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Los Angeles: Home of the Single-Family Streetscape

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Single-Family Homes

Los Angeles: Home of the Single-Family Streetscape

L.A. is a mecca of owner-occupied single-family homes, some dating back to the gilded architecture of Old Hollywood

August 22, 2022
LA homes in the West Hills
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Unlike New York City and other multifamily havens, Los Angeles has been an epicenter of single-family living for decades, attracting world-renowned architects commissioned by Hollywood’s finest actors from the 1920s to the late 20th century. 

Today, however, the speckled masses of single-family L.A. homes aren’t just reserved for the Hollywood elite. Instead, homeowners of every occupation live in stuccoed bungalows, wood-framed houses, or duplexes separated from neighboring homes by fresh landscaping. Some of the remaining architectural wonders of the early 20th century are alive and well, occupied by unsuspecting homeowners high in the Hollywood Hills or tucked quietly in historic Pasadena. By all measures, the architectural movement of single-family homeownership kickstarted by Old Hollywood glamour is still very much at home in L.A. over a century after it began.

Our public beauty spots deserve a visit, by all means — the world-class Disney Concert Hall and LACMA, the Central Library and Grand Central Market, the Watts Towers and Wiltern Theatre, and City Hall and Union Station. But it’s the houses that surprise visitors and gratify us, even if they can only be glimpsed from a street or a sidewalk.

There are the glorious ones by Pierre Koening, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and Rudolph Schindler, the stark and startling ones by Frank Gehry, the playful, Gaudi-inspired O’Neill house in Beverly Hills, and at least a half-dozen Frank Lloyd Wright houses, not reputed to be his best, which is like saying your Van Goghs are not among his best.

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