Winsome midcentury ranch in La Cañada Flintridge asking $955K

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Awash in rustic charm

On the market for the first time in five decades, this cutie-patootie can be found on La Cañada’s aptly named Palm Drive, about a mile northwest of Descanso Gardens.

Built in 1947, the Western-flavored ranch house is situated a fair distance back from the street at the end of a red brick path lined with colorful flowers. At 1,219 square feet, the two-bedroom, one-bath abode may be petite in size, but it’s big on rustic charm. Among its appealing original attributes are beamed ceilings, a brick fireplace, steel-framed casement windows, lath and plaster walls, built-in bookcases and hutches, period tile, and knotty pine paneling and cabinetry.

Per the listing, the home sits on a 7,440-square-foot lot with mature Deodara pines, orange, and other trees, along with two additional storage buildings, “each built to code.” 4549 Palm Drive is listed with Peter Bissias of Dilbeck Estates for an asking price of $955,000.

The living room features a wood-burning brick fireplace, built-ins, and carved wood ceiling beams.
The dining room has two built-in china hutches, lath and plaster walls, and hardwood floors.
Knotty pine cabinets with scalloped trim and a double cast-iron sink add to the cozy country-cottage air.
Both bedrooms feature coved ceilings, crown molding, and steel-framed casement windows.
A glimpse of the bathroom’s classic pink tile.
Along with mature Deodara pines and orange trees, the property’s grounds contain two storage buildings. Per the listing, both were built to code.


Arresting Playa Vista offices, partially leased by Nike, to open in May

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A rendering of a boxy building with an aluminum shell protruding over the front facade.A rendering of W3, which is under construction now. | Courtesy of SPF:a

The SPF:architects-designed building is the final piece of a 6.5-acre campus

The final building in Playa Vista’s Water’s Edge complex topped out today, meaning the project’s construction has reached its peak, SPF:architects announced.

The building, called W3, contains four floors of office space and two levels of parking, and Nike has already signed on to rent the top two floors. (There are two additional levels of parking underground.)

It will be wrapped in an eye-catching aluminum skin intended to mute the “full brunt” of the building’s largely glassy exterior, the architects have said.

The $80 million project broke ground in April 2018 and is expected to be complete in May. McCarthy Building Companies is constructing the W3.

The three-building Water’s Edge is a 6.5-acre campus at Jefferson and Lincoln, not far from the Ballona Wetlands.

Even as streaming media companies like Netflix and Amazon’s entertainment arms find homes in Culver City and Hollywood, tech-heavy Playa Vista continues to be an in-demand spot for office space, although CBRE broker Jeff Pion told the Los Angeles Times last year that Water’s Edge was basically the last development site in the neighborhood.

Developer Rockwood Capital, in partnership with Marshall Property Development, bought the whole Water’s Edge complex in February 2018 for $190 million, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal.

A construction photo showing scaffolding, a crane, and an under-construction building.
The project holds four floors of office space.
A photo of an incomplete office level, with no windows and just concrete floors and pillars visible.
The creative offices will feature open, airy workspace.

Shipping container apartments with rooftop gardens will house the homeless in South LA

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A rendering of Isla Intersections. | Courtesy of Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects

Right off the 110 Freeway

Construction is getting underway on a new $34 million permanent supportive housing complex for homeless Angelenos on a vacant lot on the corner of Imperial Highway and Broadway Avenue in South LA.

Named Isla Intersections, the shipping container complex will put South LA “in the center of the fight to end homelessness in Los Angeles,” says Los Angeles City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

It will also be an example, he says, of “stunning design” combined with “environmental mitigations.”

Developed by Clifford Beers Housing and American Family Housing and designed by Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects, the complex will be constructed of 16 modular units made from recycled steel. They will be “stacked and arranged into towers” connected by walkways, forming 54 one-bedroom units, plus communal rooms and two commercial spaces reserved for local businesses. The complex will be topped with rooftop terraces and gardens.

“Our aim was to create something that was compartmental but solid… but porous enough to engage the residents… with outdoor activities and places to work and socialize,” Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects writes in a project portfolio.

Staggering the shipping containers in a “serpentine manner” will help maximize the triangular-shaped lot and minimize sound from the freeway, according to Cristian Ahumada, executive director of Clifford Beers Housing.

A curved “shared” street for cars and people on foot and bikes will run between the apartments and the 110 and 105 freeway interchange. Designed to serve as a central hub for street fairs, farmers markets, and entertainment, Annenberg Paseo will be planted with vines and Camphor and California bay laurel trees to provide shade and buffer and filter pollution from the freeway.

Ahumada says they wanted to create a “living lung” on the property, a landscape with a tree canopy in “a neighborhood that is highly impacted by climate change and high heat.”

When it opens in November 2020, residents will have access to onsite services, like job training, mental health services, counseling, and life skills workshops.

At a groundbreaking event Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called it an “amazing project.” Isla brings the total number of Measure HHH-funded projects under construction to 21, says Garcetti. There’s nearly 150 supportive housing projects in construction or already funded, he says.

“That is unprecedented in our city’s history,” he says.

LA proposes putting ‘anti-displacement’ zones around luxury development

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The zones would extend for one mile around new market-rate or “luxury” residential buildings that contain no affordable units. | AFP via Getty Images

It’s aimed at helping renters in a one-mile radius around new buildings

The Los Angeles City Council voted today to lay the groundwork for creating “anti-displacement zones” around new market-rate or “luxury” residential buildings that contain no affordable units.

The vote directs the city’s housing and community investment department, city planning, department, and the city attorney’s to draft an ordinance that would put in place a battery of protections aimed at helping renters in a one-mile radius around new developments.

The proposal stems from a motion introduced by Councilmember Herb Wesson, Jr.

In his motion, Wesson says that while luxury and market-rate projects are “designed to strengthen” a neighborhood’s economy, many times they have negative consequences for long-time residents, especially when they’re located in neighborhoods that sustained decades of disinvestment resulting from racist housing covenants and redlining.

“Development projects should help to build up an area in need of economic investment so that members of a community can make use of these local amenities and improve their everyday lives,” Wesson says.

The protections would include requiring projects that don’t plan to contain any affordable units to reserve, at minimum, 30 percent of their total units for renters who use Section 8 vouchers. A three-year cap on rent increases around new projects without affordable housing would also part of the zones.

The ordinance would also call for the creation of a new online portal that would help connect tenants with housing opportunities they can afford in their neighborhoods and include an option for tenants and non-profits to purchase residential buildings from an owner.

A status report on the draft ordinance is due back to the council in two weeks.


Lofty Bronson Canyon house designed in 1979 asking $1.6M

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Soaring ceilings and lots of natural light

Architect Tony Ngai left his mark on Bronson Canyon and the Los Feliz Oaks, designing a number of geometric hillside homes in the 1970s and ’80s, including this shingled residence at 5763 Cazaux Drive. As the listing aptly notes, the rustic facade belies the bright and lofty interiors.

In the main living areas, dramatic ceilings soar and zigzag, accompanied by ample windows in an assortment of shapes and sizes. The dining area and kitchen—outfitted with marble cabinets, high-end appliances, an apron sink, and handle-free cabinets—float above the living room, which features a fireplace and access to one of multiple terraces with verdant views.

The 2,174-square-foot home holds three bedrooms and two and three quarter baths, including a master suite, plus an attached two-car garage. Last sold in 2017 for $1.23 million, it’s listed now with Alexander Barad of Nourmand and Associates for $1.619 million.

Seven stairs separate the dining room and kitchen from the living room.
The kitchen is newly remodeled.
A separate loft with built-ins.
The home is clad in wood shingles and surrounded by trees.
Multiple terraces have pretty green views.

How the New York Times gets Los Angeles hilariously wrong: The bingo game

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The New York Times describes Echo Park as being “close to” gritty Skid Row. | Shutterstock

They just don’t get us

The New York Times did our favorite thing this week: It published a story about Los Angeles.

New York Times stories about Los Angeles are amazing because they’re like seeing the city through the eyes of a dorky time traveler from 1992. This guy’s been reading about these scary riots and it reminds him of that old science fiction movie, Blade Runner. He’s pretty sure there’s no rail transit in LA and doesn’t think those NWA fellows are a very good influence on young people. Everyone he talks to has a screenplay, he’s noticed! He loves to quote Harris Telemacher and Alvy Singer and snort-laugh about it.

The New York Times is still the best daily newspaper in the U.S., publishing important and deeply reported journalism every day—about New York, about Liberia, about the internet—but on Los Angeles, it’s comically clueless. Willfully clueless, we have to guess.

Inspired by this week’s cringey real estate piece on Echo Park, we’ve created this bingo board to quantify local scorn for these condescending and clueless stories:

Let’s try it out with that Echo Park article:

Hipsters: “Echo Park has a long history of arts and counterculturalism. The neighborhood grew out of Edendale, a defunct historic district made up of what is now Los Angeles’s hipster trifecta: Echo Park, Silver Lake and Los Feliz.”
Walking is a novelty (plus sunshine and palm trees): “‘In Los Angeles people drive everywhere and neither one of us were super keen on that idea… We drove into Echo Park and were like, wow, this reminds us of home, just with sunshine and mountains and palm trees.’”
Geographical error: “It is close to Downtown Los Angeles and gritty Skid Row…”
Quote from person who moved to LA less than a year ago: “Kelsey Payne, a video editor, made her own cross-country move to Echo Park with her husband, Ian, a software developer, in early 2019, after both grew tired of the East Coast.”
Yoga: “Echo Park Avenue offers a string of locally owned businesses, including Pilates & Arts, a hybrid movement studio and art gallery; Yogala, an inclusive yoga studio where classes include Kundalini, Jivamukti and energy healing…”

Try it yourself with these recent neighborhood profiles on Highland Park and Cheviot Hills, or this classic that later got edited to be less racist, or this one for the art alone, or these older stories on how everyone in LA loves Uber or how “East LA is all French now,” according to Natalie Portman, or on any story, really.

Or go outside—it’s really nice out there.


1920s Spanish Colonial with fantastic Art Deco tile asking $1.3M in Glendale

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Other highlights include an elegant magnesite staircase, stenciled-beam ceilings, built-ins, and a milk-delivery door

We can usually find something of value in an old LA house of any era. But there’s something extra-fascinating, dare we say even poignant, about a house built in the year 1929, in the heady last days before the Great Depression put an end to most people being able to employ master craftsman to construct their homes using high-quality materials.

That’s why it’s a real pleasure to make the acquaintance of this 1929 Spanish Revival in Glendale’s historic Rossmoyne District.

Located at 1121 North Everett Street, a few blocks west of the popular Nibley Park, the two-story residence holds five bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms in its 2,724 square feet of living space. Though it’s seen a few changes, most notably in the kitchen, the 90-year-old home still possesses a wealth of lovely original features, including hardwood floors, a recently restored magnesite staircase, stenciled-beam ceilings, Art Deco tile, decorative ironwork and railings, archways, built-in vanities and bookshelves, and a service porch with original milk door.

On a 6,932-square-foot lot with mature fruit trees and a detached two-car garage, the property is listed with an asking price of $1.295 million. Ilana Gafni of Crosby Doe Associates holds the listing.

The step-down living room has original hardwood floors, stenciled beam ceilings, a plaster-and-tile fireplace, and arched nooks.
The magnesite tiles in the home’s elegant staircase were recently restored.
There are five bedrooms, including one with coffered ceilings and built-in shelves.
Each of the home’s three bathrooms features gorgeous Deco-era tile.
A second bathroom boasts original tile and matching fixtures in an unusual shell-pink shade.
Got milk? Here’s where you could put it! (Just for fun, though, not actual storage purposes.)
The home is on a 6,932-square-foot lot with detached two-car garage.

Developer names condos after cherished cafe it demolished

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The 24-unit condo project on Melrose and Virgil avenues is named Cha Cha Cha. | Courtesy of Joy Bolger/Compass, photo by Erik Grammer

The restaurant’s former owner says it’s a “slap in the face”

The beloved Caribbean restaurant Cha Cha Cha sat on the corner of Melrose and Virgil avenues in East Hollywood for more than three decades. Now, a condominium complex stands in its place, named after the restaurant to “pay homage” to the eatery it replaced.

“It had history so we thought it would be good to preserve that in some way,” says Todd Wexman, chief principal of the Historic Filipinotown-based firm 4Site Real Estate.

Built by 4Site and designed by LA-based firm Holtz Architecture, the modern industrial building displays tropical murals and turquoise and orange accents throughout. There are 24 loft-like condos with stainless steel appliances, in-unit washer and dryers, and polished concrete floors. The building has a pool, a gym, and parking. The units are priced from $399,000 to $950,000, with monthly HOA dues of $445, according to project’s website.

It’s the first condo project 4Site has developed, says Wexman.

“We felt like this was a good opportunity to provide housing,” he says.

Wexman did not reach out to the former restaurant owners about naming the building “Cha Cha Cha,” but he says he believed they “would be flattered.”

They’re not.

“I was in such awe when I saw that they had the audacity to do that,” says Javier Anaya, one of three former owners of ‘Cha Cha Cha.’

It’s “a slap in the face,” he says.

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RIP Cha Cha Cha

A post shared by ‘Mee (@ohhaiitsmee) on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:27am PDT

Late chef Toribio Prado opened the restaurant with business partner and friend Mario Tamayo in 1986. Prado’s three nephews, Anaya included, took over the business in 2003.

Known for its colorful, funky deco and Caribbean dishes, the restaurant closed in 2016 when Wexman’s company, Virgil Melrose LP, purchased the property for more than $2.5 million. The restaurant quietly announced its last day in a simple Facebook post.

Anaya and his brothers decided not to purchase the property or relocate the restaurant because it was too expensive.

He says he understands that businesses grow and communities change, but “when big developers come in and do that, they’re taking away from what people originally loved about Silver Lake.”

Anaya and his family now own the local chain Pinches Tacos. He credits his uncle for paving the way for him.

“Whenever we think of ‘Cha Cha Cha, we always think of him,” says Anaya.

Asked to respond to Anaya’s comments, Wexman said: “No comment.”

7 fall hikes with spectacular endings

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A photo of a bush with flowers in the foreground and hills and fog in the background. Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon Park. | Shutterstock.com

From waterfall hikes to incredible vistas

Los Angeles’s wealth of outdoors activities is no secret, and in Southern California, it’s hardly ever a bad time to get outside.

Hiking is a cheap way to enjoy the fresh air sunshine. But for those more reluctant hikers—folks who need a little carrot to dangle in front of them as they trudge up a hill—we’ve compiled a list of Los Angeles-area hikes that come with spectacular sights.

Each of the routes below offer beautiful or unique views along the way or at the end: waterfalls, stunning views, leftovers from bygone film shoots. So bribe friends and family by promising them a beautiful waterfall or a selfie with some old Hollywood backdrops, and get out there.

As with any outdoor adventure at any time of the year, it’s a good idea to pack more water than you anticipate needing and check the weather before you head out. This list of hiking essentials is a good way to prepare for even the shortest of walks in LA’s wilderness.

Also, don’t forget to check trail conditions—with the fire season still on, you never know when a blaze can crop up and make a hike infeasible.

Now, time to hit the trail!

1. Malibu Creek State Park

Hikes in Malibu Creek State Park have Hollywood connections, as the park includes areas that were used to shoot M*A*S*H and South Pacific. Though the area was hit by the Woolsey fire, there are still some (scorched) rusted Army Jeeps and other signs of filming here, making for a nice photo op.

Since the landscape is recovering from the devastation of that wildfire, do take extra care to stay on the existing trails.

The hike to the old filming location and back is under 5 miles round-trip and gains less than 200 feet of elevation, making it a pretty good trip for families with kids who can be coerced onto the trail.

Heads up: You will have to pay the $12 entrance fee to park in the lot if you want to start the hike at Crags Road; the trailheads for South Grassland Trail and Cistern Trail are both close to free parking. Hikespeak offers good directions with pictures.

2. Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park

Who can say no to a waterfall? The photogenic water feature is the 40-foot-tall Paradise Falls, tucked into Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks.

A roughly 2-mile hike to see the falls can be extended into a moderate 4.5-mile hike by adding on a stop at Lizard Rock, which offers vistas of the Stagecoach Bluff area and the surrounding valley. Modern Hiker has a well-illustrated guide to the extended hike.

3. Echo Mountain

Want to have a picnic among some picturesque ruins? The trail to Altadena’s Echo Mountain will make you work for it. Beginning at the very top of Lake Avenue and through a big, beautiful gate, the 5-mile (round-trip) trail is all steep-ish switchbacks and little shade, but it is very well-maintained. It’s also peopled enough that a solo hiker can feel secure.

The reward is a dynamic history exhibit and shaded, very spread-out picnic space left over from the resort that used to be on the site.

There are also large pieces of the dismantled Mt. Lowe Railroad that once brought resort-bound vacationers here, and an old metal echo phone; yell into it and have your words bounce off the mountains back to you. Amazing! SoCal Hiker offers image-heavy directions.

4. Eaton Canyon

Eaton Canyon’s lower waterfall has water in it right now—it’s no Niagara but it’s pretty nice to look at. (Eaton’s upper falls are closed indefinitely.) The hike to the falls is relatively shady and fairly flat—the roughly 3-mile round-trip hike only gains about 375 feet.

Start hiking from the nature center, where there are restrooms, water, and people to talk to about the trails. This is a really nice novice hike or ideal for a day when you don’t feel like being in pain later.

5. Murphy Ranch

By now, a lot of people know about Murphy Ranch—the compound built by 1930s Nazi sympathizers in Malibu’s Rustic Canyon that was eventually supposed to have enough self-contained infrastructure to provide for a small town’s worth of people. But who has really gone through the trouble of seeing the place for themselves?

This generally flat hike comes in at just under 4 miles and starts only a few miles from the 405. The grounds are graffiti-covered but the structures that were built are still mostly in one piece (or in discernible pieces), and there are staircases and gates still standing too.

In 2016, it was rumored that the buildings were being torn down, but photos show that it remains a mostly well-preserved site in a beautiful setting. Hikespeak provides detailed directions from the start of the trail.

6. Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park

This historic park in Chatsworth encompasses an area that was once the primary route between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys for the Tongva and Chumash who lived in the area. Later, the route was used by the Spanish and by stagecoaches to travel between Los Angeles and points north.

Today, the park is dotted with reminders of the Chumash (like their grinding basins in rocks) and the stagecoaches (look down and you might see wheel ruts in the sandstone). There are also exciting natural features like rock formations, cliffs, and maybe even a seasonal waterfall.

And then there are the vistas. “Panoramic views of the rugged natural landscape [serve] as a striking contrast to the developed communities nearby,” says the park’s website, a nod to the impressive views of the Valley available from the park.

Nobody Hikes in LA has directions for a 5-mile hike through the park.

7. Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon

Not to be confused with the similar-sounding Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks, Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon offers an easy-to-moderate 2-mile loop, with a peak providing sweaty explorers some amazing city views and a permanent reclining chair/memorial on which to kick back and relax until it’s time to carry on.

There are picnic grounds, restrooms, and drinking water off of Wildwood Canyon Road, too, so you can compare photos and munch on post-hike snacks while you sit down and cool off. Get there early, though: The park closes at sundown.


John Lautner’s sexy Wolff Residence back on the market asking $6.5M

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The angular fortress above the Sunset Strip was built in 1961

Now up for grabs in the Hollywood Hills West is John Lautner’s Wolff Residence. Built in 1961, the home was commissioned by interior decorator Marco Wolff, Jr., who asked the visionary architect and former Taliesin Fellow to design him something in the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

Composed of stone, glass, and copper, the 1,664-square-foot residence descends along its hillside lot in a series of juxtaposed rectangles. On the home’s top floor, wrapped by two 16-foot walls of glass, is the impressive living room, as well as the dining room and modernized kitchen. A dramatic stone-and-wood staircase twists like a strand of DNA down a level to the master bedroom suite, which features walls of stone, glass, and treaded wood. On the bottom level, hovering two stories above the street, is a black-bottomed swimming pool and sun deck.

A copper-lined roof connects the main house with the adjoining guest house. Added by Lautner in 1963, it holds three bedrooms and two full baths.

Designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2006, the Wolff Residence’s past owners include actor Vincent Gallo and trophy home collector Michael LaFetra. Last sold in 2008 for $5.55 million, it’s cycled on and off the market a number of times during the past decade, with a price tag as high as $8 million.

This time around, the landmarked home is venturing out with an asking price of $6.5 million. George Salazar and Tilsia Acosta of Berkshire Hathaway hold the listing.

A set of glass doors 16 feet high open from the living room to a cantilevered deck with built-in seating.
A stone-and-wood spiral staircase connects the upper and middle levels.
In the master bedroom, stone and treaded wood provide striking textural contrast.
The remodeled Bulthaup kitchen.
Concrete and caissons anchor the three-story home into its steep hillside lot.