Buff Gallery
16 Images

A Modernist discovery

Donna and Robert Grossi stand in the entry stairs to their Pasadena home, dubbed Rapor, or Sun House, by late architect Conrad Buff III, who built it in 1977 for his family. Visitors arrive at a motor court facing a garage and studio, walk up these stairs and find themselves before the main house, backed by the San Gabriel Mountains. A tiled path crosses over the pool, under the shaded loggia and into the house. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The original stained glass doors by artist Judy Jensen lead from the driveway to the entry stairs. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The tile walkway splits the symmetrical design in half: a dining area and sunken kitchen to the right, a sitting area and sunken living room on the left. The central path dead-ends, with corridors leading to bedrooms on either side, each with its own bathroom. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The lower part of the property includes the garage, an art studio for Donna and this additional living area, whose expansive windows help to retain the indoor-outdoor spirit of the main house. The artwork on the walls was painted by Donna. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The dining room has the house’s original table, designed by Buff, as well as the chairs that the architect selected for the space. Free of upper cabinets, the kitchen feels open and provides another place for Grossi to display her own artwork. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The presence of so much furniture original to the house — pieces that Buff designed for the space and crafted himself — is one of the property’s charms. The sunken living room here includes Buff’s coffee table. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
A piece of artwork in the living room was part of Buff’s collection when he lived in the house and was returned to the house after the Grossis purchased Rapor this year. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Friends often ask the Grossis if they intend to rip out the old kitchen, whose Formica counter tops give the space a decidedly ’70s feel. But Donna says they like how the original design has been preserved, and they intend to keep the space as it is. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The original bed that Buff designed remains in the house, moved from the master to the guest bedroom. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The Grossis refinished all the original cabinetry and kept most of the original details, including this towel rack handmade by Buff. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
A skylight in the artist studio doubles as a transparent tabletop for the deck terrace above. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
One of the two deck terraces that flank the entry stairway and look out over Pasadena. The glass tabletop delivers natural light to the studio below. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
A sitting area overlooking the grand view includes a table and chair that Buff designed. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
The house is largely hidden from the street, and when visitors pull up to the motor court, the lower building — garage, studio and second living room — offer few hints of the design that awaits at the main part of the house. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Robert Grossi crosses the bridge that fronts the main house. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)
Rapor celebrates its natural setting, and every part of the house maintains a connection to the outdoors — a common thread running through Buff & Hensman’s body of work, and a reason their homes are finding new fans among a later generation of architecture enthusiasts. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)