That’s a Neutra all right

Times Staff Writer

European actress Anna Sten and her husband, Eugene Frenke, had a whim in 1934 to hire Richard Neutra, once a student of Frank Lloyd Wright, to design a home for them in Santa Monica Canyon.

Neutra, who was on his way to becoming one of the most influential modern architects, was designing houses at the time in what is known as the International Style. The Sten-Frenke residence, with its hallmark flat roof and glass walls, exemplifies the style.

Row after row of windows let in canyon light and provide views of the gardens and the pool, now larger than the one Neutra originally specified. Neutra liked order in design but without monotony.


The entry and living room have restored wooden built-ins and paneling in contrast with seamless white walls and glass. A glass-paneled staircase leads to a landing and a master bedroom with ocean views, two terraces, a sitting room and an office. Two other bedrooms share a bathroom, and there is a maid’s quarters and laundry room.

Neutra’s use of glass and spacious designs had a major influence on Southern California residential architecture.

When Neutra died at age 78 in 1970, architect A. Quincy Jones applauded his “discipline and quiet statements,” saying that they “are rich indeed and stand apart from the flamboyance of our times.”

About this house: Restoration professionals throughout the country were consulted on refurbishing this house, which is a Los Angeles historic-cultural monument.

A couple from New York bought the house in June 2001, thinking they would spend more time in Los Angeles. They didn’t spend much time in Southern California except on the house, which they restored before heading back to Manhattan.

Asking price: $8 million

Size: The house has three bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms in 2,959 square feet. The site, a double lot, is 16,335 square feet.


Features: The home has bright public rooms, landscaped grounds and a wood-paneled dining room with a chandelier.

Where: Santa Monica Canyon

Listing agent: Barry Sloane, Sotheby’s International Realty, Beverly Hills, (310) 786-1844.

To submit a candidate for Home of the Week, please send color interior and exterior images and caption information on a CD and a description of the house, including what makes the property unusual, to Ruth Ryon, Real Estate Section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; or e-mail