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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

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Walking Tour of Bungalow Heaven

Bungalow Heaven, in Northeast Pasadena, is bordered roughly by Lake Avenue on the west, Orange Grove Blvd to the south, Hill Ave to the east, and Washington Blvd to the north.  What gives the area its name is about 800 Craftsman-style homes (plus non-conforming structures filling in) built between 1900 and 1930. For pictures, history and descriptions of Bungalow Heaven and the annual tour which happened every year for 30 years (until the pandemic this year), go to BungalowHeaven.org. There is lots of information and photos and even some merch you can order to support them. I ordered their cookie recipe book because it has a signature recipe written by a Bungalow Heaven resident and volunteer that uses real rose petals. Had to have it! And it was delicious - a delicate butter cookie with a faint rose flavor and studded with flecks of color from the rose petals and then rolled in chopped pistachios before it was baked. Yum!  Next I'm going to try the Tangerine Thyme Chocolate Cookies.

My friend, Kendyl, and I met at a house that was in escrow with my team’s buyer (so much character!), and started off on our walking tour. We learned that most of the houses were bungalows with lots of individuality—colors, landscaping, and style—though the main points of similarity were the large porches perfect for sitting on to catch the breezes and the overhanging eaves which defined the original Bungalow style (originally designed to deal with the extreme heat in India). The idea is the longer eaves make breezes more likely to cool the dark interiors.  Thoughtful landscaping helps with deciduous trees providing shade in the hot summer and sun in the winter. The judicious placement of evergreen trees can provide a constant shady presence where needed. Passive solar is not a new invention!

Did you know that in Pasadena with a house address, you can research all kinds of historical data about that house? Or you can search by house style, historic designation, all kinds of information. For Bungalow Heaven and more, go to the Historical Resources Inventory Database, click on Search for Historic Properties and explore!

And did you know that back in the day (1905-1940) you could order a kit from the Sears catalogue to build your own house? Yes, all styles and sizes were available. Visit the Sears archives. They give the history of the program and all sorts of detailed information. What I found almost as interesting as the exterior styles were the floorplans and the costs!  And once you’ve seen the pictures, you’ll see lots of houses in Pasadena that you’ll be sure were kit homes originally. The things we can learn from a walk!

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Social Distanced Walking

Thanks to the Corona virus shelter-in-place rules changing, people are thronging to all the hiking trails and approved walking paths like the Rose Bowl Loop. This has resulted in the very crowded conditions we are trying to avoid and so they might be closed again soon. Since you can get ticketed and fined for defying the rules, you need to read the news just about three times a day to stay on the right path for your walk. How about avoiding all those popular places and checking out some of the roads less travelled? 

Pasadena and Altadena are treasure troves of historic neighborhoods with gorgeous houses that have documented styles, architects, famous owners, and stories that supply conversational material along with eye-candy to add interest to your walk. As the philosopher Kierkegaard said, “If one just keeps walking, everything will be alright.”

You can access maps, addresses, interesting lore and historical facts, walking and driving tours  and more on the www.CityofPasadena.net site. They even have an app for your phone called Historic Pasadena and you can follow the Bungalow Courts, (walking or driving tours), Victorian tours, Mid-Century tours, even a Neon Signs tour (who knew Pasadena still had so many?) and more! 

My walking buddy Kendyl and I were big users of the Rose Bowl loop until it closed and then we walked the length of South Grand from South Pasadena north to the famous Colorado Street Bridge and back until it became crowded. Now we have walked a few of these historic tours plus some neighborhoods in Altadena and have discovered a wealth of interesting sites and secret places (to us, that is) which I’m going to share with you, dear Reader. Hopefully, you will want to add a bit of your own special twists. Please share!

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