It's only once in a blue moon that an older house gets listed for sale by the original owner. And that moon gets even bluer when the house happens to be designed by a master architect like Aaron Green, west coast representative for and associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. 553 Gerona Road near the Stanford campus was built in 1953 for Arline and Allan Paul, who have lived there ever since, and has hit the market for the first time at $1,200,000. What's more astounding is how perfectly the house has been maintained - even the furnishings, which were also designed by Green, are still intact. We're talking original concrete radiant heat, Thermador appliances, cork flooring, all of it still in working condition. According to folks who knew the Pauls, they had a very close relationship with Green and would call him before changing any tiny thing in the house. Aaron Green joined Frank Lloyd Wright's apprenticeship group, the Taliesin Fellowship, after contacting him on behalf of his own clients in his hometown of Florence, Alabama and impressing the master architect. After World War II, Green set up his own shop in LA, and when he moved to San Francisco in 1951, Wright suggested opening a joint office together where Green would not only continue his own independent practice, but would also serve as Wright's West Coast representative. The master himself seemed to like his rep's work, as the Pauls told a story of Wright visiting and telling Green, "Well, this house certainly won't do our reputation any harm." Aaron Green went on to teach as lecturer and critic at Stanford's Department of Architecture. Though he died in 2001, the firm of Aaron G. Green Associates still practices out of San Francisco.
The 2 bedroom, 1 bath house has two separate living spaces in asymmetrical wings. There's a sunken living room with built-in couch and a central fireplace, and a separate private bedroom wing. Add the redwood panelling, wrap-around windows, and skylights, and it's basically your own private tree house. There's also a small hexagon-shaped guest house originally built for Mr. Paul's mother in 1961, which is basically a one room studio with kitchenette, central fireplace, and sofa bed.
Mr. Paul, a Japanese studies professor at Stanford, died a few years ago, though his wife, who worked at Stanford at the Hoover Institute for War, Revolution and Peace, remained in the house. The design clearly incorporated their affinity for Japanese design, with asian influences throughout like shoji panel sliding doors. The neighborhood ain't too shabby either, with Wright's Hanna House just down the street. One tiny hiccup though - since it's located on leased Stanford land, the house is only available for sale to Stanford faculty and staff. Time to dust off that resume.
· 553 Gerona Road, Stanford [Blue Sky Media]
· Paul House by Aaron Green [Wright Chat]
· Aaron G. Green Associates [AGA]
· Working List of Stanford Historic Houses [Stanford Historical Society]
· Frank Lloyd Wright and Mid-Century Modernism [Save Wright]