Millard House

Frank Lloyd Wright designed four textile block houses in Los Angeles. According to Henry Russell Hitchcock, the 1923 Millard residence is the best. Hitchcock, the preeminent architectural historian of his day, noted it was Wright who conceived of such modernist principles as the open plan, the flat roof, the indoor to outdoor lifestyle, and the organic relationship between building and landscape.

Redwood ceilings and paneling lend warmth to the concealed stairs and corridor leading to the master bedroom.
Most of Wright’s early buildings were oriented horizontally, the Millard house is distinctly vertical, with columns of block reinforcing the upward movement, in response to the shape of the ravine in which it sits.
Filtered, dappled light flows into the house through perforated block walls that act as screens. Wright mixed sand from the site into the cement so the building would be authentically integrated with its location.
The three levels of the house spiral around a central chimney, that ensures one is in touch constantly with the palpable presence of nature through windows, terraces and glass doors. The master bedroom features high ceilings and a tall, slender window framing the view of the arroyo.
The weaving of earth and dwelling, the knitting of body with nature, indoor with outdoor, the weaving of sheltered, intimate space with soaring, liberated space, La Miniatura offers the opportunity to experience one’s humanity in ways most houses and their architects have never even conceptualized.
On the lower level, the original kitchen has been updated with contemporary appliances. It is adjacent to the dining room.
The dining room opens onto a patio and garden.
Wright was exceptionally pleased with La Miniatura. In his autobiography, he wrote, “The whole mass and texture of the home made the eucalyptus trees more beautiful, they in turn made the house walls more so.”

Source: Millard House

Frank Lloyd Wright persuaded Alice Millard to trade a flat lot she had purchased nearby for far more uneven terrain that inspired his vision of a sunken garden.

“My eye had fallen on a ravine nearby in which stood two beautiful eucalyptus trees,” Wright later wrote. “The house would rise tall out of the ravine gardens.”

 The two eucalyptus trees are still there, forming a cathedral more than 100 feet high over a lily pond in the gully. As he envisioned it, “Balconies and retraces would lead down to the ravine from the front of the house.”
The two eucalyptus trees are still there, forming a cathedral more than 100 feet high over a lily pond in the gully. As he envisioned it, “Balconies and retraces would lead down to the ravine from the front of the house.”

Ennis House

Built in 1924 for Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel, the Ennis House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, architect Lloyd Wright.

The house is the last and largest of four “textile block” houses in Los Angeles area, which feature patterned and perforated concrete blocks that give a unique textural appearance to both their exteriors and interiors. Frank Lloyd Wright designed a custom pattern for each of the houses built with concrete blocks.

The concrete was a combination of gravel, granite and sand from the site, mixed with water and then hand cast in aluminum molds to create a block 16 inches wide, 16 inches tall and 3 1/2 inches thick.

It was an experiment in the functional and artistic possibilities of concrete, which was still considered a new material, especially for home construction. The phrase “textile block” came from the way vertical and horizontal steel rods were woven through channels in the concrete to keep the blocks knitted together and held in position.

“One gets to experience the changes of light throughout the day and how that impacts interior spaces on a large scale. By walking a few feet, one can be in a completely different environment.”

“My grandfather designed homes to be occupied by people. His homes are works of art. He created the space, but the space becomes a creative force and uplifts when it is lived in every day.” Eric Lloyd Wright

By the time he designed the Ennis house in 1923, Frank Lloyd Wright had lived and worked in Tokyo and built several houses in Los Angeles. He was more cosmopolitan and less afraid of sunlight. The Ennis House is monumental with double and triple height rooms.

Between 1909 and 1959, Wright designed a total of 38 structures up and down the West Coast, from Seattle to Southern California. These include the Marin County Civic Center and Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.