Connect with Keith York, the owner of Modern San Diego, to buy or sell an architect designed home.
Below are properties that I represented the buyers, sellers or both parties:
MODERN LA MESA! The Johann Residence, by modernist architect Lloyd Ruocco, is being offered for sale for the first time. In vintage, original condition this unique residence is nestled in an orchard with inspiring views to the south, east and west. Many original features, including modular living room walls and abundant built-ins, as well as natural light through walls of glass offer the next owner a resource like no other in close proximity to the village. See more images HERE.
SOLD: The Sim Bruce Richards and Janet Hopkins Richards Residence III (1957)
SOLD: The John & Ruth Dirks Residence and Studio (1948)
SOLD: Architect William Krisel design in Pacifica
SOLD: 1947 William Kesling design in La Jolla
SOLD: Architect William Krisel design in Pacifica
SOLD: Architect William Krisel design in Del Cerro
The Alden Residence(1957) by renowned Case Study House architect
In July 1957 architect Kemper Nomland designed a ‘House for Dr. & Mrs. Ward C. Alden’ in beautiful, rural Vista, California. Ward, alongside his wife Esther, renamed the house ‘Sky Vista’ as they enjoyed the house for two decades. Kemper Nomland Jr. designed the landscape for the site. Sky Vista engages views of the surrounding nearby hillsides and canyons and to the west, a distant ocean view all the way to Catalina via its glass dodecagon main structure. The 12-sided floor-to-ceiling glass pavilion exemplifies post-War indoor-outdoor living by connecting the pool and original steel hexagon patio pavilion through patios and walkpaths. The main building of approximately 1,322 square feet, is paired with the original 814 square foot modernist guest house which also engages the surrounding landscape via walls of glass. Local building designer George Adams added a 374 square foot ‘rumpus room’ to the guest house in November, 1965. One of the bedrooms was also greatly expanded into a master suite after Nomland designed the original home.
Architect Kemper Nomland (1892-1976) was born in Buxton, North Dakota and secured his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Columbia University in 1916. He worked in various offices in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles including as a draftsman for Aymar Embury (1916-17) in New York and, Albert C. Martin (1922) in Los Angeles prior to working as Chief Draftsman for Marston, Van Pelt & Maybury (1923-25, in Pasadena) as well as Austin, Martin, Parkinson (1926-27). He launched his own firm Kemper Nomland, AIA Architect in 1928. Later in his career, Mr. Nomland served as a Commissioner on the Los Angeles Board of Building and Safety.
Kemper Nomland, Jr. (1919-2009) was born in Los Angeles and graduated from Pasadena City College (in 1938) and then received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from USC in 1941. The younger Nomland worked for Albert C. Martin prior to launching the firm, Nomland & Nomland, with his father after the War. Together, in 1947, they designed a house in Pasadena that “…was not originally commissioned as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program, but was added upon completion in 1947 to maintain continuity in the program given the number of unbuilt houses up to that point. The house exemplified a number of the program’s goals, including the use of new building materials and techniques, affordability for the average American, simplicity of construction, economy of materials, and integration of indoor and outdoor living,” according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. The house became known as Case Study House #10. The younger Nomland, according to the LA Times, “…was a conscientious objector during World War II and was confined to Civilian Public Service Camp #21 near Cascade Locks, Oregon, where he did forest maintenance work, as well as CPS Camp #56, Camp Angel, near Waldport, Oregon, where he did printing work and became friends with a group of poets and artists.” Nomland designed several covers for books printed by Untide Press as well as working on the journal Illiterati. “He designed the chapel at CPS Camp #21, and seven of his paintings done while there (or influenced by his experience there) are held by Lewis and Clark College. He illustrated a book of poems entitled War Elegies by William Everson, whom he met while at the CPS camps.”
The Linton House, the wonderful result of a unique collaboration between Raytheon electrical engineer Russ Linton and architect Lloyd Ruocco, is for sale for the first time since its construction. Wonderfully sited in a canyon setting in East Hollywood PArk (southern City Heights), this amazing home will draw you in from your first view of its Spanish Cedar façade surrounded by exotic succulents and mature plantings. Recently restored, visitors will be captivated by the condition of the stained plywood interiors (reminiscent of architect Rudolf Schindler's homes), decades-old cork flooring and a wealth of storage opportunities through generous built-ins. The post-n-beam structure is highlighted by tongue ‘n’ groove ceilings and exterior siding. Period touches include generous glass surfaces welcoming the outdoors inside, a very unique bathroom lightwell, stereo cabinetry akin to the work of local furniture designer John Dirks and the most unique fluorescent indirect lighting throughout the home.
SOLD: The Milton and Miriam Lincoff Residence (designed 1964, constructed 1966) by architect Leonard Veitzer.
In the late 1940s Leonard Veitzer pursued a degree in architecture at Cal alongside fellow students like Ray Kappe. Drafted into the US Army during the Korean War, he would return to Cal in 1954, to work towards completion of his degree. That summer Veitzer took a brief summer job with Fred Liebhardt in La Jolla. After graduation he travelled and worked all over – including in New York, as assistant designer for Harrison & Abramovitz on the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. The young architect returned to San Diego in 1958 working for Dale Naegle - again in La Jolla. Licensed in 1960, he opened a small office – before closing it in 1963 to work for Robert Mosher and Roy Drew. The office of Architect Leonard Veitzer AIA reopened again on Fifth Avenue, this time in Lloyd and Ilse Ruocco’s Design Center Building where he worked alongside the region’s leading architects, landscape architects and designers in a collaborative environment.
From Leonard Veitzer’s ‘architectural autobiography’, “After being settled in at Mosher and Drew in La Jolla for a month, I was contacted by Milton Lincoff, an ophthalmologist, about designing a home for him and his wife Miriam (Mim) and their two daughters, Deena and Marcy. Although my time was filled with my tasks at Mosher and Drew and the long round trip to La Jolla, this opportunity was too appealing to pass up. We met at their home in Chula Vista on a Saturday morning and then drove over to their lot nearby. The property was a triangular half-acre at the end of a cul-de-sac in a quiet residential neighborhood. There was no view but the primary exposure was southward and sunny." We immediately felt comfortable with each other as we discussed what they wanted in a new home – not just the physical characteristics but also the spirit of place that could provide comfort and tranquility. I proposed term as that were agreeable and sent them a contract. I spent time with them over the next few weekends until I began to formulate some ideas. I worked evenings at home on Russmar Drive in the Serra Mesa neighborhood of San Diego, and after a few weeks presented the preliminary drawings. I had proposed a flat roofed, rambling single-story 3,450 square foot plan opening southward to and embracing the rear yard. Exteriors were of vertical western red cedar siding and had rounded corners. Interior spaces were open and spacious, with four different floor levels and varying ceiling heights throughout. Series of French doors opened the interiors to several patios and terraces. They received these ideas and designs enthusiastically and authorized me to launch into the construction documents. This would be a daunting task to undertake alone, given my full time job in La Jolla. I needed help. I hired an experienced architect friend of mine, Guy Anderson, who was forced to close his office of lack of clients. He needed work and I could rely on him to do my work well. I provided all the design and details and he did all the drafting as well as the structural engineering. McDonald and Paoluccio were the mechanical engineers and I provided the electrical design. I also wrote all the specifications. Guy and I agreed to split the construction document fee (drawings and specifications) 50/50. Although I visited the site on weekends during construction, Guy was responsible for the construction administration (supervision), for which he received the entire portion of the fee allocated for supervision. This arrangement worked very well. I would sketch out certain details at home and he would incorporate them into the drawings. And I would review his drawings weekly as well. The whole process went so smoothly that together we were able to complete all the construction documents in three months. I had suggested to the Lincoffs to interview Ted Mintz of Mabie & Mintz to be the general contractor. I had known Ted since I moved to San Diego in 1947. He had started out to be an architect but later chose to go into construction. Mabie and Mintz were quality builders and had developed an enviable reputation for honesty and efficiency. The Lincoffs were impressed with their work and signed a contract for $84,500. The construction went smoothly and was completed in the Spring of 1966. Joe Yamada provided a beautiful and sensitive landscape design and as the trees and plantings slowly matured, the whole house and its park-like environment became as one, serene and intimate."
The Russell Crane Residence (designed ca. 1948-49, additions ca.
1965) by architect Loch Crane
The Poe Street cul de sac exemplifies San Diego's post-War architectural legacy in a very unique manner. Boasting four homes by Loch Crane as well as 'Hillside House' by the Ruocco/Delawie partnership that was published in Arts & Architecture. Before and after previewing the Russell Crane Residence (1948), we hope you take the time to take in the Skip Starkey Residence (3321 Poe Street), Milton Fillius Residence (3336 Poe Street), as well as Loch Crane Residence II (3330 Poe Street). The ocean breezes, water views to the south (towards Shelter Island) and north (to Mission Beach) and fantastic history make this one of the most unique opportunities to purchase and restore a legacy.Architect Loch Crane left the Taliesin Fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright to join the US Army Air Corps in April 1942. Six years later, following his time in Japan after the War, he designed a small home for his bachelor brother Russell Crane. With much of the original home nearly intact, Loch expanded the house for his brother's growing family. For the first time since its construction, the family is selling the home. Loch Crane was born on December 21, 1922 in Pittsburgh. He arrived in Point Loma from Wyoming in 1929 with his brother Russ and his mother, who had moved the family there in search of a better place to raise her kids. Improved schooling was a priority for Mrs. Crane, and she had already taught her children to read herself. A young Loch Crane spent his time drawing incessantly and building the occasional boat with his own hands. Mrs. Crane showed her son the January 17, 1938 issue of Time Magazine, featuring Frank Lloyd Wright on the cover as “the greatest American architect of all time”. As Crane looked at the magazine, his mother said, “this is who you will go work for”. Crane was skeptical of his mother’s words. But after a number of high school drafting classes, and short stint in the offices of Richard Requa and Templeton Johnson (with Robert Mosher), he and his mother packed up her Model A Ford and drove to Taliesin West outside of Scottsdale. They arrived in Arizona in early March 1941 - Mrs. Crane brandishing a $1000 check for the fellowship tuition, and the younger Crane armed with completed drawings from Templeton Johnson’s office. Wright accepted him for the fellowship. After returning to Point Loma briefly, Crane returned to Taliesin in April to begin the long caravan road trip to Spring Green, Wisconsin for the spring and summer months with Wright and other students. To this day, Crane is unsure if Wright accepted him based on merit and skill, or saw his tuition check as immediately necessary to get his family and apprentices back to Taliesin. While in Spring Green, Crane was introduced to the woman who would become his wife. Clare was one of a cadre of a young women invited to Taliesin to be fellows and companions for the Wright’s daughter. Mrs. Wright played matchmaker with Crane and Clare, a bond that has lasted to this day.Less than a year later, Crane made a life-changing decision. While working in the Taliesin drafting room, news came over the Fisher radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. The date was December 7, 1941 and Crane was only eight months into his fellowship. Despite instructions from Mr. Wright that all of his fellows must be pacifists and conscientious objectors, Crane and a few others wanted to fight for their country. While other apprentices were jailed for refusing to enlist, Crane signed up for the Army Air Corps and terminated his Taliesin fellowship in April 1942.Following his WW2 service flying B-25s, Crane stayed in Japan through1946 teaching “twin-engine advanced” pilots and overseeing some construction efforts. Most important, he spent his free time photographing, drawing and researching Japanese architecture. Many of the photographs he took would take later end up in a slide show for Mr. Wright and his colleagues back at Taliesin West. Crane says that when he pointed out the red-orange tips of beams extruding from Shinto shrines, Frank Lloyd Wright commented “…even they have copied me…!” While traveling through Kyoto, Nara and Isai, Crane began his understanding of Japanese culture.Loch Crane returned to San Diego in late 1946 to his wife Clare. By 1948, he built his first “expandable house” at 3411 Udall Street in Point Loma – testing the concept for his own family. The concept house was intended to be built in stages – expanding as one’s family grew. What was supposed to start out as a one-bedroom house was expanded immediately as the Crane’s expected the birth of their son. Also on the drawing board at this time was a house for Crane’s brother, Russ.Crane began to pick up work immediately as a building designer – building small professional buildings and warehouses for Bob Golden and Gene Trepte, as well as a few homes for private clients. Soon, the City of San Diego began to pressure him about the volume of unlicensed work he was producing. Taking advantage of the GI Bill, Crane crammed a 5-year program of Architecture between 1954-57 and graduated Cum Laude from USC. In addition to his studies, Crane was student instructor for Cal Straub.Designing and creating boats and buildings are part of Crane’s connection with nature. Like sailing, driving or flying (Loch has logged over 3000 flight hours), “building with one’s own hands”, according to Crane, is “the essence of life”. Understanding the relationship between indoors and outdoors, building something useful, and creating small environments in harmony with the larger environment are the essence of his search for connection and belonging. He continues to believe in doing it yourself, finding your own way, and following your own path. Staying well outside the conventions of AIA meetings and conferences, as well as city politics, Crane reflects, “I want to turn to nature for my sense of belonging.
The Clitsome Residence (1938) by architect Lloyd Ruocco
This stunning example of International Style architecture, designed by Lloyd Ruocco (1907 - 1981) is a rarity beyond compare. Believed to be the architect’s first fully realized project, The Clitsome Residence (1938) helped to initiate a multi-decade career that spawned San Diego’s modernist heritage. Designing over 100 projects throughout the region, Ruocco’s work paved the way for architects, artists and designers for many years to come. This home showcases some of the tools Lloyd Ruocco would return to for years to come including flat roofs, exposed wood interiors while still reflecting on the Los Angeles work by world-renowned architects Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra of the period. Enjoy an expansive view to the east as well as the outdoors from every room through plentiful expanses of glass. Live in modern architecture. Enjoy the best of what San Diego has to offer
Arriving in San Diego in the early 20’s, architect Lloyd Ruocco (1907 - 1981) immersed himself, as a very young man, within the architectural community that thrived in San Diego in the early part of the last century. Following his graduation from Cal, he would return to San Diego and work within the offices of Requa Jackson as well as William Templeton Johnson. Along the way he would assist on the 1935 Panama Exposition, County Administration Building as well as the master plan for the community of Rancho Santa Fe under the supervision of his high school drafting instructor Lillian Rice. Growing increasingly dissatisfied with the rehashed revival styles that prevailed through the thirties, Ruocco opened his own offices in hopes of bringing a more modern style of architecture to San Diego. He along with his wife Ilse Hammon Ruocco, an interior designer and artist, would go on to become San Diego’s pioneering post-war modernists. Designing well over 100 projects throughout San Diego County, Lloyd is responsible for several projects that are considered by many, to be some of the areas best examples of the period.
According to Lloyd Ruocco historian, Todd Pitman, the
partnership of Kenneth Messenger and Lloyd Ruocco completed six designs
for the Modeltown exhibition at the 1935 California Pacific International
Exposition in Balboa Park. The Clitsome Residence in concept, and in
the deployment of the same sun trellis as the Modeltown designs, may
be the closest link to this unique display of ‘contemporary architecture’.
Bruce Dammann was born in Chicago in 1939 and graduated from the University of Illinois with Bachelor of Architecture in 1963. Following graduation he worked in Indiana and then in Los Angeles prior to moving to San Diego and working for Tucker, Sadler & Bennet and later for Paul W. Mckim & Asssociates. The Leipman House was designed at the time Mr. Dammann established PBD Architects Associated (in 1972) with O.W. Phipps and Richard Bundy.
The Gale and Ruth Residence (designed 1960-61) was designed by architect Richard John ‘Dick’ Lareau. This 5 bedroom, 2 bath, 2500 sq ft home resides on a third of an acre. The home is located near Fletcher Hills Elementary School, Parkway Middle School, Grossmont Middle and Grossmont College. The property enjoys quick access to the 125 Freeway and proximity to a wide array of retail and services. Original commissioning client, Gale Sheldon, took drafting classes and designed the 1967 addition of 1,170 square feet himself as well as a fully detailed landscape plan (all drawings will convey with the property). While the original home was approximately 1,400 sq ft., the later addition nearly doubled the livable space by finishing the lower floor and extending the upper floor. Following construction of the house, much of the furniture, lighting and cabinetry was custom made for the home.
The Beers Residence by San Diego architect Lloyd Ruocco is being presented for sale for the first time since Mr. Beers purchased plans from Ruocco and built it with his own hands. Following completion of the main house in 1954, Mr. Beers hired Ruocco again to design an annex for their washing facilities, a carport and two bedrooms & a bath for their expanding family (in 1960). More recently, in 2000, architect Leonard Veitzer designed a contemporary residence as a 3rd annex/building. All connected via outdoor paths/stairs, this unique family home expresses the architect and client’s mastery of post-war modernism open to San Diego’s moderate climate. Mostly glass and redwood, this garden pavilion, unmarred by any remodelers’ hands, has stood the test of time serving a family well.
Light-filled modern addition to a classic Ocean Beach cottage creates a spacious seven-room home with three full bathrooms on charming North O.B. street. Mature trees screen the property; ocean view from second-storey office and roof deck, double height atrium with glass wall looking out on a huge Monterey pine. Ample outdoor space, tons of light, flowing spaces. Original cottage is from the 1920's, the 2007 addition was designed by San Diego architect Ruediger Thierhoff and built by artisan builder Jason Lane (Starlight Lounge, UCSD Loft etc.). Perfect family home or artist's retreat.
Sim Bruce Richards' Larrick Residence is being presented for sale for the 2nd time since its completion in 1959. Richards’ fondness for employing cedar (incense, Port Orford) in nearly all of his designs stemmed from a successful partnership with Solana Beach’s Lumber & Builder’s Supply Company. Richards ended up building homes, utilizing the now rare material, for both Al Childs and Herschell Larrick Jr nearby. Childs’ and Larrick’s designs would exemplify the deployment of a multi-wood approach to interiors and exteriors. Pristine incense cedar ceilings highlighted oak floors and mahogany walls. In contrast with rough-sawn cedar siding, the ceiling boards were so clean from the specialized planning technique that decades later many of the installers’ fingerprints are visible on close examination. The Larrick Residence was one of only 2 known butterfly roof designs – the first being Richards’ 2nd residence for his own family in Point Loma. It is thought that Larrick’s role as a former WW2 aviator may have catalyzed the idea for the ‘winged’ design. Also unique for this home was original artwork commissioned for the property by Al’s wife, local artist Winetta Childs.
San Diego-based master architect Arthur Decker’s showpiece originally commissioned for Daily Californian editor Cy Casady is now publicly available for the first time since being nestled in its wooded, north-facing Mount Helix location. As one of his favorite works, Mr. Decker purchased this unique home from Mr. Casady and would raise his family and enjoy the rest of his life overlooking the El Cajon valley from the residence’s living room-wide wall of glass. This open, bright, expansive example of regional mid-century modernism retains its sleek original flair. As a rarity these days to find such a pristine example of post-War architecture saved from the clutches of remodelers, flippers, and careless owners, this two-owner home is in museum-quality condition.
Bernard started his professional career in architecture in 1950, remaining in San Francisco serving as a draftsman for Mario Corbett Architecture. Between 1951-52 he remained in the Bay Area working for Ward & Bolles Architects. Moving to San Diego by ’53 he worked for Clyde Hufbauer through 1954 when he hung out his own shingle as James F. Bernard, Architect. In 1956 Bernard was still working from his home office at 4375 Alamo Drive. Fellow architect John Mock recalled recently, “James was quiet, and had a stiff or infirmed arm which didn’t stop him from anything. He bought a lot in Pacific Beach from my Dad around 1964 to build an apartment building.” While his career was short, he died in 1965, only a few of his works have been located beyond the Ruja Residence (ca. 1957).