touring the Stahl House Los Angeles

How to Tour the Stahl House in Los Angeles

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After years of dreaming about it, my tour of the Stahl House in Los Angeles was everything I could have hoped for. The famous midcentury home is located in the Hollywood Hills where it’s been enjoying a beautiful and expansive 270-degree view of the city since it was built in 1959.

The Stahl House was built for expansiveness and undisturbed indoor/outdoor living. There is a lightness to everything about the property, from the sun-glistening pool on the edge of the hill to the minimalistic build of the 2,200-square-foot house that wraps around it.

The Stahl House view

For how much of the home is open with floor-to-ceiling glass and large sliding glass doors, the property feels extremely private. The backside of the house is quietly set off the street behind a wall, with its inside belly fully flung wide open to Los Angeles.

The home has held icon status since it was photographed by Julius Schulman in 1960. Its uniqueness completely changed the way the era approached design, but it was not always expected to be such a hit.


  • The Stahl House is located at 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles CA
  • The cost to enter for daytime tours is $60 for an individual or $35 per person for multiples who arrive in the same car. The evening tours are $90 for an individual or $50 a person if you arrive in the same car.
  • Parking at the property is limited (hence the necessity to carpool if you’re coming with a group), and no walk-ups are allowed. (Even with a reservation.)
  • The tours are kept small and are about an hour long.

How the Stahl House came to be

The concept of the home was originally dreamt up by Buck and Carlotta Stahl in the 1950s. They wanted to live in a house that did justice to the views from their Hollywood Hills plot of land. And that they did—but not without some effort.

The plot of land itself was considered a precarious spot, being right on the edge of the hill. But they had big ideas for the property and paid $13,500.00 for it on a handshake deal.

The bedrooms at the Stahl House
The view towards the bedrooms

In addition to the location posing some challenges, building a home with floor-to-ceiling glass windows was considered a crazy idea at the time. It was considered so off-the-wall that they had a hard time finding an architect who would even take on the project.

It was Pierre Koenig who ultimately signed on to bring this revolutionary piece of architectural art to life. Construction on the home started in 1959 and took just a year to build.

The Case Study Program

The project was added to the Case Study program before the build was even finished. This gave its second name, Case Study House #22.

The Case Study Program was intended to showcase how affordable homes could be built with readily available materials post-war. Ie, glass, and steel. This is the aesthetic that came to be instantly recognizable as decidedly mid-century modern.

The Stahl House pool
The pool at the Stahl House

Huge architects were commissioned to design the experimental homes between 1945 and 1966, which in addition to Pierre Koenig included Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, Edward Killingsworth, and Ralph Rapson. Most of them are located in Los Angeles, but one is in San Rafael, California and one is in Phoenix, Arizona.

The program had big dreams but it ended up starting and ending with just some of the designs being made into homes. (An organization called Lost Moderns hopes to one day finish them.) As it turned out, those “affordable” builds weren’t quite as affordable as they were expected to be.

Of the ones that were, the Stahl House is the only one that is open to the public. (With a ticket and reservation.) While the Stahl House is still privately owned by the children of Buck and Carlotta Stahl, it’s not occupied by them. They grew up there and decided that they’d rather not continue to occupy the space. Lucky for us!

The Stahl children have been offered as much as $15 million to sell the home in modern times. They decline, wanting to keep ownership of the home and making it available to public tours.

How to tour the Stahl House

Tours of the Stahl House are available on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and two Fridays each month. There are three time slots available each day.

You can book a tour directly on their website.

They generally open the calendar the month prior and the timeslots do book out quickly. The evening tours are known to book out within minutes. If you’re very serious about going in the evening you might want to email them and ask exactly when the next round will go on sale.

Touring the Stahl House from the waiting list:

It is possible to get a tour ticket by joining the waitlist. Plans change and people drop out, especially since the tours are booked so far in advance.

My visit to the Stahl House

As I visited in quarantine we were welcomed onto the property but only allowed to go into the house to use the restroom. However, this hardly matters as the entire slim wrapping house is open to the air with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Seriously, it’s completely open. There’s not even a hallway in the house. Traveling between bedrooms or from bedroom to kitchen either requires stepping from one room into the next, or stepping outside and then back into the house via giant sliding glass doors.

Inside the master bedroom of the Stahl House
A bedroom in the Stahl House

There are a lot of interesting things to learn on the tour about the actual architecture itself. (Like how it exists with a completely flat roof.) But perhaps most notable are those views.

Standing in the backyard next to the pool it’s easy to see from the Griffith Observatory, over Sunset Blvd, and to Century City. The view was stunning in the midday light and is probably even more so at sunset or sunrise with the lights twinkling out across the city.

Things to know before visiting

  • You are not allowed to walk up the street to the Stahl House, even if you have a reservation. You must park at the actual house. (This is to avoid bothering the neighbors.)
  • When you are touring the Stahl House you are not allowed to bring in any type of professional camera. (I shot all of these images on my iPhone.)

Interesting things about the house

Over the years the home has been rented out for shoots and featured in tons of movies, music videos, and even a video game. In brief: Corinna, Corinna, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Galaxy Quest, Nurse Betty, The Simpsons, and even Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The fireplace in the Stahl House
The fireplace inside

The Stahl House was named a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1999, and it was named one of the top 150 structures on the American Institute of Architects’ “America’s Favorite Architecture” list.

It’s one of mine, too!

Moe mid-century homes you can tour in Los Angeles.

In addition to the Stahl House, there are other mid-century homes that you are (sometimes) available to tour in Los Angeles.

The Eames House

The Pacific Palisades Eames House is also known as Case Study House No. 8. The property is open for tours on Monday and Thursday-Saturday of each week. They have one to three tour times each of those days, which include both guided and personal exterior tours. As of writing their interior tours are closed.

Tap here for the latest Eames House tour info.

Note: when the inside is open there are no photos permitted. Photos taken outside are for personal use only.

Location: Eames Foundation: 203 Chautauqua Boulevard Pacific Palisades, CA  90272

Neutra VDL House

The Richard Neutra VDL House is open for tours on Saturdays from 11 AM-3 PM. The house is a National Historic Landmark and under the stewardship of the College of Environmental Design and Department of Architecture at Cal Poly Pomona.

Visit the website to book.

Location: 2300 Silverlake Boulevard Los Angeles CA, 90039

Sheats-Goldstein Residence

The Sheats-Goldstein Residence only sporadically opens for tours, but it’s worth a see! The main residence of the Beverly Hills was built in 1962. Following that other things were added like the Goldstein Entertainment Complex, which houses a nightclub. There’s even a James Turrell Skyspace installation on the property called “Above Horizon.”

Check for tour dates here.

Location: 10104 Angelo View Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (Taking a rideshare is suggested)

You might also like: Visiting Taliesin West—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Arizona Home

FAQs about touring the Stahl House in Los Angeles

Can you drive by the Stahl house?

Technically you can drive to the Stahl house. But if you show up without a reservation you would be able to see anything. The home is on a private street behind a wall.

Who owns the Stahl house?

The Stahl house is privately owned by the Stahl family. When the children inherited the house they decided to open it up the the public rather than live there. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Can you visit the Stahl house in Los Angeles?

The Stahl house is open to the public through docent-led private tours, which are held a few days a week. You must book a reservation in advance.

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