John Lautner was an American architect who was born in 1911 and died in 1994. He underwent an apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright during the mid-1930s before opening his own practice in 1938, says Wikipedia. Although he is best known for his residential work, which was predominantly in California, he also designed many commercial structures. Lautner is known for the development of the Googie style. This futuristic style was apparent in many houses he designed during the 1950s and 1960s, and it was inspired by both the Atomic Age and the Space Age. Some of the most famous houses he designed were the Russ Garcia House, the Paul Sheats House, and the Leonard Main House. Another house he designed was for physicist Bob Rawlins and his musician wife Marjorie, This property was later put on the market for just under $5.4 million, but eventually went for significantly less after sitting on the market for three years.
An Overview of the John Lautner House for Sale
The property that John Lautner designed for the Rawlins is located on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, California. This property is considered one of Lautner’s most memorable designs, and it sits in a prime position on South Bay in Newport Beach Harbor. It was constructed in 1979 and was intended as a retirement home for the couple. Bob and Marjorie were fans of the mid-century style, but they wanted something different from other properties they had seen. John Lautner was the right man for this job, and the property he designed is one of the quirkiest in the area. The locals now fondly refer to the Rawlins House as the ‘treasure of Balboa Island,’ says Home Stratosphere. Its unusual design gives the impression of an open-mouthed whale or shark, which has led to the locals nicknaming the property ‘Jaws.’
The Exterior of the Waterfront Newport Beach House
From the outside, the Rawlins House stands out from neighboring properties due to its design and the materials used. It boasts a curvaceous exterior with a domed roof. One of the most notable architectural features that are evident from the exterior is the stunning copper balcony, which coordinates with the copper roof. The balcony is the perfect spot for enjoying views over the harbor and for basking in the California sunshine. The position of the house right on the waterfront encourages the indoor-outdoor lifestyle. From both inside and outside the property, the homeowner can sit watching the boats sailing around the harbor.
The house opens out to a large patio area from the living area, which is the perfect spot for watching the sunset over the harbor with a drink. This raised patio area is tiled and boasts outdoor furniture for dining and entertaining outside. There are steps leading to the waterfront, and shrubs are set against the wall for a touch of greenery. This property has direct access to the waterfront via the steps. Therefore, those living in this property can easily take a stroll along the harbor to watch all the bay activity.
The Interior of the John Lautner House at Newport Beach
Throughout the property, which offers 2,100 square feet of living space, there is an open concept and minimalistic lines, which gives the property a bright, airy, and modern feel. Wood, metal, and brickwork feature throughout the house. The living room of this property is spacious and boasts a floor-to-ceiling glass wall that looks out over the harbor. With the touch of a button, the glass wall recedes so that the homeowner can enjoy indoor-outdoor living, and fully appreciate the harbor views. In the living room, there is a large, curved sofa, which is positioned to make the most of the spectacular views. The living room also has floating wooden shelves against a brick feature wall, tiled flooring, ceiling spotlights, and a wood-paneled ceiling.
There is a floating staircase with glass panels and a wooden banister that leads to the first floor of the property from the living room. If climbing the staircase is too much effort, you can always take the elevator to the upper level. This is a feature of the property that may also appeal to those with mobility issues. Upstairs, there are three generous bedrooms, so there is enough room for a family to live comfortably in this house or for a single person or couple to entertain family and friends at their home. The master bedroom shares the same views over the harbor that you can enjoy from the living area as this room also has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall and sliding glass doors that lead out onto the balcony overlooking the harbor. An interesting feature of the master bedroom is the arched, wooden ceiling. Wood paneling also features on the walls of this room.
The Sale of the John Lautner House in Newport Beach, CA
In 2014, the John Rawlins House that was built for the Rawlins was put on the market with a price tag of $5.395 million. It was listed with several real estate agents in California. Unfortunately, it sat on the market for three years with no offers. Eventually, the property sold in 2017 for the reduced price of $3.772 million. The buyer was Michael LaFetra, who is a movie producer of horror films, including Stag Night and Night Train. He is also a preservationist and architecture restorer. LaFetra had coveted the house for several years before he made the purchase. The fact that such a renowned architect as John Lautner designed the property is probably something that appealed to him due to his interest in architecture. Its location was probably also a factor when he decided to buy this property as LaFerta is a lifelong resident of California. Furthermore, Balboa Island is a stunning place with a lot to offer its residents, and Newport Beach is one of the most desirable spots on the island.