Waxman House | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Waxman House

The Waxman House on Buena Park Drive is a remarkable composition of stacked volumes that steps upward from the street to overlook the San Fernando Valley.

Architect J. Barry Moffitt designed it for his friend, artist Arlene Waxman, and her husband Jerry, completing it in 1964. Moffitt studied with prominent local Modern architects like John Lautner, and in this design he puts his own distinctive mark on the methods and materials of Modernism. As an adaptation to its steeply sloping lot, the Waxman House is more vertical than horizontal in orientation, consisting of three basic levels.

The entry level contains a bedroom, the second level has another bedroom and bath, and the rest of the house sits on the top level, which is open in plan. Even this level has sub-levels, with a short stairway leading to a small office/den area with wide views of the terraced patios outside.

The house is clad inside and out with redwood, lending its simple lines and stacked masses a warm feel, and abundant glass assures it maintains an open airiness.

Large clerestory windows surround the living room, with vertical windows bringing in even more light. The house has recently been restored to its original condition, and its exterior is complimented by a recent landscape redesign by landscape architect Jay Griffith. It is a great example of Moffitt's work and a lovely response to its challenging lot.

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Photo by Trudi Sandmeier

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Photo by Devri Richmond

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Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

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Completed in 1956, the Phineas Kappe Residence represents one of the architect’s earliest designs, but it exhibits all the trademarks for which he would become known: post-and-beam construction, an open interior plan, patio spaces and expanses of glass to bring the outside inside, and a focus on the details of craftsmanship and materials.