As California’s fortunes rose and development boomed after World War II, Los Angeles offered a proving ground for new ideas about architecture and design. Reflecting the optimism of the atomic age, the Mid-Century Modernist school of architecture is known for clean lines, geometric shapes, and functional materials with an emphasis on steel, glass, and concrete. One striking variation of the typical modern aesthetic was the stilt home, designed to take advantage of small, hilly lots otherwise deemed “unbuildable.”
Seemingly gravity-defying, these homes are built on supporting stilts over which the home seems to float. About 1,500 of these striking houses were built in California during the 1950s and ‘60s, but very few are still standing today.
The listing of one of these unique homes for $1.599 million provides an opportunity to own a piece of LA history. Located in the City Terrace neighborhood, the home was built as a case study for the engineering program at Cal State University, Los Angeles in 1962. In 1995, it served as a shooting location for Michael Mann’s crime drama Heat, starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, considered one of the most influential films of its genre. The property served as the home of Danny Trejo’s character in the film, which the actor has called the favorite role of his career.
Featuring an expansive 60-foot wooden deck, the home offers sweeping panoramic views that stretch from Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign to Downtown LA and all the way to Catalina Island. Multiple sets of sliding glass doors and ample windows showcase the views and bring in lots of natural light. High-beam ceilings, bright white walls, and hardwood floors provide a classic style, retaining original mid-century elements.
The 2,000-square-foot home includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The primary bathroom is a highlight, with separate shower, dual-sink vanity, and soaking tub. A wonderful kitchen has hand-fired orange tile, decorative stained glass, plus KitchenAid appliances and a wine refrigerator. Well appointed for entertaining, the home offers a spacious living room area plus a minibar. The .25-acre lot features a putting green, a 200-square-foot enclosed carport studio, and a second lower deck and yard. The property combines two parcels and includes the opportunity to construct a second dwelling on the lower level.
The stilt home is between Cal State Los Angeles and the University of Southern California’s Health Science Campus. Nearby options for entertainment include the Monterey Park Golf Club and City Terrace County Park. A short commute leads to the bustling entertainment zones of Downtown Los Angeles. City Terrace is an up-and-coming East Los Angeles neighborhood known for its numerous murals and Latin American heritage. Not yet popular with celebrities, it is the birthplace of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, according to TopTenRealEstateDeals.com.