A Fully Restored 1949 Neutra House in South Pasadena

A Fully Restored 1949 Neutra House in South Pasadena

View into a corridor of a modern house, surrounded by trees. Photos by Alex Zarour/Virtually Here Studios, courtesy of Anthony Stellini and Sherri Rogers/Compass

Last sold in 2001, the home was built from plans drawn for the famed Case Study House program.

Location: South Pasadena, California
Year built: 1949
Architect: Richard Neutra
Specs: 3 beds, 3 baths, 2,980 square feet, 0.73 acres (guest house: 2 beds, 2 baths, 800 square feet)
Price: $5,999,000

By far the most prominent of the approximately 30 architects who participated in the midcentury Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program, Richard Neutra produced plans for four of the project’s 36 homes. For many years, it was believed that only two were ever actually constructed, and of those, only No. 20, the Bailey House — currently on the market for $20M in a package deal with a Marmol-Radziner-designed contemporary mansion — is officially recognized as a Case Study House; the second of the two, variously identified as No. 19 and No, 21, was disavowed by both the architect and Arts & Architecture’s editor, John Entenza, when it was built with changes to the design and materials.

However, in the early 2000s, after being hired to oversee the restoration of a South Pasadena Neutra known as the Wilkins House, architect John Bertram began to wonder if the property might actually be one of Neutra’s “unbuilt” Case Studies. To investigate, Bertram brought in architectural historian and Neutra expert Barbara Lamprecht, who conducted a comparative analysis of Neutra’s plans for Case Study No. 13, designed in 1945, and the working drawings for the Wilkins House, drawn up two years later. The two sets of plans turned out to be virtually identical, with only a one-inch discrepancy on a wall approximately 23 feet long.

A single-story house with glass walls and a covered patio.
The home’s common rooms are lined on the rear-facing side with sliding glass walls, while the bedrooms are afforded more privacy.

Using Neutra’s drawings and photographs of the Wilkins House taken by Julius Shulman in 1950, Bertram and the homeowners — a film art director and production designer — tackled the challenge of undoing alterations (including painted ceiling beams and a few enclosures), and restoring the home to the architect’s original plan.

Located a couple of blocks east of Arroyo Park at 528 Hermosa Street, the single-story residence sits at the end of a long driveway, and is hidden behind green breeze-block walls. Following an L-shaped plan, it has a sloping roof with a deep overhang, redwood tongue-and-groove ceilings, cork and terrazzo floors, a double-sided Roman brick fireplace, built-in furniture, walls of glass, and casement windows with specially designed hinged panels for ventilation.

Past a shaded terrazzo patio is a large flat lawn bordered by a flagstone path that leads to a swimming pool surrounded by neatly trimmed shrubs and mature trees. The property, which last sold in 2001, includes a detached guest house, also designed by Neutra, which is currently rented out on Airbnb.

An open living area with wood ceilings and a brick fireplace.
Tongue-and-groove redwood ceilings, cork flooring, and a Roman brick fireplace create warmth and intimacy in the open-plan living and dining areas.
A kitchen with all-white cabinets, built-in ovens, and an eat-in area.
The spacious kitchen features terrazzo floors, sleek cabinetry, and a built-in dining nook.
A bedroom with a glass wall and honey-colored cabinets.
Built-in furniture and clerestory windows uphold the home’s crisp, clean lines.
A bathroom with textured wall and honey-colored cabinets.
Sun passing through the overhead skylight in the updated master bath gives the textured wall a sculptural quality.
A backyard with a swimming pool and trees.
The 0.73-acre grounds feature a swimming pool and a variety of mature trees.