We’ve got traffic. We’ve got air pollution. And we’ve got some gnarly natural disasters. But we Angelenos also have some of the most beautiful historic homes in the country—and they’re gorgeously preserved and open to the public. So head to one of these domestic marvels immediately and start spit-balling some dream-home ideas of your own.
6 Exceptional Los Angeles Houses You Have to Visit
See Modernism Done Cozy: Eames House, Pacific Palisades
This 1949 home of famed husband-and-wife designers Charles and Ray Eames is a gorgeous (and dramatically constructed) set of glass-and-cement boxes set on a bluff above the ocean. Its interiors reveal the stuff of life (thousands of books, shells, rocks), as it’s been kept as it was upon Ray Eames’s death in 1988. So a trip here will make you inspired not only by architectural genius but also the rigors of tidy organization.
203 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades; 310-459-9663 or eamesfoundation.org
Bask In Space And Splendor: Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills
Maybe you, too, live in a multimillion-dollar mansion that’s as storied as this local palace…or not. It’s pretty rare today (as it was in the ’20s when this place was built) to dwell in a 55-room Gothic masterpiece with hand-carved oak balustrades, seven artist-designed chimneys and servants’ quarters. Even still, a visit to Greystone—the grounds are open daily, while the interiors accept visitors for frequent events—can inspire you to clean your floors and woodwork to a spit-polish shine.
905 Loma Vista Dr., Beverly Hills; 310-286-0119 or greystonemansion.org
Consider Converting To Tile: The Adamson House, Malibu
This beach house was built by the largest landowners in Malibu at a site where the Pacific meets the Malibu River. Today it’s notable as the “Taj Majal of tile” for its many surfaces covered with colorful tile made in a factory created by the family. The rugged-yet-tidy interior of the Mediterranean Revival-style ranch house will have you pulling up your carpets and laying wall-to-wall ceramics.
23200 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu; 310-456-8432 or adamsonhouse.org
Learn To Love Polished Wood: The Gamble House, Pasadena
A scion of the Proctor & Gamble company retired to Pasadena with his wife and happened to meet with the Craftsman architects of Greene & Greene, and after constructing their three-story house’s interiors (and custom Arts and Crafts-style furnishings) with enough teak and mahogany to denude the tropics, a masterpiece was born. Taking the two-hour tour will make you feel inspired to commandeer some Pledge on your own sideboard.
4 Westmoreland Pl., Pasadena; 626-793-3334 or gamblehouse.org
See Creativity Triumph Over Marital Discord: The Schindler House, West Hollywood
In 1922, soon-to-be-famous L.A. architect Rudolph Schindler and his wife Pauline built a concrete-slab house they intended to share with another couple. It’s now acknowledged as the beginning of California modernist building, and it became the center of gatherings for dancers, poets and actors heading through town. Alas, the Schindlers broke up and Pauline hit the road—but she later co-habitated with her ex-husband for the final decade of his life. Today, it’s catnip for devotees of severe right angles, built-in wood features and arguing couples unable to afford their own homes.
835 N. Kings Rd.; 323-651-1510 or makcenter.org
Admire De-cluttering Done Right: The Stahl House, Hollywood Hills
Built in the 1950s, this hilltop home has a 270-degree panorama of the surrounding hills, thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass on three sides. You’ll see spartan furnishings courtesy of Design Within Reach on the tour, and want to immediately box your knick-knacks away in your own home.
1635 Woods Dr.; 208-429-1058 or stahlhouse.com