Updated: June 2, 2022

The main photo is courtesy of Nick Frandjian of Open House Foto.

UPDATE: On June 2 2022, the MLS status of 2535 E Chevy Chase Drive, Glendale, CA was changed from “Sale Pending” to “Relisted (Active)” with an increased asking price of $3,495,000.

Nestled in a hillside in a serene canyon neighborhood just outside of Los Angeles, here’s why the Derby House is considered to be one of Lloyd Wright’s strongest architectural design achievements.

Frank Lloyd Wright, the world famous architect, often gave credit to his eldest son, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., for the creation of the iconic textile block design technique that has become synonymous with both father and son.

The son, commonly known as Lloyd Wright, went on to design The Derby House, a Mayan-influenced architectural style with intriguing shapes and shadows that is a mix of vertical spaces, cathedral windows and hexagonal rooms.

The Southern California property was most recently listed for sale with an asking price of $3,295,000, on March 22, 2022. (UPDATE: The property was relisted on June 2, 2022 with an increased asking price of $3,495,000). In this article we highlight notable design features that make it a prominent example of Wright’s architectural portfolio.

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About Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., known simply as Lloyd Wright, was an American architect and the eldest son of famed American Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Both father and son were active in Southern California, specifically Los Angeles.

Lloyd was born in 1890 in Oak Park, Illinois, to his famous father and his first wife, Catherine Lee “Kitty” Tobin Wright. Although not formally trained, young Lloyd attended the University of Wisconsin, in Madison for only two years, before he decided to travel around Europe for an extended period of time.

Back in the United States by 1911, Lloyd joined a Boston-based landscape architecture firm where he specialized in landscape design, botany and horticulture. A few years later, he eventually settled in Southern California as a landscape architect, having been requested to work on the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, which afforded him the opportunity to meet famous architects of his day, who would mentor and influence his design career.

Lesser Known Facts About Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr.:

  • Lloyd’s pioneering concrete textual block engineering has stood the test of time in seismically active Southern California
  • The concrete textual blocks used by the son, have held up better than those used by Lloyd’s more famous father
  • Many of Lloyd’s most prominent works have often been incorrectly credited to his father

 

Design and Architectural Style of Lloyd Wright

With his early career in botany and horticulture, Lloyd Wright’s architectural designs were influenced by his first love, nature. His prolific Organic Architecture Design period in the United States, 1946 through 1957, stands out. Some of his greatest works are well known, yet incorrectly attributed to his more famous father. Well-known works of Lloyd Wright include:


 

The Derby House, Glendale, California

One such work that is unquestionably attributed to Lloyd is the famous Derby House in Glendale, CA, which marries his undying love of horticulture with the family business of architecture.

The Derby House Glendale California Lloyd Wright Front View Photo by Open House Foto

Front External View of Lloyd Wright’s Derby House
Photo courtesy of Nick Frandjian, Open House Foto.

Situated in the serene Chevy Chase Canyon of Glendale, near Los Angeles, the 1926 Derby House was originally commissioned by businessman James Daniel Derby, who never lived in the house. Derby and his wife separated prior to the completion of the home, leaving his two sons and wife to inhabit the residence until it was later sold in 1974.

In 1978, the home was declared a landmark on the National Register of Historical Places, meaning the house cannot be modified from its original architectural design, nor torn down, without obtaining special permission.

Property Details

A 5 bedroom, 3 Bath, 3,281 square foot property on a 1.5 acre parcel of land with a 1-Car Garage, built in 1926.


 

Highlighted Design Features of the Derby House

Nestled in a hillside of the Chevy Chase Canyon, the Derby House is considered to be one of Wright’s strongest architectural design achievements. The current structure is a well-preserved and maintains the original integrity of the architect’s design. Only two rooms, the kitchen and one bathroom, have been renovated since the original construction, and both were completed true to original period detail.

The Derby House Glendale California Lloyd Wright Photo by Open House Foto

Main Entrance and Living Room, Lloyd Wright’s Derby House
Photo courtesy of Nick Frandjian, Open House Foto.

Distinct trademark design features of Wright are noticeable throughout the property, including:

  • Abstract Renderings of the California Desert Yucca Plant within the concrete blocks
  • Century Flora, such as yucca, agave and oak trees, throughout the surrounding landscaping
  • Multiple Terraces and Outdoor Spaces, a testament to the Wrights’ pioneering approach to indoor-outdoor living
  • Visually Striking Ornamental Textile Concrete Blocks with wood and stucco in a Mayan Style
  • Dynamic kaleidoscopic and hieroglyphic lighting effects throughout the residence from sunlight bouncing off of the multidimensional block structures and interior spaces
The Derby House Glendale California Lloyd Wright Kitchen Photo by Open House Foto

Upgraded “True-to-Period” Kitchen, Lloyd Wright’s Derby House
Photo courtesy of Nick Frandjian, Open House Foto.

The Derby House Glendale California Lloyd Wright Master Bedroom Suite Photo by Open House Foto

Master Bedroom Suite with Loft, Lloyd Wright’s Derby House
Photo courtesy of Nick Frandjian, Open House Foto.

The Derby House Glendale California Lloyd Wright Exterior Courtyard at Night Photo by Open House Foto

Serene Nightime Courtyard Setting, Lloyd Wright’s Derby House.
Photo courtesy of Nick Frandjian, Open House Foto.

 

Lloyd Wright & Derby House Related Links


 

MLS Listing Sites for 2535 E Chevy Chase Glendale, CA 91206

 

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