A New Online Home for Design Faith Blog

I have moved the Design Faith blog to my relaunched website kennethcaldwell.com You'll be redirected there in 10 seconds.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Neutra House Coda

The three cottages in 1940 Courtesy of the Department of
Special Collections & University Archives,
Stanford University Libraries

Nearly four years ago, I went to the dedication of a renovated Neutra house in Los Altos and wrote about it.


I interviewed architectural designer Miltiades Mandros, who had been intimately involved in early efforts to save the house. He explained some of the machinations that went on behind the scenes. Knowing that he would later write about the whole episode at great length, I just wrote, “ What happens next gets a little murky.”

Well, now Miltiades has laid it out for you. Some might say in excruciating detail. And while he is settling scores, I found it fascinating reading. Not only because I think most politicians are psychologically unstable, but because there are so many strange lessons that I only touched on in my short piece. You can find the Mandros piece at


The cottage is moved, November 2005
Courtesy of John Gusto

Jacqueline Johnson cottage exterior during reconstruction – 2006,
by Miltiades Mandros

Some of the lessons are:

If someone involved is actually named King Lear, the story is not going to end well.
If someone threatens to sue you from the outset, the story is not going to end well.
If someone tries to use a small-town gay parade for negative political leverage, the story is not going to end well.

There were many conclusions about the nature of preserving modernism in suburbia, some of which I discussed in my original post. The only thing I might add now is that one should be very cautious about moving to small affluent suburban communities in the Bay Area. Little stakes, big drama. Like Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? writ large. But who ever thought a little modernist cottage could cause such havoc?

The repurposed Jacqueline Johnson cottage opens – 2008
by Miltiades Mandros

No comments: