Lombardi House | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by L.A. Conservancy

Lombardi House

When architect Lloyd Wright completed Wayfarers' Chapel in Rancho Palos Verdes in 1951, his design was met with much acclaim. This led, among other things, to a number of residential commissions in the Palos Verdes area, including the Moore House (1956; demolished), the Bowler House (1963), and the Lombardi House (1965). The Moore House is no more, but the exuberant rooflines of the Bowler House and Lombardi House still survive to testify to Wright's innovations in Mid-Century Modern design.

The Lombardi House, commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. John Lombardi, is an especially flamboyant residential design that seems to draw from the commercial Googie style; it would not have been out of place on a 1960s commercial thoroughfare. The house perches on a horizontal, stone-clad platform set atop piers so it seems to hover above its cliffside location, gazing out across a panoramic view of the peninsula and the ocean. In plan it is L-shaped, or more accurately, two cartoon arrows set perpendicular to each other, its long, linear wings clad mostly in glass and sheltered by gabled red-tiled roofs with jutting, angular overhangs and lines of graduated, triangular eyebrow dormers stepping down the slopes. An open exterior balcony wraps around much of the house, enabling seaside perambulations and further enhancing the feel of the place as a space-age sailing vessel temporarily at port.

Initially trained as a landscape architect, Wright was renowned for his ability to integrate buildings with landscapes, and the Lombardi House is no exception—but it feels like it might be part of the sea rather than the land.

Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Van Dekker House

When the Van Dekker house went on the market in 2009, it faced a highly uncertain future and could have easily been considered a teardown. Fortunately, two successive owners started, and then completed, a remarkable restoration and rehabilitation.