Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mosaic in a Paul Williams Home

So I'm looking through a photo essay and story about a beautiful private home in La Canada Flintridge (the article is in Los Angeles Magazine), scrolling through the pictures, and Whan! A mosaic!

The home, backed by an acre of gardens,  is just as astounding. Paul Willimas designed it in 1927.

I am shy of putting up any other pictures from the magazine's online spread, so I urge you to go there and read about the place.

The address pops up several places: 5200 Alta Canyada Road.

You can learn more about Paul Williams, the brilliant architect who happened to be African American at the Paul Williams Project.  There, I learned he designed thousands of homes and buildings, including the homes of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Bert Lehr, Luise Rainer, Zasu Pitts, Johnny Weissmuller, Lon Chaney Sr., and Frank Sinatra. Unfortunately, I don't see this house listed there.

LACurbed, reporting on another Paul Williams home being sold last year, says this:

A very young Paul Williams got to be friendly with the future senator and real estate developer Frank Putman Flint from selling him newspapers on the corner of First and Spring downtown. Per the PRWP site: "After he became a licensed architect in 1921, Williams designed scores of the homes either directly commissioned by Flint or as a result of Flint's referrals. Eventually the Flintridge area would have one of the largest concentrations of Williams' designed residences in Southern California.At least ten of his designs were either model homes or spec projects commissioned by Flint."

I think I spot the house on this Flickr site belonging to Michael Locke, called the Degnan House. Great pictures of the outside, but you'll have to follow the link to see them.

This closeup of the mosaic at the "Guerra Estate" (those are the current owners) ornamented an article by Diane Keaton in C-Home.

In an NPR story I learned that Paul Williams was a good friend of Danny Thomas, and designed St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis without charge, as long as Thomas agreed to keep his involvement a secret.

And in this LA Times story I learn that the house, built for one James Degnan, was the site of a 2002 "Gatsby Picnic"

However, I haven't seen anything indicating who created the mosaic. I don't think Williams dabbled in that art form; he either commissioned it or bought a mosaic somewhere and had it installed.

The Times apparently reported on the restoration of the house, and a letter from a  gentleman who has the original drawings of the home refers to the mosaic--but no artist.

So we have a minor mystery, and some lovely pictures.

1 comment:

Gamer Paradise said...

Wow! What beautiful design that mosaic has, wish I could have it in my lake house.