Trendy West Hollywood used to be known for its small, terra-cotta-tiled Mediterranean bungalows, neatly huddled together on tree-lined streets, until developers began having their way with the neighborhood about 10 years ago.
It seemed that on almost every block, quaint, older homes were being demolished, and in their places rose two-story modern boxes of cement and glass that took up most of the smallish (less than 5,550 square foot) lots.
Now, thanks to input from longtime residents and response from city officials, it takes a design that's a bit more special and original to even get permitted, let alone stand out and sell, according to Alex Lombardo, who's the listing agent for the new ultramodern home on Westbourne Drive. The unique architectural lines of the two-story home distinguish it from the other new, cratelike structures in the neighborhood.
Thoughtful angles and overhangs, plus generous use of Fleetwood doors, seamlessly link the indoors with the outdoors, so the estimated 2,200-square-foot home feels spacious without dominating the narrow, 4,799-square-foot lot. Outdoors along one side of the home, there's a dining room, living room, and pool.
Equal thought was put into the interiors. The three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home has walnut flooring, Miele appliances and Ernestomeda cabinetry in the kitchen, and luxury fixtures and cabinetry in the bathrooms. Lombardo is especially fond of the master suite's unique design, calling it "one of the best I've seen," with a glass deck and closet and bath in an unconventional location behind the bed.
It's amazing what a difference a little ingenuity and a lot of money can make. The lot's original structure was a Spanish triplex -- 1,585 square feet total. It was small, and the individual units measured a little over 500 square feet each. After it was sold in March 2013 for $925,000, it was razed, foundation and all.
Paying almost a million for a tear-down may sound pricey, but when you consider that this property is in the coveted Beverly Center/Robertson walking district, close to L.A.'s finest dining and shopping, the reasoning makes sense. The asking price for the new home is $3.1 million, so the developers stand to make a sweet sum if the home sells for its list price.
In this neighborhood, $3 million is considered a starter home. "I see it as perfect for single people, or perhaps a young couple, or an older couple (empty nesters)," Lombardo says. Since it's fresh on the market, time will tell if he's right.