Monday, July 21, 2014

The Neutra House Finale - Part 3

The O'Brien House Becomes London's Folly!
In late 1999, Diann London decided the 8,500 sq. foot multi-level house they were currently living in was just too much.  She could no longer climb the stairs required in this large house, but she knew she didn't want to leave the South Highland Historic District.

 She mentioned this to a neighbor friend and told her, "You need to find me another house!"
And she did!
The friend's brother, Wesley Glassell had bought the O'Brien House from Mrs. O'Brien in the 1960's and had no intention of selling it in 1999.
That is....
until Wesley received a call from his sister telling him that the Londons needed to buy it.

And that is how Dr. & Mrs. Steve London became the owners of the Neutra House in 2000.
When they bought the house it was only 2,400 sq. feet, which was less than half the size of their previous home.  More room was needed for their family of four including two middle school boys.

Diann told me that when they bought the house they had no idea how special it was until they found all the original blueprints, correspondence, specifications and certificates pertaining to the original house.

Shortly after purchasing the house, they hired local architect Charles Kellogg to design an addition.  Having now become passionate about maintaining the integrity of the house, Diann contacted Dion Neutra, (son of Richard Neutra) in California
 to inquire about possible period furniture that his father may have designed.

In the course of the conversation, she mentioned the addition they were planning.  She said she remembers him saying emphatically,
"Don't let them put granite in the kitchen!"

As a result of this conversation, Dion became a consultant on the project, making sure it was in keeping with the Neutra Name.  As a result, the flow and integrity is seamless.

Last week I showed you a picture of Diann standing where the new addition begins.  The new addition contains two floors including a family room and two bedrooms.
 They did not eliminate stairs completely, but by building a ramp from the kitchen to the new staircases, she did eliminate a few.
To the left are beautifully stained redwood stairs to the family room and the lower stairs lead to the bedrooms. 
The family room continues the open, light theme of the original plan.  They included a mini kitchen and entertainment system to facilitate family gatherings and entertaining.
 As an extension of this room
 the architect designed a balcony with an infinity reflection pool around the outside edge.

This new addition compliments the original house and with the use of glass and the second story reflection pool, continue the connection of the interior spaces with the natural surroundings.
We will now go into the intriguing lower two levels.
The Londons' added a bedroom and bath for both of the boys, plus a utility room on the lowest level.

From this vantage point, you can see three levels of the home.
The purple wall leads you into part of the original bottom floor of the house, now actually the 3rd level.
Here the London's converted the original space into a child's haven.
Both the London boys had a study area with computer connections and plenty of storage.
 Off the study is a fantastic library space for reading, watching TV or just chilling.
Behind one of the shelving units is a secret room!
What child would not love this hiding space, and what woman would not love this additional, out-of-sight, 200 sq. ft storage area?
 The second owners converted the maid's bedroom into a large storage area including a walk-in closet, with access to another bathroom and the garage area.
A characteristic architectural detail that Dion Neutra insisted on including in the addition was the
"Eyebrow" seen outside one of the bedrooms.
Diann found this period table in San Francisco and it is perfect in the dining room along with the modern seating and contemporary glassware reflected in the mirrored shelving.
One of the London's sons found this original Richard Neutra chair in California and gave it to his parents.

"Instead of us changing the house, the house changed us!  We tried to stay with what the house needed."
Diann London

I am sorry to end my blogging about this home.  I have come to appreciate it for so many reasons.  Thank you Diann and Steve for sharing this jewel with me and allowing me to share it with so many others.
 Neutra House - Part 1
Neutra House - Part 2

House for Sale!
Steve and Diann, no longer needing all the 5,137 sq. ft. space, have put the house on the market.

If they could have their way, they would want buyers who will not just like it, but appreciate the specialness of it and allow this house to change them too.

If you know of someone who might be interested, please have them contact the listing realtor. .
  • Beds 5
  • Full Baths 6
  • House Size 5,137 Sq Ft
  • Price $637,000
  • Price/sq ft $124
  • Garage 3 car garage
  • Lot Size 1.24 Acres

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Beauty-full Without & Within

One of the blogs I follow on a regular basis is

This past Wednesday, she posted the following post and it really spoke to me.
It dealt with the basic premise upon which I named my blog - Beauty Without Within.

I asked Elizabeth's permission to share it with you today and she graciously agreed.  I hope you will want to follow Elizabeth for daily inspiration and a glimpse into her busy life.

I am joining

The beauty of a beauty-full life...

I believe that the adage is true, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  While some people find a home decorated with rich brocades and gilded accent pieces beautiful, I prefer rustic wood floors and simple bouquets plopped in aqua blue canning jars.  When it comes to the opposite sex, some of us are attracted to those who are tall, dark and handsome.  Some of us prefer blonde, blue eyed Scandinavians.  Me, I'm married to a short, stocky Scotsman with blue, blue eyes and great big dimples when he laughs.  
I think what we all can agree on is that we really do want to live a life filled with beauty.  Seriously, does anyone set out to live an ugly, miserable life?  What a beauty-full life looks like specifically can be hard to define.  But I'd like to share some ideas that I think might be helpful and encouraging if you want a more beauty-full life.
1) Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.
A retired missionary lady taught the first grown up ladies' Bible study I ever went to.  I was a young twenty something and she was an older seventy something.  I saw the beauty of Jesus in her and fell in love with the beauty of God's Word because of her.  She's the one who first introduced me to this old hymn, and I've never forgotten these words.
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity;
O Thou Spirit divine, May I truly be Thine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.

Let my wonderful Saviour be seen in me,
His amazing compassion and constancy;
His great love is my goal, By His Spirit’s control
Till me wonderful Saviour be seen in me.

Let the fruit of the Spirit be seen in me,
Grant me grace all sufficient that I may be
True and faithful each day, Ev’ry step of the way.
Pointing souls to the Saviour on Calvary.
~ Lyrics by Tom M. Jones

Jesus is the All Together Lovely One.  It's only as we seek Him, spend time with Him, let Him transform us more and more into His own image, that we will truly be filled with true beauty.
2) Let your own unique beauty shine through.
Have you ever wasted your time trying to look like, be like, act like someone else?  I sure have.  It's an effort in frustration and futility isn't it?  God created only one you, and His beauty can't flow through you unhindered when you're trying to be someone else.  You are a unique vessel created to display the rich treasure of God's power in your own unique way.  Trying to be someone else really is equivalent to hiding your light under a bushel.  
3) You can't be beauty-full and bitter-full at the same time.
It's miserable to be miserable.  It's no fun being full of anger, rage, bitterness, and unforgiveness.  Been there.  Done that.  It's so freeing to LET IT GO!  The good news is, that when we let go of our unforgiveness towards others, it actually frees God's hands up to deal with them.  Holding on to our bitterness is us wanting to fix them and the situation ourselves.  It's us standing between them and God and telling Him how He should fix them.  Choosing to forgive and to release others doesn't mean we think they're right, doesn't mean we have to trust them again, what it does mean is that we are choosing to trust God in the situation.  We are trusting His judgement and His ability to deal with people or situations or circumstances in His way and in His timing. 
4) Beauty is about quality not quantity. 
One autumn I dug out every single fall decoration I owned and went to town displaying all of it.  I look back now and realize that it looked like a riot of orange exploded in my living room.  One simple earthenware crock with some branches of fall leaves artfully displayed would have actually made a bigger impact. 
Similarly, a few quality wardrobe pieces with tasteful accessories are much better than a closet full of cheaply made clothes that are ill fitting.  
I think these general principles apply to our life as a whole.  How much of my life is wasted in a pursuit of too many and too much?  I can either have a broad and shallow life, stretching myself too thin as I seek to do more and have more, or I can choose a deeper and more focused life.  Let's face it, flowers are showy and lovely to look at for a short time, but a deeply rooted tree is a thing of beauty for years, even centuries.  A tree can also be a place of shade and refreshing for others.  I want to choose a life of quality, a deeply rooted life.  
5) True beauty isn't defined by this world.
I like to get my nails done professionally, french tips and all.  I have a beautiful wedding ring that my husband surprised me with on our twenty fifth anniversary.  I wear  gold bands on the thumb and ring finger of my right hand.  At this point in life, my hands are still relatively attractive, but not as smooth and unwrinkled, or with as long and lovely fingers, as my thirty one year old daughter's. When I think of beauty-full hands, however, I think of my mama's hands.  Mama's hands were twisted and swollen with arthritis in her old age, so they weren't beautiful to look at.  But Mama, whose love language was acts of service, showed us kids that she loved us with those hands.  She baked the best bread ever with those hands, kneading it until it was as smooth as a baby's bottom before patting it and putting it in loaf pans for baking.  She sewed my wedding dress with those hands, spreading sheets out on the floor so the fabric wouldn't drag on the floor as she bent over her sewing machine to work on it.  Beauty-full hands are hands that love and serve others.
This world defines beauty in such a convoluted way.  It's me focused.  It's the worship of self.  But,  in all honesty, isn't a beauty-full life one lived for a cause bigger than self?
I love the contrast of these two photos of Audrey Hepburn.  Arguably, she was one of the most beautiful women in the world.  But when was she the most beauty-full?  To me, it is seen in this photo of the older Audrey Hepburn, living her life for the purpose she believes she was created for.  Personally, I feel the most ugly when I'm being self-focused and self-absorbed.  I feel the most beauty-full, the most me, the most free, when I'm operating in the gifts and callings that God has placed in my life and living for His purposes.
6) Gratitude is beauty-full.
If I've said it once, I've said it dozens of times.  Gratitude is life-changing.  Ingratitude is life maiming.  Once you choose to see the blessings of God in your life instead of focusing on the things you are unhappy about,  you become a happier and more beauty-full person.  

7) Be a good steward of what God gives you.
God has given me one life to life on this earth and one body to live it in.  It isn't selfish to choose wisely how you spend the time God has given you, or to care for the body God has given you.  God created us with a body, soul and spirit.  The way we treat our body affects the way we feel in our mind, will and emotions.  I may not look the same as I did when I was 35, but I can still be the best version of almost 57 year old me possible.  In other words, how I care for my body matters.  It's the only one I've got.  I feel so much better when I eat right, drink lots of water, and get some sort of exercise!  I feel grumpy and out of sorts and lethargic when I don't.  And that's not very beauty-full or fun to live with!
8) Spend some time in the beauty of God's creation.
God wants us to enjoy this life He has given us and the beauty He created.  The beauty of creation ministers to and refreshes our spirit. The ugliness of this sin scarred world can be overwhelming. Sometimes we need to shift our focus to the Creator.  Appreciating the beauty of His creation always helps me to do that.  
Living a beauty-full life is possible for anyone and everyone.  It's a lot less dependent on the physical attributes you were born with than you think. It's more about what you choose to do with and how you choose to spend this life God has given you.  Here's to you and your one life!  I pray you will choose to live it to its beauty-fullest!
     still following,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rome, Roaming & Friends

There is a guy at the gym who on Wednesday mornings obnoxiously reminds everyone that it is
 For us bloggers who join Joyce, it is more than that!
It is

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar. He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things." So what has experience taught you lately?

To not borrow trouble today because tomorrow will present its own.  I think that is also Biblical.

2. Where did you last 'roam'?

Last Saturday morning we "roamed" with our friends Tom and Judy to the Downtown Shreveport Farmer's Market.
 Afterward, we "roamed" to the original Strawn's for breakfast with Mike the Tiger.
Strawns, which opened in 1944 is known for its delicious ice box pies, but also for the murals on the walls.
 I thought this one was particularly appropriate with today's "Rome" theme.
Then, we decided to just "Roam" northward to see the new 15 mile
connection between Louisiana and Arkansas.
Only we who live in the ArkLaTex can fully appreciate this new 4-lane highway and anticipate its completion.

3. Speaking of 'Rome', pasta, can only pick one, which would you choose?


4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

I think the idiom, "Rome wasn't built in a day" is perhaps the most applicable to me.  I have to remind myself sometime, that I can't expect immediate results, or things to happen on my time table.  The Lord is patiently teaching me these truths.  Wait, Seek, Trust!

5. What's a movie you've seen or a book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

I haven't read or seen anything recently, but I have been to Italy and would love to go back.  There was much I didn't see before and would enjoy exploring the countryside this time.

6.  Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago, on July 17, 1955  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?

I have not been to any of the Disney parks and quite frankly do not enjoy amusement park rides.  The last amusement park I went to was Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri many years ago with all our grands and I enjoyed watching them have fun.

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?

In Louisiana that could be a daily occurrence with mosquitoes.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Last night the women's organization to which I belong, PEO, had a couples cookout at the lovely new home of one of the members.
 It was hot, but since her house is on a waterway, 
 the breeze was pleasant, and most everyone chose to enjoy the beautiful scenery outdoors.
 Margaret, Diann and I were on the planning committee which meant Diann cooked, Margaret directed and I took pictures.  (And yes, it is Diann's home I have been featuring on Mondays)
 My sweet friend Margaret and I
 Some of the lovely ladies with hostess Paula and her new puppy.
 We were a couple!
With the exception of the new sofa and two chairs in the family room, every piece of furniture and most of the accessories in this home are heirloom pieces from the owner's families.  The furniture in this room belonged to the hostess's great, grandmother.  How special is that!
Have a great week and don't forget to click on
to see what others have shared on Wednesday Hodgepodge

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Richard Neutra House Part 2

What makes this 64 year old house so special?

"Let me count the ways!"

1.  The Architect!
Richard Neutra was renowned world wide; an award winning, cutting-edge modernist architect.
He was one of the most influential architects of the 20th century.
 He was given the 1977 AIA Gold Medal posthumously.  This is the highest award the American Institute of Architecture can bestow.

2.  The Location!
  The house at 4740 Richmond is located in the quiet South Highlands Historic Neighborhood of Shreveport.

It sits high, nested in the natural surroundings of the wooded area that was originally five lots. This spacious location provides complete privacy.

This home is within walking distance of Southfield School one of the finest Private, Independent and Coeducational Day Schools in the area, serving Preschool-2 through Grade 8.  It is the only School in the Region to receive the ISAS and NAEYC Accreditations.

3.  The History
 One of a Kind!
In the late 1940's, Mr and Mrs J. C. O'Brien were ready to simplify their lives and wanted to do it in the beautiful woody natural surroundings of north Louisiana.  Having heard about the streamlined designs of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mr. O'Brien traveled to California to meet with him.  Their son, Jim vividly recalls this visit.
"I well remember my dad, who was always considered a quiet, very conservative gent, coming home after his interview with Frank Lloyd Wright regarding the designing of a new new family home for us.  Pop just did NOT mesh with him."
 But, the architect did recommend another young architect who had worked with him previously and was making quite a name for himself. A few weeks later, Mr. Richard Neutra arrived in Shreveport in order to visit and interview the family as a group and individually.

Jim also remembers that the modern design of the house was quite a culture shock to the neighbors who were not very happy about it at all.

The house was completed in 1950 and Mr. O'Brien died a year later.

In 1952 The O'Brien House received the following outstanding award.
Neutra's International Style was seen as a revolt against the very ornate eclectic style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  Even today, there are people who strongly dislike this stark style, but at the time, it was an honest expression of how many perceptive people were thinking and feeling.

Someone described this design style like this:
“It was a propagandistic movement,”
"It was about moving people toward better, cleaner living in the machine age.”

So, the O'Briens followed exactly every piece of advice Neutra gave them.  They sold every piece of traditional furniture and oriental rug from their large white columned traditional home and replaced them with modern pieces.

An interesting thing about this Neutra House was 90% of the furniture was "built in" with wood that matched the chosen redwood theme of the house.

 4.  The Design
Floor Plan of the main level

The design of the house is quite simplistic; at the center of the house is the living room and the dining room that is the heart of the house and the family activity.   The rest of the house branches out in east and west directions. From the center of the house each wing that branches out has its own specific function.

The entry of the house faces north which is perpendicular to its nearest neighbors. A stone pathway leads from the driveway into and through the house to an open screened porch off the living room.
It is the consistent use of wood, steel and stone that characterizes the Neutra House and creates continuity throughout.
The spacious entry introduces the marriage of stone and glass with the beautiful redwood that is seen throughout the house.
When one enters the Living Room, the eye continues to the expanse of scenery beyond the large sliding glass wall which opens onto a large screened in porch.

The way in which Neutra designed the O'Brien House was such that when the sliding glass doors were opened the differentiation of interior and exterior was blurred as if it was a continuous space.
The Dining Room
 From the foyer, a "Gallery" connects the east and west wings.
The east wing is the most privatized aspect of the house as it is the master suite.  It contains a very small bedroom that would be a perfect nursery or private sitting room.
This room adjoins the master bath.
Notice the "Neutra" style stepping stool to facilitate using the large tub.
One cannot help noticing the way Neutra used windows and mirrors to blend the outside gardens with the interior even in these private areas.
The master bedroom is a perfect example of the Neutra "built-in" furniture.
 One of the amazing things about this house is the storage.  In this room there is a built-in safe as well as chests, cabinets, and a whole gallery wall of closets.
 The west wing of the house is the service wing, which is fairly secluded from the rest of the open plan design.  It contains an original office which could also double as a bedroom if necessary.
 There is also a guest room and bath in this wing.
An interesting detail is that all the light switches and wall plugs are positioned low on the wall for easy access.  Notice this guest room switch is right where it needs to be to turn off the overhead light sconces.
Also on the west wing is the large kitchen and eating area.
Dining room is to the left.
 This area was the original utility room and reason for the long folding counter top to the right.  This counter would also be a great place to add bar stools or use as an organizational center.
Where Diann is standing was originally the back of the house and to her left is a staircase that went down to the garage and maid's quarters.
Link to  Part 1 HERE!
Link to Part 3

 Next Monday I will show you how Steve and Diann London have taken this beautiful, one-of-a-kind, award winning home and made it their own without compromising the distinct Neutra style.

Again this week I am joining
Amaze Me Monday
Please visit here to see other dwellings of the heart.