Lloyd Wright Gets the Modern Treatment

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Not many homes have their own Wikipedia page, but the John Sowden House does.

From said Wikipedia page:

Built by Lloyd Wright, the house is noted for its use of ornamented concrete blocks and for its striking facade, resembling (depending on the viewer’s points of cultural reference) either a Mayan temple or the gaping open mouth of a great white shark.

Note that we’re talking about Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., the eldest son of Frank Lloyd Wright.

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

If you’re thinking that the pool and some of the home’s more modern-looking features seem a bit out of place, you would be correct.

The house, with seven bedrooms, four baths, and 5,600 square feet (520 m2), was listed on the market at $1,575,000 in 2001. It was purchased that year by Xorin Balbes for $1.2 million. Balbes, who said the house was “a wreck” when he bought it, spent $1.6 million to restore the house, though some of his alterations drew criticism from preservationists as well as Lloyd Wright’s son, Eric Lloyd Wright. In addition to restoring the stonework, Balbes converted the three-room kitchen area into a large open kitchen, added new upscale bathrooms, and installed a pool and spa in the central court.

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

The almost-glowing velvet furniture throughout is an odd choice as well, in my opinion.

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Here’s a shot of one of those new bathrooms:

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Wikipedia is silent on the subject of the koi pond, but other sources online indicate that it too was a modern addition.

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Speaking of fish…

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Plus, more of that weird velvet furniture.

5121 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027

The spotlight in the living room is an interesting choice. I suppose when one lives in a famous home like this, it feels like the spotlight is always on you. It’s metaphorical, you see.

Additional photos can be viewed on the virtual tour.

About the Author

Marty E.

Naked Loon Editor-in-Chief

3 Comments on "Lloyd Wright Gets the Modern Treatment"

  1. Oh my oh my oh my……… This house once belonged to one of the suspects in the Black Dahlia murder case, a man who was also purportedly guilty of not only incest but of “loaning” his teenage daughter out to his famous friends, who included photographer Man Ray and legendary film director John Huston among others. It’s kind of not a shock the place was “a wreck.” I may be wrong, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been traded by less than exemplary hands. I mean, who would want to live there if they knew the history? Awesome design with a connection to architectural royalty can only withstand so much salacious activity.

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  2. I like the goldfish. Can’t go wrong with goldfish. :D

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  3. Well, actually, I suppose you can. But only if you wade into the pool to clean the bottom, which is essentially a case of bad planning. I don’t blame the goldfish for that. They were just doing what goldfish gotta do.

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