There are some architects and developers (hullo, Joseph Eichler) that Southern California home owners always go gaga over, midcentury masters whose buildings, once put on the public market, get swept off with quickly and without fanfare. Midcentury post-and-beam masters Conrad Buff and Donald Hensman, (together with, at different times, Calvin Straub and Dennis Smith) are two such architects. Their loveliest of projects, largely open-plan midcentury spreads with huge windows, languid single-stories, and clunky 1950s-style fireplaces, rarely sit on the market longer than a few months. While not every design of theirs can be as heart-stoppingly beautiful as Hensman's Domus Solaris, which—alas!—sold last month, but there are still quite a few listings up on the market right this very minute. Below, seven homes for sale by the SoCal bigwigs.Read More
Mapping the Buff & Hensman Houses Available Right Now
1. Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu
Malibu, CA 90265
On the sands of Malibu sits this "reimagined" post-and-beam with the views (plus salty air and ocean breezes) afforded 60 feet of beach frontage. The westerly façade is largely made of glass, offering up white-water views from the great room. There's also —wipes away tear—a courtyard, a master bedroom with a "relaxation alcove" (yeah, nobody knows what that is), and a detached guest suite. Of course, such yummy Malibu tastings don't come cheap; it asks $15.495M.
2. Euston Road in San Marino
San Marino, CA 91108
This dreamy 1975 Buff & Hensman in SoCal's San Marino was later updated by Hensman in 2001, a year before his death. Sited on 1.5 knolly acres, the 6,547-square-foot spread boasts open, post-and-beam interiors and, in the kitchen, a "large center island plus enclosed wok cooking facility." Outside: a pool, spa, tennis court, and cabana. It asks $10.88M.
3. Juarez Avenue in Palm Springs
Palm Springs, CA 92262
This 1972 Buff & Hensman design, which "exemplifies architectural significance and integrity," has much to be proud of: a glass-enclosed entryway, a hexagonal great room with 30-foot-ceilings, and a sun-soaked breakfast nook, to name a few. In all it's 7,000 square feet, and that's excluding all the rest of the property's 1.32 acres, which are dotted with 30 citrus trees and a mosaic pool and spa. It asks $4.25M.
4. Buckingham Place in Pasadena
Pasadena, CA 91105
Here's a house "built for entertaining," with a formal dining room, a living room with vaulted redwood ceilings, and large windows throughout to "draw the eye to views of the San Gabriel mountains and lush yard." The home's interiors look every bit its 1984 construction date, but outside there's a pool, waterfall, "lounging decks," and rose gardens. The 3,387-square-foot spread asks $2.75M.
5. Halverson Residence
Los Angeles, CA 90068
L.A.'s much-balconied 1959 Halverson Residence resurfaced on the market last April, just eight months after purportedly selling. Public records indicate that the Buff & Hensman-designed "architectural gem," or so the brokerbabble dubs it, sold last August for $1.795M. Halverson Residence has blipped on and off the market since 2006, when it was bought for $1.295M, then, over the next two years, gutted, refurbished, and spat back out onto the market for $2.395M. Since then, according to the property history, the house has changed hands twice, in 2007 and 2013, though the fact that it's already listed again, for $100K less than it's supposed sell price may indicate that the 2013 sale didn't ultimately close. In any case, the listing offers "three stories of Post-and-Beam Perfection totaling 2,816 square feet," with recycled glass terrazzo floors, cork flooring, a suspended fireplace, and 786 square feet of decking across three floors—one of which has a jacuzzi. It asks $1.695M.
6. Los Robles Place in Pomona
Pomona, CA 91768
This "dazzling" Buff & Hensman has "serious attention to detail throughout" (serious!), with custom-built cabinetry, quartz counters, and 4,009 square feet of bland, off-white interiors that reflect, to its detriment, its 1991 construction date. It asks $1.25M.
7. Cedar Ridge Drive in Lake Arrowhead
Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
Oh dear. Lurking somewhere in this San Bernadino listing, beneath the overwrought furnishings, frou frou curtains, tassled lamps, and urns full of sunflowers lies the beautiful bones of a lakeside dwelling, complete with 60-foot-tall pitched wood ceilings and a "GRANDSCALE" library or studio. It's also sited on a secluded forested plot, with a "full lake view" and comes with a single slip dock with dock house. It asks $1.499M.