Friday, May 20, 2011

Braasch House, Jean L Egasse, Architect c.1923

Originally part of a late 1800s working farm, Albert Braasch, an Eagle Rock pioneer and entrepreneur, purchased the property in the early 1900s. The Braaches subsequently subdivided the land, selling off adjacent lots while keeping the property on which the original farmhouse stood. Albert commissioned local architect Jean L. Egasse to help him redesign the farmhouse along "Norman lines, such as were left by the decedents of the Vikings, following their journey from an ante-medieval period, were the main source of inspiration." ("California Southland, December 1923"). The article goes on to explain how the farmhouse was transformed by the architect, “To design a house for a hillside as one would plan an ornament for a crown or sword hilt: to make the hill a picture or a tapestry of houses and gardens—this is the craft of J.L. Egasse who seems able to grasp the ensemble of a hillside and to build his house and garden as a part of the landscape.”

The collaboration between architect and owner is evident in the architect's "French-cum-Nordic" theme, inspired by Albert Braasch's masculine sensibilities. Albert's wife, Constance, a popular local music teacher and artist, added her own touch with fanciful wall sculptures and murals, some of which are still intact. The medieval theme mingles with storybook fantasy as noted in the book "Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide", "expecting Hansel and Gretel to appear at any moment”.

Ben Affleck, a former Occidental College student, lived in the house with then-roommate and co-writer Matt Damon while they wrote the script for Good Will Hunting, which would go on to win them a Best Original Screenplay Academy Award.

The house is currently (May 2011) on the market and listed for sale at $899,000. Visit for more details!


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