Starkly beautiful geometric lines make this award-winning home unique.
by Amy Brown
It was the 1960s, and Bud and Eunice Koch of Arcadia owned a modest family summer beach bungalow on a lane in Pierpont. The Ventura Freeway had only recently been expanded, further putting Ventura literally and figuratively on the map in new ways. Homes were just beginning to be built on the sand in the area, and when a beachfront lot became available, the Kochs purchased it. They soon launched the idea of their dream home, made possible with help of family friend in Arcadia–and Bud’s fellow Dartmouth alumnus–well-known architect James G. Pulliam. Pulliam was famous for commercial designs, and some residential projects, featured in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and the campus of Cal Poly Pomona, all with a signature geometric style. Pulliam went on to greatly influence mid-century modernism throughout Southern California.
The culmination of their partnership in 1971 was a beautiful home at 1094 Driftwood Lane, with symmetrical, imposing, square lines and a wall of glass windows looking out to the ocean. “Just look for the house that looks like a Chinese puzzle,” was how the Koch family would help first-time visitors find the beach house. Once someone had seen it, they wouldn’t need it described again. The unique home went on to be recognized for architectural design distinction, and was featured in the 1973 LA Home Magazine, and in 1974 received an Award of Merit by the American Institute of Architects for excellence in the design and execution of architecture.
“It was so unusual at that time—there were only a few beachfront houses sprinkled along the sand,” said daughter Marjo Gardner. “Now it doesn’t stand out quite as much, but it was pretty noticeable in late 1970s!” Gardner remembers the feeling one would have when first walking into the house, with the living room right on the sand, with wall-to-wall windows, especially back then, before the beach was later built up.
Eunice and Bud loved Ventura and were active in the community. Eunice was particularly involved, engaged in supporting organizations from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), League of Women Voters, Ventura County Women’s Political Council, Friends of The Library, to the Ventura County Symphony League, C.A.S.A program of Interface, Ventura Education Partnership, Camerata Pacifica, and the Ventura Botanical Gardens. In 1978, she and Marjo opened Voila! Coffee Beans on Thompson Blvd, which for years, according to the family, was the only coffee bean shop between Santa Barbara and Santa Paula, in that pre-Starbucks era.
Adela Trainor, the realtor currently representing the home, which is now in escrow, shared that this distinctive house has stood the test of time and is unique among the other homes in the area, which range from little beach cottages to the ultra-modern. “People say they love the character when they come through to see the house, many of them in the entertainment business from Hollywood, it’s just been fascinating,” said Trainor. “They appreciate it just the way it is, original. Someone even asked if the sellers would be interested in filming there, since it’s so unique to a time period.”
Bud passed away in 1991, and Eunice in January of 2020 at the age of 94, but they leave behind a lifetime of contributions to the community, including the legacy of a timeless piece of post-modern Ventura architectural history.