Friday, June 15, 2007

"Untouched by time" in the Valley

Not on the Westside, but this post from Here in Van Nuys speaks to the sadness we feel at what we're losing across the city. Sweet older houses surrounded by big trees are some of the best things about L.A. Please do read the entire post at the link.

There are still lovely pockets of Los Angeles that seem untouched by time. 4107 Troost was built in 1936 on a 25,800 square foot lot, just to the east of Colfax Avenue. Its overgrown backyard slopes down to the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River. It is now for sale. ...

There is a sentimentality, emotionalism and fantasy life to many old homes in this old section of the San Fernando Valley. They are survivors of a time when horses and orange groves briefly lived next to automobiles and movie palaces. Los Angeles grew out of the movies, and the homes that were built here are cinematic in their storytelling. ...

The LA Times' LA Land blog made some good comments on it, too.


Anonymous said...

It's a double edged sword. The old houses are full of history and charm, yet not always completely realistic for today's expectations for living spaces.

I know of what I speak. I bought a tiny beach cottage, built in 1913, last October. Based on its physical size and the lot size, most people would have torn it down and built to the edges of the lot.

I am committed to keeping the cottage look and feel. It is going to take time and money to make it a contemporary home inside while retaining the cottage theme and spirit.

As I read posts on here, I get concerned about some of the preconceptions. People are turning their noses down on 40' wide lots...without even taking the time to look at it. There is great potential with a 40' wide lot. You can even make it work with less than 40' lots if you have a little imagination.

My lot is narrow, but very deep. I am committed to keeping part of the backyard for a backyard.

From my conversations with neighbors and friends, as well as following posts on sites such as these, I have to ask if am I alone in my view that these houses can be saved? Does every single house have to be move in ready? What happened to working on a house over the years to make it special and yours?

Aren't houses supposed to be homes?

Westside Bubble said...

Thanks for your comments, Anon, and you have my respect for saving the beach cottage. I've remodeled, not quite as old as yours, still a moving experience contemplating who originally built it (veterans returned from World War I?) and how they built then.

Many in Santa Monica grieve for the feeling of its older neighborhoods that are being lost to mansionization. That helps inspire my written incredulity at $5M+ listings.

My ideal house is a modest fixer amid friendly neighbors that we could expand and update modestly. Haven't found it yet for a price we like.