Eames and the Strathmore Apartments Posted February 8, 2018 by Kelsey Rose
How did Charles and Ray’s first home together add to the richness of their lives?
The Strathmore Apartments, designed in the International Style by Richard Neutra in 1937, were intended as a synthesis between the apartment and the single-family home.
Charles and Ray occupied one of the Neutra-designed apartments for eight years (1941-1949), prior to building the Eames House. In addition to livable space, this apartment served as a testing environment for early furniture prototyping in tandem with their work at the Eames Office in Venice, California.
Tenants of the eight Strathmore Apartments were often notable designers, artists, filmmakers, and other creatives, who mirrored a life of aesthetic intentionality similar to that of the Eameses.
After living in the apartment for nearly a decade and experiencing its versatility, Charles Eames wrote a letter to Richard Neutra. He thanked him for creating a structure that gifted the occupant a blank canvas in which one’s surroundings could be easily personalized:
“Dear Mr. Neutra,
This is a thank you note I have been intending to write for the past seven years. During these seven years Mrs. Ray Eames and I have been living in the Strathmore Apartments designed by you. It is an experience that has greatly added to the richness of our lives, and it is obvious that it has had the same effect on others living in the group of apartments. Strangely though, this feeling has no relation to the tastes and background of the tenants in that they were modern or conventional. The apartments you have developed here have given each the opportunity to develop his surroundings in the most expansive way, each feeling that he is living within his own garden, and has complete privacy. I wish there were more like these so that people could enjoy them. Thank you again for what you have done.
P.S. You perhaps know that at no time has there been a vacancy in this group of apartments.”