Modernism Reborn: The Impeccable Renovation of Lautner Harpel House

Their latest installation of “In Residence” takes us behind the scenes of Mark Haddawy’s 1950s home.

Sydney Franklin Sydney Franklin

Mark Haddawy has an eye for long-forgotten design. As co-founder of the New York– and Los Angeles–based boutique Resurrection Vintage, he sees the potential in neglected pieces of vintage clothing. But he also has a knack for reviving midcentury architecture and puts forth the effort to restore such buildings to their original glory. His latest project is actually his own home, Lautner Harpel House, designed by modernist architect John Lautner in the Hollywood Hills.

In a new video directed by Victoria Hely-Hutchinson, cultural storytelling channel NOWNESS explored Haddawy’s home to discuss Lautner Harpel House and his work to restore it. The film is part of the “In Residence” series in which NOWNESS tours the home of visionary artists, architects and designers and reveals a unique angle on the project, exposing both the hidden architectural elements within the house as well as Haddawy’s daily use of the formerly forgotten structure.

Haddawy spent two years painstakingly renovating the house, which was built in 1956 for Willis “Bill” Harpel, a Los Angeles radio announcer. Haddawy bought the house in 2006 and pursued the massive restoration project that many preservationists had been too timid to undertake. Previous owners had ruined the original construction by expanding the ground floor and adding a second story. Haddawy pored over blueprints and archival photographs to uncover Lautner’s true vision.

“There are so many moves that the architect makes that you don’t see the moment you see the house,” says Haddawy in the video. He compares living in the Lautner Harpel House to a familiar poem or song, one he’s heard before but never fully understood until he takes the time to observe it from different perspectives. “It was never intended to be a perfect house. There’s a lot of texture and movement in a way that’s very sympathetic to the house sort of aging and taking on its own character over time.”

Haddawy has restored many architectural masterpieces in and around Los Angeles. He’s brought the work of Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and Pierre Koenig with his Case Study House #21, among others, back on the map.

Images via NOWNESS