On February 21, the George D. Sturges Residence by Frank Lloyd Wright will be auctioned for charity. [Update: The Sturges Residence was withdrawn from yesterday’s auction due to the fact that no potential buyers were preapproved.] Located in Brentwood Heights, California, the cantilevered house is constructed of California redwood, brick, steel and concrete. With an interior that feels like a cozy cottage, the house has two bedrooms, one bath, small kitchen and combination living/dining area. The main room and both bedrooms open up to the large deck that wraps around two sides of the house.
Wright designed the house in 1939 for Lockheed Corporation engineer George D. Sturges and his wife Selma. He then hired architect John Lautner, who was a Taliesin apprentice from 1933 to 1938, to oversee its construction on a steep lot that the Sturgeses purchased for $10.
Commissioning a house from Wright was a decision the couple made to console themselves after learning they could not have children. Shortly after moving in, they discovered they were expecting. Wright altered the layout of the small house to include a nursery but after a second child arrived, the family had to move to a larger home. The Sturges name, however, remains forever attached to their dream house.
The home went through three other owners until 1967, when it was purchased by actor Jack Larson (not to be confused with textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen) and director James Bridges. Proud to share their “California Usonian” with fans of Wright’s work, the couple often welcomed curators and architects – including Richard Meier and Peter Eisenman – into their home. They also hired Lautner to return to the house to oversee several restoration projects. Bridges passed away in 1993, the same year that the City of Los Angeles designated the house a Historic-Cultural Monument. Larson remained in the home alone until his death last year.
The 1,200-square-foot house will be sold with two Wright chairs believed to have been in the house since 1939, as well as a built-in sofa and dining table both designed by Lautner. There are also several freestanding pieces by Lautner that will be sold as separate lots. Estimated at $2,500,000–$3,000,000, the auction of Lot 86 will be conducted by Los Angeles Modern Auctions and Sotheby’s International Realty. Proceeds will benefit the Bridges/Larson Foundation.
Wright trivia: The architect specified that the beds be no more than 13-inches tall to ensure that the homeowners would be awakened by the sun in the morning and able to see stars from bed at night. Right on, Wright.