Frank Lloyd Wright Ennis House Sold

The Ennis House Foundation has announced the sale of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House to business executive Ron Burkle for just under $4.5 million. “We are excited that Mr. Burkle has purchased the Ennis House and is committed to complete the rehabilitation of this irreplaceable icon,” says Marla Felber, Chair of the Foundation. “Mr. Burkle has a track record of preserving important historic homes, and we know he’ll be an excellent steward of the Ennis House.”

Ennis House

Since 1993, Burkle has owned the historic Greenacres estate, which was built in the late 1920s for silent film legend Harold Lloyd. He will continue the rehabilitation of the Ennis House begun in 2005 by the Ennis House Foundation. As part of the transaction, Mr. Burkle will provide some form of public access to the house a minimum of 12 days per year, according to the terms of a conservation easement held by the Los Angeles Conservancy. The easement stipulates this access for future owners of the home as well.

Built in 1924 for retailer Charles Ennis and his wife Mabel, the Ennis House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built by his son, architect Lloyd Wright. The house is the last and largest of the elder Wright’s four Los Angeles-area “textile block” houses which feature patterned and perforated concrete blocks that give a unique textural appearance to both their exteriors and interiors. The house and chauffeur’s quarters span roughly 6,200 square feet and were constructed of more than 27,000 concrete blocks; all made by hand using decomposed granite extracted from the site.

Despite its significance, the Ennis House suffered greatly over the years from deferred maintenance, deterioration of the concrete blocks, the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and record rainfall in 2005. That same year, the Los Angeles Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy stepped in and reorganized the nonprofit that owned the house, renaming it the Ennis House Foundation. The foundation spearheaded an effort that stabilized the house, repaired or replaced nearly 3,000 of the house’s concrete blocks, and restored a number of interior features.

However, the house needs additional rehabilitation work beyond the means of the foundation. Due to the lack of sufficient philanthropy to support more preservation work, after careful deliberation the Foundation placed the house on the market in 2009.

The Ennis House is designated as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #149 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Los Angeles Conservancy holds a detailed conservation easement on the house that will protect it in perpetuity. “We look forward to working with Mr. Burkle to ensure the long-term preservation of this beloved Los Angeles landmark,” said Linda Dishman, the Conservancy’s executive director.

Lower Image: Ennis House, Ennis House Foundation

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