Chuey Residence


In April 2018, the Conservancy reached an agreement with the owners of the Chuey Residence that provides a path forward for its preservation.

Chuey Residence, as photographed by Julius Shulman. Courtesy of J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)


This masterwork of Modern residential architecture was designed by master architect Richard Neutra and built between 1956 and 1957.

Perched on a ridge at the top of Sunset Plaza Drive, the home was commissioned by the noted poet Josephine Ain Chuey and painter Robert Chuey.

About This Place

About This Place

The Chueys carefully analyzed the two-and-a-half-acre site with Neutra to determine the precise orientation for the 1,896-square-foot house. The home’s floor-to-ceiling glazing provides unobstructed views of Sunset Plaza Canyon and the Los Angeles basin to the south. An expansive deck appears to float over the hillside.

The design of the house encouraged a lively social life, with the living room serving as a focal point. Robert Chuey’s studio is another dramatic space, with a ten-foot-high ceiling. The home served as an intellectual and cultural gathering place for years as the setting for parties, poetry readings, and the showing of Chuey’s paintings. It was also here that Josephine, as an early follower of the psychologist Timothy Leary, participated in LSD experiments.

The house bears the hallmarks of the International Style, with smooth, stucco surfaces; wide roof overhangs that accentuate the home’s strong horizontal lines; expansive use of glass; and living spaces that graciously extend to the outdoors.

Trademarks of Neutra’s International Style residences include a pair of reflecting pools that frame the living room and deck to the east, and the extended beam “spiderleg.”

As an internationally renowned master architect, Richard Neutra helped develop California Modernism and was an immense influence on American designers. His surviving works are highly regarded and considered some of the most significant of the twentieth century.

Many of his commissions, including the Chuey Residence, perfectly meld the interior and exterior of a space such that it would, as Neutra stated, “place man in relationship with nature; that’s where he developed and where he feels most at home.”

In 1949, Neutra was featured on the cover of Time magazine. He was one of the few architects to ever achieve this level of notoriety and recognition so early on for his then-and-emerging architectural legacy.

Our Position

In August 2017, news that the Chuey House was being marketed as a teardown circulated widely through online articles by Curbed Los Angeles, Architectural Digest, The Architect’s Newspaper, and others. This news prompted widespread concern about the future of this highly significant residence, designed in the International Style by master architect Richard Neutra.

In September 2017, the Conservancy submitted a disclosure letter to the listing agents for the property to help make prospective buyers fully aware of the home’s significance, as well as any requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the case of future lot subdivision, demolition, and/or major alteration to the residence.

Believing that the Chuey Residence could be at risk, the Conservancy nominated the iconic house for Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) designation the following month. The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission voted in November 2017 to take the nomination under consideration, which placed a hold on all permit activity while the nomination was pending.

The real estate listing was updated to include details of the property’s historical significance, while removing mention of any development opportunity. The sale of home is subject to bankruptcy court approval.

In January 2018, the Conservancy withdrew the HCM nomination. We decided that the possibility for a preservation solution was greater if we withdrew the nomination and worked with the owners to consider a potential win-win outcome.

We still have the option to re-file the HCM nomination in the future.

In April 2018, the Conservancy reached an agreement with the owners of the Chuey Residence that provides a path forward for its preservation. The agreement secured protection for the Richard Neutra-designed home, preventing its demolition and creating a process for both parties to work together on a near-term plan and attract a preservation-minded buyer.

In 2019, developers Eric Choi and Philippe Naouri purchased the Chuey Residence announcing plans to restore and expand the existing footprint of the house. The Conservancy has met with them and looks forward to learning more as details for the proposed rehabilitation and addition come together. To date, plans are not yet complete, and we believe the owners are working to create a preservation sensitive solution.


House and views. | Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy
Chuey Residence. January 2018. | Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy