Pret-a-Reporter

Rarely Seen Lovell House to Open Its Doors This Weekend

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It is part of a weekend-long celebration of the home's designer, modernist architect Richard Neutra.

The Lovell Health House – the modernist Richard Neutra house featured in L.A. Confidential — can rarely be seen outside the 1997 film. But on Sunday, April 10, the International Style Los residence in Los Feliz will be open to the paying public as part of a weekend-long celebration of the founding of the late architect’s practice 85 years ago. “It’s so hard to get into that house and the owner is graciously opening it up on Sunday for part of our tour,” says architect Dion Neutra, Richard Neutra’s son.  In L.A. Confidential, the house is inhabited by the pimp character played by David Strathairn. 

Neutra designed a number of houses in his day for Hollywood luminaries. The Sten-Frenke House was built for 30s actress Anna Sten. Despite being dubbed the “Russian Garbo” and put on contract by Samuel Goldwyn, Sten saw her career falter just a couple movies out of the gate. But her house, featuring a continuous glass ribbon of windows, found screen time in Lisa Cholodenko’s 2002 film Laurel Canyon. “It was very prominent in the movie, but it’s a fictitious notion that it’s in Laurel Canyon. It’s actually in Santa Monica sort of overlooking the PCH,” says Neutra.
 
For another onscreen glimpse of Neutra’s work, look to 2001’s The Anniversary Party, directed by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming. The film, about a movie director and his movie star wife who reunite, was set inside the architect’s Schaarman House in the Hollywood Hills. It was a star of the movie in itself, Jason Leigh told The New York Times in 2001: “It was a true reflection of the couple — exposed and beautiful, but also precarious, as all Neutra houses are, because they are made of glass.”
 
Other famous names who have owned or currently own Neutras are Vidal Sassoon, Tom Ford, Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glaser, and Barry Manilow (one-time keeper of the renowned Kaufman Desert House in Palm Springs), as well as the late directors Josef von Sternberg and Albert Lewin and writer Michael Crichton.
 
Among the events happening for the “Neutra Practice at 85 Weekend” are a VIP reception on Saturday, April 9 from 7 to 9:30 pm, and on Sunday, April, 10, the Lovell Health House tour from noon to 5 p m ($25) and a tour of 10 other Neutra residences from 11 am to 5 pm ($85). For more information, go to neutra.org. 
 
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