August 28, 2013 on 11:23 am | In Fascinating Information, Historic Properties, Of Local Importance, Problem Solving, Santa Monica Landmarks, The City of Santa Monica says, Uncategorized, WOW | 2 Comments

The application for the Civic Working Group is on line! Our job for the next couple of weeks will be to promote the link as much as we can to make sure that it reaches as many qualified applicants as possible. The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium needs a perfectly balanced team of experts!!! Have you ever been involved in managing, building, booking, restoring or financing an entertainment venue? Can you meet monthly to sketch out the bones of a viable plan to get the Civic Auditorium back in action? Do you know someone who qualifies or can you post the information on a website, Facebook page or twitter feed that might reach interested people? Follow this link for the official details and to file an application. Completed applications must be submitted by September 16. Santa Monica City Council will appoint the five positions on October 22, 2013.

Civic Working Group Application


July 20, 2013 on 8:09 pm | In Buyers, Fascinating Information, Historic Properties, Of Local Importance, Santa Monica Landmarks, Uncategorized, WOW | 3 Comments

by Jodi Summers

If you have a passion for historic real estate, and about $4 million, there are two noteworthy pieces of architecture for sale in Santa Monica – the Zuni House and the Merle Norman House.

Listed @ $3,800,000 is the Zuni House, prestigiously perched over Santa Monica Canyon @ 710 Adelaide Pl. This 4-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom Pueblo Revival residence by architect Robert Stacy-Judd was built in 1923. It is the only known example of Stacy-Judd’s work in Santa Monica. The design of the house embodies many of the character-defining features of the Pueblo Revival style, including an asymmetrical facade, block composition, and flat roofs with parapets highlighted by red tile coping. Noteworthy are projecting roof beams (a.k.a. vigas) typical of the Zuni tribe of Arizona Indians. The rounded corners of the terraced walls simulate adobe. A stepped Mayan motif is repeated in the door and window frames. has been enhanced with a new pool, spa and guest house.

Stacy-Judd’s style was inspired by 19th century engravings such as the celebrated etchings Frederick Catherwood did for John Lloyd Stephens’ “Incidents of Travel in Central American, Chiapas and Yucatan” (1841) and “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan” (1843). It’s said that the work of this architect “is always a surprise.”

Stacy-Judd became a minor celebrity in the ‘20s and ‘30s when he brought Mayan and Aztec motifs into the design of Southern California architecture. Stacy-Judd’s work, specifically the Aztec Hotel (1924) in Monrovia achieved overwhelming popular success and earned praise in publications ranging from the New York Times to the trade magazines American Architect and The Hotel Monthly. His other work includes the Atwater Bungalows (1931) in Los Angeles, the Masonic Temple (1946-51) in North Hollywood, and the Philosophical Research Society headquarters (1936, 1959) in the Los Feliz area.

The 710 Adelaide property is officially known as the Mrs. L.K. Worrell house, but the locals call it the First Grofe House. Composer Ferde Grofe lived in the structure from 1947 to 1948. Grofe played (viola) with the LA Symphony (1906-1915) and taught at Julliard, but is best remembered as the composer of Grand Canyon Suite and for his orchestration of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.


Coming on the market at $4,000,000 is the Merle Norman House at 2523 Third St. in Ocean Park.

Founded in 1931, Merle Norman Cosmetics Inc. has developed, manufactured and distributed its own full line of skin care and color cosmetic products since the Great Depression. They are sold at more than 2,000 independently owned and operated Merle Norman Cosmetic Studios in the United States and Canada.

As her business grew, Norman commissioned architect Ellis G. Martin was to design and execute of a Mediterranean Revival style villa with divine foliage.

A home not at all similar to its Victorian and Craftsman neighbors, this spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom Mediterranean Revival style features a tiled and hipped roof with bracketed eaves caps the stucco structure. The asymmetrical façade’s entry is located in a large port cochere with rounded arches.

Mediterranean Revival style is considered to be somewhat more baroque than the more austere Spanish Revival Style often found in Santa Monica. Known for distinctive arches and bold columns, and exposed rafters and bracketed eaves, Mediterranean Revival Style provides a warm, inviting feeling.

The use of architectural elements and designs indigenous to the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea as a fundamental trend began to take hold in the late-19th century and reached its apogee at the San Diego exhibition in 1915. There were several forces at work—most notably the Colonial Revival, which touted Classicism, and the American Arts & Crafts movement, which gave the world the Mission Style that was derived from ancient Spanish Missions in the American Southwest.

Merle Norman’s first home on this lot was a turn-of-the-century cottage built in1904 by W. H. Slack. It was here the original cosmetic formulas were developed. Instead of demolishing the home, in 1935, she had it moved to 740 Raymond Avenue.

Even before she opened her first studio in Santa Monica in 1931, Merle Norman’s philosophy of “Try Before You Buy” was being carried out as she offered free samples of her products to neighbors, hoping they’d discover the benefits and return as paying customers.

And return they did. Many even opened their own studios and the company now has studios throughout the United States and Canada. Carrying on the Merle Norman tradition, franchisees now offer skin care products, from cleansers and toners to sun defense, and a full line of cosmetics.

Mrs. Norman’s cosmetics business began in the garage of the original property in Ocean Park, where she created her own line of cosmetics to help women care for their skin and enhance their natural beauty. Norman offered free samples of her products to neighbors, believing they would soon return as paying customers. This happened during the Great Depression, when free had a lot of value. She built a loyal customer base for her products, and her company continues to be an active family-owned business today.




p.s. a. This is not intended as a solicitation if your property is already listed with another agent.

b. We are not the listing agent on these properties. Broker/Agent does not guarantee the accuracy of the square footage, lot size or other information concerning the conditions or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from Public Records or other sources. Buyer is advised to independently verify the accuracy of all information through personal inspection and with appropriate professionals. Copyright © 2013 by Combined L.A./Westside MLS, Inc. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.




April 10, 2013 on 9:25 am | In Fascinating Information, Fun, Historic Properties, Uncategorized, World | 3 Comments

posted by Jodi Summers


  • 334 BC – Alexander the Great’s defeat of the Persians shows aggressive acquisition of real estate by force
  • 1066 – William the Conqueror decrees that he owns all of the land in England after his defeat of the Normans
  • 1689 - John Locke writes the Two Treatises on Civil Government, which outlines a man’s right to preserve “life, liberty, and estate.”
  • 1783 – Napoleon begins seizing real estate in the form of countries
  • 1803 – The U.S. acquires some swampy new land in the Louisiana Purchase
  • 1855 – Baird Warner is formed and has remained the oldest real estate brokerage in the nation
  • 1867 – U.S. gains a bit of icy tundra from Russia in the Alaska Purchase
  • 1916 – National association of real estate agents coins the term Realtor
  • 1929 – The largest stock market crash sparks the Great Depression and the collapse of the real estate market
  • 1934 – National Housing Act creates the FHA (Federal Housing Association)
  • 1938 – The Federal National Mortgage Association – now Fannie Mae – is chartered by the federal government
  • Late 1940′s - Adoption of fixed-rate mortgage as industry standard
  • Early 1960′s – The National Association of Real Estate Boards creates national MLS system based on unilateral offer of cooperation
  • 1970 – Congress charters Freddie Mac and the secondary loan market
  • 1980′s – Interest rates zoom upward and halt construction of new homes
  • 1994 – Property listings begin to become publicly available on the Internet
  • 1995 – Craigslist is launched
  • 1999 – ZipRealty introduces Internet lead generation to Real Estate
  • 1999 – Move (formerly HomeStore) goes public, the first real estate company to do so
  • Early 2000′s – Launch of IDX feeds for real estate websites
  • 2004 – Popular real estate blog, Curbed, is founded in New York City
  • 2005 – Google announces Google Base, Google Earth, and Google Maps
  • 2005 – launches real estate Mapsearch using Google Maps
  • 2006 – launches its Zestimate
  • 2007 – Trulia launches Trulia Voices, a real estate question & answer site
  • 2007 to 2010 – The “Housing Bubble” bursts, causing the financial crisis in the U.S.
  • 2008 – NAR (National Association of Realtors) settles with the DOJ (Department of Justice) over accusations of hampering rivals’ ability to post home listings online
  • 2009 – Real Estate phone apps become all the rage
  • Late 2000′s – Brick and Mortar offices decrease in number as virtual real estate companies become more prevalent
  • 2010 to Present – Real Estate data (homes-for-sale, sold history, etc.) becomes more easily accessible for all
  • 2010 to Present – Foreclosures and Short Sales become the dominant listing type in the market




February 10, 2013 on 7:14 pm | In Green, Historic Properties, Of Local Importance, Santa Monica Landmarks, The City of Santa Monica says, Uncategorized | No Comments

by Jodi Summers

Old meets new. The century-old Santa Monica Pier has new millennium lighting. The City of Santa Monica recently updated all bulbs that light the Pier to LED versions, which are  heralded as being more energy efficient, last longer and provide more focused beams than their counterparts.

Nearly 1,600 fixtures on the carousel, “necklace” lights that surround the structure, flood lights, street lamps and globe lights will get the upgrade, saving 216,000 kilowatt hours per year compared to the traditional bulbs. A portion of the new LED lights will be replacing incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs that burned out some time ago, bringing new life to the pier.

“We will be making this jewel of the city brighter and more sustainable,” praised pier manager Rod Merl.

City Hall received $114,370 for the Pier Lighting Retrofit project and another $554,000 for the wider LED Street lighting project, which served to replace streetlights throughout the city with new bulbs. Savings on the Pier project work out to roughly $39,466 saved per year in energy costs, according to the Office of Sustainability and the Environment. In addition to saving electricity, the new fixtures are expected pier staff a lot of time….particularly when it comes to maintaining the necklace lights that loop around the pier deck, where the globe lights would burn out regularly.

LED lights are more expensive by the piece, but according to the U.S. Department of Energy, a high-powered white LED light can last between 35,000 and 50,000 hours. By comparison, the average incandescent light lasts between 720 and 2,000 hours, a compact fluorescent usually runs between 8,000 and 10,000 hours.

If the new LED lights were on 24 hours a day, they would last 5.7 years, calculated Carlos Rosales, an engineer with the public works department. “Since they only turn on at night, they should last 10 years,”

And they should all need to be replaced at about the same time.

Another benefit to the lights in the eyes of City Hall is how they project their beams.

Unlike incandescent bulbs which scatter light, LEDs are more focused, meaning they do not have the fuzzy “glowing” quality that many are used to.

“The old-fashioned kind of lights tends to cast a wide area,” Merl observed. “One of the things with the new lighting heads, the light pools where you want it to rather than dispersing in all directions.”

Shine on you crazy pearl necklace….



January 27, 2013 on 10:37 pm | In Fascinating Information, Historic Properties, Problem Solving, Recycling, Uncategorized | No Comments

Edited by Jodi Summers

The National Trust for Historic Preservation defines rehabilitate as: “To repair a structure and make it usable again while preserving those portions or features of the property that are historically and culturally significant.”

To successfully rehabilitate a historic building, they are offering us 10 basic principles to keep in mind when undertaking a rehabilitation project.

Of course, every project is different and will have different needs and solutions. But this handy reference guide is a great way to get you started.





December 9, 2012 on 2:34 pm | In Fascinating Information, Federal Government, Historic Properties, Legal, Of Local Importance, Uncategorized, WOW | 4 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Proposition 13 limits annual tax increases on both commercial and residential properties at 2% each year after a sale takes place. The landmark 1978 California tax change was passed, in part, so that older Californians are not priced out of their homes through high taxes. Proposition 13 has been called the “third rail” (meaning “untouchable subject”) of California politics, and it is not popular politically for lawmakers to attempt to change it.

Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) wants voters to alter Proposition 13 to make it easier to pass local taxes for schools. Leno is introducing a constitutional amendment that would allow local parcel taxes for schools to pass with 55% of the vote, instead of the two-thirds currently required.

Proposition 13 (officially named the People’s Initiative to Limit Property Taxation) was an amendment of the Constitution of California enacted during 1978, by means of the initiative process. It was approved by California voters on June 6, 1978. It was declared constitutional by the United States Supreme Court in the case of Nordlinger v. Hahn, 505 U.S. 1 (1992). Proposition 13 is embodied in Article 13A of the Constitution of the State of California.

The proposition states:

Section 1. (a) The maximum amount of any ad valorem tax on real property shall not exceed one percent (1%) of the full cash value of such property. The one percent (1%) tax to be collected by the counties and apportioned according to law to the districts within the counties.

The proposition decreased property taxes by assessing property values at their 1975 value and restricted annual increases of assessed value of real property to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year. It also prohibited reassessment of a new base year value except for (a) change in ownership or (b) completion of new construction.

In addition to decreasing property taxes, the initiative also contained language requiring a two-thirds majority in both legislative houses for future increases of any state tax rates or amounts of revenue collected, including income tax rates. It also requires a two-thirds vote majority in local elections for local governments wishing to increase special taxes. Proposition 13 received an enormous amount of publicity, not only in California, but throughout the United States.

The two-thirds majority is what Congressmen Leno wants to change, dropping the majority 11% to 55% of the vote.

“This change in law would give voters the power to make decisions about public education at the local level, allowing schools much-needed flexibility to improve instruction, fund libraries, music, the arts or other programs, or hire more teachers to reduce student-to-teacher ratios,” Leno justifies.

With new supermajorities in both legislative houses, Democrats now also have the power to place measures such as Leno’s on the ballot without GOP backing. In 2000, voters passed a measure changing the vote threshold for local school bonds from two-thirds to 55%.


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