Copyright 2007-2017

At Mario Corbett's Office

Sparks worked as a draftsman at Corbett's office from March - Dec 1950.

What if he worked on the "missing" house designed for author Moritz Thomsen in Vina / Los Molinos, CA?

The location of this house is a good mystery, and if I can tie it into the Carter Sparks research, that makes it worth my time.

The house was published in two books in the early 1950's, Built in USA: Post-War Achitecture (1952)+ Quality Budget Houses; a Treasury of 100 Architect-Designed Houses from $5,000 to $20,000 (1954). Additionally, indexes tell of a feature in Vol 2 of the 1952 American Builder magazine; however, a check of that issue yields no mention. Built in USA states the build date as 1950.

I talked to Pierluigi Serraino and Alan Hess, both authorities on Bay Area and Northern California regional modernist Architecture -- they had no idea if the Thomsen House was still standing, and if it was, where.

Where is this house? Publications of the time place it in Vina, CA, but Thomsen's memoirs place him, raising pigs, in Los Molinos, CA. These two towns are very close to each other, but when searching for a needle in a haystack, more specificity is a good thing. Thomsen lived in the Tehama County area south of Red Bluff from about 1945 - 1960 or so, before he dropped everything and dedicated his life to the Peace Corps.

Partial List of Mario Corbett Buildings :

1940 - “Simple Mode of Living Expressed in Mario Corbett’s Work”
Architect and Engineer 140, Jan 1940 pp. 16-32

1940 - “Redwood Home of the Month”
Housing : Magazine of Homes and Gardens 3, Oct 1940 pp 9-27

1941 - King House, "House for a hillside, house for Mr. and Mrs. Otto King, Oakland, California"
California Arts and Architecture, Feb 1941 p 24

1941 - Housing’s Book of Homes and Plans
Includes:
House on De Silva Island
Redwood Home of the Month
House in Carmel

Housing: the magazine of homes and gardens 4.3-4 (Apr 1941): 152

1941 - “Vacation Houses”, Guest house in Gravelly Valley, CA
Architectural Record 90, Jul 1941 pp. 57-76

1941 - “House in Menlo Park, CA"
Architect and Engineer 147,Dec 1941 p 34

1941 - Potter House
Phil Fein photos

1942 - "House For Mr. George P. Fuller In The California Coast Range Mountains”
House and Garden 81, Feb 1942 p 6

1942 - “Priorities and a Small House” w/ Peter Graham Harnden
California Arts and Architecture, Apr 1942 pp 20-21

1942 - Peery House, Menlo Park, CA
H. Taylor Peery
California Arts and Architecture, May 1942 pp 30-31

1943-44 - Linstrom House, Healdsburg, CA
Phil Fein photos

1944 - Nickel House, near Los Banos, Central Valley, CA (unbuilt?)
George Nickel
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1944 - “A Fireplace with a View”
Contract Interiors, Jan 1944 p 46

1944 - “A Projected Plan of a School for Backyard Children”
California Arts and Architecture 61, Jan 1944, pp. 22-24

1945 - “Houses Designed for the Ladies Home Journal”
Pencil Points 26, 1945, pp. 60-66
with Eckbo

1945 - "Residential Development”
w/ Eckbo and Williams?
Architectural Forum 83, Nov 1945 pp 136-139

1946 - "Community Development”
w/ Eckbo and Williams?
Arts and Architecture 63, Feb 1946 pp. 35-37

1946 - “Stop Gap House”
Contract Interiors 105, May 1946 pp. 60-62
Arts and Architecture 63, May 1946 pp. 38-39

1946 - "House in California illustrates San Franciscans' proclivity for building on unscalable heights.”
Architectural Forum 85, Dec 1946 pp 94-95

1947 - Hetherington House, Kensington, CA
Norris Hetherington
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1947 - Elliot House, Berkeley, CA
James Elliot
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1947 - “Steel Frame House is Dramatically Enveloped in Glass”
Architectural Forum 86, April 1947, pp. 79-81

1947 - Lynch and Brock Properties, Sausalito, CA
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1948 - Douglas House, Mill Valley, CA
Lawrence M. Douglas
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1949 - Corbett House
Architectural Forum 91, 1949 pp. 59-61

1949 - “A House Divided”
Arts and Architecture 66, Jan 1949 pp 27-30

1949 - “A House on a Hill for a Bachelor”
Arts and Architecture 66, May 1949 pp 36-37

1949 - "San Francisco Houses"
LIFE Magazine 1949

1949 - Kaplan House, Marin Co, CA
Dr. and Mrs. Henry Kaplan
Architectural Record, Dec 1949 pp 31-32

1949 - Corona House, Orinda, CA
Bert Corona
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1949 - Van Meurs House
Walter Van Meurs
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1949 - Warren House, Sausalito, CA
Frank Warren
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1949, 1952 - Smith House, Sausalito, CA
Arthur Reve Smith
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape
Ernie Braun photos

1949-1950 - Sumner House, Sausalito, CA
Fred Sumner
eckboRoystonWilliams landscape

1952 - Moritz Thomsen House, ‘Cowpie Ranch’, Vina, CA
House + Home aka American Builder, July 1952. Vol 2, pp. 74-79

1952 - “Another Mezzanine House”, Sausalito, CA
House and Home, Feb 1952 pp. 78-81

1952 - Country House, ?, ?
w/ Thomas Dolliver Church
Arts and Architecture 69, Nov 1952 pp 30-31

1953 - “Two Hilltop Broadcasting Stations”, Sausalito, CA
Architectural Forum 99, Dec 1953 pp. 122-123

1953 - “Eleven Architects’ Offices, ?, CA
Architectural Forum 100, Oct 1953 pp 102-115

1954 - Hope Lutheran Church, San Francisco, CA
Progressive Architecture 35, Jan 1954 p. 120

1954 - “House [in California]”
Arts and Architecture 71, Oct 1954, p 23

1956 - “House by Mario Corbett, arch."
Arts and Architecture 73, Dec 1956 pp. 28-29

1957 - "Record Houses of 1957"
Architectural Record 121, May 1957 pp. 108-207

1957 - Redwood House
Arts and Architecture 74, Nov 1957 pp. 30-31

1958 - Spatial variety enlarges house : residence for Mr. & Mrs. H.F. Spalding, West Los Angeles, Calif.
Architectural Record 124, Dec 1958 pp. 125-126

1958 - Lutheran Church, Daly City, CA
Progressive Architecture 39. Jun 1958, pp 119-136

1959 - “The roof is important inside this house”
House and Home 15, Jan 1959 pp. 148-150

1964 - Ducato House, Sonoma, CA
Mr and Mrs. Alfred Ducato
House and Garden 125, Jun 1964 pp 104-111