Well. I had planned on reviewing the newest from Uncle Serge, but my friendly neighborhood summer cold decided to place a visit again, so that’s obviously not going to happen. So I am going way off topic.
The topic for today is preservation. As in architectural preservation. Now I gre up in New England, where the average age of a house is at least 100 years old and sometimes even older. When you buy a house in New England, you buy the house. You might want to change the wallpaper and combine some smaller rooms into a newer kitchen, but you don’t buy for “lot value” and nuke and pave.
For the longest time Beverly Hills didn’t have any preservation ordinances at all, and whole neighborhoods changed because of it. It the 25 years I’ve lived here I’ve seen the place change, especially in the area between Burton way and Wilshire. Small houses (some so cute you wanted to burp them) torn down to be replaced with cardboard McMansions jammed onto their lots almost like brownstones. But you know what? I do get the other side of the argument: you move to Beverly, you spent the mine and maybe it’s not fair for you to be expected to share one bathroom and 1927 wiring that means you can’t run a microwave and the icebox.
The real issue is the architectural gems that have been lost. After a few highly publicized name architect tear-downs, the Beverly Hills City Council at the behest of John Mirisch created a Cultural Heritage board and gave them the teeth to create landmark status for important buildings in the city. To date, they have done so with the cooperation of the owners, who can reap some tax benefits from the state. There has been one recently that was an issue- the property was by a noted architect and had an unusual history (Howard Hughes crashed his plane into it) but the owners wanted to raze it.
Eventually, the owners made a deal with the city that if the city dropped landmarking the property, the owners would sell and move on. Now personally, if I had Lotto winnings I’d scoop the place up in a heartbeat and love it and squeeze it and call it George (and landmark it and take the tax credits.) But I love that era of architecture and even a spec house of this caliber (by Wallace Neff) is worth preserving as far as I’m concerned.
What say you?
Image: Wikipedia commons