Five Decades, Five Classics

Whether striving for affordability, breaking all the molds, or honoring the past, L.A. architects have given the city an unparalleled array of homes. We surveyed the past 50 years for houses that speak to an era


L.A. beats all cities for variety of home design. Credit the view-rich hilltops, rugged canyons, cool coastline, and expansive flatlands for inspiring generations of architects native and foreign born. Even as dramatic statements were made by the dreamers, others took on the challenge of affordability and, most recently, environmental responsibility. Here we look at the past 50 years, drawing from each decade a home emblematic of its time—and much loved by its owners then and now.

  • Mass Appeal

    The postwar housing boom produces some modernist havens, among them a Valley tract


  • Wooden It Be Fab

    A generation welcomes the sunshine in: Donald Hensman blazed the way at his Hollywood Hills bachelor pad


  • No Turning Back

    The been-there, done-that group takes industrial materials into a new dimension. See what happens at a Malibu home


  • Old Soul

    In the 1920s, Angelenos clamored for designs from Europe. L.A. wants the look again, but a Pasadena home by Marc Appleton shows why you have to keep it simple


  • Open Wide

    Who doesn’t want to help the environment? Do more with less space? Steven Ehrlich answers today’s green theme with his own nature-loving home in Venice