Neighborhoods throughout Northeast Los Angeles (NELA) are somewhat a magnet for admirers of its many classic Victorian homes. But homes from the Victorian era - most built in the 1880s land boom, up until about 1910 - can be found elsewhere in the region, including dozens of homes for sale in Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Montecito Heights and Glassell Park.
These homes where built in a time period - technically, the last years of the reign of Queen Victoria, who died in 1901 - but actually come in several different but similar styles: Italianate, Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Folk Victorian, Shingle, Stick, Second Empire, Eastlake, Octagon, and Richardsonian Romanesque. But because so much growth in Los Angeles occurred in the post-War period (after 1945), surviving Victorians are real standouts. Whatâ€™s not to love about the flourishes in detail, the interior finishes, and the implied elegance of the time?
Actually owning a classic Victorian can present certain challenges for homeowners who donâ€™t have money in the bank for updates and restoration. While most homes have been updated from their original construction, it bears noting that elements such as insulation, efficient mechanized heating and cooling systems, electrification and modern plumbing were quite likely not in the original homes. Part of the reason so many Victorians fell to demolition was few were modernized when the style went through its passÃ© period. Thatâ€™s when bungalows and later more modern styles came into vogue.
Itâ€™s noteworthy how these homes have withstood seismic events over the past 100-140 years. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, it was newer construction that suffered the most damage.
For anyone considering buying or updating a vintage Victorian home, itâ€™s imperative to check into the mechanical systems, the electrical wiring, and the condition of the roof - including if it is made of slate, replacement of which can be pricey, although there are more affordable facsimile tiles made of recycled rubber.
Consider also how the original first-floor layout generally includes a series of smaller parlors, often compartmentalized with pocket doors, and a kitchen made for cooking. That last detail is important: Regardless of whether you are looking at real estate in Mt. Washington, Garvanza, Hermon, Eagle Rock or Beverly Hills, most modern homes provide for in-kitchen eating and entertaining. This is why some owners of Victorian homes renovate the first floor to open up the kitchen and often the entire first floor (to the degree that load-bearing walls allow).
Some Victorians qualify as historic structures, and there is a process for achieving that designation by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission (as a Historic-Cultural Monument) or even the National Register of Historic Places. Each has criteria the home must meet, and each places restrictions on alterations and demolitions. But thatâ€™s not to say such a designation reduces the homeâ€™s value; in many cases it can increase it.
Most owners of Victorian homes purchased them because of their character and history. There are only so many left, so if a classic Victorian in Northeast Los Angeles interests you, contact realtor Tracy King at 626-827-9795. She and her team are experts in buying and selling these much sought after homes. What more, as experts, they will be able to advise owners of such homes on updates and home restorations that are sure to add to the quality of a homeownerâ€™s investment.
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Article Added on Friday, September 28, 2018
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