Designed Around Native Trees, John Lautner’s Wolff Residence Just Sold for $5.9M

Designed Around Native Trees, John Lautner’s Wolff Residence Just Sold for $5.9M

By Kathryn M.
Lautner designed this masterpiece of organic architecture in 1961—and it just got snapped up by a Hearst family heiress.

Following an apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright in the mid-1930s, John Lautner set out to build his own storied career in Los Angeles. It didn't take long for the young architect to gain recognition, especially with his dramatic and photogenic residential spaces, which are frequently the location of professional photo shoots or movie sets. One of the late architect's "favorite five" commissions landed on the market in November, but given its pristine condition, it's little wonder the property didn't stay on the market for too long. According to the Los Angeles Times, Amanda Hearst, a great-granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, and her filmmaker husband Joachim Rønning purchased the house mid-February. 

The 1961 Wolff Residence is sometimes described as Lautner's homage to his mentor's Fallingwater—the iconic home built by Wright in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Blending intimacy and privacy with inspiring vistas, the Wolff Residence was designed on an almost vertical plot just above Sunset Plaza in 1961. The 1,664-square-foot home was commissioned by interior designer and concert pianist Marco Wolff. Employing stone, glass, and copper, the property is arguably one of Lautner's best midcentury designs.

Lautner designed the home around multiple native trees, allowing the space to feel firmly grounded in nature. The organic features contrast with carefully integrated uses of stone, glass, and copper.

Listed as a historical cultural monument by the City of Los Angeles, the property is also a California State Monument, making it eligible for tax benefits granted by the Mills Act. While all of Lautner's original blueprints and schematics for the home can be found at the Getty Center, the latest interior images are the first in 15 years.

Inside, an expansive living room on the main level connects various spaces. Beautifully restored hardwoods line the floor, while a staircase is tucked behind the large stone fireplace.

Perched on a verdant 9,796-square-foot lot, the home is neighbored by a three-bedroom, two-bath guesthouse, which was built in 1970 and is also included in the sale. Scroll ahead to see inside of this iconic residence.

Upstairs, the living room is wrapped by two 16-foot-high walls of glass, which open to expansive views of greater Los Angeles. The outdoor terrace gently hugs a monumental Eucalyptus tree which traverses all floors and is protected by the home's stone facade.

A closer look at the covered terrace just off the living room. The cozy and private space features ample built-in, copper-wrapped seating.

The remodeled kitchen includes custom cabinetry, as well as all new, high-end appliances.

Steps away from the kitchen is a striking spiral staircase with wooden treads that follow along the curved stone wall.

A look at one of the home's bedrooms, which was designed in an irregular shape to confer a feeling of both expansive and intimate living. Glass doors open onto a private terrace.

The home's sparkling pool offers yet another tranquil spot to take in the sweeping views. Included in the sale is also the adjacent 1,169-square-foot guest house.

The Wolff Residence is currently listed for $6,500,000 by George Salazar and Tilsia Acosta of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

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