Designing couple Charles and Ray Eames were known for their intelligence and their joie de vivre, both of which are apparent at the Eames House nestled in the Pacific Palisades. One of Southern California’s most beloved examples of modernist residential design, with its Mondrian-style color-block exterior and environmentally-sensitive siting, this home was the Eames’ residence from the time they moved in—on Christmas Eve of 1949—until their deaths in the '70s and '80s, respectively. Visitors park a couple blocks away and walk up the hilly driveway for a self-guided tour of the exterior ($10, reservations required). Interior tours are more difficult to come by: Members are invited for an appreciation day, always scheduled near the Eames’ June 20 anniversary. Anyone can book a one-hour personal tour ($275; $200 for members), but if you’re a real Eames fan, you may want to splurge on the picnic for four in the meadow ($750; $675 for members) and recreate the opening shots of the duo’s popular Powers of Ten video.
From tract homes to Case Study Houses, Southern California has always been at the forefront of residential home design (even Ice Cube knows it). Whether you’re interested in local history, celebrity digs or plain old house porn, we’ve got a spot for you. So get off the beaten museum track and check out these landmark architectural homes, all within a few mile radius and (mostly) open to the public.