Interesting things are happening in a historic pocket of Los Angeles where Laurel and Hardy filmed, where Stan Laurel made his home, and where countless studio hands of decades past shuttled back and forth between home and work.
When we say "interesting," we keep in mind that (alleged) ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."
Cheviot Hills was once a middle-class neighborhood whose central location relative to the movie studios made it a magnet for workers of limited means, according to local real estate agent Rory Posin, who grew up in the neighborhood and still lives and works there.
But in L.A., fortunes constantly change, and history often yields to the Next Big Thing. The charming idyll in the heart of L.A. is naturally irresistible to those of greater means, who have been bidding prices up into the stratosphere. Often they intend not to live in the dated properties but to raze them for something shinier and more profitable.
This ultra-modern house -- just purchased by lavishly tattooed rocker Travis Barker of Blink-182, according to Variety magazine's Mark "The Real Estalker" David -- is a microcosmic example of the transition taking place in Cheviot Hills. And Cheviot Hills is in turn a prime example of the new-trumps-old ethos that seems to reign across Los Angeles. (Click here or on an image for a slideshow of the house he bought, and the one that used to stand on the site.)
In 2011, a time-capsule house built in 1950 -- the classic "house with great bones," undeniably dated and in need of help -- came onto the market for the first time in more than 40 years. It had 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in its 2,220 square feet, on a big-for-the-neighborhood corner lot of about 9,500 square feet. It was listed at $1.2 million and sold for about $50,000 less than the asking price.
That humble house was torn down. In its place rose this luxe 4-bedroom, 4-bath, 4,000-square-foot "architectural showpiece" with a "children's wing" separate from the master suite. It was listed at $4.25 million; Barker bought it for $4 million.
It's a story told over and over in the neighborhood.
And it seems likely to happen again, soon, to a more famous house: legendary science fiction author Ray Bradbury's. Back in May we toured the eerily frozen-in-time house where he'd lived for more than half a century, raising his children, penning some of his best-known books, and ultimately dying at age 91. His family had listed it after his death for $1.5 million; it sold soon after for more than a quarter-million dollars above the asking price. The buyer, according to Variety's David, is prize-winning avant-garde architect Thom Mayne. (Click here to see Ray Bradbury's dandelion-colored home of more than 50 years.)
As Cheviot Hills goes, so goes Los Angeles? Maybe it's inevitable. Maybe it's just progress. What do you think? Tell us in the comments.