Zen aesthetics meets mid-century modern style at The Von Hagen residence

© Cameron Carothers

True Detective fans might recognize this stunning Topanga estate as the home of season two’s entrepreneurial criminal Frank Semyon, played by Vince Vaughn. Back on the market, this 4,684 square-foot property is perched on 13 secluded acres. The four-bed/ six-bath light-filled home boasts a modern kitchen with high-end stainless appliances, two fireplaces, original wood surrounds, a full-size heated pool, 4-car carport, and a separate 3,300 square-foot 12-car garage.

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The Hixon Residence

A. Quincy Jones. Design proposals for Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Hixon House. 1973-1975
@UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library, Los Angeles

To recreate a story of an estate, you need to find all the possible sources: building permits, assessor’s records, magazine publications, memoirs, etc. But nothing can be more informative and gratifying than an architect’s drawings. They can tell you the whole story from the first sketch to the final rendering, show the progress of the creative idea, reveal the client’s mood swings and the architect’s insights.

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This stellar Santa Monica home was built for an all-star

15216 Antelo Place is not a house for an ordinary man. It was built in 1971 for a giant – basketball great Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain was 7’1’’, and often commented that felt rather uncomfortable in most buildings. When it came time to design and build his own house, the man known by his friends as “The Big Dipper”– for having to dip his head to walk through doorways– wanted to live in lofty spaces “like the Baptist church I remember when I was growing up,” he said in a 1972 interview. 

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© LIFE, 1972

Wood and glass home is a minimalist mid-century dream

© Jay Drose, 2019

In 1951, 26-year-old architect Frederick Liebhardt built his first independent project – a house for him and his wife Marianne in La Jolla, California. Before this, Liebhardt had a stint as one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s apprentices at Taliesin West and briefly worked with Lloyd Ruocco, a modernist pioneer in San Diego. The young architect’s first project reflects the principles of organic architecture espoused by Wright in its geometry, character, and hillside setting. 

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Quixote Winery

There are almost 400 wineries in Napa County, but only a few of them were built by famous architects. One of the most remarkable is the Quixote Winery – the only American creation of extravagant Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Open for visits, this little golden-dome gem is worth an extra drive regardless of your wine tastes, although their Petite Syrah is highly-praised.

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© Architecturalist

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