A guilt pleasure of mine is to play a game of make believe on real estate websites in America, hit the ‘price: high to low’ setting and scroll through some amazing properties, pretending I can afford them. This is exactly how I found this masterpiece of a house in Los Angeles, currently for sale via themls.com.
The house was built in 1913 by Frederick E. Engstrum and designed by Frank A. Brown, following an Arts and Crafts style design, and has been dubbed the one of the finest and largest Craftsmen houses in America. The exterior is absolutely mesmerising as the house is almost lost in the surrounding overgrown woodland. With so many small and unusual features this house would have you exploring for days on end.
The house was named ‘Artemesia’ and is still full of its original features including tiles, stained glass, panelling and light fixtures. It’s truly a house of character, with a story to tell.
It easy to see that a lot of the permanent interior details have been kept in tact, which is quite a feat considering Los Angeles has modern, contemporary homes by the bucket load. The interiors of the Artemesia home are almost frozen in time and there’s something really magical and graceful about this.
The design of the house takes influence from the Tudor-revival architectural movement that surfaced in America in the late 1800s to the early 1900s, as well as the American take on the Arts and Crafts movement. Here you can see the beautiful detail of an original fireplace that is in keeping with the Arts and Crafts motif of the house.
There is a sense of grandeur and magnificence in the interiors that has been sewn into the house, at its very core. The large ballroom with its beautifully wide columns indicates a rich history the house may have had, tales of old Hollywood-esque parties thrown and the company kept, the house exudes a vibrant, well-lived, old Hollywood atmosphere, even in the bathrooms…
The shower is beautifully hidden away with steps leading down to it from the bathroom.
It even features a historic pipe organ, built by Murray Harris, a world renowned organ builder, and it’s on of his largest remaining creations. Having a residential pipe organ during the late 19th and early 20th century would have been considered a rather fashionable addition to a home and played by a hired professional, the organ would have been the source of entertainment and music during a social gathering at the house.
A feature like this is in a home is almost unheard of nowadays, making the house seem even more out of this world and extraordinary.
There is a true romantic, fairy-tale like nature to this house; from the woodland areas surrounding the property, to the deliciously outlandish pipe organ, to the intricate, well-preserved detailing of the interiors. In a place like Los Angeles which is so full of splendour and outrageousness especially in terms of property, it seems upsettingly easy for charming homes such as this one to get somehow lost between mansions. But there is something so pure and special about this house and the way it’s been transported from another era without appearing dated or fairly useless in a modern world, that there is a magical sense about it and a hope that it will be an everlasting triumph in the world of design.
For more information: www.artemesia.us