Inside Frank Gehry’s Santa Monica Dream Home!
Nearly four decades after creating a still-astounding, statement-making home in Santa Monica, legendary architect Frank Gehry builds a new dream home.
The house Frank Gehry created for himself and his wife, Berta, in 1978, was hailed as an icon of residential design from its earliest days, and the architect lived happily in it for decades. He and his wife raised two sons there, and the family learned to more or less ignore the tourists and architecture students who came by to gawk at his creation.
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With their sons grown and the Gehrys getting older—he turned 90 in February—they began to wonder about the practicality of remaining in their longtime home, contented though they continue to be with it. Gehry, whose international architectural practice for years has left him little opportunity for designing houses, was intrigued by the notion of being his own client again, this time with a house that would work for him and his wife at a more advanced stage of their lives.
They continued to be so happy in their old house that they were not sure they really wanted to move, however sensible the idea might be. Gehry, trying to navigate between his desire to create another house and the ambivalence that he and his wife shared about leaving their old one, came up with a solution. By then Sam Gehry, an architectural designer, was working at his father’s firm, and Frank decided that he and his son would design the house together. If Berta and Frank chose not to move in when it was finished, they would declare it a spec project and sell it. There was little to lose, and either way, it would be a family effort.
And so it was, a dream home with a perfect design!
(Photos and text by AD)