Tuesday, September 23, 2008

the exterior

Streamline Moderne Art Deco Monument in Los Angeles
The City of Los Angeles named the Lydecker House historic monument #918 because of its "extraordinary design" and "master craftsmanship."

Three sides of the mid-century streamline moderne house are visible from the street. Walls of windows wrap around curved walls.

The Art Deco Society of Los Angeles called TheLydecker House "an outstanding residence of the Art Deco Period."
A large deck surrounds the rear exterior walls of windows and glass brick.
The house was designed by Academy Award nominated special effects artist Howard Lydecker. Like the sets he designed, the house is camera friendly from almost every angle.

Expansive hillside views are visible from most rooms and the large deck.

the interior


Living Room Wide Shot Cathedral Vaulted Wood Ceiling

Living Room Windows

Living Room Ceiling Detail

Living Room Fireplace
Living Room + Den + Dining

Den + Living Room

U Shaped Den Windows Rounded Wood Moulding

Den Porthole Window

U Shaped Kitchen

Kitchen Detail

Built-In Kitchen Nook


Powder Room

the comic strip artist

Comic strip artist Norman Marsh moved in, after Howard Lydecker moved out. He lived in the Lydecker house from 1950-1985.

Marsh's comic Dan Dunn was syndicated in 130 newspapers around the country.

There was a Dan Dunn radio show. There was a series of Dan Dunn hardcover books.
According to articles in the LA Times, Marsh had signed a deal to have his comic made into a movie serial.When Dunn was in Hollywood to adapt his comic for the movies, Dunn bought the Lydecker House.
Marsh lived in the Lydecker House for thirty years - till he was in his 90s.

Los Angeles Times July 23, 1934 COMICS PAGE DAN DUNN BOTTOM RIGHT

the garden

The Lydecker House garden was landscaped in the streamline moderne style.

Cactus and drought tolerant flowers have the same sharp lines as the house.

Giant cereus monstrose and sage

night blooming cactus flower

the history

The Lydecker House today looks nearly exactly the same as it did in 1940.
Lydecker House Today

Lydecker House 1940

Howard Lydecker lived in the Lydecker house with his wife Kay and son Steve, throughout the 1940s.

Howard and Kay Lydecker 1939 in front of the Lydecker House

Howard Lydecker & his son Steve outside the Kitchen in 1941

Party at the Lydeckers circa 1940

Lydecker's Dormer
Lydecker built a dormer on top of the house with a spotlight inside so his wife could signal him while he was at work. If he saw the light was on, he knew his family was awake.


The Lydecker Brothers are descendents of the Lydecker family from Inglewood New Jersey. Garrett Lydecker received the first land grant in Bergen County in 1803. The Garrett Lydecker House and the Westervelt Lydecker House in New Jersey are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Shipley Lydecker House is a Maryland Landmark.


the events featuring the Lydecker House

The Art Deco Society & Historic Egyptian theater featured the Lydecker House in combination with a presentation of the Lydecker Brothers films on the big screen. Author Bob Burns spoke about the contributions the Lydeckers made to the history of Filmmaking. George Lydecker spoke about growing up with the Lydecker Brothers. click here for more info


Howard & Kay Lydecker 1941

The Lydecker House was one of the homes selected for the Studio City Home Tour. click here for more information

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

the forgotten gem

The Los Angeles Conservancy has called the Lydecker House a "forgotten gem" of the San Fernando Valley.
Aside from some very minor details, The Lydecker house is in mint condition. The Lydecker House was not recreated to look like a streamline moderne house from the 40s.
The chrome molding wrapping around the kitchen is the original chrome molding, the tile in the powder room is the original tile, and the rounded wood paneling in the den is the original bent wood.

Many people ask how has this architectural capsule been preserved? It was a forgotten gem - the key word being Forgotten.
After Howard Lydecker moved out, the author of the Dan Dunn comic strip artist Norman Marsh moved in. When Marsh moved in, he was in his 60's. Presumably, he liked his new house. After 10 years, when most people get the remodeling bug, Marsh was 70's. Either he didn't have the time, the energy, or the desire to remodel.

In total Marsh lived in the Lydecker House for thirty years - till he was in his 90s. He changed almost nothing. In 1980, 40 years after the Lydecker House was built, Marsh replaced the original roof -- the only repair neighbors remember him ever doing.
Most people look at a 20 year old house as tacky, but a 40 year old house is "retro" "antique" or "vintage."

The new owners scrubbed off thirty years of benign neglect, made no changes to the structure and added a deck in the back yard (which is in keeping with the original style of the house.) The next family made plumbing upgrades and appreciated the house for what it was... a forgotten gem from another era.