This is first in a series of articles featuring some of the most unique, iconic, but also downright quirky home designs in America. Fasten your seatbelts…
It is not every day that you drive down a typical rural street in American and see a home built our of a 747 jet wing parts, a Witch’s House built in 1921, or a home that is hanging out over a cliff like the iconic Stahl House, designed completely out of glass. Or have you heard about Harry Houdini’s home in Laurel Canyon, where people have reported that his ghost wanders the estate? And who would not want to see the Rock and Roll landmark where Jim Morrison wrote the lyrics to best seller, “Love Street.” while hiding in his closet? These famous house plans were inspired by everything from necessity to creativity and even visions, and lend confidence to home builders nationwide that almost anything is possible.
Home Design Feature: The Stahl House – Mid-Century Modern
Originally just a blue collar family’s dream house, The Stahl House was conceived by CH "Buck" Stahl who purchased the property located in the Hollywood Hills on a cliff for his dream home in 1954 for only $13,500 on a handshake. Buck was a sign painter and graphic designer and along with his wife Carlotta, the two began planning and concepting the design for their home over weekends. The lot was so challenging, they spent the first two years hauling left over concrete slabs from construction projects around the city, in the back of their car up to the property to stabilize the land for grading the property.
Buck made a model of what he and Carlotta dreamed about. Next he commissioned noted Architect Pierre Koenig in late 1957 who got the job after he designed the cantilevered foundation, and a house plan of glass and steel which reflected the gridlines of the Hollywood streets 200 feet below.
Koenig was known as a modern architect, after he built his first architecturally exposed steel and glass house while at USC studying to be an in architect in 1950.
Together they built what would eventually become a masterpiece, as featured in Arts and Architecture magazine's “Case Study House No. 22” in 1959.
The mid-century modern style Stahl family’s home, although it lacked privacy, was a classic architectural design, perched on the hill overlooking views of 100 square miles of the City of Angels. Upon completion, the sum total to build the 2,200 sq. ft., two bedroom, two bathroom home was $37,500. The view from the pool alone was breathtaking.
The now famous home offers tours, and has been used as a location for films and photo shoots for many years. Watch for the soon to be released book entitled, “The Inside Story of the Stahl House” by Jeffrey Head.
Building a Modern Style House Design Today
The popularity of modern style homes has been strong for decades. The basic designs focus on strong geometric shapes including large windows, lots of glass, and polished surfaces. The Plan Collection has a wide variety of modern style house plans.
An ideal retirement home plan, this Plan #149-1216 (right) which is only 1076 sq. ft. It has a crafted open kitchen and great room plus a guest room and spacious master bedroom suite.
Just understand that when it comes to budgets and planning, the more complicated designs featuring a number of vaulted ceilings and cantilevered levels will cost more while there are plenty of simpler modern house available. For instance, this two bedroom, two bath Lot size matters -- a flat or level lot will generally result in lower cost for construction. But when seeking extra space, a sloping lot can be an effective way to gain extra square footage without expanding the actual footprint of the floor plan.
Another modern style house plan (below) is situated on a sloaping lot – House Plan #149-1187. It features a bright and open great room and kitchen. The wrap around deck off the master bedroom takes in the outdoors. This exciting 1,887 sq. ft. one bedroom, one bath home has also been designed to be green, and would make a good retirement home.