The Case Study House Program drew up 36 sets of plans for low-cost, modernist houses from some of the greatest midcentury architects. Some were never built, others were demolished, and of those left standing, most are tucked away on private property or behind invite-only events and exorbitant admission fees.
That makes it all the more amazing that you can visit Pierre Koenig's Bailey House (Case Study House #21) for free and on a whim (walk-ups are welcome, though appointments are preferred). You can thank Seomi International, for that. The gallery, which uses the house as its showroom, represents seven Korean designers as well as one Portuguese artist. The contemporary furniture, painting and sculpture installations offer a contrast to the modernist house while still feeling right at home. The pieces on view change every three months, as if you even needed another reason to return to this handsome Hollywood Hills retreat.
While Koenig's hilltop Stahl House (Case Study House #22) gets all of the attention, this home, its immediate predecessor, is stunning in its own right. The steel and glass house is incredibly light, in both presence and luminance. Its distinguishing feature is water; a system of ponds—which catch water from a rooftop cooling system of sorts—flank the exterior while a fountain marks the center. Nearly all of the walls, both opaque interior and glass exterior, slide open to let in that sweet, sweet Hollywood Hills air.