Crafted by celebrated modernist architect Pierre Koenig, this eye-catching Santa Monica residence is recognized as the designer’s final project completed before his 2004 death. Suspended and rotated within a black steel frame — and kept aloft by a quartet of 40-foot-tall steel columns entrenched in concrete — the innovative, cube-like structure was commissioned in 1990 by Martin Schwartz and his wife Mel, who have lived in the house ever since their 1994 move-in date.
Now on the market for the first time, the notable property is considered one of the California-born designer’s most extraordinary works, apart from the world-renowned Stahl House, Koenig’s landmark 1959 Case Study home that’s cantilevered atop the Hollywood Hills (also known as one of the world’s most photographed homes, with its breathtaking view of the city immortalized by famed architectural photographer Julius Shulman in 1960).
“This is a significant opportunity to own an important part of Los Angeles history designed by a pedigreed architect,” says Brian Linder, who is co-listing the property with Rick Grahn, both of Compass. “Koenig only designed and built a little over 40 glass-and-steel homes during his lifetime, so there simply aren’t that many of them, which makes them a rare quantity … and people who commission this kind of architecture typically don’t design these homes to sell, so they are not available on the market very frequently.”
Nestled atop a sloped parcel of land in the leafy Rustic Canyon neighborhood, on a tree-lined street running alongside lush Chautuaqua Canyon, the curiously crafted home is accessed via a sliding aluminum gate. Inside, 2,700 square feet of light-infused living spaces on three levels lean toward a minimalist yet refined palette distinguished by recently refinished hardwood flooring, galvanized wall panels, black structural steel, frosted glass, aluminum sliding doors and a wealth of windows.
A subtle set of steps out front provides access to a sliding glass entry door that opens to reveal the home’s primary living quarters. Here, a family room, dining area and sleek kitchen with updated high-end appliances are all surrounded by floor-to-ceiling walls of glass offering seamless views of the surroundings, plus displays of natural light that dance on the white walls throughout the day.
An artistic floating spiral staircase displays bright yellow steps, bringing a pop of color to the house — in addition to ventilation via sliding panels that form a thermal chimney. Those steps summit on an upper level holding a trio of bedrooms, including a master retreat with a balcony offering canyon and ocean vistas, and a duo of bathrooms. The bottom level, meanwhile, encompasses a two-car garage with a rooftop deck, and a standalone one-bedroom, one-bathroom guest suite.
“What you see is what you get with this house,” says Linder. “It is not heavily ornamented like some other homes in the area, where the structure is invisible and the exterior is clad in arches, columns and Spanish tile to make to look like it was built in another era in another country. This is true Los Angeles architecture … organic and locally grown.”