Our mid-century property guru made his way back to Silver Lake for more high-profile architecture on sale, this time by Rodney Walker, whose work the Society of Architectural Historians describes thusly, "Walker’s work is characterized by transparency, expressive floating roof planes, and the use of such innovative materials as steel, plywood, and fiberglass panels. Underlying this creativity was always, however, attention to the cost-efficiency and economy that could potentially deliver the promise of modern homes to people of modest means." Hmmm... cost efficiency and economy may be a stretch for this property.
"2348 Cove Avenue, built in 1953 by Case Study architect Rodney Walker, is back on the market at $1,499,000. Originally designed and built as a duplex, this property was listed last year at around $1.2 million dollars. Although already fully renovated to a very high standard, the property was pulled from the market and reconfigured as a single family home. Perhaps it was difficult to comp and get financing as a Duplex, or perhaps there were no buyers given the math behind $1.2 million for a smallish owner-occupied unit with tenant.
Despite the deviation from its original specifications, this property shows and flows wonderfully, with the “railroad” layout perhaps the only give-away of its Duplex roots. The renovation is to the highest current standards, from Ann Sacks tile and Duravit fixtures to high-end appliances and new cabinets. Unlike many of these re-done homes, the owner knew exactly when to stop. The original concrete floor grids remain, as does the flagstone hearth and open fire place. On top of the renovation, the house is decorated, staged and presented perfectly, the right art, the right reference books, the right furniture (well, the bed in the master is a miss, and stands out among the other pieces, but that’s not too bad). Even the canned goods on the shelves were fronted and chosen for label appeal. The modest grounds (a thin grassed yard on two sides of the house) are landscaped very well, in period style. However, the yard is barely wider than a deep terrace. A good portion of the 7,500 square foot lot is used for a deep car port and parking area or is not flat (either the steep grade behind the house, or below the yard), so that there is maybe another 1,500 sq/ft of yard to go with the 1,700 sq/ft of house." Pricing and proximity after the jump.
"Originally part of the O’Neil complex of hillside units, the cul de sac is probably the biggest downside. Steep, Cove ends with three of these Walker units stacked above each other, with 2348 being the middle unit. The unit above is also restored, but the unit below is not. As the back of the house is either solid wood or opaque glass panels, and the floor of 2348 is at roof level of the unit below, privacy is enhanced, but physical proximity is pretty close. Across the street is not much better. Although adjacent to the Neutra Colony, your largest neighbor appears to be an unrestored 15 unit apartment building. And traffic noise leaks up from Silver Lake Blvd. about 5 lots down. That said, there are pretty good reservoir views and hills views.
Pricing. The bad news: The unit right below (2346) sold, un-restored and still as a Duplex, a year ago for $650,000. Same size. The highest price on the street was $1.3 million for 2,400 sq/ft. The highest price in the neighborhood for a 2/2 was $1.1 million two months ago. At 881 a foot, the price feels a little high. The Schindler across the Lake, while no where near as polished as this, sold for $800 a foot at twice the size. And, really, Walker is great, but not Schindler. Also, the Schindler was a block from the Paramour, off the top of Michael Torina, the best, swankest, more removed part of Silverlake. I fear that most anyone who can drop $1.5 million dollars wants a better neighborhood, higher in the hill, surrounded by other single family homes. That said, this is really a top notch renovation, stunning, and – flaws to siting and hood aside – there is not a better polished architectural property on the market right now at the same price, or near it. The only thing close is the much larger and much less polished Buff on Multiview for $1.3 million. And that’s sat a LONG time. So... The questions comes down to could you recreate this for less? And would the bones be truer (Walker, but re-configured). The call is yours."