JON NELSON (JONNY) BURKE
aka CRAIG ELLWOOD (1922-1992)
Burke grew up in Clarendon TX and moved as a child to California, attending Belmont High School in Los Angeles CA. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. In 1946, he started a construction company with his brother Cleve and the Marzicola Brothers under a new name, Craig Ellwood. It was taken, in part, from the Lords and Elwood liquor store downstairs from the construction company office. Part time, he was head of publicity for the Hollywood Bowl in 1947. He also worked as a model.
The construction company failed and Ellwood went to work as a cost estimator for Jack Cofer of Lamport Cofer Salzman in Los Angeles. Ellwood did the cost estimating for the Charles and Ray Eames house in Pacific Palisades. He then designed the Lappin house in 1948. Ellwood left Cofer and started an architectural firm, Craig Ellwood Design, in 1949. Although he took structural engineering courses at UCLA, Ellwood was not a licensed architect. But that did not matter, to him or to his clients. Ellwood was a true design genius. Ellwood could sell, too. He had a red Ferrari and a perfect fit with the attention-getting lifestyle of Los Angeles. He was a master of promotion. Derided by the architecture profession of which he was formally not a part, he rose to public fame when three of his houses were included in the iconic Case Study House series of Arts & Architecture Magazine. His houses are still incredibly prized today.
He was married to Faith Irene (Bobbie) Walker. Then for 28 years he was married to actress Gloria McEniry Henry, who played Mom on the 1950s classic TV show, Dennis the Menace. They had three children, Jeffrey, Erin, and Adam Ellwood. In 1977, he left the US with third wife Anita Eubank to a villa in Pergine Valdarno, Italy. After their divorce, he started dating Leslie Hyland. They married in 1985 and had one daughter, Caitlin Emily. After his death, Leslie Hyland Ellwood moved to South Africa. Thanks to Catherine Westergaard Cramer for her extensive research. The Ellwood archives are at Cal Poly Pomona.
1948 - The Elizabeth Wharton House, Los Angeles CA. Jack Cofer was to be the builder. Unbuilt.
1948 - The Milton L. and Cecile B. Lappin House, 2767 Motor Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Built by Jack Cofer. Featured in the Los Angeles Times Home Magazine, 1950. Sold to Sylvia Kirts. Sold in 2002 to Robert and Cynthia Hart. Sold in 2004 to Andrew and Sarah Jacobson. Bottom photo by Michael Locke.
1949 - The Fritz D. and Irma Epstein House, 401 North Cliffwood Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Published in Progressive Architecture, May 1951. Sold in 2010 to Marvin and Judith Zeidler. Color photo by Michael Locke.
1949 - The Irwin Duplex, Los Angeles CA. Built by Jack Cofer. Destroyed. Photos by Julius Shulman.
1949 - The Harry W. (aka Harry D.) Gerstad House, Wilbur Avenue, Tarzana CA. Built by Jack Cofer. Featured in the Los Angeles Times, 6/10/1951. Interiors by Carroll Sagar. Photos by Donald Higgins. Destroyed.
1949 - The ??? Beach House, Malibu CA. Built by Jack Cofer.
1949 - The Bryant McIntyre Hale House, 9618 Yoakum Drive, Beverly Hills CA. Commissioned in 1948. Hale was a teacher at Beverly Hills High School. Sold to David W. and Pamela Packard. No one lived there for years. As of 2022, awaiting restration by Barton Jahncke. Bottom two photos by Michael Locke.
1950 - The Meyer House, Los Angeles CA. Status unknown.
1950 - The Howard A. and Helen L. Broughton House, 909 North Beverly Glen Boulevard, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned in 1949. Featured in Arts & Architecture Magazine, 1949. Sold to the Leslie Appel Trust. Sold in 2002 to Tina Hagen. Sold in 2004 to Keili Lefkovitz. Second photo by Michael Locke; bottom two by Elizabeth Daniels.
1950 - The Martin R. and Eva Zimmerman House, 400 North Carmelina Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned in 1949. Designed with Emiel Becsky. Landscape design by Garrrett Eckbo. Featured in Progressive Architecture. Sold in 1968 to Richard Kelton. Sold in 2004 to Hilda Rolfe. Deeded to the Rolfe Family Trust. B/W photo by Julius Shulman; bottom two photos by Michael Locke.
1950 - The Chute Apartments, 1011 Hammond Street, West Hollywood CA. These 400sf, 11-unit apartments strongly resembled Corbusier. Designed with Emiel Becsky. Mackintosh and Mackintosh were the Consulting Engineers; Jay Dodson was the contractor. Destroyed.
1951 - Three houses for Israel American National Construction Corporation in Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv, Israel. Unbuilt.
1951 - The Heller House, aka the Brown House, 902 North Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills CA. Destroyed around 1986 and a new house built, not designed by Ellwood. Above photo is the replacement. There are photos of the original house taken by Richard Fish at Cal Poly Pomona.
1951 - The Brettauer Apartments, original address 3 and 4 Monteal Road, West Hollywood CA. Two hillside bungalows, 1500 square feet, built for Château Marmont adjacent at 8221 Sunset Boulevard. Last four photos of #4 provided by Tom Lekometros. Actor John Belushi died of a drug overdose in #3.
1951 - The Elton House, 635 Hightree Road, Santa Monica CA. Photo by Chimay Bleue. This is not an Ellwood house but it is often listed as one. Architect William Baswell bought the lot from the Eltons who asked Ellwood for a design that was never put to paper. The house there was all Baswell's creation.
1952 - The Kelton House, Flintridge CA. Unbuilt.
1952 - The M. M. Zach House, aka the Henry House, aka the Henry-Zach House, 1036 North Tigertail Road, Los Angeles CA. Designed with Emiel Becsky. Architect Douglas Rucker did a 1968 addition. Sold in 1976 to Scott Regburg. Deeded in 2004 to the Scott Regburg Trust. Deeded in 2010 to Melanie Regburg. Deeded in 2012 to the Miller-Regburg Trust, which did a faithful restoration. Photo by Michael Locke. Destroyed by wildfire in October 2019. Will be completely rebuilt and restored, starting in 2020, by Barton Jahncke.
1952 - The Henry Salzman House, aka Case Study House 16, aka Case Study House for 1953, 1811 Bel Air Road, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned in 1951. Sold in 2002 to the Murile A. Norton Trust. Sold to Jamie Mazur. Bottom photo by Michael Locke.
1953 - The Courtyard Apartments, aka the Roy Maypole Apartments, 1570-1574 La Baig Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Taalman Koch Architecture rented a double unit and documented their renovation of the space for Dwell in 2010. Sold in 2021 to James Roday Rodriguez. Top photo by Michael Locke.
1953 - The Byron Lamar Johnson House, 1515 North Tigertail Road, Los Angeles CA. Put into the Johnson Trust. Sold in 2004 to Patricia Stone. Sold in 2010 to the Julie Simpson Erwin Revocable Trust. In March 2013 the house was considered for listing as an Historical Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles. Sold in 2020. Bottom two photos by Michael Locke.
1953 - The Charles Coppege House, Little Rock Way, Malibu CA. Went over budget and was unbuilt.
1953 - The William Froug House, 300 South Canyon View Drive, Los Angeles CA. Unbuilt. Froug, a TV writer-producer, and his wife later bought a house and did a Modernist remodel.
1954 - The Burton and Ellen Anderson House, 656 Hightree Road, Santa Monica CA. Commissioned in 1953. Published in Arts & Architecture Magazine. Sold to Joseph Stone. Sold in 1993 to Steven and Laura Baker. Bottom photo by Andrea Minton.
1954 - The Frank and Polly Pierson House #1, 24554 Malibu Road, Malibu CA. Sold to L. G. Weingarten Trustee. Sold in 1999 to Lynne G. Silbert Trustee. Renovated around 2006 by Julie Hart.
1955 - The Charles and Gerry Bobertz House, 5503 Dorothy Drive, San Diego CA. Commissioned in 1953. Gerry Bobertz said he felt somewhat cheated, recalling that Ellwood, who was primarily designing homes in the Los Angeles area, was essentially selling them plans. They oversaw construction on their own. The project architect was Ernie Jacks. Said Bobertz, "We never were told that anyone else worked on our plans. Craig gave us the impression he did them."
Sold in 1958 to John and Alice Cuchna, who expanded the family room and enclosed the patio and remodeled the kitchen, changed some colors, and built an outside concrete wall. Sold in 1968 to Jack and Dorothy Smith. They remodelled the bathrooms in 1979. In November 2000, sold to Keith York (who started ModernSanDiego.com) who had it lovingly restored to the original vision, as well as adding the original landscaping. Gerry Bobertz Franklin brought him several original photos as well as the unrealized plan for the landscape. 2004 photos by John Durant. Sold in 2017 to Ryan Salahi.
1956 - The Hoffman House, aka Case Study House #17B or 17-2, 9554 Hidden Valley Road, Beverly Hills CA. Sold in the 1960s to John E. Woolf and Robert K. Woolf who did an extensive but faithful remodel. Renovated beyond recognition in 2000. Sold to Keith E. Liberman. Expanded to 5200 square feet, 6 bedrooms, 5 baths. Gated community; no public access.
1956 - The Kuderna House, 2977 Passmore Drive, Los Angeles CA. Sold to Ernest Vandebovenkamp. Sold in 2008 to Washington Mutual Bank. For sale in 2019.
1956 - The Edinger House, Crestwood Hills, Brentwood CA. Although declared unbuilt according to Jackson book; it was built and destroyed by fire (see Perez-Mendez book).
1956 - The Carlson House, 1527 North Tigertail Road, Los Angeles CA. Sold to the Paul J. Kohner Trust. Bottom photo by Michael Locke.
1956 - The Don and Calla Hunt House, aka House in Sherman Oaks, 3835 Kingswood Road, Sherman Oaks CA. Designed with Jerrold Lomax. Sold to Alan and Iris Mink. Sold to the Barbara and Stephen Kurtin Trust. Second photo by Peter Kaminski.
1956 - The Howard W. and Violet H. Steinman House, 22476 Carbon Mesa Road, Malibu CA. Sold to the Steinman Family Trust. Project architect, Jerrold Lomax. Sold in 2007 to Albert and Holly Baril. Renovated by Michael Boyd Design. Top photo by Michael Locke; bottom photo by Roger Davies.
1957 - The Victor and Elizabeth Hunt House, 24514 Malibu Road, Malibu CA. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1959. Principal design was by Jerrold Lomax, an associate in Ellwood's office. Built by Roy Norvell; B/W photos by Marvin Rand. Transferred to Elizabeth Hunt Trust/Gyula Molnar, Trustee. Sold in 2012 to Tania and Adeshir Tavangarian. Sold in 2017 to Diane Bald/Budman Trust. Historically restored with Barton Jahncke. Bottom two photos by Michael Locke.
1957 - The Fields House, aka Case Study House #18, 1129 Miradero Road, Beverly Hills CA. Sold to Mary Jo Greenberg Dickey (aka actress Linda Douglas) and her husband Joe Dickey. Transformed beyond recognition into an Italianate, regency style, bottom two photos. Sold in 2017.
1957 - The Richard and Louise Baer House #1, Westwood CA. Unbuilt. Ellwood also designed an addition, also unbuilt. In 1962, Ellwood designed a second house for the Baers, also unbuilt.
1957 - The Bennett House, Los Angeles CA. Unbuilt.
1958 - The J. Chris Smith House, 1095 North Kenter Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Sold to Sylvia Levey. Deeded to the Sylvia Levey Trust. Renovated in 2018 by Barton Jahncke and former Ellwood colleague James Tyler. Sold in 2019 to Kristine and Richard Kim. Bottom two photos by Michael Locke.
1958 - The Ellwood Studio Addition, Brentwood area of Los Angeles CA. Status unknown.
1958 - The George and Annette Korsen House, 1074 Angelo Drive, Beverly Hills CA. Altered in 1978. Sold in 1988 to Jonathan Beare. Sold in 1988 to Laurent Opman. Deeded to the Laurent Opman Trust. Renovated in 2016. Guest house designed by ARC PAC. Bottom two photos by Andrea Minton and Michael Locke.
1959 - The Warren House. Unbuilt.
1959 - The Nicolas and Virginia Daphne House, 20 Madrone Place, Hillsborough CA. Commissioned in 1958. The owners had tried to hire Frank Lloyd Wright but that did not work out. They owned a funeral home in SFO designed by Quincy Jones. Project architect, Jerrold Lomax. Sold in 2010 to the Nottoli Trust. Sold in 2016 to Mark Harley.
1960 - The Ziegler House, 8653 Metz Place, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned in 1959. Designed with Jerrold Lomax. Bethlehem Steel commissioned models for an exhibit to showcase steel in residential architecture. The Perez-Mendez book states Ellwood did not supervise the construction as a result of a client dispute. Sold to the Jane R. Glassman Trust. Restored in 2019 by Woods + Dangaran.
1960 - The Max Palevsky Apartment Renovation, Sherry-Netherland Building, 59th Street and 5th Avenue, 15th Floor, New York NY. Commissioned in 1959. Designed with Jerrold Lomax, Peter Blake, and Julian Neski
1960 - The Florence Knoll-Bassett House, East Hampton NY. Unbuilt. Project architect, Jerrold Lomax. Designed with Peter Blake and Julian Neski.
1961 - The Louis Marx House, Scarsdale NY. Unbuilt. Two pavilions frame a two-story enclosed atrium that acts as an entry space and contains the pool The living room, adjacent to the atrium, is also a two-story lofty space, with passageways above that communicate between the different parts of the house.
1962 - The Gerald and Arlene Rosen House, 910 Oakmont Drive East, Los Angeles CA. Colleague Jerrold Lomax was upset at not getting primary credit for the house and left the firm a few weeks after it was completed. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1964. Engineers, Robert Marks; built by Gattman and Mitchell; landscape design, Warren Waltz; photos, Morley Baer. Sold around 1970 to Iris and Alan Mink. Deeded to the Iris Mink Trust.
1962 - The Darrow-Walters House, Malibu CA. Unbuilt.
1963 - The Frank and Polly Pierson House #2, 32320 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu CA. Commissioned in 1962. Published in Arts & Architecture. Ellwood added a pool and guest house (second photo) in 1970. The property (top photo) was sold in 1976 to new owners who made inadvisable modifications. Destroyed by fire in 1978 during a coastal firestorm. The fire cracked the concrete and it burst. The Cor-ten steel sagged and the owner's white Rolls Royce melted. Polly Pierson later admitted she was delighted by the destruction as she was deeply devastated by the new owners' modifications.
1962 - The Sullivan Apartments, three units, Los Angeles CA. Unbuilt.
1963 - The Chamorro House, aka Steel Bridge House, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned in 1962. Unbuilt.
1964 - The Anderson Apartments aka Allen and Anderson Apartments, Santa Rosa, CA. Unbuilt.
1963 - The Unitspan Houses, aka Fertigtele-haus. Jerry Horn was the project architect. The month after Ellwood's return from Germany, Bauen + Wohnen published his Unitspan housing scheme, a project for lightweight, aluminum-framed houses assembled from a series of 1200 mm (4 foot) wide modular panels. Unbuilt.
1964 - The Stanbury House, aka Courtyard House, Beverly Hills CA. Jerry Horn was the project architect. Unbuilt.
1965 - The Donald (Don) and Sally Kubly House, 215 La Vereda Road, Pasadena CA. Commissioned in 1964. Don Kubly was the second president of the Art Center College of Design and was instrumental in selecting Ellwood to design Art Center's nearby hillside campus in Pasadena when the college relocated there. Deeded to the Kubly Family Trust. Sold in 2022 to David Patrick Nixon. Top photo by Michael Locke.
1965 - The Moore House, 4791 Bonvue Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned in 1964. Sold in 2003 to Donald Bonar. Sold in 2005 to Michael (Mickey) Madden, then deeded in 2012 to the Michael Madden Living Trust. Sold in 2016 to Robert M. Johnson. Sold in 2018 to Molly Crana and Andrew Rudmann. Restored by Woods + Dangaran. Sold in 2023. Photos by Michael Locke.
1968 - The Goldman House, 122 San Ysidro Drive, Beverly Hills CA. Commissioned in 1967. Project architect, James Tyler. After arguments with the client, Ellwood did not supervise construction. Jerrold Lomax completed the building. Deeded to the Mark Goldman Family Trust. Photos by Michael Locke.
1968 - The Weekend House, Poly Canyon Road, San Luis Obispo CA. Commissioned in 1964. Built by students in a class taught by Ellwood for Head of Architecture George Hasslein, sponsored by Kaiser Steel with their new oxidizing steel, Cor-ten. It was a roofed bridge that spanned between two walls of a canyon. At one time it was to be used as housing for guest faculty. Became part of an architectural graveyard shared with other student structures. Vacant for years and deteriorated. Photos by Scott Somerndike.
1968 - The Bridge House. Spans a creek. Unbuilt.
Around 1970 - The Max Palevsky House, 1021 West Cielo Drive, Palm Springs CA. Commissioned in 1968. Palevsky was an art collector, venture capitalist, philanthropist, and computer technology pioneer. Still owned by the Palevsky family as of 2016. Top photo by Michael Locke; middle Marvin Rand, bottom photo by Kurt Cyr.
1970 - The Kawahara House, 6 Shadow Lane, Rolling Hills Estates CA. Commissioned in 1969. They later added a new master suite, designed by Ellwood associate James Tyler, entered by a glass bridge and opening to the pool. Sold in 2011 to Lee Byrna. Color photo by Michael Locke.
1972 - The Irving Harris House, 18 Grandin Lane, Cincinnati OH. Commissioned in 1971. Project architect, James Tyler. This was the last of the houses designed by Ellwood's office. Still owned by Harris as of 2010.
Year unknown - Brettauer Apartments, Los Angeles.
Year unknown - Chute 3 Units Apartments, Los Angeles.
Anderson-Baer-Brettauer Villas Broughton, Bel Air, Los Angeles CA. Likely unbuilt.
Sources include: Craig Ellwood: In the Spirit of the Time, by Alfonso Perez-Mendez; California Modern: The Architecture of Craig Ellwood, by Neil Jackson; Adam Ellwood; Erin Ellwood; Making LA Modern, by Michael Boyd.