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Case Study House #22 The Stahl House Los Angeles

For decades, the California Dream meant the chance to own a stucco home on a sliver of paradise. The point was the yard with the palm trees, not the contour of the walls. Julius Shulman helped change all that. In May 1960, the Brooklyn-born photographer headed to architect Pierre Koenig’s Stahl House, a glass-­enclosed Hollywood Hills home with a breathtaking view of Los Angeles—one of 36 Case Study Houses that were part of an architectural experiment extolling the virtues of modernist theory and industrial materials. Shulman photographed most of the houses in the project, helping demystify modernism by highlighting its graceful simplicity and humanizing its angular edges. But none of his other pictures was more influential than the one he took of Case Study House No. 22. To show the essence of this air-breaking cantilevered building, Shulman set two glamorous women in cocktail dresses inside the house, where they appear to be floating above a mythic, twinkling city. The photo, which he called “one of my masterpieces,” is the most successful real estate image ever taken. It perfected the art of aspirational staging, turning a house into the embodiment of the Good Life, of stardusted Hollywood, of California as the Promised Land. And, thanks to Shulman, that dream now includes a glass box in the sky.  

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1635 Woods Dr
Los Angeles, CA90069
(208) 429-1058

I learned of The Stahl House (Case Study House 22) on an MCM Facebook group I belong to. As fortune would have it, we happened to be planning a trip to Los Angeles, so I knew right away that a visit here would definitely be on our agenda! First thing... reserve early because dates sell out! Second thing, once you're booked, do yourself a favor and don't rely on Waze or Google Maps to get you there. We ended up being about 10 minutes late because the mapping apps couldn't reliably get us to the house. You get driving directions when you book your tickets, so print those out and follow them. Much easier. There are only three tours a day and when I say "tours" I'm being generous. There's not really a "tour" per se -- you just walk from room to room admiring the design and simplicity of the home against the breathtaking backdrop views of Los Angeles. Because the house is so small, they limit the number of guests who can schedule at the same time. There were four of us friends who went, and when we arrived, there were 8 others already there. (Remember I said we were late?) Yeah. Anyway, they only allow you to park in the carport / driveway and it only holds four cars, so you have to assume about 16 is the max capacity for any given time slot. Randy was our docent and he was lovely. He did a great job of briefing us outside the house about important safety info such as, "If you step off the concrete and into gravel you might fall off the mountain" and other helpful hints like that. My goal is always not to die on vacation, so I paid close attention. Before allowing entrance to the house, the docent also reviews the many guidelines of what you can and can't do on the property regarding photographs, etc. You have to read and sign liability waiver, a photo release form and agree to all the rules before you go in. After being there, I completely understand why there are so many rules and why no children under the age of 10 or pets are permitted as it truly is a safety issue. There are no fences preventing someone from falling off the mountain. Once everyone has signed the waivers and rules forms, you go into the pool area through the carport door, where you immediately see the iconic view of the side angle of the house and roof line. At that point, the docent has already asked everyone to wait a few minutes before approaching the house so that each person can have the opportunity to take photos of the house from that vantage point without any people in the shot. Take your pics NOW because someone will invariably just wander into your shot and then you've missed your chance. You can see in my photos what I mean. After that, you approach the house, where you are asked to remove your shoes and then you're free to go inside and wander. There are a couple areas that are blocked off as "private" areas where you can't go and believe me, there's no sneaking in there either because the place is so small and totally made of glass, so everyone will see you! After about 30 to 45 minutes of oohing, aaahing, milling around admiring everything and taking photos, the docent will gather the entire group in the living room and give you a full history of the property, talk about the Stahl family, how the house came to be, and answer your questions. Tidbit: The house is furnished by Design Within Reach, so if you fall in love with the looks you can buy the same furnishings. What I loved about choosing the latest tour of the day is that you get to see the house and the view in full daylight, at sunset, passing through twilight and in complete darkness. To me, that was like getting more than one tour because the house looks and feels different in each light. Daylight tours are $35 each, however for the late tour we paid $50 a head, but at some point I assume the price will go up, as all things do. The evening tour is, IMO, well worth the extra money. You have to come here with a mindset of SLOW. If you've ever been to that ginormous house in Asheville NC where it takes you 90 minutes just to see all the rooms, be advised that The Stahl House is the POLAR opposite. It's small, so you can walk every inch of the permitted areas in about 3 minutes. The point isn't the size of the home or the length of the tour, it's the history of the family and the house, the design elements that will never be able to be duplicated again because of government regulation and intervention and the sheer beauty and daring of the architecture and ideas behind it. If you're a fan of architecture, particularly midcentury modern, this is a must-see when you're in LA!

"Small is Beautiful." Although these words were penned by E.L Schumacher's acclaimed critique of Western economics, they perfectly describe one of the most acclaimed and best known works of architecture not only in Los Angeles, but, indeed, the entire world. That anyone can, for a modest fee, be able to spend an hour or hour and a half here, is a tribute to the Stahl family, who, recognized that their parents' dream house was, in fact, a house that so many dreamed themselves of living in. I don't recall how old I was when I was I saw my first picture of the Stahl House. I'm sure I didn't even know that it was called that, or even Case Study House 22, but I always remember and knowing that it was someone's house, a house owned by someone I didn't know. I figured that I would never visit it. Growing up in a mid-century modern home, built in 1963, by Thomas & Richardson that, if not directly inspired by the house drew inspiration from Koenig, Ellwood, Jones & Emmons and many others. What is so surprising, first is that for the back of the house looks like a big metal shed with a flat roof. Upon entering through the side gate and being escorted onto the deck by the docent, one has to be careful to keep your feet firmly planted on the ground because that view will take you off your feet! Take a few deep breaths and turn your attention to house itself and so get your feet back on the ground. Careful listening to the friendly and knowledgable guide will fill in all those details about the house you never read in a book. There is plenty of time to sit and enjoy the legendary view and enjoy a little bit of the California dream, so well captured in Julius Shulman's iconic photograph.

[41/100] The view is surreal as far as the eye can see. It's so open and breathtaking. No obstructions just city and sky. The house is so open! It is well kept and well designed. I loved the books, photos and magazines that documented the history of The Stahl House. I can only imagine how the view is on a clear LA night. Melisa Stahl gave the tour on my visit and she was great! Very knowledgeable and welcoming. She was kind enough to take photos since I went alone. The drive up the hill was windy but it was an adventure on it's own. The road is narrow so drive carefully and slowly. There are blind spots especially with some turns and curves. Parking is limited so bring a smaller car if you can & carpool. Tour dates and tickets are available online. An entire month can be sold out so plan ahead. Directions and instructions are sent via email. Pros: - Just above Sunset Blvd. - Even with 10 other visitors, the tour is still intimate. - Very simple rules and photos are aloud ONLY WITH CELLPHONE CAMERAS. - Great history Cons: - Traffic - Parking It's an amazing house and a great experience! The history behind it gives it that much more character.

We came here on a tour of the Stahl House in Sept 2015 for an afternoon 2:15 pm tour. The place was amazing; great views all around and it costs $35 per person. If you're free for a couple hours and up for some awesome photo opps, then this is the place to be! The tour only lasted 30-45 minutes but you can remain on the grounds to explore as you please. I can see how the evening tour may be more popular since folks may want to stay for the sunset views.

If you are doing L.A. do the Stahl house (just do it); It is one of the premier icons in L.A.. It's seen in countless print media, movies etc. It's one of the coolest things to do when visiting Tinsel Town. Costing a full pouch of coinage to take a tour, but, oh well, everything in L.A. has a hefty price tag. Wear your vintage clothing; a nice touch when you take your pix. Also on the historical landmark list. It's famous, and that's why we go; it's small and probably not the best example of glass houses, but it's famous; it's not really much of a tour, but it's famous and that's why we do. Everything else has been said below.

What an unforgettable experience. I went with a group of 15, which kind of felt like a lot of people for a small house tour. None the less, there was plenty of room to snap beautiful pictures. This is a wonderful casestudy house to learn from!!

Hands-down, the most amazing views of LA can be seen from the Stahl House. I finally got to visit this LA icon last week and ponied up for the pricier evening tour. It is well-worth the $90. They limit the tour to about a dozen people and parking is right up on the house (as many as the garage can accommodate). The evening tour starts at 5pm and ends at 6:30pm, which is perfect as you get to see the house and the views during full sunlight, dusk then at nighttime. The house itself is small and there is not much to explore, but the history and the significance of all the details was amazing. And the views are just indescribable. You truly would not need a TV with those kinds of views. This is the perfect place to bring out-of-town guests as it is the most iconic of the Case Study Houses, and even LA houses, in general.

beautiful hour spent at Stahl House. loved the views & history of the home. Was lucky enough to hear about growing up in the iconic house from one of the Stahl's himself. Would love to come back for an evening tour, once tickets become available.

A fantastically great tour, and a hidden gem (albeit a hidden gem that commands a top of the world view of L.A.!). Keep in mind that this is a family home and it is still used by family members from time to time. This means that there are weird rules, one being that you must arrive precisely within a 15 minute window. They warn that you will be turned away if you deviate from this, and we witnessed this in action. It's all out of necessity, though. Tours are casual and you are invited to sit on furniture and floor (shoes not allowed, though). Apparently, they cut a deal with Design Within Reach to display their furniture in exchange for some promos (cannot confirm this, though). Well worth the nominal cost of the tour and the arduous drive up the Hollywood Hills!

I had trouble managing my expectations. Reserving months in advance and paying $35 (higher for the evening admission) set the bar high. Also, the photos of the home are leading images of modern architecture which made me think this was a ground-breaking feat of design. What I experienced was an hour of wandering a tiny property with a nice view. The house is small and simple like a sleek pool house on a mansion estate, but without the mansion or estate. Pierre Koenig's design successfully capitalizes on the view and incorporates glass-reflections of the swimming pool as a key element, but I was nagged by a number of small things. - No Tour: The docent provided a Spartan amount of information and then had us roam like grazing goats with an occasional shepherd's hook for those who strayed too far. Letting people through the front door and answering questions is not a "tour". Learn everything you can BEFORE coming here and then you'll be properly prepared to question the docent. - No Shoes: Shoes are not allowed in the house. Somehow, the high entrance fee somehow doesn't afford the ability to get disposable booties like at other house tours. - Furniture: The furniture was staged like when a house is put-up for sale. There were flyers in the house about the company that provided the furniture. - The View: I felt foolish for paying for the view. There are many free views in Los Angeles that are equal or better. - Historical Significance: I'm perturbed that the house is being treated like it was the "first of its kind" or a unique idea. It's not. The first glass houses started about a decade earlier. - False Impression: People mistakenly think the building is cantilevered or supported by stilts. I'm bothered by this misconception. Not because visitors are misinformed, but they have been almost brainwashed by the overly romanticized photos. Like a fake movie set, these photos created an illusion of a fictitiously fun lifestyle. Visitors are feeding off their imagination rather than the reality of the house. - Bargain Building: When it comes to touring architecture, I am not a fan of seeing the cheapest built structure like these Case Study homes. It's frustrating that the street side of the house looks like temporary military housing. I know my comments might seem picky and go against the old saying that "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones", but I don't live in a glass house like the Stahl family. Ultimately, I appreciate the Stahl House, but the visit made me feel a little dirty like I've been conned.

One of the most amazing and beautiful view I have ever seen in LA! Definitely suggest paying extra and going on the evening tour so you can see the different lighting throughout the hour and a half that you have there. You park by at the house in the Hollywood Hills and they give you a brief explanation and then you're free to roam and take pictures. Every angle of the house is so photogenic. The mid century modern glass house is a special place and so grateful that the Stahl family opened it up to the public to share their special home. Absolutely loved my experience and time there.

What an amazing evening spent at the Stahl Family home! I cannot describe the experience as the gate opens from the carport and you get your first glimpse of the house past the pool. Our docent, Scott, was knowledgeable and passionate about the home, and let all the visitors have plenty of time to take it all in. Mighty recommend this tour and well worth the $35 entry fee, which goes to restoring the home.

I cannot recommend visiting the Stahl House highly enough. This is an architectural gem (with a kick-ass view), and every Angeleno needs to come see it. The "tours" are one hour, but they're a lot more free-form than you may be used to - basically you're given a short introduction, some ground rules, and then you can roam free and take photos. You can ask the tour guide questions, but you're generally free to wander. You can sit on all of the furniture and take as many photos as you like (but you can't publish them commercially). No shoes allowed in the house, and a few spaces are off-limits due to safety or the Stahl family's request - mind your manners! Tour sizes are kept small so that people can better enjoy the home. The Stahl family still owns the home, and according to our (awesome) tour guide John, they are pretty keen on keeping it open for people to enjoy. I hope they retain ownership as long as possible! For two of us, it was $70 for a 1 hour tour. 1 hour doesn't sound like a lot, but we had plenty of time to photograph everything we wanted to, chat with our tour guide, and take a moment to ponder the beautiful home and view. I'll be back soon for an evening tour!

If you're a fan of architecture, or particularly Mid century design, this is a must see on your LA list. We took an afternoon tour and the host, Andrew, was friendly and knowledgeable. As a friend of the family, he shared lots of personal stories and also his knowledge of the building and architecture. There were around 10 people on the tour which was a perfect size and were able to view almost eh entire home. We also took our 5 year old with us and she was entertained by Andrew's lovely daughter. It is truly a sight to behold and breathe in.

I finally got the chance to schedule a tour of The Stahl House and it was worth every dollar! I love that the tour groups are smaller so you really get a chance to enjoy the architecture and views, as well as get some awesome photos of the place. I booked the midday tour which is the longest (and more expensive) tour, because you get to see the transition from day to night. It's amazing. What's cool is that the tour guide is a personal friend of the Stahls' and really knows the ins and outs of the history. I visited in mid-November and it definitely got chilly so be sure to bring a jacket. It's also situated in the windy hills of Hollywood so I wouldn't recommend driving a super lowered car. My friend drove his Audi and it took a pretty long time to get in and out of the driveway...and not without a scratch :'( Anyway, definitely, definitely worth a trip whether you're visiting or a local angelenos. I did a blog post on my visit with more facts, links and photos so check it out if you want the nitty gritty details of my trip!

Hands down one of the most beautiful spots we've seen in LA. We were on a waiting list, and got into a sunset tour (plan ahead, as the spots on tours are limited). It was breathtaking and so interesting listening to our guide, Randy, tell us about the history of the house. Could easily have stayed there all night. If you are a fan of modern - then GO.

I was turned away from a tour (the door was closed in my face and I wasn't even allowed on the premise) that I paid for at the Stahl House so I will definitely NOT be coming back even though I've been wanting/dreaming to see the Stahl house for months. Extremely disappointed by the customer service and their rude treatment. My cousin lives in San Diego and she took time off of work and drove all the way to LA to come see the Stahl house with me. She purchased both of our tickets online. The first time she received an automated cancellation notice and was confused, so she called Sherri to clear things up. So she then re-bought the tickets and Sherri told her that as long as we received a confirmation e-mail, we would be fine and our tickets would be good to go. With a confirmation e-mail in hand for June 6th, we showed up at the Stahl house but had trouble finding the house in the hilly path so we arrived 13 minutes late. Randy answered and we told him our names. His demeanor instantly changed when he found out we were not "on the list." We showed him the June 6th confirmation e-mail as well as a a Paypal receipt. Randy didn't care that we were showing him proof that we bought tickets, he just kept saying we "weren't on the list." When we showed him the Paypal receipt he told us that that didn't mean we had paid for the ticket, it meant that we had reserved a ticket but didn't actually pay. We were baffled by this as we were showing him a receipt for $70!! He was telling us to our faces that this wasn't a proof of payment! He said proof of payment was a confirmation e-mail. We then showed him the confirmation e-mail for June 6th. He acted extremely suspicious of us (I strongly suspect he thought we were trying to get a free ticket) and then called Sherri on the phone. He referred to us as "two females" even though we told him our names and was explaining the situation to her. The most disturbing thing I heard him say was "yeah, yeah. I'll shut this down." "I'll shut this down??" I was shocked he would say that while we were standing right there. He did apologize to us but said "I've got people in there and they've only got an hour. So I have to get back to them." As if we were not people too? He was treating us like we were intruding upon his tour with "real" people that paid "real" money... when we were fully paying customers ourselves. Then he starts saying "this is why we have people come early" as if to blame the situation on us arriving a bit late and suddenly causing a hold up. Even though I heard him say on the phone that there was a no-show to the tour, he STILL would not even allow us on the premise of the Stahl house and shut the door on us telling us to call Sherri. When I asked for Sherri's phone #, he wouldn't even give it to us. He just said we should check the website. My cousin and I were in total shock of how we were treated. When we called Sherri she continued to tell us that we did not actually pay for the tour and it was only after continuous callbacks that she told us we DID pay for the tour even though we received a confirmation e-mail for June 6th, we selected "June 5th" in the checkout area. So instead of apologizing for the mix-up, we were "blamed" for ordering for the wrong date. First of all, there wasn't even a tour given on June 5th. Why was that an option in the checkout area? Why can't they keep track of who paid and who did not pay? Why were they so confused by our receipt and confirmation e-mail? Plus our confirmation e-mail said June 6th, we arrived on June 6th and they still did not honor that. Then they kept telling us we never paid for the tour when we paid a good $70! The entire time they treated us like we were in the wrong the entire time, we ordered the tour incorrectly, we showed up late, we weren't "on the list," we parked in the wrong area. We did get our money refunded, and this whole transaction on the phone happened right outside the Stahl house, the place they wouldn't let us into, a tour that we fully paid $70 for. This is definitely a very "exclusive" and "private" type of tour. They are not welcoming or friendly at all. I am sad that I never got to visit such a beautiful location, but I honestly lost all interest in ever coming back. tl:dr even if you shelled out $70 for this tour, they might turn you away at the door and act suspicious of you the entire time.

Yeah it's a beautiful home, with an amazing view, but there is no way I would pay 90 bucks to see it. I was invited by a friend who was suckered into taking the tour by a friend of hers. By the way, you read that right, I said 90 dollars per person. Or 50 per person if you buy two. They also had a cheaper tour at 60 dollars per person or 35 per person if you buy two or more. Don't get me wrong, the house is something to see, but I do not feel that it's worth that much money. Perhaps because I am not materialistic and don't care for luxury it's didn't impress me like it did my friend. Years as a paramedic has taught me that money does not buy happiness nor its a reflection of a person's worth as a human being. There are other things that I value more in people. But if you like money and what it can do for you, even if deep inside you are not truly happy, this is a must see place. Some may say that I missed to point. That the house is more about the architectural beauty than money, but is it really? In my opinion both go hand to hand. Also, if you enjoy photography, leave your camera at home. They only aloud you to take pictures with cell phones. No other type of camera is allowed. And you have to sign releases. There is just too many rules. I felt like I was a kid being watched all the time by a parent that was ready to snap at me at any time. Don't get me wrong, the guy was very nice but watchful like a hawk. They have this idea about the house being exploited if they were to aloud people to take pictures with a good camera. Can you spell paranoia?

This house is absolutely beautiful. The design is amazing; there is a reason why so many photographs are taken here! It has featured in various photo shoots, advertising campaigns, films, and TV shows. Known as Case Study House No. 22, it is open for tours to the public. I had the opportunity to come here with several friends earlier this year and I am so grateful that I came. Not only is the architecture beautiful, but the views are breathtaking as well. We did an evening tour and the photos came out really well. There are several restrictions to your visit here. Obviously you have to buy tour tickets ahead of time as all viewings are by reservation only. They also have very limited parking as they allow a maximum of five cars per tour. And they ask that we all come in together, so your entire party needs to be on time. Our tour guide was really nice; he gave us a short introduction and then had us all sign a liability waiver/photography release form. He was on site the entire tour to watch us and also answer any questions we might have; he was very knowledgeable about the house. But for the most part we had the house to ourselves and were allowed to roam around freely... with the exception of the second bedroom. That is the Stahl family's private bedroom (they are still living in this house) so it is off-limits, although you can take pictures of it (and since it has a glass wall you can look inside). The tours are expensive but worth it. You should definitely come here when you get a chance :)

This is iconic LA residence that's now open for private tours! We've all seen nice houses with magnificent views and infinity pools but this one is special. It's small but cozy, intimate and very Zen. Truly magical place! I want to come back! Tips: plan your visit in advance because spots fill out fast. Evening tours are more expensive but better because you get to see daytime, nighttime and sunset views of the house and LA.