Sunday, July 22, 2012

Pasadena Neptune and Thomas 1954 Post and Beam in Stellar Condition

1431 Glen Oaks Boulevard, Pasadena 91105
An untouched 1954 mid-century modern designed by then local architectural firm, Neptune & Thomas exposes itself to views as well as to the market after 45 years within the same ownership.  Only the second time to see market, this well-kept 3 bed / 3 bath post and beam design provides spacious floor plan and custom design.
Neptune & Thomas, AIA - 1954

Walk into a level of sophistication and design with a beautiful entrance to a stellar home listed for $1,495,000.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer an abundance of light as well as views.  
High ceilings keep your spirits soaring as you catch your breath while touring this home.  Within 2,799 square feet, the single-level has a large flat pad of .38 acres. The home has a moniker of "The Currie / Armi House".
As you are atop of the universe in this home above it all, escape into a mid-century modern paradise to make your own.  
I'm a big fan of this simple kitchen design with built-in practicality.  Keeping the flow of the open living concept, cabinetry has been dropped from the ceiling to allow light and air to pass.
The sleeping areas are spacious with views looking out over the pool area.  Custom built-in wardrobes help managing that tie collection. 
I'm still a sucker for the clean and simple design of mid-century architecture.  Here we have a fairly neutral color palette in the bathroom.  Yeah, I'll even take a little wallpaper, too.

What is most striking of the listing is it's moment of serenity in the hillside with miles of views from it's outdoor areas.  The is no shortage of nature as the property has plenty of nature behind the site.
Neptune & Thomas Architects (NTA) was founded by Donald E. Neptune, FAIA, and Joseph F. Thomas, FAIA in Pasadena, California, in 1953.  The firm was known first as "Neptune and Thomas, Architects, AIA," from 1953 - c.1960.  They changed the firm's name to "Neptune and Thomas Associates," c. 1960.  Their practice centered mainly on services to hospitals, schools, colleges, universities, and public agencies.

Projects include Pasadena Unified School District, Administration Building, Pasadena, CA - 1955 and the Clubhouse at Annandale Golf Club - 1907.  In 1965, NTA added a second office in San Diego, California, which now serves as the company headquarters after several mergers.

Listing Courtesy of John Fairbanks, CB MLS#: 22166031

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where to Eat: Los Feliz Village Street Fair 2012

 Sunday, July 22, 2012
11am - 10pm

Come out and join the Los Feliz community and while at it, have some really good food from a great group of restaurants who will be out at the Los Feliz Village Street Fair this Sunday, July 22 from 11am-10pm.  The street fair will take place on Hollywood Boulevard between Vermont and Hillhurst Avenues.  

The all-day affair will have a variety of menu choices from gluten-free/dairy-free pizza from Cruzer Pizza; Ecuadorian pulled pork, corn flapjacks and ricotta donuts from Gastronomico or cleanse the palette with Italian Ice from our mouth-puckering friends from Italian Brain Freezer.  Click the links below to be directed to menus from some of the restaurants participating in this year's street fair.  See you there.



1739 Public House

Pattaya Bay


The Palace

Lela’s Kitchen

Mother Dough Pizza

Lindes Old World Almonds

La Guera Tamalera


Isabella’s Cookie Company

Fred 62

Cruzer Pizza

Best Fish Taco in Ensenada

Barrett’s Lemonade

Italian Brain Freezer

Creme Caramel

McQ’s Smoke House

il Capriccio

Long Shot Coffee

Seoul Sausages


View Larger Map

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Energy Upgrade California: Helps 90048 Homeowners Save on Efficiency

Going Green can save you money.  Currently, there is a California sponsored energy upgrade rebate program: "Energy Upgrade California" offering homeowners looking to make their home more energy efficient and meet the gold standard in green homes. The label will verify your green features and can improve your property value. At the same time as qualifying, you can earn up to $4,000 in rebates in Los Angeles County.
Contractors and rates are provided to ensure you benefiting the rebate.  It is important you follow the rules in order to apply for the rebate.  By upgrading your home's efficiency, you also creates a healthier planet.  Retro-fitted homes can also mean savings on utilities, maintenance and repairs, along with conserving our natural resources.  It can even improve your home's value in the long run.

"Energy upgrade California in Los Angeles County", is a great program for any homeowner looking to be more green and eco-friendly.
Take the example below for the 90048 zip code area to evaluate whether or not this program is right for you.

Action Plan:  Advanced Upgrade Package

Energy Savings
The Advanced Upgrade is customized for your home and your needs to maximize comfort and energy savings. The more energy you save, the higher your incentive. Specific measures vary, but may include:
  • High efficiency furnace
  • Energy efficient cooling
  • Energy efficient windows
  • Wall insulation
  • Cool roofs
Contractors and raters can help you apply for the following rebates and incentives. Click on “Find Contractors & Raters” to get started.

Incentives for this upgrade:

  • Energy Upgrade California - SCE & SoCalGas - Existing Home

    Sponsored by: Southern California Edison (SCE) and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) Partnership
    Energy Upgrade California is a new incentive program for shared customers of Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and Southern California Edison (SCE). Incentives of up to $4,000 are available to... (more)
    up to $4,000 back!
  • Energy Upgrade California - All Electric Homes - Existing Home

    Sponsored by: Southern California Edison (SCE)
    Energy Upgrade California is a new incentive program for Southern California Edison (SCE) customers, including all-electric homes. Incentives of up to $4,000 are available to SCE customers who participate... (more)
    up to $4,000 back!
  • Energy Upgrade California - Los Angeles County - Advanced Package - Existing Home

    Sponsored by: Los Angeles County
    Offered to owners of detached single family homes within Los Angeles County who participate in the Energy Upgrade California program by completing a whole house Advanced Package upgrade using a Participating... (more)
    up to $4,000 back!
  • Energy Upgrade California SoCalGas - Existing Home

    Sponsored by: Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas)
    Energy Upgrade California is a new incentive program offered to SoCalGas customers with electric service provided by a local electric municipal utility. Incentives of up to $1,280 are available to SoCalGas... (more)
    up to $4,000 back!
  • Energy Upgrade California in Los Angeles County Green Label Rebate for Existing Homes - Existing Home

    Sponsored by: Los Angeles County
    Offered to owners of single family homes within Los Angeles County who achieve a GreenPoint Rated Existing Home Elements or Whole House label (note: participation in Energy Upgrade California is not required... (more)
    up to $2,000 back!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fickett's Sunset Lanai: Protecting A Cultural Resource

Built in 1952 by “American Hero”, Edward H. Fickett, FAIA, the Sunset Lanai Apartments is one of the handful of exemplary work by the mid-century modern master and once known as an urban oasis.  The West Hollywood Historic Preservation Commission and City Council have both voted in support of designating the Sunset Lanai as a cultural resource.  
Sunset Lanai Apartments, Edward H. Fickett, FAIA, 1952
Unfortunately, the owners of the property, Edwin Silver and Family take no pride of ownership with this property and are declaring financial burdens associated with historic designation calling for an appeal of the nomination. 
Courtesy USC Archive and Fickett Estate
When it comes to preservation and restoration, the costs are not that much more than general contract work.  The key is finding the right contractors to do the work professionally and with integrity to the original design.  In fact, if the owner’s chose to accept the designation and file for the Mills Act through application, they would have a great opportunity to relieve themselves of certain taxes associated with the restoration to lower repair costs. 
1422 N Sweeter Avenue - Sunset Lanai Apartments - 1952
Mind you, most of the costs associated in their complaints and cost analysis delivered to Council are for the repairs of general upkeep that any building owner must maintain, such as a new roof, upgrading general building systems, general upkeep and maintenance and termite control.  Again, basic items all buildings have to maintain or replace from time-to-time to help maintain structural integrity.
Edward H. Fickett signature floor-to-ceiling windows
Now, it seems the Silver Family is placing these common financial burdens of owning a business onto the City’s shoulders. Through the years, they have proven they do not like to spend money on the building.  
Edward H. Fickett signature steel railing
The Sunset Lanai has been in the Silver family since the beginning.  Edwin Silver and Family purchased the 20-unit apartment complex from his brother’s estate, i.e. pennies to the dollar.  His brother, a surgeon at Cedars Sinai was the original owner purchasing the complex from developer, George Alexander.
Courtesy USC Archive and Fickett Estate
One of the major costs to the owners is building systems, which include electrical upgrading to include individual meters.  Since the building was built in the mid-century, things have changed, but the Silver’s never kept up with time.  Instead, they are crying the financial burden to run a business is just too much.  Like in any business, “too hot in the kitchen, then time to get out.”  If you do not like being in the business of being a landlord, then time to sell and move on.
Lighting fixtures designed by Edward H. Fickett, FAIA
Fortunately, Mr. Fickett built a fine example of mid-century modern architecture and design through his engineering and thoughtfulness that can still be seen today through the hidden jungle you are greeted by.
Some alterations have occurred, but do not take away from design
The shortsightedness on behalf of the Silver’s to not see the true reward in up-keeping a cultural resource. Another financial point in favor of designation is that the value of the property increases with historic status.  I have never heard anyone say, “It’s a landmark, must be worthless?”
Fire raged 3-5-12 at the Sunset Lanai damaging units
Like in any business there is a potential for failure.  If Mr. Silver wants to turn a designation of a historic building into a way to have the city pay for general upkeep costs because he is cash-poor, I want to win the lottery, too! 

Unfortunately, even if the City Council denies the owner’s appeal, there could be further ramifications made by these owners through litigation, but welcome to West Hollywood, folks.  Mark Lehman (Soho House, WeHo Chamber of Commerce), attorney for the Edwin Silver Family states in the written appeal to the City:
“Designation of this questionable Property as a local cultural resource would no doubt impose severe economic hardship over the long-term and force the Property Owners to consider Ellis [Act] or other avenues to alleviate the hardship.”
Still feeling like an urban oasis
I would not recommend the Ellis Act approach if all ready claiming to be cash-poor.  What income would they have for seven years after declaration and relocating tenants?  The Silver’s would also have to relocate the five units occupied by extended family members who currently live in the building.  Somehow the conditions of this building are suitable for the owner’s extended family, but not worthy enough for the owner to properly maintain?  The financial costs associated with the Ellis Act are only suitable for the big players, which the Silvers are not.
Courtesy USC Archive and Fickett Estate
The appeal being made by the Silver’s is just bogus and a way for them to get the City to pay for general business costs.  I say deny them the appeal and start citing code violations.  The City can then place a lien if the violations are not paid.  This would give the City a little more power of persuasion to convince the Silver’s to clean up their act and be responsible business-owners. 

The City Council votes on the appeal (Public Hearing item 3.A) Monday evening, starting at 6:30pm in the Council Chamber.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Where to Eat: Salumi Thursdays at Mozza's Scuola di Pizza

Where do I want to eat?  What do I want to eat?  In keeping with themed summer dining, you may want to check out Salumi Thursdays at Mozza's Scuola di Pizza where chef Chad Colby works his magic with a whole, sustainably raised heritage pig by using the meat to produce his own homemade salumi.
As the chef does this every two weeks, you luck out as tonight is one of those Thursday's where you can literally 'pig-out' to freshly cured meats and know what you are eating is safe.  Try the sampling of five house-made salumi for $22, a la carte.

You may also order directly off their menu which offers pizza and fresh vegetable side dishes from $4-$6.  A variety of secondi dishes priced for $15 will certainly keep you happy and satiated by the flavors the chef brings to the table.  Order a quartino of wine and bring some friends to help sample the delights from the chef.

Mozza's Scuola di Pizza
Chef Chad Colby
Salumi Thursday's at Mozza's Scuola di Pizza
6610 Melrose Avenue (at Highland Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA 90036


Monday, July 9, 2012

A. Quincy Jones: Kalmick House (City of L. A. Historic Cultural Monument No. 634)

Modern living in the Post War Era was anything but boring in home design.  From the talents of the Southern California mid-century modern architects, we are fortunate to have several historically designated Cultural Monuments showing fine example of the modern philosophy.  As someone who works closely with the mid-century modern architecture Edward H. Fickett, FAIA designed in the Los Angeles area, along with the estate, I am also a big fan of one of Fickett's closest friends and contemporary, A. Quincy Jones, FAIA.  The two architects would often tour the country on behalf of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), making stops at universities while inspiring young architects.
 Kalmick House, 1950 A. Quincy Jones, FAIA, Architect

Hence, when I saw A. Quincy Jones' Kalmick House come to market, I gushed a little.  The Kalmick House, built in 1950 is a stand-out 3 bedroom and 2 bath home.  Due to the brilliance of it's design, the City of Los Angeles has designated the Kalmick House, "Historic Cultural Monument No. 634."  The City bestowed HCM status on February 4, 1997.
L.A. Historic Cultural Monument No. 643
Located in the area once known as the Mutual Housing Tract, a co-op created in the late 1940s led by musicians HCM No. 634 is found.  The unique utopian development experiment with a 400 member association was intended as a multi-ethnic project, until racial pressures came from the Brentwood locals, forcing the association to remove certain members in order to complete the sale of the development.  
The Mutual Housing Tract, now know as Crestwood Hills is tucked high up in the Brentwood hills and happens to feature the outstanding Kalmick House, surviving the 1961 Brentwood-Bel-Air fire where 49 homes burned.  Having a piece of architecture be a testament of time, surely can be applied with the Kalmick House, currently listed at $1,595,000.
The beautiful post and beam design is accentuated by the wonderful views this hillside property provides.  The integrity and the design of this home remain in tact, which is always a purist's dream.  Open floor-plan, walls of glass, outdoor garden areas with an abundance of natural light make this home one of a kind amongst the work of Jones.  There are several Jones designs located in the area, but not many are HCM's providing a buyer with an incredible property tax incentive up to a 60% reduction through the Mills Act.
Again, more reason to advocate the preservation of these historical homes.  If you or someone you know would like to visit this home, please feel free to get in touch with me.
12327 Rochedale Ln, Brentwood 90049
There are many similar qualities to the design and materials of the Kalmick House with the Friedman House, which Jones designed the same year, 1950.  (see video below)

A. Quincy Jones, FAIA, Architect
Built 1950
3/2, 1,468sf, 10,260sf lot

12327 Rochedale Ln
Brentwood, CA 90049
Listing courtesy Scott King, DP&P

Where to Eat: Lobster Mondays at Jar

We all like something a little different when it comes to dining and food in Los Angeles.  As more and more restaurants recognize our love affair with themes.  Themes seem to be the latest nuance to the LA dining scene with grilled cheese sandwiches, Salumi plates and lobster every which way, but awful. 
Jar 8225 Beverly Blvd Los Angeles CA 90048 (323)655-6566
If you are looking for a new and different dining experience, with perhaps a theme involved, you may want to check out Jar on Beverly Blvd where chef Suzanne Tracht serves up a three-course lobster-centric menu.  With weekly changes to the menu, for $55, you are served the three courses along with a summer desert and a cocktail shaken or stirred by bartender Margo Tyler.
This evening's menu includes a lobster spring roll with black vinegar dipping suace, raosted Maine lobster served family-style with corn succotash and market shell beans, grasshopper sundae and the 'secret' special cocktail.  Yum!

Chef Tracht asks that when making a reservation for the lobster-themed menu, make sure to let them know as the regular menu is offered, as well. 

Chef Suzanne Tracht
8225 Beverly Boulevard (at Harper Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA 90048
"Lobster Mondays at Jar"
Reservations:  (323) 655-6566

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ray Kappe's Benton Residence A Contemporary Warmer

Ray Kappe, FAIA is one in a handful of contemporary architects with his philosophies deeply rooted in the mid-century modern mind-set.  His works throughout town have a grounded nature to their designs, simply due to the natural resources he chooses to use and accentuate through design. Kappe's residential architecture is often referred to and characterized as "the apotheosis of the California House."
Benton Residence, Ray Kappe, FAIA Architect
You can catch a conversation between Ray Kappe and former student, Shigeru Ban presented by the Hammer Museum during it's 2008 'Hammer Conversations', an on-going series which pairs thinkers from various discipline for engaging provocative discussion on culture, science and the arts.
Ray Kappe, FAIA -
As his homes are popular with buyers, we find them even being featured as characters on TV, as with The Benton Residence, in an episode of 'Californication'.

The beautiful design consists of a 5000 square foot steel column and glue-laminated beam construction, originally designed as a large addition to the existing home on the upper portion of the gently sloping dell it rests.  This Brentwood site is very quiet and private with absolute seclusion where a design integrates interior and exterior spaces with the use of large glass panels.
Benton Residence, Ray Kappe, FAIA - Architect
The position the home rests on the lot taking into consideration the surrounding landscape and existing major trees, while incorporating vertical grain Douglas fir, stone pavers, glass and steel staircase along with the metal fireplace showcasing the dynamic materials throughout this design. 
Ray Kappe modular RK1 design - Elevation A,
Kappe's modular home designs are currently being built.  As affordability is always an emphasis on Kappe's work, his approach with his modular designs for LivingHomes takes into account his passion for sustainability, affordability and environment. You will even find a reminiscent Benton Residence modular design with Kappe's RK1 eco-friendly design plans.

I should note I happen to live in a Ray Kappe, FAIA 1962 amazing design.  Even though there has been major alterations to the original vision by a previous owner, elements of his philosophy of sustainability can still be seen throughout my home.
Ray Kappe, FAIA - Architect, 1962
*Some photos courtesy

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Garden Report: Fallen Fruit Providing Locals for FREE!

While we are lucky enough to be located in California where farmers and growers alike enjoy the ideal conditions for various crops, we find communities going further to provide locals with free fruit.  Not only do we have the convenience in having relatively fresh fruit delivered to our grocery stores, we also have various Farmer's Markets located across Los Angeles throughout the week.  This year in particular, I have found myself picking fruit from neighbors trees.  This is something which is new to me. 
But did you know there are places to grab a bagful of produce for free from local neighbors?  As I have been obsessing of late on localism and the waste of fruiting trees not harvested, I am happy to present to you  Fallen Fruit is a long-term art collaboration which began with mapping fruit trees growing on or over public property in Los Angeles.  The collaboration has expanded to include serialized public projects and site-specific installations and happenings in various cities around the world. 

The community-based Fallen Fruit organization of neighbors from communities around Los Angeles has now grown into a much more progressive-thinking project established by the founders David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young back in the early 2000's.  I'm just a little slow on the draw... Project Gathering
As I begin my own treasure hunt in finding all things delicious and free, I invite you to join me in collecting the rewards of our wonderful city of Los Angeles.   Grab a map below.  Let's go!
Please let me know if you do take advantage of this fine offering and your thoughts. 

Thanks and enjoy!