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Charles and Ray Eames

IN 1954, WHEN I WAS A PINK-CHEEKED lad of a mere thirteen years, our family—newly returned to Los Angeles from the aging, sooty confines of Cleveland—paid a visit to an old friend of my father’s who’d made it big at Capitol Records and built a house on Webster Drive, in LA’s Silver Lake district. The house was a simple box, half redwood and half glass, with a little stainless-steel trim. The far wall of the living room was entirely glass, looking out onto a sparse deck and, beyond, a spectacular view of the Silver Lake reservoir. Standing for the first time in the living room, I thought the home might somehow be airborne, but I learned later that it was merely cantilevered out over a slope and propped up, like the ripply, translucent carport roof adjacent, by two thin metal stilts. In a corner of the living room, by the plate-glass window, stood the Christmas tree (ours was a holiday-season

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