Milepost #914

March 14, 2019

By Dani Rosenthal, Image from Richard Fish

TITLE: NORTH SHORE MID-CENTURY MODERN: This week’s image is of an architecturally notable home of the mid-century modern style. This home, which still sits proudly on the North Shore of Lake Arrowhead, was featured in the Los Angeles Times Home magazine on July 17, 1966. It was designed by famous Claremont, CA architect Fred McDowell of the Criley & McDowell architectural firm and was built by John Ashton in 1965. McDowell designed the house based on the principles of designing a boat and he took complete advantage of the outdoor environment that the house would be situated in. The home embodies spaciousness and uses extensive natural light, a style that was uncommon to mountain homes at the time. McDowell achieved this by creating a unique roofline of three diamonds intersecting one another. McDowell said, “I want to do something like a boat, with a prow opening up to the view. So, I started with that element and worked backward into the house.” Seeing the house from the lake today, it is noticeable how well of a job he did in achieving this. The featured photo also highlights this, showing the main living room and how its focal point is an almost unobstructed view of the water. The outdoor decks span a total of 700 square feet, equaling about half of the home’s indoor living space. Instead of using typical materials of the time, McDowell opted for materials that would blend in with and highlight the home’s natural surroundings. Rather than using traditional wood sheathing on the ceilings, he used white acoustical plaster to act as a canvas for the surrounding pine trees and tree-filled vistas of the shoreline. The home and dock space gave the family of five that the home was built for their own piece of the lake and its desirable lifestyle. The property last changed owners in 2013.

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