Born in 1949, it’s never been more relevant than right now

It’s the biggest 1,500 square feet in the history of architecture, if you count the ways it has shaped our lives.

Sixty years ago, designers Ray and Charles Eames moved into the steel-and-glass-and-concrete home they’d constructed with prefab components in a Pacific Palisades meadow.

To call it simple is an understatement: kitchen and living room on the first floor, sleeping loft and two bathrooms on the second. Yet the Mondrian exuberance of its exterior and the warm, light-filled interior spaces make simplicity seem joyous.

Plus the Eameses’ dream of an affordable yet stylish home resonates even more powerfully in today’s jittery economic climate.

Architect Michelle Kaufmann ― creator of the Glidehouse and the Sunset Breezehouse ― says, “We’re coming out of a time where people thought about homes just as investments, as two-year flips. But the Eames House is not about that. It’s about the experience of living in it. It’s about something that’s going to last.”

Visit the Eames

You can tour the inside of the Eames House only once a year, in June, and you must be a member of the Eames Foundation; go to for membership information. Self-guided tours of the exterior run throughout the year (Mon–Sat; $5); call 310/459-9663 for reservations.

Western Essential No. 9: The wetsuit