Whether restoring, remodeling, or completely rebuilding, the prospect of making any changes to a house designed by a respected architect can be daunting. This collection of updated projects includes originals by Rudolph Schindler, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, Charles H. Richter, Felder Weeks, Aaron Green, and Eliot Noyes. Definitely a tough acts to follow.
The architects who painstakingly brought these houses back to life not only took into consideration existing architecture, but also the intentions of the initial designers. This meant research on other works by those master architects, design trends of the time, plus finding appropriate finishes and products to fit the style. Across the board, the biggest challenge was changing floor plans for clients’ contemporary lifestyles without altering the spirit of the house. Restraint is the word for that part of the process. Many of the updates required knocking down interior walls and replacing or expanding glazing to strengthen outdoor connections and open living areas. Several of the houses had undergone less sensitive remodels or additions, so getting back to the original architect’s layout figured highly into the new design. When renovating an Aaron Green house for his twin brother, Paul Mankins, FAIA, explains that “a lot of the solution was mainly getting rid of the bad stuff.”
Replacing outdated systems and crumbling structural components without destroying too much of the architecture was also a big hurdle. Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, viewed it as an opportunity to make the Schindler house he restored as green as possible. He did such a good job that his daughter and her family now own the house, so Ehrlich continues to enjoy his meticulous hard work. Another benefit for all of the architects who successfully revised these masterworks—they all received a Residential Architect or Custom Home Design Award for their efforts.