Posted on 27 Sep
When it comes to homes, some will argue that we have evolved into a “bigger is better” society. The average square footage of a home in the Greater Los Angeles area has been consistently creeping up over the past decade.
Tastes and desires change and evolve over time. And, it wasn’t that long ago in which kitchens were places merely to prepare meals (as opposed to today, where they are “hubs” of entertaining and congregation) and in which bathrooms were spaces to “do our business” and get in and out of as soon as possible (whereas today they are often “spa like” spaces of serenity).
While we have seen an emergence of some inspiring architecture and design, we’ve also witnessed the emergence of the “McMansion” – the regurgitation of certain “architectural” designs whose primary purpose, it seems, is to maximize the amount of square footage placed on a lot in order to maximize a developer’s economic return. And, commonly, homes built of and for another era are razed to make way for what many view as “cookie-cutter monstrosities”.
In response to the proliferation of these new homes, a growing number of homeowners and lobbying groups have gained the attention of city officials, and, now, the cities of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica are exploring or in the midst of enacting, zoning laws which will define and likely further limit what can be built and/or torn down in residential areas.
On one side of the aisle are those who argue that limiting what can be built adversely limits the potential value of a property. The opposition argues to the contrary, contending that the timeless charm and character of a neighborhood is just as, or more, important to the value.
A number of L.A.’s most highly-regarded developers and designers are expertly weaving their way through the embroilment by embracing the time-honored character of a period home by lovingly restoring it while infusing it with some of the expected (indeed, demanded) modern conveniences of today.
While not built as a “spec," 435 S. Plymouth is a spectacular example of this growing trend. Originally built in 1917, many of the original details (such as the grand entry barrel ceiling and the myriad of unique base and ceiling treatments and moldings) were celebrated, while at the same time providing an enviable cook’s kitchen, resort-like dual baths and modern technology such as home automation.
When he first stepped into the house, the owner of the home (from a well-to-do real estate family) says that he “was transported to another time and that [he] felt a connection to the soul and history of the neighborhood”. “When we thought about how we wanted to work with the house and how our family would feel in it,” he adds, “we wanted to preserve that connection, as we felt that it was the essence of ‘being home’”.
L.A. is known for its rich history of architecture, and we applaud the owners, builder, developers and designers, who appreciate the contribution these types of homes make to our City, both aesthetically and psychically. While, certainly, we get energized by some of the innovative new architectural designs which this City is so often at the forefront, we can’t compliment enough those efforts which polish and restore a gem from another time.