Kaufmann House, Richard Neuta © Stephanie Kloss
Goldstein Residence, John Lautner © Stephanie Kloss
Since her days studying architecture in Berlin in the 1990s, German-born photographer Stephanie Kloss has held a soft spot for the mid-century modernist houses that pepper the landscape of Hollywood and Los Angeles suburbia. In the large windows, clean lines, and thoughtfully placed palm trees, she saw the ghosts of glamorous figures and their parties. Here, the memories of Frank Sinatra, John F. Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe lingered, recalling visions of poolside lounging and vintage cocktails.
With California Dreaming, Kloss at long last earned the opportunity to bring to life the gilded fantasies that we associate with the work of architectural phenomenons like Albert Frey, Richard Neutra, and John Lautner. With her longtime model Anne, a dancer by trade, she visited national treasures like Lautner’s Sheats-Goldstein Home, where the enigmatical millionaire John Goldstein sat gazing at his pool through the breathtaking windows that lined his master bedroom, and where famous scenes from films like Charlie’s Angels and The Big Lebowski were shot.
As she and Anne toured the residences of Hollywood’s Golden Age, the photographer patiently and persistently sought access to the homes that populated her dreams; some, like Sinatra’s Twin Palms, proved more difficult to secure, but in the end, her passion and determination won her a spot at the coveted locales.
Although she acknowledges that most photographs of mid-century modern homes from the 1950s and 1960s picture the typical American family whose image was so popular at the time, Kloss couldn’t resist the idea of featuring a solitary women prancing about the otherwise empty residences.
Anne, donned in the fashion of the era, becomes not only our guide but in some ways the personification of our collective nostalgia for the day. She, unlike the rest of us, will stay forever fixed in time. Says Kloss of her time in California, “I was in a dream that came true.”
Frank Sinatra Residence, E.Stewart-Williams © Stephanie Kloss
Palm Springs City Hall, Albert Frey © Stephanie Kloss
Case Study House 10, Kemper Nomland © Stephanie Kloss
All images © Stephanie Kloss