For Kelly Lynch and Mitch Glazer, a beloved NEUTRA residence in LONE PINE offers a high-design retreat with a taste of the American West.
Accomplished screenwriter Mitch Glazer is reminiscent—thinking back to the first time he and his wife, actress Kelly Lynch, drove from L.A. to the remote Central California town of Lone Pine to see their Richard Neutra home. “I’m so East Coast that I heard Mojave Desert and almost fainted. We brought huge Sparkletts bottles of water because it just seemed like we weren’t going to survive it—like the Donner Party or something,” he says, when an image of Lynch, posing Barbarella-like for photographer Dewey Nicks on a monumental outcropping of rocks outside of their residence, catches his eye and quite literally takes his breath away. “I mean, with the mountain range behind her—it’s, it’s just jaw-dropping,” he says. The man is clearly smitten: with Lynch, yes, but also with the stunning prehistoric-looking panorama, 95-foot-high marbled boulders, looming Inyo Mountain peaks and all.
The environs have been a source of inspiration for Glazer, who, when he’s not with Lynch and their 29-year-old daughter, Shane, has been known to hole up in their masterfully streamlined rectangular glass digs on his own to write. “Since I’ve been here, but particularly this year, it’s been crazy busy,” he says, noting upcoming projects including October’s dramedy Rock the Kasbah, starring Bill Murray and Zooey Deschanel; another Murray-fronted vehicle, a Netflix holiday special directed by Sofia Coppola titled A Very Murray Christmas; a screenplay based on the Elmore Leonard novel Bandits starring Bruce Willis that’s due to be filmed in March; and the film version of his Starz TV series Magic City (which he wrote and will direct), set to begin production next year.
For Lynch, the influence of the home, in combination with the couple’s John Lautner residence in L.A., has translated literally: She is currently working on a pilot for a TV magazine show about architecture and design. “I don’t want good design to be something that’s only for a certain group,” she says. “It’s gotten so elitist: I want to show people how they can do it themselves.”
Lynch and Glazer ended up here in 1992 thanks to real-estate legend Crosby Doe, who lured the New York City transplants to this cowboy town en route to Mammoth with the promise of a masterpiece. The scenic drive, initially a drawback, ended up doing half of the selling: “The trip up the 395 Highway is something that everybody should do—the same way that everybody should drive from one end of Sunset Boulevard to the other,” says Lynch. Adds Glazer: “I had this déjà vu connection, and then I realized it was from The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy, and all the movies and TV shows that had been filmed here. I knew the landscape: It felt fated.” A walk through the door sealed the deal. “It was obvious that it was a place that had a lot of love in it,” Lynch says. “The architecture is elegant, the proportions are perfect and geometric, but it’s humble.”
I was the girl who was making modern Barbie swing pads out of shoeboxes. I didn’t want a dollhouse: I wanted to build a house.
Originally built in 1959 by the already world-famous Neutra for Richard Oyler, a government employee, the unlikely commission—forged when Neutra came to visit the majestic site and couldn’t resist the epic setting—led to a long-lasting friendship between architect and client, and was the subject of the 2012 documentary The Oyler House: Richard Neutra’s Desert Retreat.
Lynch and Glazer make for worthy caretakers: The pair’s appreciation for midcentury everything runs so deep that their courtship partly hinged on it. “When Mitch and I started dating we’d buy furniture for houses that we didn’t have—stockpiling a Corbusier chair or a Barcelona set,” says Lynch. The passion didn’t initially get passed on to Shane (an actress whose credits include a turn on Ray Donovan): “She used to sing that line from The Addams Family song, ‘My house is a museum,’ —she didn’t know what we were so excited about,” says Lynch, adding that Shane favored Shabby Chic for a time as a form of rebellion. “But all of a sudden it clicked: She’s a convert.”
A native of Miami Beach, Glazer received an education in craftsmanship from a young age. His father created midcentury lighting as an electrical engineer working for Morris Lapidus, the man behind the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc. “I was born and raised in a post and beam house,” he says. “So it feels not only aesthetically spectacular, but like home.” Lynch’s indoctrination was more instinctual. “I was the girl who was making modern Barbie swing pads out of shoeboxes,” she recalls. “I didn’t want a dollhouse: I wanted to build a house.” The first per-diem she ever received, for Drugstore Cowboy, she put toward a collection of 1950s Russel Wright American Modern dishes. “I was so nervous I was going to spend it on something stupid, like a dress,” she says.
Their curated decor reads like a who’s who: from a rare Neutra-designed wood and metal camel table and chair set that lives in the dining room with a Paul McCobb bar cart, to a biomorphic Noguchi coffee table with a glass top and walnut wood base in the living room. Artwork includes a photograph of Mono Lake by Macduff Everton—an aquatic counterpoint to the arid exterior. “You have to be very careful what you put in here, because you’re competing with the greatest images of all,” says Lynch, nodding outside. “Your eye goes that way.”
The family’s inclinations are similarly oriented; days revolve around hiking, horseback riding, languorous afternoon dips in their rock pool—dynamited into shape by the Oylers—and excursions for catch-and-release fishing or skiing. “You can start to believe whatever Hollywood BS gets fed into your head, but you come here and it’s a recalibration,” says Lynch.
Evenings wind down over martinis on the patio, where they watch the light change as a glittering blanket of constellations comes into focus. For Glazer, it’s moments like these that beg to be captured: “Someday it would be fun to claim it on the screen,” he says, revealing his ambition to situate a script here, and noting the copious credits the locale already has to its name, from 1939 Cary Grant classic Gunga Din to Gladiator. He’s even got a working opening sequence, in which a group of grizzled cowboys rides in over the hill and comes face to face with a groovy, caftan-wearing, Julianne-Moore-in-A Single Man-type. “Sell it for three or four minutes as a Western, and then there she is: ‘I thought you’d never get here,’ with a cocktail shaker,” says Glazer. “That’s all we have; the beginning. But hey, it’s something.”
By MELISSA GOLDSTEIN.
Photography by DEWEY NICKS.
Styling by SHADI BECCAI.