The 1500-square-foot (140 square metres) house that the Eameses built for themselves on a meadow looking out to the ocean is an expression of Charlies ‘s fascination with problem solving and technology, infused with Ray’s passion for colour, pattern ,and detail . It is a work of art entirely composed of parts ordered from builders catalogues and efficiently assembled: a machine with a soul. Photographs -of a structural frame assembled in a day a Mondrian-like grid of black steel and glass with coloured infill panels as accents, and a soaring interior filled with prototype furniture and objects the couple had collected from around the world – brought the house immediate fame and continue to inspire other architects.
The couple were living in a Richard Neutra apartment when they first conceived the house as a steel -framed, single story structure cantilevered form a hill-side and supported on slender columns. That scheme was published as Case Sturdy House #8 in Arts+Architecture, together with #9, an Eero Saarinen house across the meadow for the magazine’s publisher, John Entenza. Delays caused by shortages of building materials allowed the Eameses to rethink the design and create double -height volumes with the same amount of steel. “It is interesting to consider how the rigidity of the system was responsible for the free use of space,” wrote Charles, “and to see how the most matter of fact structure resulted in pattern and texture.”
The Eames’s 1955 film, House: After Five Years of Living, showes a magical space that opens up to nature. It absorbs the sunlight filtering in through translucent panels and the young eucalyptus trees that have now grown to dwarf the house. In those early years, the interior was still evolving, as the private retreat of two extraordinary designers, shared only with a few fortunate friends and associated. Charles died in 1979 and Ray followed ten years later to the day; the life of the house was extinguished then, and the contents were frozen in time.
Today, it is a beautiful relic, cherished by Charles’s daughter Lucia, and by her son, Eames Demetrios, who used the studio and is finding new ways to reanimate the house while preserving it as Ray left it.