Growing up in the home of a renowned architect — one who designed four Case Study Houses for that landmark program — was akin to living in a model home, at least for the children of Edward Killingsworth.
With his office less than a mile away, Killingsworth would invite clients to the family’s 1961 Long Beach home, which served as an ineffable exemplar of glass, light, air and space.
“My dad would call: ‘I’m bringing a client for lunch,’ and in walks Conrad Hilton or John Wayne,” said his son, Kim Killingsworth. “We learned to be immaculate children.”
The architect’s own home. The early houses of John Entenza’s Case Study House Program set the trajectory for the modern California lifestyle celebrated the world over today. Edward Killingsworth’s three late contributions to the program, with their perfected delicacy and dramatic scale demonstrated that modern building technology could convey a sense of elegance and grandeur beyond modern architecture’s more egalitarian roots. Southern California Socialites could no longer characterize Modernism as some type of Communist plot. Edward Killingsworth elevated the appeal of Modernism for the Masses to the Classes.
Perhaps nowhere is Killingsworth’s conveyance of a modern version of an old world landed gentry type of classiness better reflected than the house he built himself with his two sons. It starts with the site: contiguous to, and once a part of land baron Johnathan Temple’s Rancho Los Cerritos, the 7/10 of an acre property is gated within the confines of the Virginia Country Club, next to and overlooking the private golf course. Like an Old World fortress, high walls secure the grounds, and the drama of entry is enhanced with 12-foot tall double doors. Entry into the delineated patio rooms rather than the structure verifies the seamlessness between indoor and outdoor living. Grand scale is carried throughout the public space, kitchen, bedrooms, and baths except for the elevated more intimate dining room, architect’s office, and later reading nook off the master bedroom. The two bedroom, two bath tax record belies the spacious grandeur of this iconic modern masterpiece designed for a family of four’s gracious living.