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Chris Lukather chronicles Robert Byrd’s life and work, who became famous in Hollywood for his imaginative, whimsical California ranch homes, in new book, Homes By Byrd.
Homes By Byrd
The most recent book in Chris Lukather’s series of books about famous Californian home builders from the 20th century has been published. Lukather is the founder and editor of the literary journal The Writing Disorder.
Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary, his new book, looks at the story of this father-son design team and shows how they changed the design of single-family homes in Southern California and what made their style so popular.
California home styles are typified by Byrd houses. Although Robert Byrd (1904–1988) is well-known in the real estate industry and Hollywood, little is known about his life or the fact that his son, Gary, also built homes. Since the early 1940s, when a high-profile home purchased by French actress Michéle Morgan was attributed to Robert Byrd and featured in a number of celebrity and architectural magazines, these homes have been in the news and notable.
Over the years, many other famous people have lived in Byrd Homes, including award-winning actor and director Ron Howard; Lizabeth Scott, singer and actress; and Stan Winston, a special effects artist who has won awards. The mix also includes Donna Mills, Kelly Osbourne, Audie Murphy, and Robert Taylor.
Although Robert Byrd was an accomplished architect of high-quality homes in Southern California, he did not hold a license. He built homes from the 1920s to the 1970s as a building designer, and his son, Gary, built homes from the 1960s to the early 2000s. They collaborated as a team for more than two decades. People who lived in Hollywood or Beverly Hills between the middle of the twentieth century and the end of the twentieth century may be familiar with many features of a Byrd Home, such as turned posts, exposed wood beams, finishes made of rock and flagstone, and whimsical brickwork.
Natural materials were used in the construction of Byrd homes, which were built in the California Ranch style and had a timeless, symbiotic atmosphere. Round chimneys, curved walkways, indoor/outdoor grills, Dutch doors, custom woodwork, and stained-glass windows are additional distinguishing features.
There has been very little information about Robert Byrd, the man who designed and built these beautiful family homes, up until this point. Chris Lukather, a writer, knew that his next project would be to discover the story of the legendary Byrd home designer and builder after publishing books on William Mellenthin’s “Birdhouse” ranch homes and Jean Vandruff’s “Cinderella” tract homes.
Homes By Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary
Homes By Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary includes contributions from the Byrd family as well as fascinating facts, stories, drawings, and historical information gathered from Byrd homeowners and realtors, as well as articles and magazines from the time period. The elegantly printed book features rare photographs and documents that illustrate the creative side of the Byrd Home business, as well as floorplans, blueprints, and promotional material from the designer and builder’s personal archives, in addition to a biography of this hardworking and influential man.
Buy a copy of Homes by Byrd if you’re interested in Southern California architecture, home design, mid-century trends, and to learn more about this remarkable design and construction team’s life and work.
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