Destruction of a classic L.A. Times covers the destruction of a Richard Neutra house in Rancho Mirage. The New York Times also covers the story, asking How Much Change is Too Much? The house, known as the Maslon house, was put on the market following a death in the family. Just after escrow closed on the house, bamówrecker ball.
I happen to know Richard Neutra's son, Dion Neutra; here are a couple of excerpts from an email (he regularly sends letters out to a number of people):
From Feb 24, 2002:
The last authentic Neutra in the desert near Palm Springs is in jeopardy. Mrs. Maslon passed away last July, apparently without having made any provision in her will about preservation of the house in Rancho Mirage. That city has no preservation ordinance at all. It is said the house is in escrow and rumor has it that the new owners want to 'raise the roof' and extend the master suite. Let's hope they have the grace to come HERE to the source for consultation.
From March 31, 2002 [w/ some clarifications today per Dion]:
That good news is tempered by some very sad news. I have to report on the death of yet another iconic Neutra building; the Maslon residence in Rancho Mirage. It was the last authentic exmaple in the Coachella Valley of Neutra. Of the three we did there, only Maslon was still there in original condition; pristine; glorious gorgeous. Mrs. M. Died last July [no strings on how the house should be treated]; left her estate to her kids. They put the house on the market. I'm told they had only one offer from someone they were told would restore. They are as upset as anyone that it came out this way.
The demo permit was issued over the counter. There is no provision for 'unusual historic examples' or anything like that in RM. [...] Without any notice and no chance even to get this on video, the house was disposed of last week.
The Neutra.org web site
Finally! That tax prep is done. I'm gonna ooze away from in front of the computer and chill for a while. Yall have a good weekend! : )