an impromptu tour of Schindler's Oliver House

During our trip to LA last fall, we took our architect and builder friends over to street-gawk at R.M. Schindler's Oliver House in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. As luck would have it, the owner was reaching out of her window watering some plants when she heard me yapping about the house. "Hello!" she hello'd. "Hello!" we hello'd back. "Would you like to come up and see the house?"

The Oliver House (1933-4) is one of Schindler's iconic designs. The house rides a saddle ridge with views of the ocean out one side (smog willing) and a water-supply lake and mountains out the other. The current owner's parents commissioned the house and, at Schindler's prompting, bought the lot behind them so the backyard view would remain unobstructed.

The house is clever in its siting--it rests askew on its lot (with truncated corners) to take full advantage of the views--and also clever in its design and use of perspective. Building covenants required a gabled and/or hipped roof, so Schindler complied but hid the roof from the street. Inside, the roof seems to float above the living room with expansive clerestories reaching up to the sloped ceiling. The back yard and view is breathtaking.

The owner noted that her parents remained good friends with Schindler up until his death, often having him over for dinner. She recalled him being reserved and respectful and questioned his reputation as a womanizer.

The house will be an on-again/off-again VRBO (we tried to snag it for my birthday this month, but someone got it for six months!). We'll try again later in the fall!


living room with built-ins.

looking towards the dining room and breakfast nook

that floating roof! off to the left is a piano


the stairs lead down to the front entrance. glass tops the wall to the master bedroom to the left 

the back yard

looking back toward the house from the backyard. the roof canopy is not original

looking back into the back bedroom

 Schindler cantilevered part of the gabled roof as cover for the stairs to the roof patio.


Looking out of the back bedroom

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