Hoping for suggestions of MCM neighborhoods in the LA area

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sparklegem
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Hoping for suggestions of MCM neighborhoods in the LA area

Postby sparklegem » Sat May 26, 2007 8:03 pm

I have been researching the boards to find neighborhoods to browse while deciding where we might like to purchase a home. We live in a condo in Santa Monica that we will be ready to sell soon and would like to purchase a MCM house. We just moved from Portland a year ago; so we do not know our way around or all the neighborhoods. My daughter has eight more years at a Waldorf school in Northridge so that has us leaning towards the Valley, although we are little worried about the heat (is it that bad?). I have looked at the Eichler tracts in Balboa Highlands and Thousand Oaks and love both. I checked out the Modernique homes in Mar Vista which were fun to see. I don't know much about the Valley but did read a super thread about Woodland West and plan to go to look around next week. I also have been looking a bit in Altedena and really like the area but I am unsure where I should be looking.

Does anyone have suggestions of areas that have nice pockets of MCM houses? My dream house would be as close to original as posible.

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Postby sparklegem » Sun May 27, 2007 7:31 am

I am still researching away and have come up with a few more questions.

I guess the first one is, am I posting in the right forum? If I am not, could someone please re-direct me?

Some old posts have listed recommend realtors but the posts were about five years old. Does anyone have a more current list or have someone that they suggest?

I have come across information on the Sunshine Canyon Landfill and wondered how this is effecting the Balboa Highlands Eichler neighborhood.

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Postby scowsa » Sun May 27, 2007 11:11 am

I suspect that the limited answers are indicative of a holiday weekend.

I don't know the Valley well (and yes it would be too hot for me) but one realtor who knows that area is http://www.valleymodern.com/index.php
and their partners regularly post to this board.

Another, who posts a wide range of SoCal properties is http://www.uniquecaproperty.com/f-properties.html

Note that both these companies consolidate and post appropriate modern homes and not just those listed with them.

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Postby Luka » Sun May 27, 2007 5:32 pm

Hi there -

I'm born and raised Angeleno so maybe I can help you a bit. I find that every neighborhood has at least one or two mid-century houses tucked away but there are well known tracts/areas. Granada Hills is chock full, not just Eichlers but all types of less extreme ranch houses are found in Knollwood and other portions of the enclave. Northridge also has some beautiful mid-century homes, particularly the area north of the Northridge Mall (Lassen & Tampa area). Woodland Hills has a tremendous tract of homes that runs from the El Camino school district (think Burbank & Shoup) up south of the blvd. Sherman Oaks & Studio City also have great tracts, in Studio City area would be the "Dorina" streets off of Laurel Canyon (south of the blvd, east of Laurel). Reseda is also well known for a "Jetsons" style tract. Burbank has many mid-century bungalows.

I think the deciding factor comes down to price. Reseda would be the low end, houses in the 500's, to the high end south of the blvd homes, 1 million +.

Yes, it's hot. Figure in the summer there will be at least a few weeks 100+. Woodland Hills is the hottest in the valley. I can tell you as a person who recently moved from Studio City to Granada Hills, it's quiet up here. Lots of families.

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Postby sparklegem » Sun May 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Thank you, Scowsa, for the tips to the realtors. I have looked at Valley Modern website and wondered if they were recommended by the Lotta Livinites. It is always great to get a recommendation. I will definitely look at the Unique Ca Properties pages, too.

Luka, thank you so much for all the great information. I can't wait to get out there and start exploring!

Is it it quiter in Granada Hills then Studio City? Are you concerned about the landfill? I saw the mention of it on the Balboa Highlands website, did some research and it really has me worried.

What do you think of Altadena?

Very Best,
Gem

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Postby sparklegem » Sun May 27, 2007 9:37 pm

Luka- Where are the Dorina streets in Studio City? I have been looking on Mapquest and can not seem to find them. Oops- is it called Dorina, or something else?

Thanks!
Gem

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Altadena - Park Planned Homes

Postby MikeHatfield » Sun May 27, 2007 11:21 pm

Check out Park Planned Homes in Altadena.

http://www.lottaliving.com/gallery/main ... emId=10254
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Postby sparklegem » Mon May 28, 2007 5:32 am

Thank you; where are the homes?

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Postby Luka » Mon May 28, 2007 10:20 am

Hey SparkleGem. I have to admit, for me and it could be a lot different for the others that have moved up here in Granada Hills, it was quite an adjustment from Studio City. It's a great area for families & kids but definitely much quieter than the South Valley.

Try Laurel Cyn & Dona Nenita - that is the neighborhood I was mentioning that has some beautiful mid-century homes. Also, Nichols Canyon is a good spot (I've seen some photos of those homes in the gallery here too.

I admit, I didn't know about the landfill until after we moved here. There seems to be a group up here vehemently opposed to it's re-opening and we do get updates on the goings on directly from the City from time to time showcasing the responsible practices they are utilizing (their words, I don't know enough to make an informed opinion).

I have friends that have lived in Altadena and I know they have some great homes on Christmas Tree lane and they also have the cottage area Jane's Village. I think it's hit and miss. That's a long haul to and from Northridge in rush hour although you might be going against traffic.

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Postby Futura Girl » Mon May 28, 2007 2:03 pm

as someone who lived in the valley for most of my life - the heat never really much bothered me. you get used to it pretty fast and know to stay in the a.c. or pool on the hot days. (having a pool when living in the valley is primo importante)

if you are concerned about heat (And coming from portland) i would focus on the elevated hillside communities - balboa highlands, knollwood, laurelwood in studio city or one of the ficket hoods south of the blvd. in sherman oaks or encino, you'll actually be in a different climate zone and it won't be quite as hot. check your sunset western garden book - you'll see it's true! oh - and i think luka meant DONA streets, not dorina streets? in studio city.

living near a golf course helps alot, too, to keep it 10 degrees cooler in summer.

valley modern are one of your best bets if you are looking for a home in the valley - they are regular posters here and know all the pockets you are looking for. tell 'em we say hi.
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Postby sparklegem » Mon May 28, 2007 7:39 pm

Thank you so much for all the great advice!! I will try to find all the neighborhoods this week and contact Valley Modern, too.

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The

Postby modfan » Tue May 29, 2007 6:37 am

responses to the initial post are very good sources.
As for Woodland West-I've seen a few other very small tracts of the same homes scattered around the SF Valley-there is a very small tract in Granada Hills and a very cool lookin tract in Tarzana near the country club (it even has underground utilities). As for the heat I guess comin from Portland it might be an issue but as others alluded to, if you've lived here your whole life you are used to it. It will get hotter usually in the summer in the inland areas if it's cloudy in Sta. Monica it could be in the 90's in the SF Valley. But inland areas occassionally get into into the triple digits. More likely if you live in Palm Springs do you get that.
Remember tho it's dry heat not with stifling humidity like the southeastern US in the summer. And we usually have our gloomy weather in May Gray and June Gloom, it's a lot less than in the Pac. NW. (my folks used to live near Seattle so I know the local media weather term 'sunbreaks'), And if you choose your home wisely you might get one with full insulation and dual pane windows-they do a lot for comfort during extreme weather.

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Postby sparklegem » Tue May 29, 2007 8:24 am

Thank you for your help, Modfan!

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Postby streinen » Tue May 29, 2007 10:00 am

Hi Sparklegem,

I am the unashamed Woodland West booster of the bunch. We need more MCM enthusiasts to join the neighborhood! There are far too few of us.

Currently, WW is not a neighborhood that people move to because of the architecture. This needs to change. Too many homes are being changed beyond recognition, largely because the neighborhood has yet to carve an identity for itself in terms of its architecture. The neighborhood is popular because of the tree-lined streets, good schools and space--the lots here are between 11,000 and 14,000 sqft.

Homes range from 2,000 to 2,700 sqft (with no additions) with floor plans ranging from 3 to 5 bedrooms and 1.75 to 3 bathrooms. Some of the more distinctive design elements include double-sided fireplaces, decorative concrete blocks, front patios, double entry doors, built-in vanities and extensive use of glass sliders on the rear of the homes. I have counted at least 20 variations in front facades. Most are modest interpretations of MCM style, incorporating low-pitched gables, Palos Verdes stone, decorative concrete blocks, various types of vertical wood siding and gravel roofs. The houses are all big rectangles that stretch close to the property lines on each side of the house, giving the homes an impressive frontage and feeling of scale when viewed from the street. Conversely, the homes are relatively shallow in depth, and use extensive glass sliders in the rear to open up to the most important room in the house: the swimming pool...

Woodland Hills is HOT. Seriously hot. But if you're going to live in the valley, why not live in the HOTTEST part of it? That way you can throw superlatives around and scoff at the complaints of friends who live in places like Burbank, Encino and Tarzana. I do this frequently, and commonly reference the 119 degree day from last summer. Yep. It's hot. Expect 25 days of 105+ heat each summer.

But with the heat comes a naturally warm swimming pool...hopefully one with original bullnose coping surrounding a kidney or freeform design. Most original WW owners had pools constructed at the same time as the houses. The model homes, in fact, featured pools as part of the allure. My house has an old doorbell and phone jack rigged on the back of the house. People spend a LOT of time outdoors here.

In terms of buying a home here, there are challenges. Many homes have been "improved" over the years, driving up the resale value and saddling the buyer with inappropriate kitchens, baths and windows. That said, I know there are many homes that are close to original in condition (mine was, thankfully). I have been taking my time over the last 4 years, making improvements as needed and as the budget allows. If you can find a near-original house, you'll likely be one of the few interested in it. People just do not "get" the architecture here. That can be a real advantage for a buyer who is interested in MCM.

I could go on all day, but instead I'll offer up some links/MLS #'s for Woodland Wests that are currently on the market. I would recommend attending some open houses and getting a read on the overall appeal of the designs. These are not "wow" houses in the way that Eichlers are. They are great places to live, and underappreciated examples of MCM tract home design in Los Angeles.

Enjoy!

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1079894267

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1078269689

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1077631058

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1076613088

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1080725991

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1081160189

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1079082141

http://homes.realtor.com/prop/1078564622

MLS ID# S471780

MLS ID# FR2068872

sparklegem
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Postby sparklegem » Tue May 29, 2007 10:27 am

Wow! Thank you so much, Streinen, for the wonderful welcome. Please feel free to go on and on. I am very much interested. Thank you for all the links. I can't wait to look at them. I will take your advice and attend the opne houses (can't wait!).

It is terrific to hear that the "Un-improved" houses are less desirable. When I have been looking at the rmls pages, I have noticed that the house that look like they might be original usually do not have more then an exterior picture. I was hoping that my hunch was correct (although it is terrible to see them described as tear downs or ready to redesign).

Thank you so much for all your help and the very nice welcome. It seems like a very big valley out there and I have not been sure where to start.

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Postby sparklegem » Tue May 29, 2007 11:40 am

P.S. Streinen- What criteria do you use on your real estate searches?

streinen
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Postby streinen » Tue May 29, 2007 12:47 pm

Most of the Woodland West homes are in zip code 91367. The first phase of the development, known simply as "Woodland" and sometimes referenced as Woodland South, is in zip code 91364. I would try containing your search to those 2 zip codes and see how it goes. If I see any houses around the neighborhood that are for sale but not listed on realtor.com, I'll drop you a line. It's difficult to identify the boundaries of the neighborhood--it's a series of starts and stops. If you exit the freeway at Mulholland/Valley Circle, go north (right) and you'll find WW's in the neighborhoods on both sides of the boulevard, as far north as Victory Boulevard. If you go to the south side of the freeway, you will find pockets of the houses on both the east and west sides of Mulholland.

There is one house that I can't figure out. It's a beautiful butterfly roof model that is very reminiscent of a P&K Alexander, on the corner of Dubois and Mariano. The house is boarded up and has been vacant for several years, but does not appear to be fire-damaged or structurally unsound. The grounds are blessed with some huge, mature date palms and other large trees. Not sure why a property like that would be left to sit and rot, but if someone resurrected it, they would have one of the coolest houses in the neighborhood--it is certainly one of the most interesting rooflines available. There are only 2-3 like it in the entire development. I'm guessing something must be seriously wrong with it, but if you're in the area checking out open houses, it's worth a look just to see the roofline!

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Postby sparklegem » Wed May 30, 2007 7:02 am

Thank you so much for the zip tips! I went to check out one of the homes yesterday and drove around a bit. I did not have much time browse and did not know where I was going, but I like the neighborhood. I think that I will try to head over again today, with more of a plan. I definitely want to check out the boarded up house. Thank you for all you help!

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Postby sparklegem » Wed May 30, 2007 10:38 am

OK, I am now try to search out all these great places that have been posted. I need a lttile help finding my way...

Modfan mentioned a tract near the country club in Tarzana. Is that the El Caballero Country Club? If I find the country club, where is it in relation to the club?

Where would I find the Reseda "Jetsons" style tract?

Where are the Park Planned Homes in Altadena?

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Postby Luka » Wed May 30, 2007 3:23 pm

Hi again - Here's a recent thread that covers the Reseda tract with a house that was(is?) for sale:

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=9378

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Postby Perks » Wed May 30, 2007 5:17 pm

Luka wrote:Hi again - Here's a recent thread that covers the Reseda tract with a house that was(is?) for sale:

http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=9378

Text from last year's ModCom Spectacular Vernacular tour book regarding Reseda's Meadowlark Park neighborhood (my scanner is down so I can't scan the flyer):

Edward H. Fickett, prominent architect and architectural advisor to President Eisenhower, designed high-style custom modern homes as well as thousand of tract homes in the San Fernando Valley, including Meadowlark Park. His distinctive rooflines, materials, and finishes are visible throughout this large tract of "Contemporary Modern California Ranch Homes" built for "Mr. Average Man."

Marketed to returning GIs who were flooding the Valley after World War II, these three-bedroom, two-bath homes were touted as the opportunity to "live like a millionaire." Plan K-1 includes open beam ceilings, "cutaway" walls between the kitchen and living areas to keep Mom close to family activities, and Fickett's signature wooden details and louvers.

---------
Meadowlark Park is one of the lowest-priced opportunities you can get for a MCM home in the Valley. Head to White Oak & Saticoy and work your way northwest from there. Fickett built part of the neighborhood with traditional styling/design and part with the really striking MCM style, so you get an interesting mix of homes in the area.

A couple other areas I like that haven't been mentioned in this thread are a tract of more "soft" MCMs (retaining the open living feel but with somewhat less striking facades) in Winnetka, on the southwest corner of Vanowen and Mason. I *ALMOST* bought a house (linky) earlier in the year but personal life got in the way of making a real estate deal at the time. I had a flyer that listed the builder & architect (it wasn't a Fickett home though it reminded me of one) but I suspect I tossed it.

My personal favorite MCM tract in the Valley would have to be the Alexander homes (link) in Northridge, which sit north of Devonshire and east of Reseda. This neighborhood seems to get very little press compared to its more famous neighbors, the Eichlers. But what can I say, I'm a sucker for butterfly roofs. There aren't any photos of these in the gallery, but there are a handful of them that have alley-loaded garages and in my opinion look even cooler...though not cool enough to be worth living on a major thoroughfare.
Andy Perkins, Broker/Owner
Perkins Realty Group

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Postby sparklegem » Wed May 30, 2007 7:46 pm

Hi Perks,

Thank you for the Reseda information and the tip on Vanowen and Mason. I will try to get out there to take a look around tomorrow.

I am really excited to learn more about the Alexander tract In Northridge. It sounds like it is only a few blocks from my daughter's school (wouldn't that be a fabulous commute) and I love butterfly roofs! Could you give me specific streets or an address that I could mapquest?

Thank You- thank you!
Gem

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Postby Perks » Wed May 30, 2007 8:34 pm

I should mention that the Vanowen & Mason are probably more toward the "lower" end of the housing scale, probably on par with Meadowlark Park in Reseda.

The Alexanders in Northridge will be more upscale--and pricey--on par with the Woodland West or the Eichlers. These also seem to be harder to come by. For the Northridge Alexanders (can someone tell me if this tract has an actual name?), try centering your search on 18419 Blackhawk St, 91326. If you use the "Birds Eye View" feature on Zillow you can see the clear delineation between these homes and the more run-of-the-mill homes built in the same area. The tract fronts both Reseda Blvd. and Devonshire St., and is quite hard to miss from either thoroughfare.

Here's one home in the neighborhood that's listed for sale: http://www.parkregencyrealestate.com/pr ... asp?id=675 Seems to have some of the original charm, but much remuddling has clearly been done!

Also of interest if you prefer the west Valley are Corbin Palms and Eastwood Estates, also P&K designs built by George Alexander. They're more simple designs than the Northridge homes but are definitely striking in their on way. Try searching on the 6100 block of Jumilla Ave. (91367). It's an "up-and-coming" neighborhood with some really well-restored homes (including the ones I toured during last year's Conservancy show). I don't know the exact boundaries of Corbin Palms, but the mid-mod homes run all the way up Corbin Ave. to and past Victory Blvd., though I'm not certain exactly how far. Eastwood Estates is a small cluster of somewhat larger homes that were advertised for awhile as part of Corbin Palms (in the 1600-1800 square foot range, I believe--but don't quote me on that) on very large lots along the 6000-6200 block of Corbin, or thereabouts. These will be very hard to come by.

So, you definitely have lots of areas to choose from. Woodland West, Corbin Palms, and Meadowlark Park are VERY large tracts so you may have the best chances of spotting something there.
Andy Perkins, Broker/Owner

Perkins Realty Group

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Yup

Postby modfan » Thu May 31, 2007 6:20 am

it's Caballero Country Club but my memory fades I have a vague pic of them being near a utility right of way but not right next to it. It was a small tract perhaps only one or 2 blocks.

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Re: Yup

Postby Perks » Thu May 31, 2007 6:49 am

modfan wrote:it's Caballero Country Club but my memory fades I have a vague pic of them being near a utility right of way but not right next to it. It was a small tract perhaps only one or 2 blocks.

Never actually been out there myself, but a quick Zillow search suggests a possible starting point might be the intersection of El Caballero Dr & Arriba Dr. From the aerials, there might also be some MCM's along the 4500 blocks of Azalia Dr & El Abaca Pl. I can't confirm either of those for certain, though. Both areas are fairly near the power lines you mention.
Andy Perkins, Broker/Owner

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Postby streinen » Thu May 31, 2007 7:50 am

I drove through the Caballero neighborhood for the first time yesterday on my way home from work. There is little doubt in my mind that this tract (name?) is a close cousin to Woodland West. If I had to guess, I would say that they shared the same architect (Charles DuBois) and developer (Don Ja Ran/Peerless Building Corp). The floorplans appear to be different, but the rooflines, finishing materials and front patio layouts are too similar to be coincidence. According to Zillow, the tract was built in 1963, which would be comtemporaneous with some of the later phases of Woodland West (the parts farther north on Valley Circle).

I echo Perks' admiration for the Corbin Palms tract and the Northridge Alexanders. Great houses in both of those neighborhoods.

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re: Northridge Alexander Homes

Postby ValleyModern » Thu May 31, 2007 2:28 pm

Those Northridge Alexander homes, designed by Palmer & Krisel, were called the "Living Conditioned Homes." Indeed, good ones are very rare to the market.
Craig Terrien
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Postby nichols » Thu May 31, 2007 3:04 pm

Hi Sparkle, We met at a modcom meeting a few months ago. Good luck finding something you love.

How great to see Luka mention Janes Village.. That's where I live!

Here's my two cents on Altadena:
http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=8944

The 210 and the 2 are almost always empty - quick and easy ways to get around.
Last edited by nichols on Thu May 31, 2007 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: re: Northridge Alexander Homes

Postby Perks » Thu May 31, 2007 3:04 pm

ValleyModern wrote:Those Northridge Alexander homes, designed by Palmer & Krisel, were called the "Living Conditioned Homes." Indeed, good ones are very rare to the market.

Many thanks for the info! Definitely not a name you'll see any current developers using, that's for sure. :D Not to stray too far from the original topic, but would you know of any good sources for additional info on this tract (without having to bother Bill Krisel)? I've had quite a bit of difficulty finding much out about these homes.
Andy Perkins, Broker/Owner

Perkins Realty Group

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Postby sparklegem » Thu May 31, 2007 4:34 pm

Thank you so much everyone!! I am just back from visitng the "Living Condition Homes" in Northrige. Truly amazing!!!

I am making my list and trying to map everything. I have some neighborhoods that were mentioned but I do not know how to find them. Could any one please give me streets or an address to find the following:

-Modfan mentioned a small tract in Granada Hills

-and in Tarzana, near the country club

- Balboa Highlands

- Knollwood

- Laurelwood in Studio City

-Sherman Oaks

-Encino

-Dona Streets

-Laurel Canyon

-Nichols Canyon

Also need a little help with Altadena. Any suggestions of where to look there? I am not sure how to find Jane's Village and the Park Planned Homes.

Thank you so much in advance!!!

Chris!!! So great to hear from you!! I would love to find out more about Altadena from you. I pm'd you. Please feel free to call me or email.
Last edited by sparklegem on Thu May 31, 2007 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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