Day 71- Visit a Historic House

#149, Visit 5 Historic Homes, 5/5

After I visited The Gamble House and wrote a blog post about it, my friend Nancy invited me to see the Eames House in Pacific Palisades so that I might complete my survey of historic houses for The List. Knowing that Nancy had worked for Charles Eames, as a graphic designer in the 1970s, I jumped at the chance.

As I drove to Pacific Palisades, I listened to a few short podcasts to find out more about Ray and Charles Eames. An interview of Eames Demetrius, grandson of Charles, was informative.

If you aren’t familiar with Charles and Ray Eames, here is a three minute video to give you an introduction.

To learn more, I watched the documentary,  Eames: The Architect & The Painter which was made in 2011. It is available for rent on iTunes. If you don’t have time to see the whole film, here’s a listicle that gives you the highlights.

There is no parking at the house, but you can park on nearby side street, Corona del Mar. The address is 203 Chautauqua, and you can follow these signs to get there.


When we arrived, we were ushered behind the velvet rope and invited into the office, adjacent to the house. There Nancy embraced and chatted with a woman whom I soon learned was Lucia Dewey Atwood, a granddaughter of Charles Eames.

They spoke about what it was like to work at “the shop”, a large warehouse at 901 Abbot Kinney Blvd, in Venice, California, where the Eames’ had made their furniture and explored many different art forms, including photography, toy design, and film making.

When Nancy and Lucia were finished talking, we moved outside to look at the house. It was not open to visitors, but we were able to see the kitchen and living room by looking through the windows.


The Eames House was Case Study House #8.

“Case Study Houses were experiments in residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United residential boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers. The program ran intermittently from 1945 until 1966. The first six houses were built by 1948 and attracted more than 350,000 visitors. While not all 36 designs were built, most of those that were constructed were built in Los Angeles, and one was build in Phoenix, Arizona.” (Wikipedia)

The house has an amazing view of the ocean, which somehow I neglected to photograph. We were discouraged to take photographs of the interior of the house. The photograph below comes from goldenticket76, a Flickr account which has all the photos, interior and exterior, you would ever want to see.

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Learning about Charles and Ray Eames was fascinating. I love the spirit of play that was a building block of their process.

And as you might imagine, this particular quote from Charles Eames really resonates with me.

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Thank you, Nancy, for arranging the tour today. Not only was it an educational experience, but it gave me fresh insight into your own design esthetic. It was interesting to see how your time at Eames might have influenced your later work.

294 days to go!





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