Saturday, January 15, 2011

Home Shopping: To the Rescue

John saw an article in the Pasadena Star-News about an unincorporated area of Pasadena called Michillinda Park. A group of neighbors there is trying to save a vintage Craftsman house. We decided to drive over and have a look.

Michillinda Park is a lovely, historic neighborhood where peacocks graze on the median. Too bad it's unincorporated because that means there's no historic preservation ordinance and anyone who has the money can buy one of these...

...and tear it down to put in one of these.

To better illustrate my point, here's a panorama John made of these two houses:
I recommend you click the panorama to enlarge it. It looks like the two houses aren't next to each other, but they are. The reason the McMansion on the right is so much brighter than the Craftsman on the left is that there are no trees in the McMansion front yard. I wonder why, when all the old houses on the block have mature trees in their yards.

Click on the photos in the Star-News article. The house the neighbors are trying to save is a beauty. And the only way to save it is to find a buyer within a week.

Plus I sure hope someone finds that rodwiller.

Update 2/25/11:
According to the Pasadena Star-News, the house will be moved instead of demolished. Not great. A McMansion will be built in its place.

26 comments:

Speedway said...

The McMansion on the right recalls a line from a Johnny Carson skit years ago, "...I the stucco, you the stuccee." Renovating, renewing and restoring the Craftsman house would cost less and the owner would have a more attractive, better quality house than the new one would be. Less tax, too? And tax credits, mebbe?

Mister Earl said...

I have some friends who live in Michillinda Park. This is really unfortunate. Strange that so much falls through the cracks in county-administered areas, as I've learned from reading Altadena Patch.

Unfortunately, Speedway, anyone who would build a McMansion is not interested in a more attractive, less costly, house. I can't understand how anyone with serious money could live in a McMansion, but money and taste don't always come in the same package.

Petrea said...

Speedway, Earl, you are both so right.

altadenahiker said...

County? Good luck. I'll never understand the Mcmansion aesthetic.

J+P said...

Just imagine that Wal-Mart sold kit houses, Hiker.

Bellis said...

Rodwiller!? hehehe. I've never seen one of those. No wonder she ran away.

I can't understand LA County - they enforce cat licensing and zoning laws (and throw Danny's Farm out of Altadena), but don't care about preserving historic neighborhoods. It's shocking. The people who buy the hideous McMansions don't want trees around them (bad fung schway) so the area is losing the arboreal look that makes it look so beautiful. I call it the Arcadia disease (have you driven through there recently?) and am sad it's spreading to Pasadena.

Cafe Observer said...

I've been there. It's not actually on Michillinda St. but on, (4got!) on a st that goes through it. East of Rosemead.

A nice non corporate neighborhood that is disappearing while no one is watching. Like everything else.

Petrea said...

Don't get me started on Arcadia and their trees, Bellis. The county obviously cares little about the environment we live in.

Cafe, the street is called Woodward Blvd. It's a beauty, at least for now.

Birdman said...

Good luck to them.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Hope that a buyer is found and that it can be preserved... what a shame to lose a beauty like this.

G

Katie said...

This is definitely a time I wish I had loads of cash so I could zip down there and buy this gorgeous house. Such a shame if Michillinda Park loses a gem like this and gets stuck with a horrible soulless McMansion.

It was a bummer to read Star-News article, but I saw a link there to some interesting San Francisco construction news. The Transbay Terminal is being demolished and archeologists at the site recently found signs of SF's wild past: “And from the ground surface all the way to 12 feet below, we found fancy serving platters ... and many, many liquor bottles.”

Petrea said...

I hope they find a buyer, too.

I don't know why I love the past so much. These Craftsman houses are a no-brainer with their superior construction. But I love intriguing stories like Katie's, and our links to who and what came before.

Susan Campisi said...

This is depressing news, both the threat of McMansion and the lost rodwiller. I wish there were something we could do to change LA County's ways. A naive thought, I'm sure.

Steve Scauzillo said...

Thanks for alerting me to that story in the Star-News! I drive by that area almost all the time ... .it's sandwiched between Pas and Arcadia/Temple City. I couldn't agree more about the mansionization. And what a perfect Craftsman house. Let's move it to Temple City..there are plenty of empty lots here.

L Barlow, AIA said...

Orange County (stucco) revival has been going on for a long time, now. Because this crap is portrayed by realtors and the press as an improvement over older homes that are far better built and require some repairs and electrical/plumbing upgrades to become current. It's all a ploy to get "builder product" to market using the shelter magazines as shill for this stuff.

Petrea said...

What can I say but to echo Mister Earl? Money doesn't buy good taste. Of course we can all gather here and assume we're the ones with the good taste, when really it's all subjective. But we're right.

Mister Earl said...

Find me someone who will argue that a McMansion is aesthetically superior to a craftsman! I'll skewer them!

Gina said...

I actually called about this house last week - the current owner is asking $949k for the house - trying to make money on a house they bought 1.5 years ago in a declining housing market - pretty damned slimy.

The house is on a huge lot (18,000+) square feet and zoned for one of Pasadena's best elementary schools (Willard). We actually went over our budget looking for a way to afford it - but it's just too much for us. I sure hope that it finds a family who will appreciate it.

Bellis said...

I think some of the new Americans moving into the area watched too much Dallas and Dynasty! And all houses have to have a front porch like the White House.

If I put my house on the market asap, I could buy that Craftsman. But would I want a MacMansion as a neighbor? It's lowered the tone.

Latino Heritage said...

Our neighbors behind us and to the south of them have both McMansed. The deluxe garage our neighbors added is just at the 5' limit from the end of our lot. The folks to the south demolished the very small house that was on the lot and have built a large McMansion that they've not been able to sell.
One of the things that I enjoy about bungalows is there proportion of built up space to open space.

Petrea said...

$949,000? In this economy? Yowza.

Bellis is right, McMansions in the neighborhood unfortunately lower the property values around them. Another reason why one shouldn't build them, they're less valuable than the buildings they replace. Gina, I'm sorry you couldn't buy that one. And Roberta, I hope you don't get surrounded.

Latino Heritage said...

Thanks Petrea. I must have been tired when I wrote, I can't believe I placed the wrong their in the sentence!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

ug
don't get me started

alex said...

McMansions have become an LA County staple, and i agree that they definitely affect the property values of their neighbors.

however, the comments about how buyers of McMansions chop down trees because they are "bad feng shui" or that "some of the new Americans moving into the area watched too much Dallas and Dynasty" are really unfortunate and scathing. please don't presume that affluent immigrants are the only homebuyers who purchase big box homes or that all minorities like McMansions. many purchase, enjoy, and take care of older homes just like many other Americans.

Petrea said...

Well put, Alex. Thanks.

Petrea said...

Looks like the house will be moved instead of demolished. Not great. A McMansion will be built in its place.

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_17455125