Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Who knew?

My first-ever outing to Glendale's captivating Rossmoyne and Kenneth Village neighborhoods was a revelation. There's something unspoiled about these areas that makes them models of what L.A. neighborhoods should be. Who knew Glendale could be so appealing? (Well, maybe you did.)

I stopped at an open house at 1616 Hillcrest, currently listed at $1.6 million. Fortunately (unlike the
other two houses I saw) this one was empty and had been spiffed up for the occasion. Don't forget to wear the gauze booties when going upstairs!

Real curb appeal.

First order of business: send the monstrous mantel and High Tech sconces back to Reno.

Cool kitchen, dowdy curtains (J. C. Penney?).

Sweet master bedroom suite.

425-square-foot guest quarters over the 3-car garage (not permitted for rental, alas).

The agent informed me that "a famous rapper lives just down the block" and "a drummer that Paris Hilton dated has a house across the street." Are those selling points?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crime of the Week

Outsider art.

Having been a somewhat successful visual artist for two decades and having also worked as an art critic for a few years, I should probably be more sympathetic to this poor, deluded soul, who thinks he is doing the neighborhood—or perhaps history—a favor by displaying his sculptures and paintings in his front yard.

But no amount of "contextualizing," "deconstruction," or just plain indulgence can excuse this streetside eyesore. I would offer the artist the advice—gained from experience—not to quit his day job, but he doesn't seem to have one: he can be seen puttering around outside this Sherman Oaks shanty-cum-studio almost any day, adding refining touches to his life's work.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hollywood makeover

The Hollywood Tower on Franklin is getting ready to meet its new sibling across Vista del Mar, which comes online in a few short months.

The freshening includes a new coat of paint, being applied right now, which changes the color from a
taupy light neutral gray to a rather debatable cake batter yellow.

Hollywood Tower

Whether or not you care for the new color, the old dowager now looks fabu at night with all the revised lighting owner Alliance Residential Company has installed both at ground level and around the roof.

Putting some drama back into Holllywood.

A few of the uplights, especially those around the penthouse, seem overly bright, but who's complaining?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Just plain sweet in Glendale

This 1928 hacienda-style courtyard house with seven (!) bedrooms in Glendale's under-appreciated Rossmoyne neighborhood was recently rented for $5500 per month by Gerri Cragnotti of Character Homes (here's the original listing). Split that with six members of your entourage and you've got the deal of the decade.

Inward-facing energy.

I love the composed, inward-facing energy of this house. All of Gerri's listings are worth checking out for fans of
historic L.A. architecture. I'll never sneeze at Glendale again.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Harvard Heights fixer

This well-worn 1905 Craftsman on South Hobart in Harvard Heights was reduced recently from $499,000 to $450,000.

I went to the open house a couple of weekends ago. The place needs massive amounts of work, a state of affairs that is not necessarily evident in the photographs below. The removal of a horrendous 1950s (?) "family room" addition in the back would be a first priority, along with getting rid of the peeling linoleum and cheap paneling in the bedrooms, among many other chores.

Here's the listing.

1806 South Hobart.

Harvard Heights has an active Neighborhood Association and many of the other Craftsmen houses on Hobart and adjacent streets have been (or are being) lovingly restored to their period charm.

1800 block of South Hobart, Harvard Heights.

Although this area is part of an HPOZ, which may prevent major alterations to the original exterior this house, I still couldn't help thinking it could be improved by removing the overly large, obtrusive gable on the porch and replacing it with a treatment that would allow the façade to be more visible.

Probably not allowed.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wieners away

The well-known Wiener Factory on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks closed last year when the landlord upped the rent on the family that owned the business, ostensibly so that a poshly minimalist Pinkberry could open at that address. Then the economic débacle struck, and the place has been boarded up for months, unrented. A greedy landlord's instant karma.

An ugly but lovable shambles.

The Wiener Factory was an ugly shambles, but I have to admit I had a weakness for their Polish dogs as well as for their friendly family culture, which had been around long enough to develop its own private kitchen jargon ("one with a hat" meant "a hotdog with pickle," for example).

This week, a work crew has started stripping the ticky-tack building down to its wooden frame. One wonders whether it wouldn't be easier just to bulldoze the place and start from scratch. In any case, the deconstruction has uncovered an quaint older sign that betrays the long history of this neighborhood place as a purveyor of America's favorite sausages.

Once the World's Most Unique Hot Dog Parlour.

A source tells me that a Mediterranean restaurant is slated to open at the location once the remodeling is finished, but no word on what will happen to the groovy hotdog-shaped sign.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Crime of the Week

The abuse of architecture is not nearly as heinous as the abuse of animals, but it still rankles me.

This 1925 bungalow in Glendale has suffered catastrophic, deforming abuse at the hands of perhaps more than one crazed maniac, to the point where it is hardly recognizable.

Abused beyond recognition.

There are laws against animal abuse. Shouldn't there also be ordinances against architectural abuse?