Saturday, May 9, 2009

Home Shopping: Fish Story

It has seen better days and it will see better days again.

My friend wanted to buy this house at 443 W. Altadena Drive in Altadena. She didn't make an offer because she couldn't afford the repairs it needs. She toured it over a week ago and still dreams about it, so we drove up to have another look. I peeked in the windows and took pictures while my friend waxed wistful about the acres of yard, the big bedrooms and the stained glass above the fireplace.

Irina Netchaev has interior shots on her website. She's also got all the info about the house.

I say "house," but "mansion" is a better word for it. Yes, it's a foreclosure. For $569,900. That tells you something about how much work it needs. The lucky winner will have to sink in some serious bucks to make it work, but the bones are there and they are gorgeous. For the buyer with vision, it's going to be a magnificent home. It'll be open for viewing Sunday.

As we drove away my friend gazed out the back window of the car. (It's okay. I was driving.) "I just love those palm trees," she said. For her, this is the one that got away.

20 comments:

Cafe Pasadena said...

What's your commission for these realty postings?

Lydia said...

This is such a poignant post. My heart feels the way it does when I look at the Humane Society line-up of "this week's best friends" and I hope this house becomes a home again. These foreclosures are just pitiful.

Almost Precious said...

It looks like a "Grand Old Dame" of an estate...older homes have such character and architectural details that most mass produced, modern homes woefully lack. Hope she finds an adoring owner to restore her to her former glory.
Anna

Petrea said...

I get zip, Cafe. I post them because the readers of PDP have expressed interest and because I find them interesting.

Hi Lydia. I hope it does, too. It's certainly a grand old place.--or Grand Old Dame, like Almost Precious Anna says. You can walk the grounds and picture that former glory.

Altadenablogmaster said...

I saw the posting online a few days ago -- it's definitely a gorgeous place with stories to tell.

That's one of the reasons we bought the house we did -- one, it was affordable (at the time), and two, it's 70 years old and has a lot of interesting architectural detail -- a lot of care went into its design and construction (and a lot of neglect and cheap repairs be previous owners, be we digress!) Even the modest houses here show a level of care and detail it's rare to see anymore.

About 12 years ago, I was dating a Methodist minister in Orange County who was given housing by her church in a new condo complex -- every townhouse looked alike and no tree was bigger around than your wrist. We both hated it because there was no sense of history or individuality there. It still gives me the shivers.

J+P said...

I suggest your friend keep looking. Unless ghosts can wield a hammer, that asking price is at least half the eventual cost. The other three words in house-shopping are "Do The Math."

1916home said...

Love the house! Makes me sad though after thinking what i paid for mine in 2006. [gulp] Alas, Im near a big park, the library, cute downtown, police, soon to be metro station, and just blocks from the mountains. I'd trade it in a heartbeat with my "vintage charmer".

BTW, Does it matter if Petrea gets paid or not? Many bloggers earn needed income from ad sales, google ad clicks, etc. With me not getting overtime pay at my day job now, all my ad sales make up the difference quite nicely.

altadenahiker said...

Can't wait to have a look. This must be in the vicinity of the stables. That area of town was on the road to gentrification before the crash came.

Susan C said...

Can't wait to see this.

It will be exciting to see this eventually become an Altadena showplace.

altadenahiker said...

Whoa, I just went over there and walked around. Who could hate a house so much to do some of those things.

Petrea said...

I'm with you, Tim. Homogeneity is a scourge. I'm thinking of a certain ridge above JPL that grosses me out.

Ain't it the truth, J.

1916: in my experience, location is everything. You can make changes to the house but if the neighborhood's no good there's not much you can do.
I wouldn't mind some ad sales, but haven't pursued them very aggressively. Perhaps I should, it would help in this effort, which is no small thing. The "home shopping" posts are just for fun and because I'm nosy. I'm also keenly interested in Pasadena real estate because I own a piece of it.

Susan, I think it'll happen. It's got to find the right buyer, though. It needs a lot.

Hiker, to me it looked like they didn't do things to it so much as neglect it. What did you see that I didn't see?

Irina Netchaev said...

This home has so many stories to tell... yes... it's more of a mansion and has definitely seen better days.

If walls could talk... the stories we'd hear.

Katie said...

This is such amazing fodder for daydreaming! Like all good fantasies, it's best to ignore the reality of all the work that needs to be done and how much that would cost, etc. But it's shocking how quickly after seeing this house (thanks for the link to the interior photos!) I was able to get the renovations done, tear off that ugly back deck, do the landscaping, furnish it and be living a delightful life here, throwing parties inside and out. (Can't you just hear the music and the sound of ice tinkling in glasses and see people wandering around the grounds?) I'm not sure why some houses do this to me -- allow me to live a whole different life so easily. There's a house in the Berkeley hills that I walked through during an open house a few years ago and sometimes I still think I live there, sitting in the hot tub on the deck drinking wine from the wine cellar looking out at the sunset over Mt. Tam and the Golden Gate Bridge. Sigh. Thank you for adding a new house to my fantasy list!

Jean Spitzer said...

I empathize with your friend. I hope the house gets the care it needs.

J+P said...

I'll give you a dollar for your trouble, my P … but it will have traveled from room to room merely.

Virginia said...

May I keep my fingers crossed for your friend?? It's lovely and I hope things work out for her. If not, it wasn't meant to be, or so they always say.
V

Petrea said...

Irina, I'd love to hear those stories!

Hiker, I mentioned your comment to my friend and she said, "You didn't see the bathrooms." She heard the house had been used as some sort of "mens' residence," and they did some bad renovations to accommodate a large group.

I do hear the ice tinkling, Katie. And I love that view of Mt. Tam. Maybe a combination of the two...

(Now I'm trying to remember who it was who said they hated ellipses...?)

Jean, Virginia, don't worry. She'll get the right house. She fell for this one because there was so much yard. Too much house, though.

J: Let's split that buck 50/50.

Sooz said...

Petrea, I can so totally understand Irena's feeling for this house. I have my eye on one here in PA and I wanted to offer my house for it! I'm still thinkin.... Plus another in a not so great area...fabulous Victorian twin; such potential. Both what most people call a 'money pit'; I am crossing my fingers for both me and Irena to get our great houses!!

Our Family Our rules said...

Would have loved to have been able to see what this house looked like in the day when it was built. It must have been a showpiece.

I understand your friends feelings towards it completely.

Maybe someday you will be able to post pictures after someone has lovingly restored it.

Petrea said...

OFOr: That's a good idea! I'll keep my eye on it.