Travel: The Eames House, Los Angeles

One of LA's many modernist marvels, the Eames house is remarkable not only for its architectural pedigree (the original scheme for the house was designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, but significantly adapted before construction by Charles and Ray Eames), but because it is redolent of the rich, creative and generous lives of its occupants. The Eames's moved into the house in 1949; they lived there until their deaths (Charles in 1978, Ray exactly 10 years later). Their daughter, Lucia, set in motion the process of making the house a National Historic Landmark.

These days, reservations are required for a visit, but the process is relatively easy (you can opt for a self-guided exterior tour, or pay more for a guided tour of the interior). 

We were staying in Santa Monica, which meant we could walk to the house in about half an hour - a rare luxury in LA, especially as the walk was mostly along Santa Monica beach. The house is set in a grove of eucalyptus trees in Pacific Palisades, although rather than being located in the centre of the property, the Eames pushed it to the edge of the grove to maximise their enjoyment of the open space. There are views of the ocean from the edge of the property. This image shows the entrance to the house, with its Mondrian-inspired colour panels.

Although we had opted for the exterior tour, the glassiness of the house means it is still easy to see inside. At the moment, the contents of the Eames's living room have been temporarily relocated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of the LA-side Pacifc Standard Time exhibition. The living room of the house is now set up just as it was when the Eames moved in around Christmas 1949, with colourfully decorated tools suspended from the ceiling by string. An exhibition of photographs in the grove shows the development of the living room's eclectic decor. This photo shows a view back to the house from the lawn.

Outside the living room is a beautiful, Japanese-inspired courtyard.

Belowis another view of the entrance. These are my images, but you can find a greater variety of superior shots, as well as information on how to visit, at the Eames Foundation's site at the link here. It's well worth visiting if you're going to LA, and much easier to do so than you'd expect. While you're there, it's also worth checking out other parts of the Pacific Standard Time exhibition, which involves cultural institutions all over the city. We saw a terrific show downtown at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA which I'll write more about in a later post.  


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