The Fritz-Burns Postwar Dream House at 4950 Wilshire Boulevard, 1946
By the latter half of 1944, America was looking ahead to the postwar future. Addressing the Southern California chapter of the National Association of Home Builders in October of that year, developer Fritz B. Burns predicted “the postwar home will have new items of equipment, new ideas and construction techniques and “still will look like a house and not a revolving bird cage.” A great responsibility confronted the building industry, Burns added. “We are asked to do the biggest hob we’ve ever done,” he said, accurately predicting that there would be a need to build “better houses for less money.”
With the war’s end, Burns teamed up with industrialist Henry Kaiser to build affordable Kaiser Community Homes around Los Angeles.
Also thinking of those new innovations and equipment, he commissioned architects Walter Wurdeman and Welton Becket to design a model demonstration home at the intersection of Wilshire and Highland.
The showcase house opened to the public for tours in March 1946, with tickets sales going to charity. Hundreds filed through the two bedroom, two bath showplace, which was oriented toward the backyard patio and garden for maximum privacy. The combination living and dining rooms featured sliding glass doors for a “wall of glass” effect. The innovative features on display included a “nerve center” control board from which the housewife could turn on the lawn and garden sprinklers, raise the garage door, and turn on her radio, an intercom, a hydraulic dish washer, radio entertainment is available in every room, two high-fidelity receivers behind sliding panels next to the fireplace along with recording equipment, an automatic record player, and a built-in television receiver, electric toothbrushes in the bathroom, and ultraviolet rays to keep the medicine chests sterile. An electronic system, The Precipitron, supposedly kept the air clear of all dirt, making dusting a thing of the past. It had a carport rather than a garage and a built-in bar-b-q/outdoor kitchen.
House Beautiful sat up and took notice, devoting considerable coverage to the Postwar House in its May 1946 issue.
Life magazine covered the house as well in the May 6, 1946 issue.
Popular Science magazine featured the Postwar House in July 1946.
Eventually, all of Los Angeles who wished to see the Postwar House had done so, and Burns renovated it, incorporating new ideas, as The House of Tomorrow. It opened for tours in March 1951.