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 Case Study House #9.

A black and white image of the exterior of the Case Study House #9 with a terrace and lounge seating.
Exterior view showing the meadow side of the home, which looks toward the sea. The terrace area was surfaced with asphalt and provided an extension of the living area.

Meet Case Study House #9

The Entenza House was created for John Entenza, the editor of Arts & Architecture Magazine. Introduced alongside CSH #8 (The Eames House) in the December 1945 issue, the homes were designed adjacent to each other on a large plot of land in Pacific Palisades, CA, and would later include two other Case Study Houses. Though the Entenza House wasn’t built until 1949, the plans of Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen remained largely the same from beginning to completion.

: A black and white rendering of the skeleton of a square home, showing the roof structure.
The square shape of the Entenza house is clearly seen in this rendering. The December 1949 issue notes “The Ferrobord steel decking not only forms the roof, but also the solid side walls and interior partition … The roof system is independent of walls and partitions.”

As a whole, the steel-frame home focused on a simple construction and easy transition of flexible space. “The occupant will need space used elastically where many or few people can be accommodated within the areas appropriate to such needs,” states the original article.

: A black and white photo showing a rectangular fireplace in the middle of a large living room

Floor-to-ceiling windows allow for an incredible view of the surrounding area and Pacific Ocean. “The fireplace is free from any wall, helping to define the space but does not obscure the openness toward the sea,” states the home’s introductory December 1945 issue. Also note the dining are in the background.

This can be seen in details such as a sliding door/wall that can open or close as needed to separate a bedroom area from the adjacent built-in seating space below. A similar wall can enclose or join the bath area with a dressing room.

Case Study House #9 floor plan of a square home with a large central living room, kitchen, two bedrooms a bath and a study.>
The home was enclosed in a simple square plan, with the living area being the largest space. Sliding walls and multiple seating options, including wide wrap-around stairs and a curved built-in couch, allowed for flexibility when entertaining.

Case Study House #9 Layout

With a view of the sea through surrounding meadow, the home is all enclosed in a large square, including the garage. As we’ve seen with many of the Case Study Houses, #9 also interacts with its surroundings, with outdoor areas extending the entertaining and relaxing spaces. The main portion of the home is a large central living area that connects with the kitchen, entryway and bedroom.

A drawing of an aerial view of two homes. The one on the right has two sections that are separate but connected by a terrace
Aerial view of the original plans for CSH #8 Eames House on the left and #9 Entenza House on the right, both were introduced in 1945. While the Eames House changed significantly before it’s completion a few years later, the Entenza House stayed mostly the same.

Two wide steps wrap around to create a sunken portion of the living room and were meant to serve as informal seating when needed. On one side, the sunken area is actually a curved built-in couch. A two-sided fireplace makes a divider for the two spaces, but still allows for views of the outdoor scenery.

A black and white photo of inside the Case Study House #9 of a curved built-in couch and floor-to-ceiling windows in the background
A closer look at the large built-in feature. The couch was originally covered in imported Belgian linen. Outside is the terrace facing the meadow.

Conversely, the study room was created with concentration in mind, so it sits in the middle with no windows or skylights… or distractions! Private spaces were kept to a minimum, smaller in size and light on furniture. There are several terraces that take advantage of the layout and the California sun, including one off the bathroom and a breakfast terrace.

A black and white photo of a living room with a small couch, coffee table and a sunken in portion of the room in the foreground.>
In the expansive living room, the wide wrap-around stairs create two levels and allow for more seating space. On the upper level, the sofa was designed by Ven Keppel-Green and upholstered in a tangerine wool! The wall behind it separates the living area from the kitchen.
A black and white photo of a sunken-in living room with a large rectangular fireplace in the center and windows shut with draperies on the right
Here we see the other side of the fireplace, looking towards the built-in couch.

The House Today

Case Study House #9 is still intact today but, unlike the Eames House that is open for tours, the Entenza house has been a private residence for decades. According to archdaily.com, John Entenza only lived in the house for five years and there have been several alterations to the home through different owners over the decades.

Two black and white images of a kitchen with double sink and white metal cabinets.
Behind the living area is the kitchen and dining space. Berger steel cabinets were used and the counter tops were Formica. The flooring was Voit rubber and all appliances were from Sunbeam.

To learn more about the Entenza House’s neighbor, the Eames House, read part 1 and part 2. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest for more Atomic Ranch articles and ideas!