Across the street from Philip Johnson’s Glass House, is the less well known but no less amazing private residence he designed for a family that is a bit more “livable”. The house was designed in 1951 for Richard Hodgson and his family and was restored by Craig Bassam and Scott Bellows of BassamFellows, and now their new home. Richard Hodgson and his wife Geraldine were first visiting the 4.5 acre site, they met a man across the road who asked if they had an architect. When they said no, he offered his services. It was their new neighbor Phillip Johnson.
From the NY Times:
“He designed two brick pavilions — one for living areas, the other for bedrooms for the couple and their four children — linked by a glass-enclosed passage. The living pavilion was centered on a three-sided courtyard that frames views of the mature trees, expansive lawns (the landscape was designed by Zion & Breen, who did the sculpture garden at the Museum of Modern Art) and traditional stone walls beyond. Although Richard Hodgson would become a successful businessman (he was an original investor in Intel), when he and his wife built the house they needed a mortgage, and banks didn’t approve of Modernist houses. So the couple built the living wing in 1951 and the bedroom wing five years later. In between, the parents slept in the guest room, and the children bunked (literally) in what is now the dining room.
After the Hodgsons’ deaths, their children protected the house from alteration or demolition, obtaining easements from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the organization to which Johnson gave the Glass House. But Modernist houses are not for everyone; many buyers balk at having to preserve them. Not so Bassam and Fellows. An architect and a creative director, respectively, the two men design the BassamFellows furniture line, calling their 20th-century-influenced stylistic approach “Craftsman Modern.” They renovated a Modernist house down the road from this one, as well as one in Lugano, Switzerland (both of which they have since sold), and they are renovating another in Palm Springs. Both men had wanted to design a house from scratch, but the first time they visited the Hodgson house, as Fellows recalled, “it took your breath away.””
Obviously, I’m interested in this because our new house has an outdoor atrium with a tree growing through it, and I’m trying to understand the way these midcentury houses relate to the outdoors. That’s one of the most spectacular things about them, the way they negotiate indoor outdoor living. And while our house is no where near as grand, when doing any restoring or renovating we want to be as authentic to the era as we can.
Anyway, nothing wrong with looking at another spectacular house, so here, enjoy this!