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How to Ruin a Modernist Gem By Architect Pierre Koenig

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You would think that, if a person had the money and the desire to buy a house by the great Pierre Koenig—designer of some of the finest homes to come out of the influential Case Study House program—they'd be buying it to enjoy as it is in its lovely original form, right? WRONG. In Los Angeles, they're more likely to lay down the money to turn into just another whitewashed contemporary McMansion with the bonus of hyphenating their last name onto the original name of the house. And so we have the Henbest-Birkett Residence on a bluff in Rancho Palos Verdes, first built in 1966 as the Henbest Residence—see lovely old brick and concrete and folded-plate roof photos here.

In 2011, still quite well-preserved, the Henbest sold for $1.407 million to the Birketts, who hired designer Robert Sweet to slide a glass and wood box under that zig zag roof, add a tiled pool, and otherwise strip out all the original finishes for something better suited to a Bel Air spec house (he also tacked on a bathroom and a quarter, for a total of 3.75, but it still has the same four bedrooms). Now they're selling it for $3.875 million.


· 7127 Crest Rd [Redfin]
· Pierre Koenig in Rancho Palos Verdes [Curbed LA]