Shusett demolition may begin tomorrow

exterior of Shusett residence

John Lautner’s Shusett residence in Beverly Hills is scheduled to be demolished, possibly starting tomorrow, August 18.

The Shusett residence, built in 1951, and the Harvey House, 1950 (owned by Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer) ¬†are the first two major commissions that John Lautner received, after several years of designing small houses. The Shusett residence was built to curve around a major tree, which still exists. The original plans were drawn by Louis Weihle, who was in Lautner’s office at the time and who is presently on the JLF Advisory Board. Although it has been remodeled extensively over the years, the basic structure still exists and could be restored to its previous glory by the right owners.

The current owners have applied for a demolition permit, however, which is now posted at the house. The sign says the demolition is to begin tomorrow, August 18, 2010. The Beverly Hills Building Department says that the permit has not yet been issued, however. Some minor details need to be taken care of first.

The John Lautner Foundation and the Los Angeles Conservancy have been in touch with the owners for several months, trying to convince them to either sell (there is a potential buyer) or to restore the house. Various Lautner home owners have agreed to speak with the present owners, show them their houses and talk to them about the pros and cons of restoration.

The property is at 9340 Monte Leon Lane in Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills does not have regulations to preserve significant buildings.

Photographs by Tycho Saariste

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