Eames House for Max De Pree

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Eames House for Max De Pree

Postby classic form » Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:01 pm

I have been looking around Zeeland for this house whenever I was in town as I had lost track of it after seeing it many many years ago. I ran across what I thought to be the house designed by Charles Eames in 1954 for Max De Pree (son of D.J. De Pree). I wasn't sure so I snapped a couple pics from my cell and sent them to the Eames office for further information. They were gracious enough to copy what they had and mail it to me and I was able to verify it was the same house. Looks like it has been kept up very well.

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Postby Tony » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:06 pm

I wonder what those large golf balls are in the small B&W shot?

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Postby classic form » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:13 pm

Trees?

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Postby moderns-r-us » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:24 pm

C.F.

I did not know that this existed.

There are elements of this house that remind me of your house.

Coincidence?
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Postby rockland » Tue Nov 20, 2007 6:51 pm

big shade trees! i would love to see inside.
makes sense they would just use a big graphic ball in the model.
and a nice model it is.
i, as well, had no idea this house existed.

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Postby classic form » Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:35 am

MRU...it does have some similarities doesn't it; two stories, solid walls (on one end at least) repeating vertical modules. 1954 for the De Pree house, 1956 for the Kirkpatrick house. Does the De Pree house seem lighter somehow to you or is it my imagination?

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Maybe the thickness of the facia/roof is causing this perception?

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Postby moderns-r-us » Wed Nov 21, 2007 8:33 am

Also the basic proportions and mass seem similar. I think the biggest and most unique aspect of similarity for the two house is the two floor vertical mullions of the windows. They are designed almost like an office building curtainwall at roughly the time of its post war proliferation by SOM and Mies (ala Lever House etc.).

DePree does seem a little lighter. It could just be the reverse color scheme. It would be interesting to know the module and width of the vertical mullions of each house.

This could be a compare and contrast case study or thesis for someone going for an architectural history degree.

I had never thought of it before the connection to this Eames project (DePree), but there is also some kinship between your House and the Eames' own house in Pacific Palisades. Don't you think? Is your plan posted somewhere I can look at it again.
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Postby classic form » Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:27 am

After several attempts to post up the floor plan I have to give up. I could email whatever you would like to see if you are interested. The module is 2' 8" making each of the three main "sections" of the house 18'8", Living room, Kitchen/Utility/Vanity/Stairhall, and Dining/Family areas. Total sqft. 3500.

I have also looked at the Eames' own house and could see many obvious similarities; two stories, repeating module, balcony overlooking living room...
It seems that Nelson also wanted to use steel for the construction as he wrote to the Kirpatricks 02/03/1955: "Now that the plan is pretty well jelled, we are starting sessions with engineers. I am dying to get a real cleancut structure for the shell and would love to keep wood out of it as much as possible. As an old house holder speaking to an old house holder, you will probably agree that anything keeping maintenance and insurance costs down is a reasonably good idea" but it looks like the steel bids came in too high so they went with redwood, although, the larger areas with no glass are aluminum.

I might have to leave a note on the door of the DePree house and see if I can get an invite inside:] I would love to have a tour of the place, maybe snap some photos.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:16 am

Yes...... by all means, snap some pictures!
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Postby moderns-r-us » Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:19 am

I think the DePree continuous clerestory windows as opposed to your larger spandrel panels contribute to the overall feeling of lightness.
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Postby SDR » Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:03 pm

I assume the railings we see in the old photos are on the other side from the street shots you took ? Also, the carport has been extended (?) and partially enclosed ?

Eames architecture is almost non-existent, isn't it ? Exciting. . .

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Postby classic form » Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:51 am

Yes, railings are on the back side...the article states that "the original design included plans for several future extensions to the house, all fo whick wre added in later years." It looks like they extended the carport roofline and enclosed it for an added room, maybe a workshop/storage area? The left side is an enclosed garage that looks original. They also added a greenhouse off the back but it looks 80's to me (curved glass roof). It also looks like they covered the walkway from the carport area to the front door. I'll take more pics next time I am out that way to give us a better idea of the changes. I am really hoping that the current owners will let me in the front door:]

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Postby classic form » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:42 am

Stopped by the house again this morning...the owner (second, he has lived there since 1976) was there as well as some trades for a little restoration. I knocked on the door to ask if I could take some pics and was given the OK. No invite in (I wouldn't have asked me in either as I'm not looking my "best" today) but I took quite a few from the outside and caught a glimpse of the interior through the front door. Lots of original furniture, cabinets, lighting etc...

The house wasn't in as good of shape as I thought after seeing it up close. The owner mentioned replacing rotten wood, I coud see plants growing on the roof, a window company pulled up while I was there (hope they are not messing them up, I didn't ask:) The house is not being lived in by the looks of it. He said they have a place by the lake and it looks like they spend their time there.

Here are a couple of the pics with a couple of my house mixed in to continue with the comparison...

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There is a stairway to the left of the front door to the upstairs that you can not see going in the same direction as mine.

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And now for the longest Nelson bench EVER MADE!!!!


























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I was really shocked to see the shape of the interiors from what little I could see.

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Postby classic form » Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:33 am

No comment on the worlds largest slat bench?

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Postby SDR » Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:50 am

Our jaws are still on the floor.

What supports that thing ? I'm guessing there are brackets cantilevered from the concrete. . .


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Postby classic form » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:59 am

I couldn't really tell from my angle...what do you think of the "greenhouse"?

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Postby rockland » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:38 am

I like the bench!

I was overwhelmed by the lack of care and how much work needs to be
done. All the dead foliage on the roof etc. Looks like 35 years of minimal
maintenance?
Maybe just too much house for them.
The greenhouse seems damp and claustrophobic. An odd addition. And
i love plants. Even in a cold climate i prefer an open patio. Cleaned up
and dressed with some nice tropicals it could be a nice winter retreat?

Also dying to see more! How it connects to the interior etc.
Wonder if they are cleaning it up to sell?

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Postby classic form » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:50 am

I'll post all of the pics I have of the outside...none of the interior.

As far as selling goes, I don't know. It really has been neglected though. Notice the CSS poles just lying on the floor of the greenhouse as well as a MMG desk in orange that has a pile of junk on it. In the workshop out front next to the garage there was either a thin edge or loose cushion sofa that had been badly water damaged. I did see an original Hang-it-all up in the entrance but couldn't see much else.

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Postby SDR » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:35 am

There's something a bit odd about those outrigger beams being fatter than the posts they rest on. A clue might be the one on the far right, which is revealed to be a pair of rafters, sandwiching its post and resting on scabbed support blocks ? Have the other rafter pairs been filled in ? They look a little heavy, though perhaps the original (?) pairs look too light ?

I'm not crazy about the greenhouse, orthodox enough in itself but stuffed a little too tightly into the existing structure ?

The bench certainly seems to float ! Too bad about that sagging baseboard radiator (?) beneath it. . .

Thanks for the great photos and notes.

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Postby classic form » Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:58 am

Looking closer at the sheet I received from the Eames office it shows the center rafters to be closed in. I can't make out the outside rafters on the sheet but looking at the back view of the house (from my pics) it shows the two outside open and the inside closed...looks original.

Also it looks like gutters were added to the balcony in the back (as it cuts through the original side privacy wall) and looking at the side of the house is it possible that the main roof has gutters and that what we are seeing is a very thin profile gutter system? It looks as if there is something coming down the corner of the house and curving away towards the bottom near the transition from house to sliding door/greenhouse. You can see something similar in the view of the side of the house towards the garage on the corner of the house by the gas meter...


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