A few months after the release of Tom Ford's first movie, "A Single Man," my brother-in-law asked me what I thought of the film. I said that I loved it and thought it was beautiful. When he (a cinematographer, and ergo a film snob) asked why, I said, "Because that house is so gorgeous!"
The cinematic Schaffer House is a midcentury masterpiece designed in 1949 by architect John Lautner, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West and became one of the more prolific modernists practicing in Southern California during the mid-century. Designed for the Schaffers, a couple who wanted "a house that feels as if we're picnicking under the oak trees," the house is constructed of wood, concrete, and glass in Lautner's signature organic minimalist style.
As for "A Single Man," Tom Ford (of Gucci and YSL fame) didn't leave any art direction to chance for his first film, and filled it with beautiful things: actors Julianne Moore and Colin Firth, cameos by former Gucci models, and of course, that house.
N.B. The Schaffer House, located in Glendale outside of LA, recently sold for a cool $1.395 million.
Photography by Elizabeth Daniels.
Above: The roof of the Schaffer House appears to float, leaning against a sheet of glass.
Above: The home is surrounded by an oak forest, which influenced both the form and orientation of the house. At the back of the living room is a chaise by George Nakashima.
Above: The wood used in the home is entirely clear-heart redwood. Above, a chair and stools by Nakashima.
Above L: Lautner used planes of slatted wood–both horizontal and vertical–to divide space and provide privacy throughout the open floor plan. Above R: Pebbles reside both indoors and out, a nod to the famed ideal of California indoor/outdoor living.
Above: Concrete floors transition seamlessly from indoors out. (Inside, original sub-floor radiant heating warms the home.)
Above: Installed at an angle, a wall of glass maximizes light and nature views.
Above: When the large pivoting doors are open, the patio becomes another room.
Above: The redwood ceiling extends well beyond the interior of the house.
Above: Like many midcentury masterpieces, the Schaffer House looks best at night.
Loving midcentury but itching for kitchens? See 21 photos of Midcentury Kitchens in our gallery of rooms and spaces.