House Museums in Los Angeles

They aren't exactly museums in the traditional sense of the word. They are places that may seem like museums, but instead of having individual works on display, the whole place is the thing you go to see. 

Enjoy a collection of fascinating, historic pieces of Los Angeles architecture that were built as private residences. Today, they're open to the public - and we're glad they are.

  • 01 of 10
    Gamble House, Pasadena
    Gamble House, Pasadena. ©2010 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    If you love arts and crafts architecture, this is the house for you. A well-preserved and fascinating example of Arts and Crafts architecture, designed by Greene and Greene, it was built in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter & Gamble Company.

    It's a National Historic Landmark, owned by the City of Pasadena and operated by the University of Southern California.

    The house is open for public tours and reservations are recommended.

    4 Westmoreland Place
    Pasadena, CA

  • 02 of 10
    Adamson House, Malibu California
    Adamson House, Malibu. Eddie Brady / Getty Images

    This house's most outstanding feature is the lavish use of ceramic tile, produced by the famous Malibu Potteries. It's everywhere in the house, yet never seems too much. 

    It was built in 1930 for Rhoda Rindge and Merritt Huntley Adamson in the Spanish Revival style and designed by architect Styles O. Clements. 

    Today it's open as a museum, located in Malibu Lagoon State Park and open to the public for guided tours. No indoor photography is allowed.

    23200 Pacific Coast Highway
    Malibu, California

  • 03 of 10
    Doheny Mansion, Los Angeles
    Doheny Mansion. Lonely Planet Images

    This extravagant Romantic Revival construction incorporates a variety of architectural styles.

    It was built in 1899 for the Oliver P. Posey family by architects Theodore Eisen and Sumner Hunt, 

    But it was oil baron Edward L. Doheny who bought the mansion in 1901, and it still bears his name. Tours are given on selected dates throughout the year. Frequent concerts by the Da Camera Society are also held at the mansion.

    The Doheny Mansion is on the Doheny campus of Mount St. Mary's College at 10 Chester Place, just south of downtown LA. It's in the South Adams area, which is full of more beautiful, classic mansions.

  • 04 of 10
    Eames House, Pacific Palisades CA
    Eames House, Pacific Palisades. Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

    Also known as Case Study House #8, the Eames House was built as part of The Case Study House Program between the mid-1940s and early 1960s.

    Its plans first appeared in Art and Architecture magazine in May 1949, and the style is Mid-Century Modern.

    Designed by artists and designers Charles and Ray Eames for their personal use, it was created for their for personal lifestyle: a married couple working in design and graphic arts, whose children were no longer living at home.

    Interior tours are given by request, for small groups. Get the details here. Reservations are also required for self-guided exterior tours.

    203 Chautauqua Blvd.
    Pacific Palisades, CA

    The house is a private neighborhood, and there's no parking at the house. Get direction on the Eames House website.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Architect Richard Schindler designed this house in 1936. It was his only spec home (created with no particular client in mind). 

    This International style residence predates the mid-century modern styles that followed it, but it feels like it could have been part of the case study movement of the late 1940s and 1950s.

    Schindler came to California to work for Frank Lloyd Wright and supervise construction of the Hollyhock House. For a fascinating tour through his personal development as an architect, start there, then see his private home listed above, then tour Fitzpatrick-Leland to see the radical changes in his style over just a few-years period.

    The house is located at the crest of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Mulholland Drive and is open for guided tours by reservation only. The house is owned by the MAK Center, which also runs the Schindler House and you'll find details about the tours at the MAK Center website.

  • 06 of 10
    Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, L.A.
    Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, L.A. Barry Winiker / Getty Images

    One of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important works, in a style he called "California Romantic," designed in 1917 and built between 1919 and 1923 for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall. The complex includes the main house, garage, and one other surviving structure.

    You can see pictures of the Main House, Residence A, and garage in this gallery.

    The house is open for self-guided tours.

    4800 Hollywood Boulevard
    Los Angeles, CA

  • 07 of 10

    It sounds more like modern times than 1915, but Dr. Roy Lanterman was ahead of his time when he wanted to build a fireproof bungalow made of reinforced concrete. 

    This unusual house was designed for him by Arthur L. Haley in the Arts and Crafts style; it retains its original interiors and furnishings.

    Tours are given a few days a month.

    4420 Encinas Drive
    La Cañada Flintridge, CA

  • 08 of 10
    Neutra VDL House, Los Angeles
    Neutra VDL House. Corbis Entertainment

    Architect Richard Neutra's private residence in Silver Lake seemed radical at the time, a glass house with rooftop and balcony gardens. It housed his office and two families on a small 60 x  70-foot lot. 

    Many consider Neutra one of the most important twentieth-century architects and this house tour gives a chance to see his home.

    The original structure was designed and built by architect Richard Neutra with a no-interest loan from a Dutch philanthropist. 

    This house is in an area of the Silver Lake neighborhood called The Colony, where you'll find a number of Neutra designs on and around Neutra Place. You can see them from the outside by touring off Earl Street between Silver Lake Boulevard and Glendale Boulevard.

    The house is open for guided tours without appointment most Saturdays. Tour guides are architecture students from Cal Poly San Obispo.

    2300 Silverlake Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Schindler House, Los Angeles
    Schindler House, Los Angeles. Ann Johansson / Corbis Entertainment

    After architect Rudolph Schindler came to California in the 1920s to oversee construction of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House, he designed his residence in West Hollywood. Some say it was the first modern house to respond to California's unique climate, serving as the prototype for the distinctive California style that developed in the early twentieth century.

    Schindler's private residence is open to the public several days a week, and no reservations are required.

    You can also take a regularly scheduled tour of the Schindler-designed Mackey Apartments which are nearby.

    835 North Kings Road
    West Hollywood, CA

  • 10 of 10
    Case Study House #22, The Stahl House
    Case Study House #22, The Stahl House. Matt Kirschner/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    You've seen this iconic mid-century house and its view countless times in films, advertisements, and magazines. It's one of my favorite places to go in LA and especially beautiful at twlight.

    Despite its oversized fame, it's a modest-sized house, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and a 300-degree-plus view of the city of Los Angeles. Designed by Pierre Koenig in 1959 from a concept developed by the house's owner Buck Stahl, it's also called Case Study House #22.

    The Stahl house is still owned by the family, but is available for public viewing by reservation only.. See the schedule at the Stahl House website.

    1635 Woods Drive
    Los Angeles, CA