If You Have $15 Million, Dilbeck Knows a Property You’ll Want to See

June 25, 2009
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Poolside on the hillside

Poolside on the hillside

Dilbeck Premier Properties in Claremont, Calif, through its association with Dilbeck Realtors in San Marino, has the perfect fixer-upper for anyone with $15 million to invest and a passion for architectural history, and architect Frank Lloyd Wright, in particular.

Offered by Hilton & Hyland and Dilbeck Realtors of San Marino, with international marketing provided by Christie’s Great Estates in Santa Fe, N.M., the 6,000-square-foot Ennis Home sits atop a Los Feliz hilltop, the master piece and  crowning achievement of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “textile-block” design.

“Anyone who loves architecture and architectural history will appreciate the significance of this cultural  icon and the need to find the appropriate steward to restore and preserve this treasure for future generations,” said Ann Krauter, owner and broker of Dilbeck Premier Properties. “We are proud that Dilbeck Realtors in San Marino and Hilton & Hyland have been selected with Christie’s Great Estates to market this one-of-a-kind property.”

The home only came on the market after the Ennis House Foundation decided the house needed more funds than the small nonprofit could raise. Since its reorganization in 2005, the Foundation had worked to complete urgent stabilization and restoration work on the home in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 2004-2005 winter floods.

In 2008, the Foundation commissioned a study to evaluate potential approaches to the future preservation and stewardship of the Ennis House. The study confirmed that the Foundation would need to generate significant philanthropy to operate at a sustainable level for future years, given the house’s ongoing repair and restoration needs.

ennis21“Despite many conversations with potential funders, we haven’t found the resources required,” the Foundation stated.

As a result, the Foundation determined that its best option was to find a private owner with the vision and resources to give the beloved Los Angeles landmark the level of care it needs and deserves.

In Architectural Digest (October, 1979) Thomas Heinz, editor of the Frank Lloyd Wright Newsletter, wrote:

“The Ennis House is one of the first residences constructed from concrete block. Wright transforms cold industrial concrete to a warm decorative material used as a frame for interior features like windows and fireplaces as well as columns. His sixteen inch modular blocks with intriguing geometric repeats invite tactile exploration. The art glass windows and doors, reminiscent of examples from the earlier prairie period, here achieve greater color suddenly as they graduate in intensity from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom. The wisteria motif mosaic above the living room fireplace is the extant example of the only four art glass mosaics Wright ever designed. “The metal work based on Mayan imagery is not of Wright’s design, and may have been included at Mr. Ennis’ request, yet from the very large iron grill at the main entrance to such minute details as light switches and lock plates, there is a unity of conception and materials that complements the entire structure.”

This beautiful example of the genius of Wright has been studied by architects, architectural historians, artists and art lovers from practically every country in the world. The house is listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior in the National Register of Historic Places, it has been declared a Cultural Heritage Monument by the City of Los Angeles, and it has been designated a California State Landmark.ennis5

Eric Lloyd Wright, the architect’s grandson and a member of the nonprofit Ennis House Foundation’s board, told Martha Groves of the Los Angeles Times, in her June 19 story, that given the current economy, private ownership was the best option to save the house and honor his grandfather’s intentions.

“My grandfather designed homes to be occupied by people,” Wright said. “His homes are works of art. He created the space, but the space becomes a creative force and uplifts when it is lived in every day.”

Completed in 1924 for Charles and Mabel Ennis, the owners of a men’s clothing store who liked to entertain, the house was the last and largest of four homes that Wright designed in an experimental “textile block” style.

From its perch in the Hollywood Hills, the Ennis House commands expansive views of the Los Angeles basin and  Pacific Ocean. It belongs as much to film lore as it does to architectural history, having been  immortalized in “Blade Runner,” “Grand Canyon,” “Twin Peaks,” and  even “South Park.”

“If you have ever driven north on Vermont toward the Hollywood Hills, you may have seen it on one of the ridges near Griffith Park Observatory and wondered who owned the considerable structure on the hill,” said Ray Hayes, Director of Marketing for Dilbeck.

If you believe you’re the one to own this legacy home, you can call Ann of Dilbeck Premier Properties at (626) 710 0864 or you can contact Hayes at 626 710 0864 or (626) 755-8383.


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