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Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright

"You see, the final result is going to stand on that hill a hundred years or more. Long after we are gone it will be pointed out as the Ennis House and pilgrimages will be made to it b lovers of the beautiful - from everywhere".

Frank Lloyd Wright in a letter to Mr. & Mrs. Charles Ennis in 1924.

If that only had been the case...

The famous Ennis House by Frank Lloyd Wright goes on sale! This is a very unusual sale since this masterpiece of modern architecture was owned by the Ennis House Foundation who tried to keep this protected land mark out of private hands. Unfortunately, the foundation has run out of money, so they need to sell the Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House...

After serious consideration, the Ennis House Foundation has decided to place the Ennis House on the market for sale to a private owner. This decision stems primarily from the fact that the house needs more stewardship at this point than a small nonprofit can sustain.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Ennis House for Charles W. and Mabel Ennis. Charles W. Ennis was born in Indiana in 1858. Mabel Ennis was born in 1863. They lived in Indianapolis before moving to Pittsburgh. Like many people of that era, the Ennis' soon moved to Los Angeles around 1901. He ran a successful men's clothing business located in downtown Los Angeles which provided plenty of income to build the Ennis house.

In January 20, 1994 Southern California experienced the Northridge earthquake. The Ennis House was severely impacted by the quake. Large sections of the south retaining wall gave way. Adding to the damage already done, in 2005 Los Angeles had an unprecedented amount of rainfall. After years of deferred maintenance, the Ennis House was in serious danger of collapse. In 2008 the Ennis House was placed on the 11 Most Endangered List by the National Trust For Historic Preservation. A team of local and national representatives from major Preservation Organizations around the Country was formed to save the Ennis House from total collapse. The Ennis House Foundation came into being in August of 2005. Due to the efforts of the Ennis House Foundation, the building’s emergency status has been downgraded, interim construction funding secured, and the work needed to stabilize the retaining wall, repair the roof and perform other restoration tasks has been completed.

Ennis House damage 2005

The goal of the Foundation has always been to be a good steward of the Ennis House. Since its reorganization in 2005, the Foundation has worked to complete urgent stabilization and restoration work on the home in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the 2004-2005 winter floods. Having met this critical priority, the Foundation’s board focused on analyzing longer-term needs and options for the house.

In 2008, the Foundation commissioned a study to evaluate potential approaches to the future preservation and stewardship of the Ennis House. The study confirmed that the Foundation would need to generate significant philanthropy to operate at a sustainable level for future years, given the house’s ongoing repair and restoration needs. Despite many conversations with potential funders, we haven’t found the resources required.

As a result, the Foundation determined that our best option is to find a private owner with the vision and resources to give this beloved Los Angeles landmark the level of care it needs and deserves.

We have listed the Ennis House with Hilton & Hyland and Dilbeck Realtors in Los Angeles, with international marketing services provided by Christie's Great Estates. The house has a conservation easement to protect it from demolition or insensitive alteration, and to guide future restoration, preservation, and maintenance efforts.

The Foundation thanks everyone who has supported us in our work thus far, and we look forward to finding an excellent steward to ensure the long-term preservation and legacy of this architectural icon.

In Architectural Digest (October, 1979) Thomas Heinz, editor of the Frank Lloyd Wright Newsletter, wrote:

"The Ennis House is one of the first residences constructed from concrete block. Wright transforms cold industrial concrete to a warm decorative material used as a frame for interior features like windows and fireplaces as well as columns. His sixteen inch modular blocks with intriguing geometric repeats invite tactile exploration. The art glass windows and doors, reminiscent of examples from the earlier prairie period, here achieve greater color suddenly as they graduate in intensity from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom. The wisteria motif mosaic above the living room fireplace is the extant example of the only four art glass mosaics Wright ever designed. "The metal work based on Mayan imagery is not of Wright's design, and may have been included at Mr. Ennis' request, yet from the very large iron grill at the main entrance to such minute details as light switches and lock plates, there is a unity of conception and materials that complements the entire structure."

This beautiful example of the genius of Wright has been studied by architects, architectural historians, artists and art lovers from practically every country in the world. The house is listed by the U.S. Department of the Interior in the National Register of Historic Places, it has been declared a Cultural Heritage Monument by the City of Los Angeles, and it has been designated a California State Landmark.

The Ennis House Foundation started needed rehabilitation in late 2005 and completed the first phase of the stabilization and restoration work in 2007. The Foundation benefits from the guidance of architect Eric Lloyd Wright, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. It is anticipated that over a period of years, needed preservation efforts will require more than $10 million. Every effort is being made to raise these needed funds, and the Foundation welcomes contributions from all who are interested in participating.

From the realtor:

Rare Property! Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House,1924. Perfectly sited on a Hill with sweeping views of the city to the ocean! The light-filled interiors are enhanced by architectural details such as soaring wood beamed ceilings, a window lined Loggia framing the pool and a flowing multi-tired floor plan. Wrights signature appointments. Prairie-style leaded art glass,metered windows and the best remaining example of one of only four glass mosaic-tile fireplaces- further distinguish this historic offering. 4 Beds and 4.5 Baths 6,000 sq ft.

* Neighborhood: Los Feliz
* Lot Size: 37,026
* Type: Single Family Residential for Sale
* Floors: Two or More Stories
* Parking/Garage: 2
* Bedrooms: 4
* Baths: 4
* Half Baths: 1
* Square Feet: 6000
* Year Built: 1924

Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House, 1924. A triumph of his California-inspired style, the Ennis House is the largest and boldest execution of Wright's iconic textile-block designs. Perfectly sited on a hill with sweeping views of the city to the ocean, this Mayan-inspired estate has undergone significant preservation efforts and offers a unique opportunity to its new owner to continue the home's restoration to its original brilliance. Light-filled interiors are enhanced by architectural details such as soaring wood-beamed ceilings, a window-lined loggia overlooking the pool, and an artful and flowing multi-tiered floor plan. Wright's signature appointments--prairie-style leaded art glass, mitered windows, and the best remaining example of one of only four glass mosaic-tile fireplaces--further distinguish this historic offering.

A gate opens to the generously proportioned motor court, off of which a door grants access to the home’s ground-level entrance. The billiards room, with a bar and open fireplace, beckons off the entry. A low, shadowed lobby introduces the interior of the main residence—a Wrightian device that prepares residents and guests for the dramatic burst of light and space awaiting atop the marble stairs. An elevated dining room with a massive fireplace serves as the centerpiece of the house. A soaring window is appointed with art-glass and facing windows feature mitered corners—another Wright signature to invite the outdoors into the house. High ceilings and numerous art-glass windows affording sprawling views of Los Angeles enhance the living room. The glass-tile mosaic fireplace in the living room is one of only three ever created and the last remaining intact example in any Wright residence. A long window-lined loggia on the north side overlooks the pool and flows from the public rooms to the master suite, the guest bedroom suite, and a small Japanese garden. The kitchen and pantry are accessed through an elevated hall above the entry. A small bedroom with a bath is also included in this wing. A bridge leads from the main residence to the chauffeur’s quarters, which are located above the four-car garage. The chauffeur’s quarters comprise a bedroom, bath, kitchenette, and comfortable living area.

Built for Charles W. and Mabel Ennis, the house was the largest of Wright’s four textile-block homes, as the Ennises liked to entertain. The residence has changed hands seven times since it was sold by Mabel Ennis in 1936, following Charles’s death in 1928. Various owners have contributed their individual imprints, but the original design has remained largely intact.

Unlike the other textile-block houses, interior details of the Ennis House, such as light fixtures, were not designed by Wright. Wright’s relationship with Mrs. Ennis was strained and Wright left the project before completion.

Ennis House
2607 Glendower Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1114