When you think about it, it’s kind of surprising that the Mesoamerican/Pre-Columbian-influenced style of architecture popularly known as Mayan Revival didn’t really catch on in Los Angeles, unlike other period revival styles that made less sense, geographically speaking, like English Tudor, French Chateau, and Neo-Colonial. It’s particularly surprising in light of the fantastic interpretations of the vernacular produced by Frank Lloyd Wright in conjunction with his oldest son, Lloyd Wright, the Hollyhock and Ennis houses, as well as the Hollywood residence Lloyd Wright designed independent of his father in 1922, the Henry O. Bollman House.
Only the second independent commission for the younger Wright, the Bollman House is an accomplished synthesis of the various lessons he’d absorbed in his work experiences up till that point, from apprenticing in his father’s studio, to a position with the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm, to a three-year stretch in the San Diego office of early Modernist Irving Gill, to a stint as the head of the design and drafting department at Paramount Studios. Wright added his own innovation, the “knit-block” construction system, in which hollow-core cast concrete blocks were tied together with vertical and horizontal steel rods. This method would subsequently be adopted for his father’s Freeman, Ennis, and Storer residences.
Located in the Sunset Square HPOZ, the house was constructed in 1923 for and with Henry Bollman, a young contractor/builder who had worked for Lloyd Wright on a number of projects. Bollman would only inhabit the house for a few years before relocating to Honolulu; the home subsequently passed through the hands of a number of owners, including a young socialite, a big band singer, a middle-school teacher, and the owner of a company that manufactured firehoses and extinguishers.
In the early ’80s, it was purchased by interior designer Mimi London, who expanded and redesigned the kitchen and remodeled the bathrooms. According to a 1996 cover feature in Architectural Digest, London also coated the home’s concrete and plaster interior in gold paint, as pure an illustration of peak ’90s and of the phrase “gilding the lily” as you could ever hope to find. Subsequent owners did not dig the gold, and brought the interiors back to how they had appeared prior to London’s residency.
Otherwise in mostly original condition, the Bollman House contains four bedrooms and two bathrooms within its 2,518 square feet. Notable attributes include a double-sided fireplace, detailed moldings, hardwood and concrete floors, French doors and casement windows, and a private balcony patio. The 8,102-square-foot property’s grounds also feature original landscape design and plantings by Lloyd Wright. As a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument, the pedigreed property also benefits from significant Mills Act tax savings.
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