Whether this is an example of art imitating life or vice versa, the Ennis House is among the most eclectic and grandiose houses ever raised. The work of one of the world's most acclaimed architects, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed textile-block house is for sale at an asking price of $15 million. The house was built in 1924 for Charles and Mabel Ennis. Mr. Ennis owned a very successful men's clothing store in Los Angeles.
It is one of the four textile-block houses Wright built between 1923 and 1926 in Los Angeles County. It is the largest and most ornate of the four. The house was built with more than 20,000 16-inch by 16-inch concrete blocks. The U.S. Department of the Interior has listed the mansion in its National Register of Historic Places. The City of Los Angeles named it a cultural heritage monument, and it is a California State Landmark. The 6,000 square-foot Mayan-inspired residence sets at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Feliz.
The Ennis House is without question a fixer upper in need of extensive rehabbing. The ongoing situation has been tentative for years. An article ran in August 2005 by the New York Times stated that the Ennis House could require as much as $15 million to restore it to its original luster. Subsequently, the foundation reported that phase one of the refurbishing commenced in late 2005 and was completed in 2007. Guided tours of the home were stopped in 2007.
The Ennis House Foundation is a small non-profit organization that simply cannot raise the capital required to keep the structure intact. That is why it wants to sell the sumptuous dwelling to a private party. Without the efforts of the foundation, it is likely that the house would have been lost.
The storied house has been used as a location by numerous filmmakers. It was featured prominently in the apocalyptical Blade Runner (1982), starring Harrison Ford, and the 1959 release of the classic horror film House on Haunted Hill. It has appeared in other noteworthy films such as Rush Hour, The Day of the Locust, Black Rain, and The Replacement Killers. Actress Diane Keaton, who is a board member of the Ennis House Foundation, has played a significant role in the efforts to preserve the house for years.
The Ennis House deserves to be restored to its original brilliance. The person who undertakes the task will be helping to preserve Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy, and in doing so, will create a legacy of their own which will endure for generations, said Kay Coughlin, president and CEO of Christie's Great Estates, as posted on Christie's News & Events section of its Web site.
The Ennis House listing is being handled jointly by Hilton & Hyland and Dilbeck Realtors with international marketing services provided by Christie's Great Estates.