Ultra Swank - Retro Adventures

1960s Whitney Smith Designed Modernism Home

Written by Christopher Alm • September 8th, 2009
1960s Whitney Smith Designed Modernism Home

This lovely modernism designed home was built in the 1960s by architect Whitney Smith who was made famous through the Case Study Homes program in post WWII California.

The house is located in Alhambra in the US and like many other Mid Century homes it was built in the typical ‘glass box’ theme with high ceilings and positioned conveniently on a hilltop, creating a spectacular view from the living room.

The residence is sited on a cul-de-sac off of a private road. The front of the residence is sheathed in a slatted wood fence that allows for more privacy, not that you need any. Walls of glass flood the interior with light, and the sliding glass doors erase the barrier between indoors and out. The step-down living room sits on radiant concrete flooring and is a generous, sun-filled space. The bedrooms are sequestered to the north wing. All of the bedrooms have floor to ceiling cabinets that provide ample storage. The master suite has floating cabinets that give way to a bank of smaller closets which lead you to the master bath. The pool area allows uninterrupted views of the San Gabriel mountains and the city to the east. The kitchen window gives you views of downtown, and on a clear day, beyond. This kitchen houses top of the line appliances. The zebra wood cabinets and orange subway tile suggest a nod to the stylings of Buff and Hensman. Original cork flooring is used in the kitchen and dining areas.

Source Apartment Therapy   

Christopher Alm

Christopher founded Ultra Swank in 2005. Has a crush on mid-century graphic design, defunct airlines, Disneyland and the Century 21 Exposition. Is a collector of easy listening music from the 60s and 70s and a Swedish expat living in Barcelona, Spain.

Find out more about Christopher Alm

  • Oh I’ll only ever own a house like that in my dreams. I’m holding out for MCM to become unpopular again and that the prices will drop. It’s my only chance.

  • This is a good example of what us Architects call post and beam, Mid-Century Modern. The structure (the posts and beams) are expressed in the design, not encased or covered up….although my overall favorite case study house in Case Study No. 28. Located in Newbury Park California (adjacent to Thousand Oaks). I had the rare opportunity to visit the house after it was completed and open to the public for a short while. The Architects were Buff and Hensmann and the construction was sponsored by Pacific Clay Products. Both the architectural firm and the Brick Company are still in business.

  • @John That is great information, thank you! I think all CS houses are great examples of modern thinking after the war and I wish they would have built even more of them. Guess SoCal is the best place to go for getting a post and beam house from that period.

  • Bim Bom

    Not only SoCal, but there’s also quite a bit of those up in Northern California (Bay Area) too.

  • Can anyone tell me where to find the cheapest wall panels are? I would like interior wall panels for home – thanks!

  • Modern architecture is a style found in the buildings that have simple form without any ornamental structures to them. This style of a modern architecture was identified as an international style and became the dominant way to build for many decades in the 20th century. Modern architects apply scientific and analytical methods to design.

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