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Exceptional midcentury modern by Buff, Straub, and Hensman in Pasadena asking $5M

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Designed for the founder of Lawry’s Foods, the 1957 post and beam is on the National Register of Historic Places

Measuring approximately 5,000 square feet, the two-story Frank House was one of the firm’s largest residential commissions.
Photos by Kevin Edge, courtesy of Terri Miller and Monika Bruegl

If this Pasadena residence looks familiar, you may have seen it in the Amazon series Transparent, where it portrayed the Pfefferman family abode. Then again, you might just recognize the handsome home as an excellent example of the distinctive California modernist postwar architecture produced by the firm of Buff, Straub, and Hensman.

Located at 919 La Loma Road in the San Rafael Estates, the two-story post and beam was built in 1957 as the family residence of Richard Frank, restauranteur and president of Lawry’s Foods. Measuring approximately 5,000 square feet, it was one of Buff, Straub, and Hensman’s largest residential commissions.

Along with such signature midcentury modern attributes as beamed ceilings, walls of glass, clerestory windows, and organic materials, the five-bedroom, five-bath home was endowed with high-end design features including built-in furniture and shelving by Sam Maloof, John Kapel, and other master craftsmen.

Its pastoral acre of grounds—which contain a swimming pool, multiple decks and patios, and a wide variety of mature trees—were designed by the noted landscape architecture firm of Eckbo, Dean, and Williams.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Frank House has had just a few owners, its second one being musician Beck Hansen, who purchased it from Richard Frank in 1998 for $1.275 million. Last sold in 2000 for $2 million, it’s now asking $4.995 million. Terri Miller and Monika Bruehl of Tempo Realty hold the listing.

The voluminous living room features cathedral ceilings rising 12 feet and expansive walls of glass showcasing bucolic Arroyo Seco views.
Downstairs is the cozy family room with brick fireplace and built-in sofa.
The open plan kitchen has been updated with professional-grade appliances.
Master craftsmen Sam Maloof and John Kapel designed some of the Frank House’s custom built-in furniture.
The five-bedroom, five-bath home exhibits a strong Japanese influence.
The property’s landscaping was designed by the renowned firm of Eckbo, Dean and Williams.