Open House Report, LA Edition: White Boxes


Inspired by LA architect Bernard Zimmerman’s early-60s Altschuler/Greenberg house in Sherman Oaks, we searched for classic modernist white boxes open this weekend and narrowed it down to two versions. With pools.

3608 Crownridge Drive, Sherman Oaks $2.65M
Bernard Zimmerman’s not exactly a household name, but he did some remarkably skillful and detailed houses in the LA area, and Sherman Oaks- between Hollywood and the Valley– is a prime area for Mid-Century houses. Along with some seriously grim McMansions, but that’s another post altogether. Hidden behind a wall, the front of the house unfolds slowly with a pond that extends into the foyer and ends under a hanging staircase. The back is open and symmetrical, like any classical white mansion should be with a projecting center block and two wings.

Lots of marble inside, which may be, along with the price, a deterrent to a quick sale– it’s been on the market for six weeks and the price has dropped by $350K. Nicely renovated a few years back, the 5-bed, 5.5-bath house retains its Modernist bands of windows and expanses of wood inside, and the back opens to a pool deck hanging over the tennis court below. Which we’d immediately turn in a vegetable garden. Worth a visit for Modernism fans. Open Sunday, July 15 from 2 to 5 p.m.

8649 Hillside Avenue, Sunset Boulevard/Hollywood Hills $3.795M
About 50 years younger than Bernard Zimmerman’s house, this is the fully blow-out version for the prosperous grandchildren of his original clients. The 4-bed, 5-bath (plus gym and media room) house looking out over the LA Basin from just above the Chateau Marmont is destined to be someone’s Party Central– and it was planned that way. Extravagant baths? Check. A water feature in the ceiling above the pool? Check. Room for the concert-sized grand piano and a few hundred friends? Check. The only thing they missed perhaps is a prep kitchen somewhere to handle the messy bits of entertaining, One of those “if these walls could talk” houses so critical to the mythology of Los Angeles. Open Sunday, July 15 from 2 to 5 p.m.

714 California Avenue, Venice $2.795M
We’re not sure why the listing agent uses such crappy photography, because this house deserves better. The 3-bed, 4.5-bath, 3-car garage house was built in 2008 on a classic Venice lot with the garages on the alley behind the house, a studio above, and joined to the main building with a pool and courtyard.

We especially love the way this house opens up to the outdoors while remaining very private. The stair’s right from Zimmerman’s playbook, just without the koi, and while not large, the house is sleek and well-detailed. Open Sunday, July 15 from 2 to 5 p.m.

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