Garcia House on Film
9 Min Reading
An icon of modern architecture sets the stage for a new collection paired with best sellers.
Exceptional architecture can elevate any occurrence. Such is the case with the beguiling array of images captured by photographer and DJ, Myles Hendrik, in and around acclaimed architect John Lautner’s modernist icon in the Hollywood Hills, the Garcia House. The home’s spectacular geometries, retro-futuristic design, and illustrious history make it a destination of world-class architectural significance. Its innate drama, perched 60 feet above a canyon, imbues something upon all who enter.
Silhouetted by the Garcia House wearing MP-2 with clip.
A Los Angeles landmark designed by esteemed architect, John Lautner in 1962.
Hendrik’s film photos offer a glimpse at the astounding location and to truly understand the Garcia House requires stepping back to 1962. Lautner constructed the unconventional abode for Hollywood composer and notable jazz musician, Russell Garcia. He positioned the almond-shaped home atop angular steel caissons so that no part of the central structure touches the ground.
Beneath the parabolic roof, Lautner punctuated the facade with stained-glass windows. Altogether, it looks as if a vessel from the future landed on a cliffside.
The spiral staircase, terrazzo floors and lava rock walls are original to the home.
Mirroring the iconic arch of the Garcia House, the Gregory Peck Clip offers a vintage aesthetic.
From the time it welcomed the Garcia family, the residence has been featured in Hollywood movies and frequented by celebrity guests. Over the years, it fell into disarray—and an owner in the ‘80s removed many original interior elements, leaving only a toothbrush rack, toilet paper holder and the kitchen sink. In 2002, entertainment business manager, John McIlwee and his Broadway producer husband, Bill Damaschke, acquired the home from actor/director Vincent Gallo, who said it would change their lives.
Timeless optical styles, Ahmya and Carling are captured in the living room.
Altair in Brushed Gold + Teal Polar worn poolside.
“This house has changed our lives in ways we could never have imagined,” McIlwee says, “from personal growth to the interactions we’ve had with people.” Gallo gifted the couple the home’s original plans, and they sought to restore it to its former glory. Further, McIlwee joined the board of The John Lautner Foundation (where he’s the only Lautner homeowner). With the assistance of architecture firm Marmol Radziner, interior designer Darren Brown, and environmental designer Josh Sharp, the couple dedicated years to the Garcia House, while living with it, in essence acting as stewards of its design legacy. “Lautner’s architectural policy was that if there are better technologies in the future, change things and make it better,” McIlwee explains. “We were able to do things that had to be done but, short of the furnishings, it still looks like it’s original.” In 2008, the couple added a pool, which was originally part of Lautner’s design. Its shape mirrors that of the home, and its position requires traversing the property and engaging with the stunning topography.
The home’s furnishings have been carefully curated, including these 1974 Saporiti dining chairs.
The gold-tone of the vintage O’Malley clip compliments the warm wood tones of the home.
“The house has two definitive feelings to it: a very glamorous, sexy and sophisticated one and a very California, ‘I’m at one with nature’ sensation,” McIlwee says. “John Lautner was a master of integrating indoor and outdoor spaces. For our house, you have to go out from the bedroom outside to the living room to get coffee in the morning. It’s covered and it’s Los Angeles, so the weather is fine. But Lautner provides an opportunity to be at one with the surroundings.” At dusk, the entire canyon turns bright blue as the sun sets—then it goes dark outside both glass sides of the home.
McIlwee and Damaschke began to refresh the interiors once more in 2018, putting a late ‘80s and early ‘90s spin on the interior design and decoration. “It’s been possible to alter the design without changing the integrity of the structure,” McIlwee says. An impeccable collection of art and furnishings pepper the space, conversing with attributes like the Terrazzo flooring and spiral staircase.
“In LA, our landmarks are these houses,” McIlwee continues. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to share it with people. This house has emboldened us to further the education of others. We do so with museum access and student tours. Partnerships like this one with Oliver Peoples help further the cause of architecture and design.” Beyond their Californian connection, Oliver Peoples and the Garcia House are bound together by details—glass to lens, metal caissons to titanium temples and more. Of course, both were considered modern when they launched and remain relevant today. “It’s a mood,” McIlwee says. “When I’m in the house, I feel inspired.” Whether experienced in person or through Hendrik’s lens, the Garcia House is an architectural landmark unlike any other.
The house is surrounded by lush greenery including agave, cacti and succulents.
TK-3 in Brushed Gold with a Yellow Wash lens offers an effortlessly cool look.
Words: David Graver
PHOTOS: Myles Hendrik