Neutra’s 900-square-foot McIntosh house

By David A. Keeps

You could say that architect John Bertram lives and breathes Richard Neutra. In the past decade, he has renovated significant residences by modernist Neutra (1892-1970), one of Southern California’s first starchitects. His personal residence is one of Neutra’s lesser-known works, the split-level, 900-square-foot McIntosh house, built in 1939 in Silver Lake.

“For me, modernism was a high water mark of architecture and Neutra established a rigorous set of rules for designing houses that are clear, precise, linear and dynamic,” Bertram says. “In Los Angeles, where the climate permitted it, his integration of indoor and outdoor spaces set a standard that people still look for in houses today.”

Here Bertram sits in the living room, which has two long window walls delineated by a built-in L-shaped banquette, writing desk and bookcase made of mahogany. Despite these thoughtful, space-saving appointments, the redwood-clad house “has a strange rusticity to it,” Bertram says. “It’s almost like a cabin.”
(Christine House / For The Times)