Head still farther north to Carmel-By-The-Sea, where ocean views unfold along Scenic Road, and you can’t miss Wright’s only oceanfront home, Walker House. It’s essentially a transplant of one of his ultra-horizontal prairie homes, small and spare, and it recently sold for a cool $22 million. Continuing up the coast, partway through the storied 17-Mile Drive is the one-off Shell House in Pebble Beach, by Wright protégé Mark Mills, which sits like an open scallop on the coast, its arched windows giving directly onto the sea.
One-off houses cost, though. Many modernists wanted to build for the middle class, not just artistically inclined heiresses and department store tycoons, but most of their signature works were bespoke, constructed without much regard for expense.
Enter Joseph Eichler, a New York butter-and-egg-company executive turned developer who also sought escape out West. Inspired by his brief residency in a Wright home, Eichler teamed up with Anshen + Allen, the San Francisco firm that helped design that cliff-top chapel in Sedona, and A. Quincy Jones, an architect well known for his modernist work in Palm Springs. Together, they created affordable, unpretentious glass houses. Few had garages, most only carports—a word invented by Wright—and they were usually unified by a central inner courtyard, the grounds as carefully planned as the interiors.
Snapped up in the post-war period, Eichlers have since become fetish objects. Famous clusters of them dot the San Francisco Peninsula and Marin County, but there’s also one well-preserved, lesser-known grouping inland, in Sacramento—in the South Land Park neighborhood, specifically on South Land Park Drive, Fordham Way, and Oakridge Way.
Where to Stay
Geneseo Inn, Paso Robles: Shipping containers were ingeniously converted into stylish, mid-vineyard suites.
Tally Ho Inn, Carmel-by-the-Sea: An early 20th century, beautifully decorated cottage that was expanded into a mansion in the 1945 by Hugh Comstock, the man behind the seaside town’s distinctive fairy-tale cottages. It was turned into a boutique hotel in the 1950s, and has been meticulously perserved by all owners since.