Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Original Floor Plan Leading To Addition

This is a drawing of the original floor plan of the house. This drawing came from Esther McCoy's book "The Second Generation," page 130. This is the exact layout of our house. To the left of the diagram, you see a door leading out to a side yard with a clothes line and you see the garage. With the addition, we moved the kitchen door to the side yard out and the new rooms run along the side out past the clothesline toward the back of the property. The door into the garage is the same, but now you enter the garage from inside the house.

Okay, let's start outside again - facing the front door with the 50's fountain to the left.

As one enters the house you can see to the back door of original house that leads out to the patio.

Still standing in the front doorway, ones sees to the left the kitchen.

You go through the kitchen to reach the new addition. The opening, next to the refrigerator was where the original side door was that led outside and to the outside door of the garage. You can also see the original upper window in this opening and a tiny bit of the new back door which is glass.

Walking through the kitchen we go into the new addition. This shot was taken from the back "side" door which you saw in the previous picture of the new cement pad. Pouring this cement pad was the last of the construction and tomorrow the inspector is coming and hopefully he will sign off on the completion of the construction.

A shot of the addition from the same place as previous picture, only turning a bit and looking at this room. You can see the back of fireplace and down the hall to the master bedroom. This room could be a dining room, a family room (hang a flat screen tv on the fireplace wall), an office, a kid's playroom. It could even be a bedroom if you drop another wall, but we could not call it a bedroom because under California code - a bedroom cannot lead into a garage. Glass door on the right leading to the main patio.

Two shots of master bedroom with closet (doors original from another Ain home in the tract).

In this next shot if you turn toward the large window, you have a view of the backyard.

Across from the closet is the pocket door that leads into the new master bathroom.

Back out in the addition hallway, outside the door of master bedroom is another glass door leading to main patio.

I'm hoping this is all clear as to how the old house and new fit together. Please email if you have questions. We've been having open houses and showing the home by appointment. I've found the open houses really fun. You get to meet a lot of nice people and it's fun to share what we know about the architect Gregory Ain and this tract of homes.

Also the other day, I received a call from a writer named, Erin Mahoney. She wanted to tell me about her new book, "Walking L.A." by Wilderness Press. They had used a picture of our house on the back cover and also inside the book in chapter 5. She also wrote about our house - "...at 3508 is the original model house created by Ain, identified by the pink diagonal stilts supporting the roof extension above the front walkway." So of course, when I heard about this newly released book, I ran right out and got it. Here are a few shots of the book and of course, our house


Just a quick story here - last year, Steve repainted the house gray with darker gray trim. None of the neighbors noticed or commented. Then one weekend, my mother was visiting from Oregon and I asked her to help me paint the poles hot pink (when I first bought the house the poles were brown and peeling, I painted them pink, then lavendar and finally hot pink.) It took us less than an hour to paint the poles while it had taken Steve over a week to paint the house. Well, once the poles were done, everyone in the neighborhood would walk by and say how much they loved the pink poles or that they were such a fun color. Steve just shook his head at all the comments. We all had a good laugh, but it does show what a bright color can do and how it's all in the details. Stay tuned for the next blog which will be all about open houses, lookey-loos, realtors and the emotional highs and lows of selling a house you love!


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Bath Tub Doors and Original House Layout

I'm going to start with the bathroom in the original house. We had a problem - the glass shower doors. We'd had the doors custom made years ago and we liked them. At first, we'd been diligent about using the squeege on the glass after showers as we have hard water. Well, it wasn't long before the squeege went by the wayside. I mean who wants to stand in the shower and clean windows? I didn't want to show the house with the calcium caked glass doors. They were awful looking.

So we bought a product specifically to remove lime and calcium. Then we bought another product and another until we had ten bottles. We even got one from a glass company. Don't bother buying those products that promise "they get off calcium and lime." We did find that if you take a razor and carefully scrape at the glass you can get some of the scum off. Labor intensive! An hour to do a little patch. And if you scratch the glass you're screwed anyway. My advice, and this is what we did, go to your local glass company and have them remove the glass and put in new. Costs a bit over $300 in Los Angeles, but it was so worth it. I know, some of you are thinking "why not buy new?" We looked and most shower doors were cheesy looking and to totally replace with installation it would have been about $800. They look great. We also had the bathtub, which is the original tub, refinished and it looks good too.
(This fuller shot of shower doors shows tiles sort of yellow, but they are white, white, just due to camera the color.)

The tiles in the old bathroom are white interspersed with little atomic symboled tiles. Years ago, when we were doing this bathroom. I called around and found a potter who would make the atomic tiles for me. Pink and turquoise atomic symbols. At the time, I thought how much can it cost for a few tiles? Well, they cost more than all the rest of the manufactured tiles, but I love them. And to be honest, they weren't as costly as some tiles you find in the tile stores. So if you have an idea for a specific set of tiles find a good pottery person.

Now, I'm going to try to explain the layout of the original house. Please bear with me. First, is a shot of the entry hallway with the picture taken inside the house facing the front door.
See you can look out at the street. Behind me, not in the picture is the glass door out to the patio. On the wall there you can see the original furnace, gas heater. This heater is the bomb. It heats up the house to the point where Steve complains that it is too hot. Personally, on cold days, I love to walk into the house and feel a blast of heat envelope me.

In the foreground of the picture to the left side, you see a hallway which leads to the bedrooms and bath of old house and in the front of that hallway is a folding door that goes from floor to ceiling to close off this room you can't see - a room I use as a computer room. This folding door is a door Gregory Ain designed and installed in these houses so that the room could function as another bedroom when the wall is closed. Originally, he had wanted this to be a wall that slide over to where the furnace is now, but by code the city had said no as the wall would have covered the furnace and been a fire hazard.

Here are two shots of the writing room, where the folding walls can close it off to become a bedroom. When I bought the house the bookcase was not there nor were the original built-ins. I needed a bookcase, but the closet and built-ins could be copied from ones in back to restore this part. And you can see the door that opens for when the wall is shut. The door leads to the hall and back bedrooms. To the left of Steve in picture is the glass door and hall going out to patio.

If you are at the front door coming in and you turn to your left, you go into the kitchen.

The open doorway next to the fridge is where the old door and window combo was located. We moved the whole section of glass and door straight back when we did the addition. (This is where Steve planted the palms outside - see earlier blog chapter). And here is a picture of my old O'Keefe & Merritt Stove from the 1950's.

The cabinet to the right of the stove is original as are the cupboards above which you can see in the next shot.

The stove which works great, I found at The Boy's & Girl's Club in Venice. They have a man named Ali who used to work for Westinghouse who refurbishes stoves, washers, dryers, and fridges. I stopped at his workshop one day and he had two of these old stoves. He fixed it up for me and Steve went and got it. Very heavy and finely made, needs a bit of cosmetic work, but totally cool. Cost under $200.
Here is a picture, I hope this pops up in the right place when I publish the blog, of the built-in table in the kitchen. I was standing by the sink when I shot this picture. This table and the little bump up at the left of pic are original. Originally, they were covered in dark brown formica of the kind available in the late 40's. When I first bought this house in the late 80's, I did it all in
black and white, thus the look of this tile. Above the table are original shelves and that square thing is a light. Above the shelves are original cabinets with glass doors. There were wood doors, but when a neighbor was throwing out the old glass (not original) I got them and replaced the wooden sliders (easy to make if one wants the original ones.) This glass matches glass near kitchen entrance which was original. On the living room side at the top of shelf there is a thin opening where once venetian blinds could be dropped down and under the table is a hinged piece of wood that drops down so the kitchen could be closed off from the living room. Again, Ain's concept was to make rooms take on different configurations.
A shot of Dylan crouching under the table - like "What's going on?"

A picture looking from hallway by living room to addition - you can see through the livingroom and outside to the left is the new addition. The windows in the addition mirror the ones in the original house and have the same hardware.

Shots of livingroom from a different angles.

Now start at front door again, past the heater and take a right down the hall. First to the left is the old bathroom with bathtub in one room and toilet in small adjoining room. Then further down hall are the two bedrooms or one large bedroom depending on whether you move Ain's original sliding wall.

You can just see the edge of the sliding wall on the right side of picture.

Picture taken from small bedroom looking into bigger bedroom with the sliding wall open.
Note the top wood frame where the sliding wall pushes into place.
In the small bedroom, we have a dresser and no beds. There is an original closet and built-ins with the original knobs.

This smaller bedroom looks out onto the back yard and there is a little patio.

Again, looking from smaller room toward bigger bedroom (we leave the wall open and have an L shaped room). This room with the bed has windows facing the street. Note more built-ins and closets - all original - including original round wood knobs. (I saved the kitchen knobs and they could be put back on. - That's right never throw anything original away!)

I have left the wall partially opened so you can see how it works. Then from this room a door is revealed. And from this doorway you can see the hall and where the door is open into the writing room. The built-ins and sliding wall were part of Gregory Ain's design as he wanted to make the home flexible - you can create different spaces. The built-ins were also great because you could move in with very little furniture. Parents could have the big room and a nursery right next to their room with the door open or later closed when the child was bigger. The room, I call a writing room, with the folding wall closed could also be another bedroom, or with the wall open a den, family room, or whatever the person needed.

Next edition of the blog will show the new addition in relation to the original house.
(The server went down today when I was doing this blog and I had to start again - it was so frustrating! Just saying this so you will know this blog is really a labor of love for the Ain home.)


Saturday, October 29, 2005

More Landscaping & Cleaning!

In the last blog, I talked about redwood compost and landscaping. Here are two pictures where the redwood has been dusted around the plants. On the back of the new addition, Steve planted, added a couple of big rocks, and then did a pathway of gravel that goes around the backside of the house and down the north side. This gravel is great for a pathway and there are water hookups around this area too for watering the plants on the side of the house.

Shot of gravel on path. I think it makes the area look completed.

At the very end of this pathway, in this picture of the side of the house, you can see the gate. This gate is eight feet high and has a bolt lock. I insisted on the lock because a neighbor down the street used a padlock on their gate and someone popped the lock and their dog got out. I don't want anyone letting Dylan Thomas out especially since he has a fascination with cars! In this side yard picture you can also sort of see the Queen Palms planted as camuflage.

While we're on the subject of landscaping. Here are a couple of shots of the front entrance. We have a fountain and a tiny pool. The discs of the fountain actually are from the 50's. The metal discs came from Steve's Dad's nursery. Back in the 50's his father and his uncles did a lot of landscaping in Los Angeles. They did the original landscaping for the famous "Witch Stand," Tiny Naylor Restaurants, Capitol Records, Tarzana Tennis Club, to mention a few. His father, Min Shinmoto and his two brothers had a retail nursery in Culver City called Southern California Nursery. They started the nursery in 1948 and did landscaping jobs on the side.

Most of yesterday and today, we've been cleaning and putting the finishing touches on the house for the "Open House" tomorrow. The new master bath was finished except for the hardware for the transom windows which hasn't arrived yet (odd, it is only coming from Oregon).

Dylan Thomas likes to inspect everything. Or perhaps, he is looking at himself in the mirror? He is such a strange dog. At night after eating his dinner and soaking his ears in his water bowl, he likes to run into the living room and look at himself in the mirror on top the coffee table. And every night, he drips water onto the coffee table mirror and every night I have to wipe it up.

Here are a few shots of the living room. Steve did the old fireplace in marble. I really would like to change it. We'd lived with the old brick and I'd tried painting the brick, but it never looked good. It was a rough, cheap brick that had gotten stained over the years with smoke and calcium. If we had the time, I think I'd have the fireplace just done in cement or a new brick surface. The marble doesn't work, but hey, everyone makes a few design mistakes.

I put this second shot to show where the bar protrudes out. In a later blog, I'll show this area and the kitchen, but right now it is a big mess!!!

I also wanted to give a shot of the carpet which is placed at angle. The angle is exactly like the one created by Ain when he did the house. Of course, the VCT wasn't pink, it was chocolate brown. You can see original colors used by Gregory Ain by going to the community website where there is a color chart - http://marvistatract.org/ The long slim couch is a George Nelson as is the chair which you can't really see except for the back and arms. I got this great couch in Palm Springs where they have some incredible Mid-Century shops with prices comparable to Melrose. Not a great bargain, but sometimes, you just have to get it. Through the living room windows, you can see the addition's windows which mirror the original design.

Well, we still have to hang the picture over the fireplace and do a lot more work. It's almost 9 and I'm tired. So I'll sign off for now and do the rest of the house pictures next time.