into contract quite recently. No news as to who the new owner might be nor his/her intentions for the property. For all the talk of loving modern architecture in LA and all the monied Hollywood gentry I was surprised it took so long for a purchaser to appear. I would have thought such an iconic trophy property ripe for restoration would have had multiple offers rather than languishing on the market.

I can't imagine any seating more uncomfortable than those twin pews Wright designed for the fireplace. Schindler's later couch looks much more appealing for lounging by the fire.
ch

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

Indeed !

The wonderful cube lanterns we associate with this house were designed for Storer, apparently; drawings for them appear in that file:

https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 5878116205

Then there's this intriguing page; note label that says "moved from Ennis":

https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 5878116205

Similar sash with parallelogram-shaped glass stops were drawn for Storer.

S

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10778
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Roderick Grant »

The Freeman pews are more dressing for the living room-cum dance stage than for "lounging by the fire," a pastime not all that popular in hot LA. Notice that the fireplace, even in late photos, shows little evidence of use. While the Schindler couches look better, the west one, which slid out to bed size, was not comfortable at all.

The Freeman neighborhood is high end, and the approach road steep. There is no available space for parking much more than a single Porsche (which Harriett drove) inside the garage, plus perhaps a mid-size Buick on the roadside. Rebuilding the house on its current site for anything other than private use would be difficult to operate and strongly opposed by the neighbors. A multimillion-dollar house on the site for private use would not be feasible. There are a lot of rich people in this city, but few if any of them would be willing to dump that much money on such a tiny enterprise.

Roderick Grant
Posts: 10778
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 7:48 am

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by Roderick Grant »

SDR, the lights shown from Ennis are not simply the Freeman metal-framed cubes hung from a corner. The Ennis lights were made of wood with a simplified pattern relating to the blocks. They were to be hung in the 100'-long loggia. For whatever reason, small, bronze Aladdin lamps (or gravy boats, as I call them) were used instead.

DRN
Posts: 4118
Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:02 am
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by DRN »

The Freeman house is a masterpiece of design because of its siting and its response to what surrounds it. I don't see it having the power it does on any other site even if it could be moved or rebuilt. Freeman is as tied to its urban perch as Fallingwater is to its rocky glen...what would Freeman be without the axial view down Highland Boulevard?

The house has been seismically stabilized, but it suffers from the original sin of the porosity of the blocks. The exterior wythe of block is dissolving at the most exposed surfaces like sugar cubes at the bottom of a teacup. Short of building a climate controlled glass box around it, (which would never be allowed and would destroy the experience), it would appear the solution to the house's long term viability is to replace all of the exterior wythe of block with replicas having a consistency that is better able to withstand the weathering.

I'm not certain how that would be accomplished, but I believe it would be done in sections and involve structural shoring of what remains and devising a way to knit the reinforcing of the new to the old.....assuming the reinforcing from 1924 is still in decent condition.

I'd hope the seller (USC) would recognize the gravity of the work that needs to be done to save the house and would price the house to allow even a deep pocketed buyer the "freeboard" to be able to purchase the property, restore the house, and not be too many million underwater. This is a costly house to preserve plain and simple. I don't see how this can be a public site...access, neighbors, ???....it will need to be a labor love, or a gift to American culture by a private person or entity.

SDR
Posts: 20604
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Samuel Freeman House for Sale

Post by SDR »

The composition as a response to its site is a delightful thing. (The file contains a surprising number of drawings of this unusually-formed lot.) An early study depicts the plan before it had developed an extra wrinkle, a stepping-back of the north face of the building, all but blank to the street, by a single unit---both as a nod to the narrowing of the site at the northwest extremity and as a recognition the the entry to the main spaces, above and below, logically required more elbow-room than did the far corner of the building.

https://library.artstor.org/#/asset/285 ... 5957355255

The servant spaces---garage, entry portico (so like the one at Taliesin), stair tower, kitchen/bath---are each of them cells approximately symmetrical about one axis or another, all arranged in an L leading to the principal cube, itself strongly symmetrical about an axis directed at the downhill view. Things are only a little odder on the floor below, where twin bedrooms (with some attempt at acoustic isolation between them ?) face the view while screening it heavily via a closet cube. The "lounge" space serving as an ante-chamber to the bedrooms, cut off from daylight, subterranean and with hearth, is the only piece of the puzzle reading (on paper, anyway) as "leftover space" or a forced solution. Perhaps it doesn't suffer at all, in person ?

I especially like the upper floor, the principal space, floored in wood that is surrounded by a "shore" or border of masonry.

S

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