This Place Is a Chip Off the Old Concrete Block


The Sowden House in Los Feliz, one of the few Frank Lloyd Wright Jr.-designed houses in Los Angeles and one of his best-known buildings, was designed and built in 1926 for John Sowden, a friend of Wright’s who was a retired painter and photographer.

Sowden and his wife, Ruth, wanted a house that was a showplace as well as a party house, capable of accommodating their many friends in the emerging film industry.

About this house: From the front, the windowless facade looks like a fortress; but once inside, the courtyard resembles a stage set, entered through copper gates of stylized leaves and water and accessed by two flights stairs.


Wright’s famous architect father praised the house for its “treatment of the block that preserves the plastic properties of concrete as material.” Wright tried to improve upon his father’s experiments with concrete block, using it to decorate the entry.

The home, which is in need of restoration, has been owned by a family trust set up about 35 years ago.

In recent years, it has been occupied by a couple who raised two children there. Now the empty-nesters are ready to move to smaller, more modern quarters with climate control. The Los Feliz house is difficult to heat in the winter, and is not air-conditioned or insulated. Such are the drawbacks sometimes of a house that is art.

Asking price: $1,575,000

Size: Seven bedrooms and four baths in 5,600 square feet.

Features: Den, dining room, breakfast area, basement, library/study, media room and pantry.

Where: Los Feliz

Listing agent: Don Hedgepeth, Avanti Real Estate, Larchmont, (323) 467-1944

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