Home view: Mid-Century modern


If it's visual pizzazz one craves, then look no further than this midcentury modern designed in 1957 by Edward H. Fickett, best known for masterminding Las Vegas' legendary Sands Hotel, the La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., and Paul Trousdale's residence in Trousdale Estates. It's been tastefully remodeled but remains so true to its roots that it could function as a demonstration of the architect's design principles: a seamless transition between indoors and out with walls of glass, clerestory windows and beamed ceilings. The three-bedroom, two-bath home features a courtyard leading to a living room with an impressive high-ceiling, which, in turn, opens to an ample yard with a rock pool and spa; the cook's kitchen, meanwhile, is adjacent to a dining room surrounded by lush outdoor greenery.
— 7536 Lolina Lane, Los Angeles; $1,895,000; Billy Rose & H. Blair Chang, Prudential California Realty, 310-650-2999

Master realtor:
An architectural enthusiast since his days at Yale University, Mike Deasy's interest has evolved into a passion and a career as one of Los Angeles' best-known agents. With a niche in midcentury modern, he has represented properties by John Lautner, Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, as well as the next wave of talents, including Steven Ehrlich, Koning Eizenberg and Lorcan O'Herlihy. "It's not just about size, amenities and location," says Deasy, who left his previous company (Mossler Deasy & Doe) more than a year ago to launch deasy/penner&partners. "Design is the secret ingredient that weighs most heavily on house-buying decisions." After starting in Venice, the firm expanded to Palm Springs, a town famous for its midcentury modern homes, and late last year opened a branch on Rodeo Drive. In a testament to the value placed on the nearly 50 partners, each owns equity in the company, a structure that allows the team to act as one cohesive unit. Deasy has lived in midcentury homes ever since he bought his first Schindler in 1974. Today's buyers, he says, are more sophisticated than they were in the past, though the term "midcentury" has lost its true significance due to its immersion in everyday vernacular. "People think anything contemporary is midcentury," he says. "Midcentury homes are very specific: low-slung glass and concrete with floor-to-ceiling windows that connect indoors and out. They're deceptively simple but designed with such intelligence and integrity you almost can't live any other way." E-mail: mdeasy@deasypenner.com

Master artisan: Restorations:
Obsessive owners of modern homes insist on doing their restorations just right, and designer-builder Teak Nichols is among the best for the job. Four years learning the ropes at Marmol Radziner and Associates in Malibu (considered the gold standard for renovating moderns in California) taught him an enormous appreciation for modern design. "These places demand respect," says Nichols with a convert's zeal. After branching out on his own, he began working on realtor Mike Deasy's restoration of his Entenza House (pictured), built by Harwell Hamilton Harris in the late 1930s. "The home had been faithfully restored but still had certain elements needing completion," says Nichols, 36, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. "We researched the original designs, which are archived at the University of Texas, and finished the stairway to the roof deck with regard to historical elements. When you love these homes and experience how intelligently designed they are, you do feel emotionally compelled to get it right." Teak Nichols, 310-200-5167

Must-have products:
Perhaps the greatest compliment to the enduring appeal of German architect-designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the demand for reproductions of his iconic pieces, such as this daybed (8 feet long by 40 inches wide); $1,485.  Available at modernclassics.com.

Let us count the ways that designer Max Kistner's versatile Lux-us lighted cubes (pictured) can cast a glow inside or out: plant tub, wine bucket, nightstand, light stool, magazine rack or stacked for shelves or display; $340; cushions, $60. Available at ameico.com.


OVERVIEW: Home designs affect mood

Home view: Snapshot of house styles and furnishings:
Mid-century modern