It wasn’t easy for Swedish-born architect Greta Magnusson Grossman to earn a place in history as a significant modernist architect in a male-dominated industry. But she did.
Grossman lived and worked in Los Angeles as an architect and furniture designer. A story in a 2010 issue of Home magazine reports Grossman was the first woman to receive the Furniture Design award from the Swedish Society of Industrial Design. They described her furniture designs as “distinguished by playful details, like ball-handle accents, tapered angles, and feminine but asymmetrical proportions.”
In her book “Greta Magnusson Grossman – A Car and Some Shorts: One Architect’s Journey from Sweden to Southern California,” you learn she was also trained in architecture and construction, but as the author, Andrea Codrington Lippke points out, “Furniture was a man’s game – and you can forget about architecture.”
Despite this, Grossman succeeded. In her biography, the gallery R20 writes, “Between 1949 and 1959, Grossman designed at least fourteen homes in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco and one back in her native Sweden. Of these, at least ten are still standing. The homes were often perched on stilts at the top of a hill, overlooking a canyon, with magnificent views through curtain walls of glass. The homes featured extensive built-in shelving and the uniquely open and free-flowing floor plan popular at the time.”
The Nelson Houses, two homes built circa 1954 on adjacent lots for Frances Nelson, are unlike other modern hillside homes of the era that either step up or down a slope. Instead, “each sit on one level slab extending through the entire enclosed space, and are cantilevered out over their slopes,” writes LA Conservancy.
Although each home is small in scale features including a modular design, floor-to-ceiling glass framed in wood, tall ceilings, overhanging roofs, and trellises extending from the slabs make each residence feel roomier than their actual size.
While both homes were built simultaneously, only one is currently available for purchase. Listed by Daniel Carson, the property is located at 3510 N Knoll Dr. The asking price is $925,000.