Archives For california

rotating round house for rent

December 27, 2015 — 1 Comment

There’s an open house on Monday at 19 Harkle Road in Novato, California: the iconic, rotating round house that overlooks Highway 101 –

harkle road, novato

Designed and built by Sam Harkleroad in 1963, the house “rotates 320 degrees at the flip of a switch.” Using motors scavenged from washing machines, Harkleroad, an imaginative builder of oddball homes, created a house that would spin slowly, “keeping the sun shining in the living room every day as long as possible.”

harkle road, novato, CAAnd as the real estate agency’s ad explains, “if you wish to change the view you can move the house.”

The house and its ever-changing view can be yours for $3,000/month.

bolinas round house

December 26, 2015 — Leave a comment

A recent photo of the Bolinas round house, which seems to be uninhabited –

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And, just down the hill, its round studio –

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a live-in piece of furniture

September 17, 2015 — 3 Comments

The round house in Bolinas, California, is or at least was a masterpiece –

carpenter house, bolinasI have to admit that I’ve seen very few photos of it, and those that I have seen are nearly 50 years old. Yet the house still exists — one can find it on Google maps — and if it looks the way it did in 1966, it’s one of the most beautiful round houses in the country.

The happy result of a multi-year collaboration between architect Robert B. Marquis and woodworker Art Carpenter, the house’s owner, it showcases Marquis’ structural knowledge and Carpenter’s love of wood. Begun in about 1958, when Carpenter moved to Bolinas from San Francisco, the house wasn’t finished until 1965. “It was completely hand built,” said Carpenter’s son Tripp, who grew up there; every shelf, doorknob, table and counter was custom designed and made by hand.

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meyer on the market

June 8, 2015 — 1 Comment

An innovative, expressionistic ’60s-era round house is now on the market in Oakland –

meyer, oakland 2, CA

Built by local architect Leon Meyer — who designed a number of other round structures in Oakland and elsewhere — the two-bedroom house has a playful zigzag roof, a large yard, and spectacular views.

the future is not yet here

January 19, 2015 — 1 Comment

The vacation house of the future, as conceived in 1957 by automobile designer James R. Powers

vacation house of the future

It has stylistic affinities with the Theme Building at Los Angeles International Airport, built during the same period –

theme building, LAX

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Two of the most creative architects ever to embrace the round form, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff, were both born on June 8—Wright in 1867, and Goff in 1904.

For Wright, the circular form symbolized freedom, an escape from the traditional residential box. As he explained in 1952, “a box is a containment. I tried to abolish the box.” Wright designed at least 14 round and semi-circular houses, as well as, most famously, the spiraling Guggenheim Museum in NYC. Not all of his round house designs were built; sadly, some of his most beautiful and innovative efforts never made it beyond the planning stage.

Wright’s 1938 project for Ralph Jester, meant for a suburban housing community in Palos Verdes, California, was his first attempt at a circular residence –

jester house plans

Another unbuilt round house was the Ludd M. Spivey house, which Wright designed during the same period.

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round house cafe

June 2, 2014 — 1 Comment

This cafe was built in the early 20th century in a resort area in the San Bernardino Mountains, in California, and existed until at least the 1940s.  It looks like it may have since been integrated into a large conference center

round house cafe

Back in the late 1950s, when living in the suburbs was understood to be the common aspiration of mankind, the magazine Suburbia Today asked this question of its readers. In an article about the “unusual suburban home” of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Benson, whose circular floor plan offered ample open space for entertaining guests, it gave an appealing glimpse of life in the round.

Stunning views, tasteful furnishings, elegant cocktail parties — a round home was modern and glamorous, the magazine suggested.

mario corbett, round house, sausalito

The Walter Bensons wanted their house to be round so that they could get maximum exposure to their magnificent views. To live way, way up on the top of a mountain in a house that seems to melt in with its surroundings; to look freely all about you and see the mountain ridges to the side, the bay and ocean below, and the teeming city across that you must be part of and yet can turn away from at will — this was the dream of the Bensons.

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los feliz lautner

November 6, 2013 — Leave a comment

The Harvey Residence, in LA’s Los Feliz neighborhood, designed by John Lautner in characteristically exuberant style –

john lautner, harvey house 4

john lautner, harvey house

john lautner, harvey house 3

john lautner, harvey house 2

Built in 1950, the house was in terrible shape in 1998 when it was bought and restored by actress Kelly Lynch and writer Mitch Glazer. Lautner principal Helena Arahuete led the restoration, and the original builder, John de la Veaux, came back to assist on it.

The swirling living room is stunning.

on the market

October 12, 2013 — 8 Comments

You can find round and circular-form houses for sale right now in the US, UK, Australia and Canada for prices ranging from $87,500 to $10 million.  On the lavish — and arguably garish — end of the spectrum, there’s this 1980s luxury villa on Hamilton Island, in Australia, and the “Corbetta Estate” in Los Altos Hills, California (which was the cooler and much more fun Corbetta Party House in a former incarnation).

george keck house

Bringing up the low end of the market, at a modest 696 square feet in size, is one of the many small post-war round houses in Des Moines, Iowa.

A few other houses stand out –

You can also find two round houses for sale in the UK, one in Portland, Dorset, selling for £925,000, and the other in Sidmouth, Devon, selling for £849,950.