A name can inspire a lot of things. Just to know that someone famous–or infamous–lived in or had anything to do with a home can shape your view of that home indefinitely. Regardless, from the point of that realization that home took on a special meaning, Such is the case with a magnificent home in Santa Monica, the Sten-Frenke home, which was built on orders of movie-producer Samuel Goldwyn by Austrian-born, mid-century-architect Richard Neutra, and has recently gone on sale for $15 million.
All photos are used with permission from TopTenRealEstateDeals.com
Neutra had worked with Frank Lloyd Wright and was gaining notoriety as one of Southern California’s best young architects when Goldwyn tagged him to build a home for a head-turning Ukrainian film-actress named Anna Sten and her movie-producer-husband, Eugene Frenke. Goldwyn saw Sten as the next Greta Garbo, and despite the fact that Sten ended up not quite what Goldwyn had in mind and was relegated to the dustbin of celluloid history, the house in all its glory remains.
The Sten-Frenke house is now a Los Angeles cultural landmark. The home features timeless California glass-walled architecture, with clean geometric lines and smooth angles. In 1934, it was the first modern home to win the top prize in the House Beautiful magazine.
The 4,000-square-foot home features five bedrooms and seven baths, divided between the main house and the nearby guest house. Lush gardens give privacy to the glass walls and allow sunlight to filter through, making intricate patterns on the white interior. In addition to the three bedrooms, there is a large living room with fireplace and wrap-around windows. There is also an oval-shaped dining room with wrap-around windows that jut out into the garden. An old Hollywood-style pool that Neutra designed for Sten to entertain and be photographed is a centerpiece of the house. The primary suite has a spectacular upstairs terrace with ocean views and an office. How you can expect to get any work done amongst all these spectacular sceneries is beyond us.
The Sten-Frenke house is still connected to the film industry by virtue that it’s the current owner is director/writer/producer Marc Forster, who directed Finding Neverland, The Kite Runner, World War Z, and Christopher Robin. Shortly after his purchase of the home, he hired designer Mark Haddawy to study Neutra’s original plans in order to restore the main house to the original plans. Forster also hired LA architects Johnston Marklee to design a combined work-studio and two-bedroom guest house that would compliment the style of the existing house. The house is located only a short stroll to the beach, restaurants, and shops.
Whether you love architecture, old movies, or just a unique home, the Sten-Frenke home is required viewing for anyone who is looking for a house to make into a home. There is literally nothing else like it currently on the market, so you should make sure you can see it today. A buy like this is probably not to last for long. And once it is gone, it won’t come back for another lifetime.
Photo credit: Marc Angeles