Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Walk this way




Just a few more steps and we're almost there.



She's a one-of-a-kind. A tall drink of water. A long leggy supermodel of a house; one with, no doubt, an endless list of demands, each requiring immediate attention.

She went on the market a few years ago, at a very reasonable price.

It's possible I would have bid, but only after a due consideration, of course. A careful weighing of the pros and cons.

Pro: It looks like a lighthouse!
Con: The plumbing alone will break you.
Pro: But it's round!
Con: Have you thought about roofing? Siding? Wiring?
Pro: But it's round!
Con: What this house needs will crush your spirit, keep you up at night -- crying, leaking, seeping, flickering.
Pro: But it's round!



Fortunately, I have my own pile of rubble to keep me up at night, so I missed out on this golden opp. Still, my thought? If you're going to suffer all the shit home ownership throws in your general direction anyway, suffer for something fabulous.

Located on Grace Hill in South Pasadena, and originally a water tower for an 1890's manse, this three-story wonder has a view of the San Gabriel Mountains from La Crescenta to San Berdoo, and about 1,100 feet of functional living space. That's not counting the winding staircase in the middle, and all the air in between.



My photos would be better, but while engaged in some light trespassing, I ran into the owner. Albert saved the day; the owner liked Albert. She patted his head a couple of times, too polite to ask what we were doing in her backyard.

I said, "I envy you. It must be wonderful to live here."

She half-nodded, and tapped Albert on the nose in an absent, my-mind-is-otherwise-engaged sort of way. "I find it " she said, "exhausting."



36 comments:

  1. But it's round.

    Idiosyncratic, craftsman-like, with cobble walls . . . so old-San Gabriel Valley.

    How I miss SoCal.

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  2. I sure can see the appeal of such a house.

    I just came from Kevin's post at East of West L.A. His man and your property owner . . . sometimes the sheer numbers of people living in dire circumstances are pretty overwhelming.

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  3. Oh, Banjo, she's not in dire circumstances. No, her place is lovely, beautiful. But I'm sure it's a full time job keeping it that way. For example, who do you call should you need to repair some circular siding?

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  5. Fantastic house! You're so good at "clandestine" real estate adventures. And Albert makes the perfect sidekick.

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  6. This house looks very original!
    I can imagine the fantastic view
    to San Gabriel Mountains.
    I enlarged the first photo and loved the big roots and the beautiful color of the leaves on the ground.


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  7. See! Trespassing. You'll get in trouble. Good thing you had Albert.

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  8. Ah! Albert is really a good companion!

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  9. It's a truth universally acknowledged, that a single woman in possession of a good lab can be trusted.

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  10. I assume you told her you were a journalist.

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  11. Oh, I'm sure it's exhausting. WE've had flash flooding today, of the houses below mine on the hill, of course, but my basement is wet, and my generator's been running 8 hours now with no sign of "real" electricity being restored. At least I don't have round siding.

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  12. Yay, Albert!

    Oh, yes, you too, Hiker.

    Perfect SoCal house.

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  13. Brilliant structure for a house. I'd love to live here, though I imagine furniture placement could be a dilemma.

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  14. Always wanted a round room...a round house would be even better! I tried to find a real estate listing for the house but turned up nothing on the first pass. You have to go if they ever have an open house.

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  15. When I was a kid, there was a Hardy Boys series on the Mickey Mouse Club called They Mystery of the Applegate Treasure. I the end, they discovered a trove of gold dubloons in an old water tower that looked very much like this South Pasadena tower. Now that I think about it, I wonder if it was shot there.

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  16. It certainly stirs the imagination. I thought of Jane Austen, Cathy thought of James Joyce, and you -- the Mickey Mouse Club.

    I should have asked if I could see the inside, damn it. When it was for sale there was this on Curbed LA, but I'm sure it's all spiffed up now. http://la.curbed.com/archives/2009/02/recession_special_historic_pasadena_water_tower.php

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  17. I was very tempted to buy it when it came on the market, and I've circled around Grace Hill trying to get a good view of it, but I never dared do any "light trespassing." Good thing you had the lab with you!

    Whenever my mother saw a round house, she'd wonder she'd fit furniture into rooms with no corners. You know the Cahill building at Caltech, the red one on California Boulevard that looks as though it's cracked up in an earthquake? The rooms are deliberately not rectangular, which is a pain. My husband's desk had to be shaved down in odd ways to fit against the skewed walls.

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  18. Whenever I see those spectacular homes (in the LA Times magazine) all I can think about is how much it would cost to furnish it, and get a window cleaner.
    This, by comparison, looks like far less maintenance. Too bad she didn't like Albert enough to invite you in, so you could capture the view from the tippy top

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  19. I remember when that house went on the market a couple of years ago. Funny, but it doesn't appeal to me at all. I get claustrophobic just looking at it. And it seems so dark, like a dungeon.

    I wonder if part of the exhaustion is from navigating the steep stairways.

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  20. Her name wouldn't have happened to be Rapunzel?

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  21. Bellis, I wonder what it was like to live there during the windstorm two years ago.

    Des, show this to Barry. Because I suspect everything in and on this place has to be custom-made.

    Susan, how strange -- I was just thinking about you today. Maybe it was because I saw the crabcake recipe in The Times. And dungeon? No, lighthouse.

    Paula, she did have long blond hair.

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  22. The water tower looks interesting inside, but a lot of wasted space and too much climbing. Not worth $320,000 to me! Some of the apartments at the Castle Green have rooms that are partially round (where the turrets are), but nothing like this!

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  23. I'm chuckling over here - you and Albert do get into the most interesting predicaments. Good thing Albert's a quick thinker who's good with the ladies.

    I like that owner - she's honest. Maybe next time, you can finagle a tour of the inside.

    I'm not a fan of round architecture - where do you put the furniture? This tower could do with a few more windows, too. Nevertheless, I can see the charm that draws you to it.

    I hope Albert got a treat for getting you out of that close call. *grin*

    Much love to you both,
    Carolynn

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  24. Love it! Any architecture that's outside the box gets my vote. Yes hard to furnish and maintain, but who cares. So cool that you and Albert ventured onto this property!

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  25. Earl, just think how fit you'd be, especially if the bathroom were on the third floor.

    Carolynn, right, he's a regular ladies' man. There are more windows on the other side and a little hanging porch thing. But I really couldn't keep snapping when she was standing there.

    Katie, ok, next time it comes on the market, we'll go halfsies.

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  26. This house remember me the Carl Jung's house: Here and Here.

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  27. I'm going to file this in my "nice place to visit, but..." folder.

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  28. It makes me wonder about the owner(s). Many people fantasize about this kind of home but who actually steps and signs on the dotted line?

    For the record, I don't think I would buy it in that my poor old brain is just too accustomed to sofas, bed and stoves being flush against walls, not jutting outwards like cogs from a wheel.

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  29. What ever you do, don't help yourself to any of the figs on that overgrown tree that covers the sidewalk.

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  30. Albert can get you out of a lot of pickles. Good dog!
    V

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  31. I know. I was at a house in Arrowhead where I had to climb 16 steps from the bedroom to the kitchen!

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  32. Love your adventures with Albert. I thought of Rapunzel too. It's the kind of house I would love to stay in for vacation, a B&B of sorts. Then I would happily return the keys. My run-of-the-mill house is exhausting enough.

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  33. It's quirky and I love it. I wonder how many people she catches snooping around. I'd be one of them for sure.

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  34. She's a lady, whoa whoa whoa she's a lady

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  35. It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't wanna own it?

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