Exclusive Look at Charles & Ray Eames' Home in Los Angeles

Eames Case Study No. 8 House© R.Cruger
- Ray & Charles Eames' Case Study No. 8 House -- and home.

This year, a dream come true when I visited the home designers Charles and Ray Eames lived in from 1949 until their deaths -- the Eames' Case Study No. 8 prefab house.

I went on a tour led by the legendary husband and wife team's grandson Eames Demetrios and granddaughter Lucia Dewey Atwood. We stepped in the inviting kitchen as it was left in 1988, past the circular stairs and built-ins and into the adjacent famed studio, where Eames played their delightful gravity-powered musical tower.

The living room, however, was empty but for a tumble-weed suspended from the ceiling -- all 1,864 items, every exotic footstool, tchotchke, chair and book -- are on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The naturally lit interior is what they called an “indoor ecology.”

Eames' Living Room at LA Museum of Art© R.Cruger
-- The Eames' living room on display at LACMA "California Design" exhibition.

And you can step foot in the house too: The Eames' Case Study No. 8 prefab house, assembled and built in 1949 in Pacific Palisades, is open for viewing by appointment and the LACMA exhibit, including the Eames' living room,"California Design 1930-1965: Living in a Modern Way" will run through June 3.

Both are participants in the Getty Center’s massive 60-museum-wide “Pacific Standard Time” collaborative exhibition about the birth of the LA art world. The show features several items the couple created, including the iconic chairs and innovative bent plywood litter for the U.S. Army.

Across the street, the A+D Museum presents “Eames Words” on the “Uncommon Beauty of the Everyday Object” exploring the designer’s philosophies about art, life and design.

Eames documentary poster© First Run Features

See Charles & Ray Eames on Film

The home, office and work of this pioneering husband-and-wife design team, renowned for their mid-century modern furniture, is shown and discussed in the documentary, "Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and The Painter," narrated by James Franco.

I wrote about the film before it aired on PBS last week but if you missed it, catch it streaming on the “American Masters” page.

Eames Demitrios at Eames Home and Studio© R.Cruger
Eames Demitrios at his grandparents Ray & Charles Eames home.

One of the several enticing outtakes also viewable on the “American Masters” website discusses Los Angeles' sprawl due to “lack of constraints.”

In the clip Charles drives around the streets lamenting all the open options that mean LA could be developed without concern for local materials. With everything available – wood, concrete, brick –the result lacks planning and aesthetic cohesion.

A Chance to Win an Eames' Chair

Eames' living room lounge chair © R.Cruger
-- Eames' iconic lounge chair in their living room.

Herman Miller, the company that still builds Eames’ furniture is presenting a companion website to the Eames documentary for a look at the legacy of this special partnership.

A visual timeline illustrates the collaborators’ milestones from chairs to tandem seating found at most U.S. airports. Scroll along the photos, video, quotes and anecdotes about Charles and Ray – and be sure to enter a chance to win the classic Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman.

The Eames' Grounds

Eames' elephant yard toy© R.Cruger
- The Eames elephant toy in the yard of the designers' home.

Eames toys of tin and wood were an “honest use of materials,” notes their designer grandson. A toy elephant where Eames and Lucia played still stands on the grounds.

The home was built on a swath of land but instead of plopping it down in the middle, the couple placed it with a view of “the meadow.” Walkways are filled with succulents and flowering pots. A struggling persimmon tree outside the living room’s wall of windows has been grafted in a secret place to save it. When it’s healthy it will be transported back home.

Exclusive Look at Charles & Ray Eames' Home in Los Angeles
Three Eames-related exhibitions allow you to see the designers' home and designs.