Architecture You Love
BEVERLEY DAVID THORNE (1924-)
Thorne grew up in Piedmont CA. At age 9, he designed his first house near Auburn CA and helped his grandfather build it. After four years as an Air Force pilot, Thorne studied architecture at UC Berkeley, graduating in 1950. He worked for David S. Johnson and then spent almost two years traveling through Europe and the Middle East.
Starting in 1953 he worked for architect Roger Lee. Thorne met musician Dave Brubeck via a developer. That led to Thorne designing Brubeck a house on the side while still employed with Lee.
In 1954, Thorne went out on his own. The Brubeck house catapulted him into mostly unwanted fame. His notoriety attracted rich clients but distanced him from the kinds of clients he wanted -- simple souls desiring inexpensive homes. He deliberately dropped out of sight with an unlisted phone number and changed his professional name from David to Beverley.
In the 1980's, he resurfaced and practiced primarily from Hawaii. His three children David, Stephen, and Kevin are all architects.
Thorne is the last living architect to have participated in Arts & Architecture's famous Case Study Houses, a project which first introduced modern architecture to the public on a large scale. He designed over 150 houses, most on steep hillsides and built out of steel.
If you know of Thorne houses we don't have documented, please contact us.
1954 - Thorne's most famous project was the cantilevered Dave and Iola Brubeck House, aka the Heartwood House, aka Brubeck West, 6630 Heartwood Drive, Oakland-Northwest Hills CA. Commissioned 1949. Built by Art Houvanitz. The result was so breathtaking that Ed Sullivan did a show featuring the Brubeck Quartet at the house. Thorne and his wife Patricia lived there for three months during construction. Sold in 1994 to Christianne and Michael Cheney.
1954 - The Harry C. Nail, Jr. House, Atherton CA. Consulting Engineer, Carl Replogle. Nail was an art dealer. Built by John Davenport. 2000 sf. Do you know where it is?
1955 - The Eugene K. and Helen Lawlor House, 8410 Betty Lane, El Cerrito CA. Sold in 2010 to Rajesh Behl and Gayatri Chugh.
1957 - The Ray D. Nichols House, 23 Sequoyah View Drive, Oakland CA. Upon opening, a helicopter landed on the roof, and it remained open to the paying public for months as a tourist attraction with proceeds going to charity. Built by Ray D. Nichols. Sold to Augustus Moore, Jr. Larger photos by Andrea Minton.
1957 - The Rock Logan House, end of Sklyand Blvd. before right turn, Oakland CA. Logan was a architect and part owner of the Oakland Raiders. Do you know where it is?
1959 - The Robert K. and Dorothy Adamson House, 1545 Campus Drive, Berkeley CA. Commissioned 1957. Sold for the first time in 2014. Will be remodeled. Photos by Andrea Minton.
1959 - The H. D., Paul, and Mary Bartlett House, Huntington Lake CA. Won a 1959 American Iron and Steel Institute Award. Do you know where it is?
1959 - Lot 33, Gulf Harbor Planned Community.
1960 - The Dave Brubeck House II, 211 Millstone Road, Wilton CT. For sale??
1960 - The Jeff Cabot House, aka California Bahamas Trust House, Lot 17, Santa Barbara CA. Do you know where it is?
1962 - The John and Nora B. Dennis House, 69 Marlin Avenue, Mill Valley CA. Structural Engineer, Montgomery and Davis. Steel by American Steel Corporation. Burned down in 1969 and rebuilt in 1970.
1962 - The Bill and Berniece Hull House, aka Halloween House, aka Flying Nun House, aka Bat Wing House, aka Apple Valley Arts Foundation Center, Apple Valley CA. Built by Wright C. Kemp. Do you know where it is?
1963 - The Harrison House, aka the H. Harrison Fuller house, aka Case Study House #26, aka the Ketchum House, aka the Bethlehem Steel House, 177 San Marino Drive, San Rafael CA. Commissioned in early 1962 for Fuller but he decided not to move in. Built by 20th Century Homes. Don Moyer, Structural Engineer. Sold in later 1962 to Gary and Renee Ketchum. Rented for a few years. 1955 sf. For sale in 2015.
1963 - The Frank A. Norton and Hermann Kaufmann House, aka Norton House, aka Kaufmann House, 55 Alhambra Court, Portola Valley CA. Sold to Michael J. Nuttal.
1964 - The Loren J. Westhaver House, 77-6548 Alii Drive, Kona HI. The house is built entirely of steel, and was erected and welded together by both Thorne and Westhaver themselves. Has been sold and modified.
1964 - The Carleton House, Oakland CA. Do you know where it is?
1965 - The John Newland House, Tustin CA. Do you know where it is?
1966 - House on Curtis Street, Berkeley CA. Do you know where it is?
1966 - The Barney Olsen (Olson) House, Danville CA. Do you know where it is?
1966 - The Neil Prunty House, Oakland CA. Destroyed in landslide.
1970 - The Dallas Wright House, location unknown. Do you know where it is?
1972 - The Wally Runswick House, aka the Music House, 38 Sunset Lane, Berkeley CA. Sold to Alice Pasqualetti and her husband. Sold in 1996 to Sandra Soderlund and Herbert Bielawa.
1974 - The Roy Price House, Alamo CA. Do you know where it is?
1974 - The Skip and Kathi Cutter House, Oakland CA. Do you know where it is?
1990 - The Sara and Ivan May House, Lafayette CA. Project architect Steve Thorne. May not have involved Beverley Thorne; needs verification. Landscape design by David Thorne.
1994 - The John and Sue Layng House, Lafayette CA. Project architect Steve Thorne. May not have involved Beverley Thorne; needs verification. Sold to Tim and Mary Hartfield. Do you know where it is?
1995 - The Jerry and Beverly Kram House, Piedmont CA. Do you know where it is?
1995 - The Lee Ann Huntington House, San Francisco CA. Landscape architect, David Thorne. Do you know where it is?
1996 - The Kem, Keith, and Renee Kantor House, Pleasanton CA. Landscape architect, David Thorne. Do you know where it is?
1996 - The Kantor Barn, Danville CA. Unfinished. Do you know where it is?
1996 - The David Sborov House, Pleasanton CA. Do you know where it is?
1997 - The Cal and Betty Habstrom House, Orinda CA. Do you know where it is?
1997 - The Carolyn Paradise and Jim Warynan House, aka Paradise House, Point Richmond CA. Associate design, Nancy Kent. Do you know where it is?
1997 - The Pat and Walt Ellis House, Kensington CA. Do you know where it is?
Around 2000 - The Yabumoto House, Japan. Do you know where it is?
Around 2000 - The Warren Miller Teahouse, Lafayette CA. Do you know where it is?
Around 2000 - The John Rosa House, Lot 62, Lakewood Knolls, Douglas County NV. Do you know where it is?
Around 2000 - The Eichler Sorino Addition, Palo Alta CA. Do you know where it is?
Around 2000 - The Goforth Cabin, location unknown, status unknown. Do you know where it is?
2016 - The Edward (Ed) Baker House, aka the Millennium House, 6333-6335 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland CA. Named because Baker wanted a house that would last 1,000 years. Commissioned in 2000. 4000 sf. Bottom photo by Lee Suzuki. Construction started in 2006 and as of 2015 it was not yet complete.
Sources include: LA Times, SFGate, NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernist Architecture by Pierluigi Serraino, Bev Thorne, David Thorne, Herb Bielawa.