Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Finally Restored

Published March 9, 2015
Updated January 11, 2022

The Hollyhock House was Frank Lloyd Wright's first Los Angeles design. It was also a failure. But thanks to a grant, it's finally been restored.

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.

Hollyhock House

This all-new entryway was once bogged down with concrete floors, recessed lighting, and boring glass sliders. It has since been restored so that there is no separation between the house and courtyard, and even features original hardware from the 1920s.

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.

Frank Lloyd Wright House

In what may be the centerpiece of the whole house, Herr thinks that Wright’s grand, bas-relief hearth, and fireplace with a 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.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House

Source: Curbed

Amazingly, the home still has the original dining room table and chairs, which are emblazoned with the trademark geometrical hollyhock design.

Courtyard

Source: Curbed

The courtyard’s landscaping wouldn’t be complete without some hollyhocks lining the pillars.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house fountain

Source: Curbed

A fountain with an overhead arch to frame the main entrance.

Sunlit Doors

Source: Curbed

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house music room

Source: Curbed

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house foyer

Source: Curbed

The foyer as seen from the living room.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house entry view

Source: Curbed

A view of the living room as seen from the foyer.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house living room to outside

Source: Curbed

The patio doors at the far end of the living room.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house a view to the patio

Source: Curbed

A view to the patio.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house interior walkway

Source: Curbed

An interior walkway overlooking the courtyard.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house outdoor pillars

Source: Curbed

A close up on the courtyard pillars with the hollyhock pattern.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house library

Source: Curbed

The vibrant carpet of the library further illuminated by the sunlight from the ample windows.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house kitchen

Source: Curbed

One of the longest galley-style kitchens you’ll ever see. This room, as well as the library, has only been restored back to the 1940s.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house former bedroom gallery

Source: Curbed

Formerly a bedroom area, this space has been relegated into a gallery about the famous architect.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house staggered rooftops

Source: Curbed

Staggered rooftops provide more views.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house outdoor corner

Source: Curbed

The house stands majestically on its hill.

frank lloyd wright hollyhock house evening shot

author
Erin Kelly
author
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
editor
Savannah Cox
editor
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Kelly, Erin. "Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House, Finally Restored." AllThatsInteresting.com, March 9, 2015, https://allthatsinteresting.com/hollyhock-house. Accessed May 26, 2024.