Located on a scenic oceanfront bluff in Pacific Palisades, the Eames House was the family home of Charles and Ray Eames, celebrated for their groundbreaking, often playful contributions to furniture and industrial design, architecture, films, exhibitions, and even toys! The Eames house, also known as Case Study House #8, was built in 1948 as part of the Case Study House Program, which ran from the mid-1940s until the early 1960s under the auspices of Art and Architecture magazine. Publisher John Entenza challenged the architectural community to create homes that expressed modern life in the post-World War II era, and many of those experimental homes (prized by fans of mid-Century Modern design) are still standing in Los Angeles today.
Using mostly off-the-shelf materials, including extensive glass and steel, the Eames’ colorful home was designed as a place where their life, work, and play co-existed with nature. We were struck by how much of the building’s sensibility is echoed in now popular, post-War housing developments like Brentwood’s Crestwood Hills neighborhood and the Gregory Ain track in Mar Vista.
Charles and Ray Eames moved into the house on Christmas Eve, 1949, and lived there for the rest of their lives. The interior—much of which is easy to see even from outside the house—including a charming collection of non-Western art and other artifacts, remains very much the way it was during their lives there.
Today the Eames House, now operated by the Eames Foundation, is an iconic landmark visited by people from all over the world. When we were last there, the only other visitors were a few families from Japan and Denmark. Take advantage of the Foundation’s charming offer of blankets to spread out on the beautiful meadow that unfolds in front of the property. The Foundation even loans out sets of the whimsical, interlocking Giant House of Cards decks that the Eames designed in 1953, and young children (and adults!) will enjoy playing with them to build their own colorful forts.
In 2012, this living room was moved to LACMA as part of an exhibition on California Design. And, here is an article describing the process.
The house is situated at the end of a private lane off of Chautaugua Boulevard in Pacific Palisades, just up from the coast. Free street parking is available on Corona del Mar, north of the house, and a short-but-slightly steep walk to it. Be sure to walk out to the bluff’s edge to take in the spectacular view, and also to stroll to the signage in the meadow that gives further insights into the Eames remarkable philosophies on life and design.
Interior tours are pricey (starting at $275 for two adults) since they serve as fundraisers for maintaining the property, but the house and its gestalt can be readily experiences via self-guided exterior tours, which are $10/per person (free for students and children). Rest assured that the main rooms on the ground floor of the house are easily viewable through open doors and the expanses of glass that comprise most of the walls of the house.
Reservations are required. The house is open from 10:oo AM –4:00 PM every day but Wednesday and Sunday.
Eames House // 203 Chautaugua Boulevard, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 // 310-459-9663
PHOTO CREDIT: © Eames Office, LLC
Article by Stacey Ravel Abarbanel