Get the look
Few of us are fortunate enough to own a Richard Neutra –designed house. But you can still evoke the spirit of this remarkable architect in your own home. A number of design companies are making Neutra products under license, ranging from eye-catching geometric pillows to his famous boomerang chair. More options are at the online Neutra Gift Store.
- Do your homework. Use libraries and other local sources to find historical records. "I started with [former owner] Mrs. Schiff for stories of the house and her own experience with Neutra," says Chad Overway. "Then I went to our local historical society. I delved into books and looked at everything ever published on Neutra. I even spoke to Thomas Hines [professor of history and architecture at the University of California, Los Angeles, and author of a book on Neutra]. He directed me to Dion Neutra, one of Richard's sons ― also an architect ― who worked in his father's office."
- Add new elements with care. "The goal was to glean as much historical information as possible and use that in the preservation process and the selection of new materials consistent with the original design," says Overway. Case in point: Overway's new fireplace and chair, both reproduced from Neutra designs, are perfectly paired with a 1927 Eileen Gray side table.
- Check building codes. Consult local building authorities before considering structural changes. Most cities have strict historic building codes.