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Estate Envy

House Hunting in Los Angeles – Spanish meets Modern

This little house has been sitting on the market for some time, toying with us, taunting us. It’s in a sweet little neighborhood that is quite near the future Metro train stop, on a quiet street with alleyway access. It has ample parking, beam ceilings, and an incredible indoor/outdoor living vibe. The price just recently shot up which is an interesting strategy. We have been feeling trigger shy for two reasons. Top of budget, plus just imagine – is it awesome or awful to share your shower experience with the entire master bedroom plus the backyard? Peep the pics below for the master bath with floor to ceiling windows in the shower stall!

I was kind of digging the idea of looking out upon my vintage camper while taking a long soak in the tub.

The surprise of such an architecturally aware, if not starkly modern addition to the back of this typical Spanish Colonial Beach Bungalow, plus its updated exterior color were appealing. It was updated inside as well with bold bathroom tile choices that I didn’t mind. Heffe and I agreed that we’d need to make some changes though. I can hardly stand the sweet honey oak overload in that kitchen, and check out the strange exposed closet system in the master!

The home has 3 bedrooms and a nice little patch of yard plus outdoor living space that totally makes up for the small living space inside. It also features a detached garage along with 3 parking spaces. Kinda seems like it might work for us if we were willing. I really do love the idea of hopping on the train in 2015 and having car-free LA adventures at my fingertips! I could definitely imagine my Santa Monica posse popping over for evening entertainment.


House Hunting in Los Angeles

House Hunting in Los Angeles with The Estate of Things

Not that we aren’t ALWAYS looking at for casual evening entertainment, but the dude and I are actually in the market for a new home in Los Angeles.

It’s a tough job, but we’re getting after it. I try to keep my wits, and between searches on Trulia and, I cruise the internet and shake my head as I read articles like this, about LA’s unaffordable housing.

Initially I illustrated the boundaries of our search for our realtor. I’ve since added the blue opaque highlight, b/c that is the more realistic compromise for the part of town we have to live in if we want hit the desired square footage plus yard. Pretty much any where in that area is fair game, but as is the game with real estate – all of the pros and cons must align. E.g. Sure, we’ll live way down there in Venice by the blvd IF the home has a killer yard… okay, we’ll cram ourselves into a tiny home with a patch of grass IF it’s in Santa Monica proper and walkable to our favorite Sushi restaurant, etc.

Places we will live in Los Angeles The Estate of Things

Thus far, we’ve toured more than a handful of homes, put in the offere and lost out to all cash on two, and now we’re thinking about expanding the search even further, cause maybe what we want doesn’t exist in that purple or blue area?

We recently toured this house in Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood b/c it appeared to fit the bill. It seemed that it was rather perfect for us, except for the price. At 1.5 million, it’s at the tippy top of the budget and yet it needs a lot of renovation. We aren’t afraid of renovating, in fact I think we both prefer the challenge to a turnkey move-in ready joint that looks like someone else’s dream home – but I guess the hope was to find a dog for a deal… not a dog at our max budget. Emotionally Tragic.

Doesn’t this look like a fun one to reimagine?

This is what my headcase fantasy looked like while I was walking around the backyard. I was buying the pottery wheel and tearing down the alley wall to pull in the camper in my mind.

A Yard is important because of dreams

Sarah advised that I not let any emotions any where near my process. That is sound advice that I have to remind myself of constantly. It’s hard not to feel emo as you to try to separate hopes and dreams for the future from the floor plan of the home where it will all unfold. I’ve narrowed in on this list as important, and perhaps I log it here more for posterity’s sake than actual reader interest. Nonetheless:

  • As illustrated!!! A yard is super important, it supplies my heart with deep contentment
  • Detached Garage PLUS ample parking is ideal (so we can use the garage for project space when we want to make our own coffee table)
  • Exposed Beams are lovely, I’ll take them in the midcentury style or the craftsman
  • We don’t mind if the kitchen/bathrooms need renovation – we probably would prefer it actually
  • We aren’t going to be mad if we are within walking distance of Grocery, Beer, Burger, and/or Sushi, not a deal breaker though
  • We need a dog friendly home with a fence!
  • Architectural Intrique of SOME sort… whether it’s Post & Beam, Craftsman, Bungalow, SoCal Ranch, etc. These are all acceptable New Construction is not as likely to be interesting, unless it’s particularly nuanced.
  • Room for our vintage shasta camper would be a SUPER RAD bonus
  • Our budget range, which for LA is a little more than a million… a by a little more I probably mean like $500k more.

If you like to get a peek into the other homes we’ve toured in Los Angeles, from the next door neighbors to the lost Topanga dream, to a trailer park by the sea – check out Estate Envy.


A Midcentury Modern Lover’s Fantasy

Harveys on Beverly

Is this a fun little fantasy or what? It looks like Harvey’s on Beverly is for sale.

I stumbled upon this listing while I was doing a bit of research for furniture manufacturing in and around Los Angeles. I had no idea that existed. It’s somewhat of a Craigslist for businesses. And I’m just the right amount of dork that I like to sit around and fantasize about buying and turning around business as much as I like to fantasize about buying and turning around real estate.

When I stumbled upon Harvey’s on Beverly, It was great fodder for a fun discussion with the dude about what to do.

First, we took a look at the company’s existing website. The listing states that included in the $800k sell of the business, over 1.5 million dollars worth of inventory is included.

The business gets by with over 65% of its revenue being generated online, I’m assuming mostly through sites like 1stDibs and Ebay more than their own site. The site also caters specifically to the production world of Hollywood with another 10% of its revenue coming from studio rentals. I did a little Google search to get a feeling for the reputation of the company. It seems to be in good standing with the community and Harvey appears to be known for his emphatic authority in the world of antiques, particularly dealing with midcentury classics and rattan (which we all know are having a moment with national appreciation for Southern California’s laid back “effortless yet sophisticated” vibe.) There is a serious affection for rattan since Harvey Schwartz wrote the book — Rattan Furniture: Tropical Comfort Throughout the House.

Harveys on Beverly

In the listing, Harvey states he’s facing retirement and a recent trip to Fiji prompted him to get out of the biz and enjoy life. He’s looking for someone that is equally passionate about midcentury antiques to pick it up. Is this all too good to be true? Seems like such a ripe opportunity for the right person.

I love to think about re-organizing that website on a modern eComm platform and gassing up the social media channels. Even taking over the bi-level storefront on Beverly seems fun, and while my wheels are spinning I begin to think about signing up others of my favorite suppliers and mixing in some high and low, and some new with the old. Next thing I know, I’m styling vignettes and calling on my talented photographer friends to swing by and snap a few photos, then I’m inviting design bloggers over to host styling workshops in the space, and hitting up my tech friends to see who has ideas for how to grow our reach in the eComm space. We’ll erect a giant commissioned portrait of Harvey behind the newly renovated checkout counter.

Let’s identify a gaggle of fellow bloggers and design lovers in this crazy online world of blogging, and go in on it together!!! We can all share in the fun of building out a studio and host fun events where we style and shoot original content for our blogs, and we can create editorialized sales and connect our communities of equally impassioned design lover readers with awesome midcentury furniture!

Is this just fun for me, or do you want to join in on the fantasy!? What else can we do with Harvey’s on Beverly?





Estate Envy: The House Next Door

Exterior Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree

One time I was hanging with Sarah at her house in Southern Pines when a moving truck pulled up to the next door neighbor’s. It wasn’t long before she was on the phone with the realtor and we were snooping around wondering if they would leave the rattan peacock chairs on the porch for the next buyer.

When you love houses and want to collect them like Sarah and I do… it’s hard not to sit around and ponder the floorplan of every house on the block. Are you guilty of looking of your neighbor’s worth on Trulia? Or if you are crazy (like I know we are) you’re pulling up the GIS data and wrapping your head around property lines.

When I hang out in my backyard, I often look over to the neighbor’s house that peaks out over top of our ivy wrapped fence. I see a crumbling paint job on the gutters and I see the dusty musty towels hanging in the back windows. I make assumptions about what is going on in there, and in my mind it is a danker slightly larger version of our 1950 Ranchalow – with its linear white rooms and ranchy boxxed out floorplan.

A little under a year ago, a renter lived next door. When his moving truck pulled up, Heffe and I started poking around to look for a rental listing where we could get a better idea of the rent price and the interior layout. But the new tenants moved in quickly and without a sign ever going up… but the weirdest thing was that the towels never came down in those back windows. I kid you not when I say that I would sit in my hammock in the backyard and stare at those towels and wonder what in the world must be going on in those back rooms. I envisioned an array of silliness all the way up to the absurd notion that perhaps the house was a clandestine destination for some cultish group, a cover up where secret treatments or some kind of gathering would happen… behind windows covered up with dank dusty towels.

So, this past week the moving truck was there again. But this time – not long after the garden door was left unlocked and after I had nervously tiptoed in to find the most incredible Fiddle Leaf Fig tree I’ve ever seen outside of a pot — a for sale sign went up and we found the listing on the Coldwell Banker site.

Imagine our surprise when this is the interior we found…


Estate Envy: A Topanga Dream

So, big, kinda insane but totally deflating news: Last week, the dude put an offer on a mountain getaway for us and the vintage shasta camper in Topanga.

But – we got beat out by an all cash offer. People in LA be crazy loaded apparently. We were seriously one of SEVEN offers on the property. We came in second, so we are still a strong backup, but name me a reason why their cash offer won’t come to fruition. Nonetheless – my fingers are still crossed, the property is/was PERFECT. My huge fantasy fueled mind is having a really hard time moving on. Alas, I remembered “Estate Envy” and then it occurred to me that I fall in love with real estate listings all the time that I can’t have.

This is the MLS view that captured our attention:

To be real, the place was a little weird and I don’t understand how it would work for ANYONE but us? It featured two structures. One was the perfect pitched roof studio with a tiny cool concrete basement to store all of the fruits of Heffe’s beer brewing habit and maybe a lounging spot or sleeping space. It was really easy to see us utilizing the studio space above for the dude’s woodworking projects, along with all of the kids’ arts&crafts on weekends. I was envisioning a pottery wheel in one of the windowed corners. I wanna throw lopsided pots and have the access to make infinite ashtrays, like I did as a ceramics instructor in college – and I wanna do it all in a caftan. Jeff’s daughter and I even made up a pattern idea for our “Topanga Dress.” The main house was super freaking cute, I can’t even begin. The bedroom and the kid’s sleeping loft are tiny, but the deck and the views are HUGE and since basically its just an old wooden tent, the tiny kitchen and shelter feels super glamorous. The main house also featured another separate bedroom and bathroom downstairs, which in my mind served as the guest room for anyone that wanted to come up and join us for a weekend….. or perhaps it would serve as a music studio if you should want to lock yourself away on the mountain and make a hit record. It’s only 12 miles from our home in Santa Monica, but holy CRAP, it feels like escaping to another more sensible and natural, quieter place. The best part was this lovely pad in the backyard that was covered by the arms of this insanely beautiful tree. Home of our future treehouse, and protector of our Vintage Shasta Camper. This place also served as the perfect backdrop to everything that my other project, Seven Wanders is all about.

So sad y’all. *Pray for me. We’ll keep looking, but I’m afraid nothing will compare.

I dug up this photo that I took with my iPhone, of a set of cocktail napkins that I drew on at the bar in Hickory in 2009, when I was in the middle of one of those, “what should I do with my life” conversations with a friend. This was the illustrated dream.

Betsy Moyer Vintage Shasta Camper Dreaming in 2009

Meanwhile, here is a view of the Topanga Place. It’s kind of uncanny how it’s pretty much THE illustration.

Topanga Dreaming side

Topanga Dreaming

I can’t get into too much heartache over the fact that we lost out to an all cash offer because I should just be thrilled and amazed that I’m living in a world where this is a real prospect. I am truly grateful, and I know that this is borderline disgusting if not downright snotty – to be disappointed, but I can’t help it…. How quickly we acclimate from the havenots to the haves.

We are still on the hunt, and we totally love Dan, our Realtor Man. I’ll probably still fall asleep every night for the next 10 days until their offer moves past pending – wishing that something goes wrong and they call us up and tell us its ours.

That’s it. Sorry. I’m not Sorry. I’ll just keep on fantasizing here.
Follow Betsy Moyer’s board Mountain Land Dreamin on Pinterest.


Estate Envy: Topanga’s Million Dollar View

Remember this old series y’all…? It is where we get inside the virtual tours of homes we like to dream we live in. A recent Trulia stumble reminded me of the old past time. When I came across this getaway in Topanga, I got super starry eyed. The dude and I sat side by side thumbing through the pictures and dreaming up just how perfect it is for our lifestyle, including the gargoyle garden art.  It’s like a woodsy craftsman, just look at that patina on this door.

Dream House entrance

Dream House Living RoomThe lodge feeling holds strong once you get inside and it leaves a little to be desired in the way of style. Personally I look at images like this and my mind takes stock rapidly of all the changes I would like to make – and that gets me really excited. I’m happy to see some white walls, since I know that the battle to paint wood would be an uphill one. I picture the ceiling in a crisp white and think that this would be a stunning frame for the ocean views, but I know that Heffe won’t buy it, so I accept the beautiful ceiling as is and re-route my mind back to woodsy mountain living. Instead I begin the carpet removal process in my mind. How would this room look with a super dark floor? I know the fireplace will definitely need an update, and isn’t it unfortunate how difficult it will be to create a centered focal point on that wall with the balance of the tv? But look at that view. That’s just Palos Verdes in the background there, no bigs, just the ENTIRE Los Angeles coastline visible from your back deck.  Dream House bedroomOh, thank god! They’ve already painted the ceiling white in this room! Such promise. Might have to take away that rounded fireplace situation and I can’t bear the ceiling fan, but this room has great potential.Dream House Camper spotPlus, I know what’s waiting outside of those sweet french doors besides a jacuzzi. Situated on one acre of property, there is no reason not to get plenty of exercise walking the grounds to and from this lovely spot where I’m envisioning my Vintage Shasta Camper! This is where the dream really starts to sink it’s claws in.

The likely next step here is to do a quick google maps search and realize that this puppy is buried so deep in the Topanga hills that every trip to the grocery store will take a minimum of twenty minutes and dude’s commute to and from work will hit the hour mark. My dream balloon has officially busted and I slink away back down to reality.

Dream House pitch roof