July 9, 2015, 12:00 am
By Patrick Sisson
Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Completed in 1949, the same year Richard Neutra would be anointed a nationwide star on the cover of Timemagazine, the Hees House shows the Austrian architect riffing off one of his favorite inspirations, the Pacific Ocean. Sheathed in floor-to-ceiling glass and perched on an enviable rise above the coast, the three-bed, five-bathroom home offers a view that beats any from the nearby Bel-Air Bay Club, which sits further down the bluff. While oceanfront buildings had already become his calling card of sorts, thanks to the success Lovell House, this design, like the Wise House he would lay out in the late ’50s, distills his belief in simplicity and connecting with nature down to its barest elements.
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That’s not to say this residence is spartan. The inviting fireplace, blue-tiled bathroom, and sprawling deck suggest relaxation and escape. But those kind of comforts, and this kind of home, doesn’t come cheap. The price for these 3,085 square feet of glass-and-steel beauty has jumped considerably since its last time on the market, when it sold for $4.5 million in 2013. But that only makes sense, since Neutra homes have been selling at a fast clip this year. According to Neutra’s son, Dion, the Hees House was an example of an unusual ceiling treatment he calls “board on board,” which carries the treatment out through the glass line to unify the interior and exterior. While a previous owner ended up making some adjustments to Neutra’s original design, we find it pretty hard to name much else that needs an update.