The Case Study Houses were and are an illustration of modernism’s intended audience—the masses. These homes were intended to change the way we look at residential design and forever alter the way we live. Built or unfinished, preserved or lost, join us as we take a closer look at each of the iconic designs that carry the name “Case Study House.” In this installment we look at the final plans and finished project for Case Study House #8. Take a look back at Part 1 to learn about the early design and introduction to the project.

: A black and white photograph of the front of a house. There are about 8 symmetrical rectangle sections showing, each with varying crossbeams and textures
The final home was revealed in December 1949. The varying sections shown here include stucco panels, white crossed tension rods and two small panels above the door are even covered with gold leaf!

Final Plans

In the updated plans, tweaked by Charles and Ray Eames to integrate their home into the surrounding meadow, the house was set into a hillside and located amongst a row of tall eucalyptus trees. Building the home on a level lot would have made sense economically but would have significantly damaged the existing meadow.

A black and white rendering of the front elevation of a home with 2 large rectangular structures.
In the final plans, the home was no longer suspended over the meadow as a bridge but integrated into the existing site. The living space is enclosed in the pavilion on the left, connected by a court to the studio space on the right.

Similar to the original design in concept, there was still a living space and separate studio, this time connected by a court. The two main spaces were rectangular in shape and made from glass and steel. A large concrete retaining wall sits against the hillside. The home construction was meant to be available to the masses and it was mostly made of accessible prefabricated components.

A rendering of the floor plan, showing a living room structure on the left and a studio on the right, separated by a court.>
A detailed floorplan of the final plans. Note how the home is surrounded by the hillside and a row of tall Eucalyptus.
Renderings showing a seating area with large sectional couch, showing the side of a building, shaped like a square, with a courtyard in the foreground, showing a rough sketch of the dining and kitchen layout and a spiral staircase with the exterior skeleton drawn in front, of a studio space, with a ladder to the left that is leading up to the second floor.
Interior schematics from the September 1949 issue. In #1, note the sliding bedroom panels above the sitting area. #2 faces the working studio from the interior court. #3 shows the dining and kitchen. #4 shows the studio space.

Case Study House #8 Color

The distinctive façade of the two pavilions used color along with varying materials and textures to create visual division. “Actually the beauty of the project rests in the juxtaposition of carefully arranged planes—solid, opaque, and translucent—and their relations not only in the breaking up of space but in the reflection of greater space and in the containing and the enclosing and the releasing of space in creating an environment for a modern man,” says the December 1949 Arts & Architecture article that reveals the finished project.

A black and white rendering of a cross-section of a home, showing how the square structure is nestled against the hillside
Looking from the side, you can see how the home was built against the sloping hillside.

A Warm Welcome

An inviting interior was created with a truly open and fluid living space. Ray and Charles Eames made a welcoming home filled with warm colors and textures along with personal collections and gifts. The unique layout included a bedroom overlooking the main sitting area, with sliding panels to open or shut as desired. Ray and Charles resided in the home for the rest of their lives.

: A black and white photograph with a dining table and chairs in the foreground to the left and a spiral staircase further back to the right. A living space is seen in the back
An informative caption from the December 1949 article tells us about this stunning interior snapshot. “View from dining space area past spiral stair. At right a 14’ Modernfold Door divides kitchen and dining area. The floor is Voit rubber tile in Sea Sand—one of the colors recently developed for architectural use.”

The Eames House Today

Still intact today, you can actually tour Case Study House #8! The Charles and Ray Eames House Preservation Foundation, Inc. (the Eames Foundation) was created by Lucia Eames (Ray’s step-daughter) in 2004 to preserve the home and educate the public. In 2006, the home was designated a National Historic Landmark. When open, tours can include exterior, interior or picnicking.

A black and white photograph showing the structure during construction.
A black and white photograph showing the structure during construction.>

To see Part 1 of the story, click here. For more information on the Eames House today, visit eamesfoundation.org.

Interested in reading more about the Case Study House series? Check out this post on CSH # 5: The Unbuilt Ideal or CSH #4: a unique study in indoor-outdoor design.

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