The Eames House

Yes, I like Eames furniture. And yes, I admit I had no idea their house was in Pacific Palisades until a few months ago. And yes, I further admit that two years ago I was as ignorant as they come regarding anything that the Eames' ever did regarding furniture, architecture, film, style, life, etc.

In my former life I was a high end audio/video installation professional. In other words, I played with rich peoples' expensive blinky lighted (with buttons and switches) toys. 'Cause he who dies with the most expensive blinky lighted (with buttons and switches) toys wins. And he who has the biggest plasma screen hung on a wall can definitely compensate for shortcomings in other areas. I'm referring to a certain loud-mouthed former NFL wide receiver who will not be named, who just had to own a monstrous 103" behemoth. But I digress.

Anyway, there was a home theater installation I worked on a while back where the guy (not the aforementioned NFL player, but another rich guy with lots of toys) had a cool projector, a bigass screen, and a gagillion watts of speaker amplification in a dedicated theater space on top of the garage. For seating in this home theater, he had a fleet of Eames Lounge Chairs with Ottomans. By 'fleet' I mean at least a dozen of each.

Of course back then I didn't know what I was resting my grubby shoes on, and thought they were just nifty looking matching comfy ottomans with nifty looking matching comfy chairs. They were probably newer repros, but who knows? This guy was oozing overflowingly with wealth that he probably could have gone out and procured a dozen rosewood originals.

The point is that I just didn't know what I was experiencing when basking in the glory of that fleet of fabulous furniture.

Fast forward a few years and after my wife has educated me significantly in the lexicon of MCM, and here we are at the Eames House. Yup, right there on Chautauqua, just a few hundred yards up from PCH. I must've driven up that street dozens of times during my career as an installer, never knowing that right out the truck window there were four (count 'em four) case study houses: Eames, Entenza, West (Walker), and a Neutra.

A few months ago we were watching the second disc of the Eames films collection, the piece entitled House. And then I said, hey I'll google that and see what happens. And yes indeed, this is what I found: http://www.eamesfoundation.org/index.html and it's available for visitation. And we took a visit, just three weeks ago. The only catch is you can't take pictures of the inside.

What was interesting was the little conversation we had with the friendly docent at the door who was somewhat surprised that we're local and from LA. She told us that the majority of the visitors come from out of country and it's rare when a local comes by. Hmm, a comment on the not-so-enthusiastic state of architectural/historical interest among Los Angeles residents?

And during a leisurely stroll through the vast open space in front of the house, we came across some Tonka trucks, seemingly frozen in time. They probably had not been moved since forever as the rust indicated. You could just picture the Eames children (like in the House movie), running around the grounds, then moving some dirt with the Tonka trucks.