Garden home in Glendale has historic roots

A Rudolph M. Schindler-designed house surrounded by gardens that extend even underneath its structure has been restored and upgraded to show off the historic property in the Verdugo Woodlands, originally designed for writer-composer Jose Rodriguez and his family.

Built in 1941, the house features varying ceiling heights, clerestory windows and a "floating" second-story bedroom wing that spans the gardens below. On the ground floor is an office, designed as a music studio for Rodriguez, and a bathroom.

In contrast to rooms naturally lighted by walls of glass, a dark entryway with Santa Maria stone flooring leads up to the second-floor loggia, living room and dining room. Plywood, considered the experimental material of the day, was used for paneling and built-ins throughout the home.

"Our Steinway piano is in the exact spot where Jose Rodriguez had his Steinway," said Michael J. Murray, who owns the house with his partner Kelly Jones. "On Sundays, the family would have the first chair musicians from the L.A. Philharmonic over for a concert. When we redid the cork flooring, we left the marks from the spikes of the cellos and bases at the base of the piano and near the sofa."

The renovated kitchen combines the old kitchen and butler's pantry, featuring stainless steel and white-washed wood. Off the kitchen are a laundry room, bathroom and maid's room. Sliding drawers are accessible from both the kitchen and dining room sides.

The master bedroom features a built-in bed and nightstands, a copper fireplace designed to look like a campfire and a sleeping porch. A hallway leads to a media room/bedroom and a second sleeping porch.

Outside, a covered terrace off the dining room opens onto a backyard with a pool and patio. An Arroyo stone walkway winds around the wooded lot, leading to a small amphitheater with stone benches that was used by the Rodriguez children to put on performances.

"Instead of having a front lawn, Schindler reclaimed the land for use by the owner," Murray said. "It's intensely private, with sycamore trees, pittosporum and ornamental fruit trees all around."

The house is a city of Glendale Historic Landmark and has a Mills Act property tax savings status.

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To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, send high-resolution color photos with caption and credit information on a CD and a detailed description of the house to Lauren Beale, Business, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., CA 90012. Questions may be sent to homeoftheweek@latimes.com.

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