Talking with Mr. Tischler, part 2 of 3


1  Plan, top (third) floor
2  Entry, back of fireplace to left, dining area ahead
3  Collage from dining looking toward living, entry is on the left behind the fireplace
4  Collage from living looking toward rear of house, dining on the left, living on the right
5  View from dining to breakfast area in kitchen
6  View of ceiling from kitchen towards living

7  View of south side of house from lawn

Was the reason that people wouldn’t loan was that it was too unusual for them?

I think so. This is quite a traditional street. The woman next door, I found out later, I didn’t know, she went around up and down the street with a petition to try to stop us from building the house.It didn’t work, I didn’t know about it. Later she came around when all the landscaping was in and said “Mr. Tischler, I must tell you, you have a simply beautiful house.” But I’ll tell you, it was pretty stark before we put the landscaping in. You dig out a hill, you know, there’s no lawn that you can put in the front. Anyway, it worked out fine.

Its typical of his houses, you know, are leaks, one way or another. See some of the molding , some of the stuff was real critical-barely minimum to take care of the leak. So if you have a heavy rain, its insufficient. He didn’t want it to disturb the appearance. The reason that, you notice there are no down gutters, no vents…And he put the water heater up top where we have a little space in there, it was electric. He didn’t want to have a gas vent.

Was he out at the site all the time when it was under construction?

I couldn’t really say for sure that he was here every day, but he was here during construction many times.

Did you come by often to see how it was going?

I didn’t come by as often as he thought I should. But, as I told you, since we didn’t have the money to do things, we kept quiet for most of it. We made no suggestions.

How long did the construction take?

From the time we got the loan and got started it was only 6 months, which is unusual.

Did he give you a budget for the construction before it started?

Well he did to begin with, yes, but I don’t recall whether that was accurate. He was very sympathetic to a low budget.

When the house was new and done, what did you and your wife think of it? Where you surprised?

We weren’t surprised. I was happy, I don’t think my wife was so happy. You know a woman wants certain things. She was very disappointed that she didn’t have the things that a woman, cooking, wants to take care of her kitchen. No garbage disposal, no dish washer, many things. Also the fact, there was a problem too. See I had one daughter when we started with Schindler. When the house was finished, she was 3 years old. And my wife was pregnant with another girl. And because we have the steps her gynecologist advised that she stay with her mother. Because she always had a kind of touch-and-go pregnancy. I was here for 3 months before she moved in. When she came with an infant, we didn’t have much in the way of landscaping. We had real hot weather, and the bedroom where we had the child was real hot. The sun came in. Those were some of the things. And besides, I think she cared more about the comfort and things that were necessary rather than the aesthetics.

Schindler’s known for doing small kitchens. Did your kitchen feel small at the time?

Schindler was known for small kitchens. The one we have is large for him.

Was that because of you or your wife, or did you just get lucky?

Both, I guess. Its hard for me to say. The kitchen is not small. The problem is with the storage, so I built cabinets outside in our yard to keep the stuff in, otherwise, there’s no place for it.

The landscaping you put in, did Schindler design that?

Well, on this house, I don’t know. We had little money, we had some help, we tried to plan those plants,  some was done (at the time of construction), but most of it was done later by myself.

You’ve been here a long time, and there’s a lot of reasons why people stay in their houses. Why did you stay here so long?

Well, for two reasons I guess. Main reason, of course, we were satisfied with living here. The second was no sense in trying to move to some place that was more expensive. Anyway, we enjoyed being here. See my wife died twelve years ago. We were both here but she developed rheumatoid arthritis and she wasn’t inclined to move a lot. But the bedroom, you’ll see it, its very nice, very nice looking out, you can see the yard.

What about the stairs? Can you negotiate the stairs now?

I can do it, but I have a (powered) chair on the other side (opposite side from the entry), I didn’t want to put it on the (entry) steps. I put it in for her in 1994, and now I’m glad I got it myself. I built it for her in 1994, and I just realized, I’m 94 myself.

Besides the storage you added on the outside, are there any other things that you’ve changed? I have read that you put the plywood in the ceiling, because the house was too hot.

Yes, that was done after he (Schindler) died. There was one thing that developed. Putting the Alsynite all the way up , in blue, the reason he chose blue is because he was interested in bringing the outside inside, and making everything blue is close. But we had a lot of trouble with the Alsynite.

Concluded in part 3


One thought on “Talking with Mr. Tischler, part 2 of 3”

  1. With respect to the budget, Adolphe told me something about 20 years ago that he might have forgotten. He said to me:
    “Your grandfather was a liar.”
    “He said the house would cost this much”, gesturing below his waist, “and in fact it cost this much”, gesturing around his head, “and he knew perfectly well how much the house would cost from the beginning. He was absolutely right, because had we known, we probably wouldn’t have gone for the house. But now I’m very happy to done it, it changed my life.”

    He went on to explain that once the construction had started, RMS informed him that a steel pillar was required to make the house earthquake safe, and that hadn’t been in the original designs.

    According to Judith Shein, RMS was about half the price per square foot of the average architect of his time.

    Very nice interview. I certainly recognize Adolphe.


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