A Glowing Midcentury by Jack Corey Asks $1.8 Million in Los Angeles

HabHouse meticulously restored the 1954 post-and-beam midcentury, which architect Jack Corey designed for his parents while still in school.

Jack Corey, a pioneer of post-and-beam architecture, is responsible for evolving midcentury style within his native California but also well beyond. The impact he would have on the world of home design was evident early on: While still a student at the USC School of Architecture, he crafted a remarkable home for his parents, the Corey Residence.

The home is located on a quiet cul-de-sac in the city of Sierra Madre, California.

"Jack Corey’s home is a really great example of Southern California modernism—simple materials elevated by their use, a clear expression of structure, and an openness to the outdoors without the sacrificing of privacy," says Nate Cole at Suprstructur, a listing agent for the property alongside Joey Kiralla and Michelle St. Clair at Sotheby’s International Realty.

The Corey Residence is a striking example of California modernism that was influenced by Corey’s mentor, Cal Straub, a professor at the USC School of Architecture who held an appreciation for the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

The home is characterized by its deep eaves and timber frame structure.

After his parents lived in the home, Corey began using it as his personal address. Now it’s been carefully restored by Andreas Larsson, founder of HabHouse, a design and development firm. For the project, Larsson had the privilege of interviewing 91-year-old Jack Corey to gain insight into the process of designing the home. The opportunity also granted Larsson intimate knowledge of original design details and materiality. As a result, the original plan—which features deep eaves and living spaces that open to patios and a garden—has been carefully preserved.

A large brick fireplace dominates the living room, its heavy mass balanced by the lightness of the glazed walls that surround it.

The living room opens out to a small patio, which is screened from the street for privacy.

"This house was not a renovation—it was a restoration," notes Larsson. "The biggest challenge was to respect and maintain the original architecture while merging it with modern solutions, so it becomes a house that is still very true to its original design but livable for today’s standards. When you’re dealing with a restoration, that’s always the challenge."

A wall of windows frames views of the surrounding landscape and garden, while skylights allow light to enter the space. These original elements have been meticulously restored by HabHouse.

From the street, the home is concealed behind a timber screen with the roof structure peeking out above. From inside the home, every room opens to the garden or shaded terrace, creating a dynamic play between interior and exterior space that makes the residence ideal for entertaining. In a previous conversation about the home, Corey explains how "the grabbing onto nature was what we wanted to achieve."

"I had the pleasure of speaking with Jack Corey about this project," says architect and HabHouse founder Andreas Larsson, who completed the restoration. "He even assisted on a couple things, including bringing back the long-lost rotten pergola. Just having him in the home was inspiring." The reinstated pergola offers shade to the al fresco living and dining areas, from which the residents can enjoy views of the San Gabriel Mountains to the north and the city of Los Angeles to the south.

The timber fencing that surrounds the garden runs into wood paneling inside one of the bedrooms, further blurring the boundary between interior and exterior spaces. The landscaped garden features rocky pathways and plants suited to the Southern Californian climate.

The entrance hall of the 1,476-square-foot home leads directly to the open living/dining space, which features a tiled kitchen at one end with a glazed wall that opens to a terrace.

A brick walkway leads to the front door, where a gridded skylight above the entry fills the narrow space with light.

The entrance of the home leads directly to the open living-and-dining space. The home’s structure is emphasized and celebrated by the contrast between the white ceiling and the dark timber beams.

Gridded timber screens divide the spaces while still allowing for light and visual connection throughout the home.

Two bedrooms—one is currently used as a study—and a bathroom are located in a wing off the living space, while a third bedroom and a bathroom are tucked away behind the kitchen.

The old-growth redwood siding in the bedrooms has been restored, bringing a lustrous quality back to the interiors.

Clerestories bring in additional light without sacrificing privacy.

"My favorite part of this house is that you have easy access to the outside from every room," says Larsson. "Every angle has an exterior experience."

"There is no place where the design falls flat," says Cole, one of the home’s listing agents. "There is a feeling of perfection to it, with every corner contributing in some way. To be able to say that about a house that has seen updates is rare, and a testament to the work HabHouse does."

The living-and-dining space leads into the kitchen, where vintage fixtures and hardware have been restored and reinstated.

The kitchen features custom birch cabinetry that reflects the original material palette and windows that look out over the garden.

Throughout, the fabric of the home has been carefully restored. The bedrooms, for example, feature spectacular old-growth redwood siding that conceals built-in closets, while the kitchen and bathrooms boast tile imported from Japan.

Both bathrooms are clad with tile sourced from Japan.

Pink and blue pastel colors zhuzh up the otherwise white bathrooms, as do the green window frames.

Plywood partitions and shoji-like bedroom doors capture the essence of the midcentury modern style, and allow for a free-flowing circulation or for spaces to be closed off for privacy. "The most intriguing part of the home for me is also the least identifiable," reveals Cole. "There is a calmness to the space, almost like everything has to pass through a filter to enter."

The sliding bedroom doors are inspired by Japanese shoji screens, and allow the space to be opened up without the obtrusion of conventional swinging doors.

One of the bedrooms is currently being used as a study. When the shoji-style doors are open, residents can enjoy views of the treetops through the glazed wall of the living room. Like all the rooms in the home, it also has direct access to the garden.

An alley access to a two-car garage and utility room are found at the rear of the property.

Amazingly, there was no engineer for the home. Corey himself designed the structure based around the capabilities of the timber which he found on spanning tables in the local building code.

Floor plan of the Corey Residence

700 Edgeview Drive in Sierra Madre, California, is currently listed for $1,788,000 by Nate Cole of Suprstructur in partnership with Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Project Credits:

Architect of Record (original): Jack Corey

Architect of Record (renovation): HabHouse

Photographer: Cameron Carothers

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