The Hollyhock House was commissioned by oil heiress Aline Barnsdall as part of a performing arts complex in the early 1920s, and had the distinction of being the first house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Wright was also working on Japan’s Imperial Hotel at the time, and thus was absent for much of the original construction work. Costs on the house started to spiral out of control, and when all was said and done Wright was fired from the project and Barnsdall–privileged heiress that she was–never moved in.
The property, which Wright had designed after Barnsdall’s favorite flower, was later donated to the city of Los Angeles, and suffered nobly through several bad renovations (and then years of closure) before finally being restored to its originally planned beauty–thanks to a grant written by Project Restore. Curator Jeffrey Herr poetically describes the Hollyhock House as a “germination of what I think you can easily say became California Modernism,” and it is now open to the public once again.
Pictures via photographer Elizabeth Daniels.
In what may be the centerpiece of the whole house, Herr thinks that Wright’s grand, bas-relief hearth and fireplace with soaking pool below (and skylight above) is considered to be the best thing he’s ever done. The couches shown are reproductions of the original furnishings.
Amazingly, the home still has the original dining room table and chairs, which are emblazoned with the trademark geometrical hollyhock design.
The courtyard’s landscaping wouldn’t be complete without some hollyhocks lining the pillars.
A fountain with an overhead arch to frame the main entrance.
The foyer as seen from the living room.
A view of the living room as seen from the foyer.
The patio doors at the far end of the living room.
A view to the patio.