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Posts Tagged ‘Marmol Radziner’

Scary Abandoned Mansion For Sale in Deserted Town

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Okay, not really, but we wanted to stick with the Halloween theme. In reality, it’s the non-scary Kaufmann House designed by Richard Neutra in the desert (but not deserted) town of Palm Springs that’s for sale. And it is being abandoned by its divorcing owners, Brent Harris, and the architectural historian Beth Edwards Harris, who will auction the house off at Christie’s in May.

The Harrises were the same residents who commissioned Marmol Radziner for the house’s massive restoration project to return it back to its original Julius Shulman-worthy glory:

When Brent and Beth Harris first saw the Kaufmann House, it was neither a pretty palace nor an obvious candidate for restoration. Strikingly photographed in 1947 by Julius Shulman, it stood vacant for several years after Kaufmann’s death in 1955. Then it went through a series of owners, including the singer Barry Manilow, and a series of renovations. Along the way, a light-disseminating patio was enclosed, one wall was broken through for the addition of a media room, the sleek roof lines were interrupted with air-conditioning units, and some bedrooms were wallpapered in delicate floral prints.

Now that’s scary.

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Leo Marmol Would Rather Design Small, Think Big

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We caught restoration whiz and prefab pioneer Leo Marmol at Design Within Reach in Beverly Hills last night as he kicked off the first of a series of talks that will take him to DWRs across the country. Although we were fascinated the firm’s restorations of museum-worthy gems like the Kaufmann House, more intriguing for the mostly design-curious Westsiders in attendance was Marmol Radziner‘s burgeoning prefab company. Almost every prefab slide he put up was greeted with a “What’s the square footage here?” or “How much would this cost?” It was fascinating to watch non-designers window shop for architecture as if they were strolling Rodeo Drive (only two blocks away).

But what we really loved was how quickly Marmol got these folks to recast their visions of the ideal modern home. He’d much rather build tiny houses than McMansions, he said; furniture was even better because it was more “manageable.” He even tries to talk his clients down from their big house fantasies. “If there’s anything I can do to convince them to make their house as small as possible, then I will do it.”

The reasons why are simple, he said: Construction is environmentally devastating, and modern designs are actually way more expensive because you have hire more competent craftsmen–that crown molding in your traditional home is actually just hiding the less-than-exact meeting of wall to ceiling. When he revealed both of these concepts there were audible gasps from the audience.

We’re absolutely sure more than a few in attendance returned to their Persian Palaces last night already dreaming of their next home, no wider than a freeway lane. We have a feeling Marmol’s speaking tour will be a success.