Artisan house is one of a kind

It’s got a name, it’s got a view and it’s got a famed architect who echoed the work of Frank Lloyd Wright in his design. And it’s on the market.

The Endicott home, named for the first family that lived there, was designed in 1966 by noted local architect Jack Simison. It came on the market in the spring and potential buyers have been touring it during recent open houses.

The home is perched high on a ridge at the top of Domal Lane in La Cañada with views to the San Gabriel Mountains and Arroyo Seco corridor, southward to the Los Angeles basin and to the Pacific Ocean. The main room in the home spans in length from the front door to the back patio and features a spectacular fireplace built with Bouquet Canyon stone.

“Jack loved building on slabs and using overhangs in his building. He also liked to include the outside [natural features] along with the inside of the house,” said Sylvia Simison, the architect’s widow.

Sylvia also said that Jack, who died in 2009 at the age of 86, was very particular about the type of lumber he used and bought building materials from local craftsmen. Lumber for the Domal Lane house was sourced from Anawalt Lumber in North Glendale and the intricate Craftsmen-style stained glass doors were made at Highland Park’s Judson Studios.

The home is approximately 4,100 square feet and has two bedrooms, two baths, two formal parlors, a dining room and multiple outside entertaining areas that are placed near the large, hexagonal pool. It was originally placed on the market in May and was listed for $2.75 million. Although it has drawn some attention from prospective buyers, it remains unsold and the home’s price recently was reduced to $2.495 million.

Simison designed other noteworthy local buildings in La Cañada and Montrose. These include the La Cañada Country Club, two different buildings that have housed the La Cañada Valley Sun over the years, and the blocks-long Montrose promenade shopping mall along Honolulu Avenue.

A decorated WWII veteran, Simison fought in Germany and France, where he received a Purple Heart for damage to his hearing and eyesight.

“He saw so much destruction over there [in the war] that when he came home, he just wanted to build,” said Sylvia Simison.

According to Sylvia, her husband was an admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, who emphasized the merging of outside nature, like landscapes, woods, and water, into the design of a home. It is easy to see the Wright influence on the Endicott home, with Simison’s inclusion of dramatic views and the way the home appears to be an organic object resting atop the hillside like a boulder.

Built in the horizontal mid-century contemporary style, Simison took a cue from the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s and that era’s insistence on using vertical and horizontal lines, organic materials like rock, cement, stone and wood, and in constructing pieces that fit together, such as slat wood panels for the roof and exposed beams.

The home also has strong Asian influences, including a tiered pond courtyard, subtle gardens and bonsai-like shrubs.

Building biographer Tim Gregory of Pasadena, who has compiled biographical materials and articles on Simison, along with building permits, assessors’ and appraisal records, said that the Endicott house is a unique design for Simison because its Asian elements.

“The home is very unique for [Simison] because it is a clean contemporary design but with an exotic influence. The entrance has exposed trusses and a repeating roofline pattern. As I understand, the home has a peaked, temple-like roof. If I were to look at the home, I wouldn’t necessarily think it was a Simison,” said Gregory.

Inside the house, the soaring 15-foot ceiling is designed in clear heart redwood that smoothly reaches up to a point so that it looks like the inverted hull of a beautifully crafted ship.

“I invite people into the house and direct them to the back patio to see the view,” said Rowena Emmett, a partner in the Fran & Rowena real estate team affiliated with Dilbeck Real Estate. “The view sells the house.”

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