Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gregory Ain's 2769 Highview - Another Park Planned Home Listed

Gregory Ain Altadena - 2769 Highview Ave - backyard view


I don't have time to post much these days, but it seems like every time I sit down to write something about Park Planned Homes, another house has been listed or has just recently sold. The most recent Ain listing on the block is 2769 Highview, which apparently is already in escrow. That didn't take long...

I know the owners took their time to upgrade and restore much of the 1946 experimental home, while adding several upgrades in an attempt to appeal more broadly to the less extreme modernist fan. As a member of the extremist end of the spectrum, I was pleasantly surprised by many of the choices. It's not a fully faithful restoration, but nobody's perfect - there are only a few obsessives out there like me. Ha!

Most notably the choice on the custom windows being a combination of aluminum and vinyl was an interesting decision. It's of course very cost effective, and in the end, it will very likely prove to be more heat/cool efficient. I suspect it's the type of material Ain would have likely experimented with today. They were all manufactured to order, not unlike many of the prefabricated materials that went into the original construction of the 28 homes. And, most importantly to me, although not the original wood frame sliders, the windows pretty much faithfully maintain the modular footprint of the home. This even includes the clerestories! From this punter's position, I believe it's such a critical decision to keep the same framing lines, as it really provides some sublime symmetry that really helps the home feel very open. And at roughly 1350 square feet, keeping in the spirit of the home goes a long way in making it feel much larger than it actually is.

And to this last point, having attended some recent open homes in the area (La Canada, Glendale, Altadena, Pasadena) built during various points of the mid-century, I was shocked to discover how much larger my Ain home felt than houses that were actually much larger. I realized the vaulted/pitched ceiling with the clerestory framing on both sides does an astonishing job of giving so much more space than one could imagine. In many of the houses I visited, I was surprised to feel so claustrophobic. Even with a growing family, this sense of space we have in our modest home really is an asset that will likely dissuade us from ever wanting to leave.

And, now bringing it all back home... Highview is changing. More young families. More people taking the time to care for the home. More people putting their hearts into the upkeep and restoration of this little post-war experiment. I'm excited to live here. It's a great street. And even if most families are not aware of the Gregory Ain and Garret Eckbo heritage, they definitely know this is a wonderfully peaceful and relaxing place to live.

Good luck to the sellers and welcome to the new folks!