Case Study architect Edward Killingsworth’s masterpiece, the 1957 Opdahl House, fell into ruin, but thanks to a musician with a passion for modernism, it is celebrating its 50th anniversary in mint condition.
The Opdahl House, designed by Edward Killingsworth for Richard and Joyce Opdahl, is located on the island of Naples, in Long Beach, California, and the design responds to the constraints imposed by the compact site.Unlike the neighbors, whose homes unflinchingly abut their property lines, Killingsworth set the Opdahl House 42 feet back from the street, dedicating half of the lot to a dramatic entryway that includes a carport, garden, and reflecting pool. The effect is one of entering a private sanctuary.
The double-height living space looks out to the reflecting pool and entry. A George Nelson Bubble Lamp, Edward Wormley Long John Bench, and Van Keppel Green settee and table were among the home’s original furnishings.
Below a twisting steel staircase sits a stool from the impossibly rare 1967 Girard Group for Herman Miller (it was only produced for one year). Stevens rennovated the home from top to bottom, including the Japanese-style fence in the garden.
Unsightly service elements of the kitchen are tucked into the central core of the home, while a furniture-like L is situated in the rear corner and visible from the living area. Stevens had the 42 George Nelson cabinet pulls made with a CNC-router system based on an original.
The two upstairs bedrooms are equal in size and open to the living room below (the metal railing is repeated from the entryway). In a 1958 interview Richard Opdahl commented that, “The only criticism is that there is little aural privacy in a house of this size.”