Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Livingstone, I presume?

I got free run today of the open-house condos (including the fabu penthouse) at The Livingstone, the adaptive re-use conversion of the former Livingstone Hotel at 123 S. Los Robles Avenue in Pasadena. I neglected to take an exterior shot, but here's the building before the recent work.

The Livingstone, before the revamp.

This building had piqued my interest since seeing it mentioned on this Curbed post a few weeks ago. For anyone who grew up on the East Coast, it seems red brick buildings exert a natural attraction—earthquake danger be damned—and this one has real wooden sash windows to boot. I was hooked at first sight.

Real wooden sash windows.

A bit of history, courtesy of the flyer I picked up: The Livingstone and its twin building, The Stanley (located immediately to the south) were built in 1926 by long time Pasadena resident Woody Woodworth. Operated as a hotel for almost 80 years and reportedly facing demolition
just a year ago, the building has been saved and converted into 32 residential units.

A generous studio.

Materials and finish are very fine throughout, and the epoxy floors are a nice touch.

Kitchen in a 2-bedroom.

Kudos to RVM Associates and its CEO Doug Huberman for having the vision to see what could happen here. RVM, by the way, stands for Rear View Mirror, indicating Huberman's penchant for historically significant properties.

Iffy hallway carpet is very last week. Oh well . . .

An ambitious Phase II of the project will see a 3-level subterranean garage constructed on the lot just north of the building, with ground floor retail and 3 stories of residential units above. The idea of pending construction only solidifies my opinion that the interior courtyard units (facing The Stanley) are the most desirable, with their charming brick porches and neighborhood-y vibe.

A shady porch on the courtyard.

The development team is amenable to buyer requests such as converting the (already generously-sized) studios to one-bedrooms or combining units into larger apartments. Move-ins are scheduled to start in early September.

Courtyard facing The Stanley next door.

If you make the trek, don't fail to find the secret door and staircase that lead up to the $1.399 million glass-encased penthouse.

The pricy hidden penthouse is worth finding.

Penthouse kitchen.

Penthouse master bath.

The building does indeed have a website, but not under the name The Livingstone. It's at

Monday, August 2, 2010

Then and Now on Bunker Hill


Thanks to Curbed L.A. for turning me on to an important video recently reposted by L.A. Observed, but which unfortunately has been deleted by Vimeo after copyright infringement complaints from the original production company, Milestone Film & Video.

The 1956 USC student film, Bunker Hill, 1956, by Kent MacKenzie, about the impending eviction of pensioners from Bunker Hill before the CRA's infamous decimation of that historic neighborhood, is a poignant piece of Los Angeles history, told from a firsthand point-of-view. Pity that the copyright holder is being so picayune.

I did manage to screen-capture a few stills from the 17-minute movie:

Bunker Hill then.

The new inhumanity:

Bunker Hill now.

If anyone finds this film surfacing again in cyberspace, let me know.