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Northeast Los Angeles residential architecture is a big draw to buyers. Much of that has to do with the vintage housing stock – and how it’s been preserved.

Windows are for looking outside, right? Of course that’s true, but they are also for looking at from the street. This is because windows are definitive characteristic of a home’s aesthetic, and actually a key indicator of authenticity for preserved vintage homes.  

This is especially the case in Northeast Los Angeles, NELA, where Mission Revival, Victorian, Craftsman, Mid Century Modern, and Tudor Revival homes lend the various neighborhoods character and value. Ply the listings of homes for sale in Pasadena, Mt. Washington, Eagle Rock, and Hermon and you will find all such types of homes in a range of prices. That range largely has to do with whether or not a renovation is needed or has already been accomplished.

The attention to windows might be particularly pronounced on homes in Highland Park and Garvanza, where a HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) is in effect. There, the HPOZ board is empowered to review window replacements, which always should match the originals however possible. Specific directives of the Highland Park-Garvanza HPOZ Preservation Plan (2010) regarding windows includes:

  1. Repair old (original) windows wherever possible, preserving materials, design, hardware and surrounds.
  2. If irreparable, replacements should match the historic size, shape, arrangement of panes, materials, hardware, method of construction, and profile.
  3. On non-visible sides of the house (not facing the street), materials can be different and modern but “the arrangement of panes, size, and shape should be similar.”
  4. Filling in or altering the size of original widows is inappropriate, particularly on the façade. In a similar vein, adding a new window opening to the façade is inappropriate. Adding a window on a non-visible side (sides and back), “may be considered but should match the rhythm and scale of the existing windows on that façade.”
  5. Interior or exterior storm windows, not replacement windows, should be used if energy conservation is desired. Weather-stripping of doors and windows is recommended as an energy-conservation option.
  6. Awnings and shutters are part of this: they need to match the historic designs and operations.
  7. No security bars should be on the primary façade, unless they are installed on the interior of a window or opening. If necessary on the sides and backs (“secondary façades”), they “should be painted in a dark color or to match the predominant window trim.

Other neighborhoods in NELA such as Glassell Park are not currently under a HPOZ jurisdiction. But Realtors will encourage owners to follow similar rules for one simple reason: authenticity sells. For perspective, think about a kitchen upgrade to a 60-year-old Mid Century Modern done 25 years ago. It doesn’t work anymore. Something that at least bears the appearance of being in the original design will always ring truer. 

One expert Realtor in NELA vintage homes is Tracy King. She and her team have a quarter century of perspective on what helps a home retain and maximize value. They can be contacted at 323-243-1234.

tracy 150x175With over 30 years experience in helping clients buy and sell homes in Northeast Los Angeles, Tracy King has a depth of real estate knowledge that makes her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. When she's not holding open houses or negotiating offers, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, cooking, or planning her next trip to Paris. If you are looking to buy or sell a home in Northeast Los Angeles, contact the Tracy King Team at 626.827.9795 or