Built in 1951, the Brody House is one of L.A.’s finest homes, originally owned by art aficionado Frances Lasker Brody, who commissioned architect A. Quincy Jones to design the modern abode. The 2.3-acre Holmby Hills estate was flipped and sold to Ellen DeGeneres in 2014, and finally purchased by Napster founder (and former Facebook President) Sean Parker — it also happens to neighbor Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion. (Photograph by Jason Schmidt, 2012. Courtesy Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.)
Architect, activist, and Dwell on Design speaker, Cory Buckner is not only an expert on A. Quincy Jones' designs, she's also led multiple preservation projects in the Crestwood Hills community to keep Jones's living monuments alive, starting with her own midcentury modern renovation. Buckner has authored two books on Jones' modern architecture, including A. Quincy Jones and Crestwood Hills: The Chronicle of a Modern Utopia.
When architect Bruce Norelius and his partner Landis Green, a school administrator, came upon this Crestwood Hills home, which had been put on the market by the daughters of the home’s original owners, they felt responsible for maintaining Jones’s original floor plan. The kitchen received the biggest change with white-marble countertops and cabinets made of oiled and waxed cold-rolled steel. “I believe [Jones] designed these houses to be living things,” says Norelius, who served as the architect in this renovation. “They’re not museums, and though I don’t want to change the bones, this isn’t a historical restoration.”
Since Cory Buckner’s restoration of the Schneidman House, the City of Los Angeles has designated it an Historic-Cultural Monument. Current owners Alex MacDowell and Kristin Kozwolsky were very active in the home’s design choices and hands-on when it came to stripping paint and other finishes in an effort to revert the interior wood to its original splendor.
Another renovation of a Jones home was completed in Crestwood Hills in 2012, when new owners Elise Loehnen and Rob Fissmer purchased the 1950 Kalmick House (Historic-Cultural Monument No. 634). Fissmer recalls the couple knew “within 20 seconds” the 1,468-square-foot home was for them. “We were completely moved by the space," says Fissmer, "by the floor-to-ceiling windows in the living area, by the house’s simple but deeply considered lines, by the view of the ocean.”
Through Cory Buckner’s push to preserve the post-war homes of Crestwood Hills, the Gross House earned its HCM designation in 2001.
The Tyre House is a 1950s Silver Lake gem that was restored in 2013 by the Escher GuneWardena firm. (Photograph by Jason Schmidt, 2012. Courtesy Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.)