Robert Byrd designed and built most of his homes in Southern California. There were Byrd homes built in other states, like Oregon, Kansas, Alabama, Nevada, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Some of the homes are still there.
Gary Byrd built homes similar to his father,
but on a much grander scale. Gary studied architecture at USC. He left the program early to work full-time for his father. He was often hired to remodel his father's homes.
Father and son worked together as a team
for over twenty years. They also designed and built furniture as a side business. Many Byrd homes still have some of the original Byrd furniture, like a dining room table and chairs.
Chris Lukather, founder and editor of the literary journal, The Writing Disorder, has released the latest in his series of books featuring iconic California 20thCentury home builders. In his new book, Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary, he examines the story of this father and son team, demonstrating their impact on the design of single-family homes in Southern California, describing the hallmarks of their enduring style.
Byrd homes are archetypes of California living. While many people in Hollywood and real estate are familiar with the name and distinctive style of Robert Byrd (1904-1978), not much is known about his life, or the fact that his son, Gary, also built homes. These homes have been news and noteworthy since the early 1940s, when a high-profile home purchased by French actress, Michéle Morgan[PL1] was attributed to Robert Byrd and featured in several celebrity and architectural magazines. Numerous other celebrities have lived in Byrd Homes over the years, including award-winning actor/director Ron Howard; actress/ singer, Lizabeth Scott; and award-winning special make-up effects artist, Stan Winston. Tom Mix, Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski, Frank Zappa and Robert Taylor have also been mentioned in the mix.
Although Robert Byrd had a long and distinguished career as an architect of quality homes in Southern California, he was not a licensed architect. As a building designer, he built homes from the 1920s through the 1970s, and his son, Gary, built homes from the 1960s to the early 2000s. They worked together as a team for over twenty years. Many elements of a Byrd Home, such as exposed wood beams, turned posts, rock and flagstone finishes, and whimsical brickwork may be familiar to those who lived in Hollywood or Beverly Hills during the mid to late twentieth century. Byrd homes were built in the California Ranch style and featured natural materials that lent the homes a comfortable, symbiotic and timeless ambience. Other distinctive characteristics include round chimneys, curved walkways, indoor/outdoor grills, Dutch doors, custom woodwork, and stained-glass windows.
Until now, there has been very little information available about Robert Byrd, the man who designed and built these captivating family homes. After releasing books on William Mellenthin’s “Birdhouse” ranch homes, and Jean Vandruff’s Cinderella tract homes, author, Chris Lukather, knew his next project would be unearthing the story of the designer and builder of the legendary Byrd homes. Homes by Byrd: The Art & Architecture of Robert Byrd and His Son, Gary features fascinating facts, stories, drawings and historical information gathered from Byrd homeowners and realtors, articles and magazines from the period, as well as contributions from the Byrd family themselves. Along with a biography of this industrious and influential man, 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 promotion material from the designer and builder’s personal archives.
148 pages, 10x10 inches, Softcover, Perfect Bound
Color and Black & White Photos, Drawing and Illustrations
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The Robert Byrd designed, Marquis Restaurant, is seen in this video (25 sec. in).
The hallmarks of the Byrd Homes—exposed wood beams, turned posts, rocks, flagstone, and whimsical brickwork—featured natural materials that lent homes a comfortable, timeless ambience.