Parking Day LA 2018

Joining in with the nationwide event PARK(ing) Day on September 21st, Chattel turned the parking space in front of our office on Ventura Boulevard into a public "park" for the day. Offering puzzles, refreshments, relaxation (and shade), we hosted passersby in a limited time only public park—our parking space. The idea behind PARK(ing) Day is to reclaim metered parking spaces for a day and turn them into miniature parks, highlighting the lack of public open space and demonstrating that even a small car-sized park can have a big impact.

With tables, umbrellas, plants, and an inviting turf floor decorating our once-upon-a-time parking spot, we all enjoyed the excuse to spend the day outside with the community as people walked by and joined in. Some sat to chat, some helped us puzzle, and others asked whether this was all a new permanent installation of a puzzle store replacing our office. Sadly, not. We completed a 1,000 piece puzzle showing the Santa Monica Pier and Ocean Front Walk buildings we’re working on! So we do have a proven puzzle connection even though we don't sell any.


Small challenges, aside from the puzzles which required a full team effort, included looking out for rumbling buses and remembering to feed the meter! All in all a great day and an interesting cause to highlight by simply having some fun out on the street. Literally.

Colorado Street Bridge Party Afterglow

Pasadena Heritage's Colorado Street Bridge Party was a huge success. On July 14, more than 5,000 guests delighted in the view across the Arroyo while enjoying live music and delicious tacos, BBQ, funnel cake, hot fudge sundaes and more. Vintage cars, such as the 1927 Ford T-Bucket Roadster, 1948 Porsche 356 and even the Back To The Future (BTTF) Delorean, charmed viewers and kids participated in free activities like bubblemania, face painting, rock wall climbing and drum circles. 

This biennial community event supports Pasadena Heritage, which has been the leading champion in celebrating and preserving the iconic Colorado Street Bridge for the last 41 years. It’s always great to see how the community supports the organization and celebrates the Bridge. Hope to see you there in 2020!

Getting Modern with the Getty

Stemming from a desire for function and novelty, modern architecture emerged late in the nineteenth century, and departed from decorative styles of Spanish Colonial Revival and Craftsman. Modern architecture is defined by its simple and linear forms, fluidity between interior and exterior spaces, and emphasis on unadorned materials and natural light.

As part of their "Conserving Modern Architecture Initiative," The Getty Conservation Institute and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) partnered to offer "Introduction to Conserving Modern Architecture", a three-day training course on the preservation of modern built heritage. Chattel Senior Associate Laura Carias attended with participants from around the world. The training included an introduction to conservation principles, methodology, and technical solutions to deterioration and material failure, as well as information on today's available resources.

The workshop engaged experts who provided background information and presented case studies and real-life solutions. Participants gained hands-on experience in a lab setting. To culminate the course, participants visited the Eames House where they were given the opportunity to use newly acquired skills to assess conservation issues impacting this modern historical resource.

Two wins at the Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Awards

Chattel is proud to announce that the former Gilmore Gas Station received a 2018 Los Angeles Conservancy Preservation Award. Chattel partnered with StarbucksValerio, Inc.Spectra Company and a team of specialists to develop a rehabilitation plan in conformance with the Secretary's Standards to restore and re-imagine this neighborhood landmark.

Cited as "a fantastic example of adaptive reuse done right," the Streamline Moderne station was rehabilitated, and enlivened into a walk-up and drive-through Starbucks for the Melrose neighborhood in Hollywood.

The City of San Gabriel also received an award for the renewed San Gabriel Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Ordinance. Chattel worked with San Gabriel and SWCA Environmental Consultants, Inc. to update the 1965 ordinance for today.

As a result of the updated ordinance, San Gabriel qualifies to become a Certified Local Government (CLG), which would make it eligible for grants to support preservation efforts. The updated ordinance aims to be user-friendly and calls for the creation of a Historic Preservation Commission. It also enables San Gabriel to protect and maintain neighborhoods with the designation of historic districts and the establishment of Conservation Overlay Zones while continuing to protect historic and cultural resources, including archaeological sites of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.

2018 California Preservation Conference Highlights

Chattel, Inc. attended the 2018 California Preservation Conference in Palo Alto (May 17-20) and explored innovative historic preservation in the Silicon Valley and throughout California.

Associates Christine di Iorio and Brian Matuk toured the NASA Ames Research Center, site of spacecraft aerodynamics testing for the Apollo and other space missions. The tour granted access to areas normally off-limits to the public, such as the inside of a wind tunnel as well as the facility that simulates atmospheric reentry. Guests also visited Hangar One (1933), one of the largest freestanding structures in the world, and the subject of an ongoing adaptive reuse challenge.

Another highlight of the conference included a tour of the Greenmeadow neighborhood of Palo Alto, an Eichler-designed housing tract with then affordable and modern single-story homes. A National Register historic district, this community-centered suburb includes houses designed by architects A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons. 

At the Chattel-sponsored Three Minute Success Stories, attendees enjoyed a showcase of exciting tales of peril, perseverance and buildings saved from demolition and received a complementary This Drink Matters rocks glass designed by HABS photographer extraordinaire Stephen “Schaf” Schafer. The closing event was at the birthplace of Silicon Valley, the garage in Professorville where Hewlett Packard got its start.

Next year the CPF Conference will be held in Palm Springs, the mecca for enthusiasts of Mid-Century Modernism. Chattel will be there—will you?

Sun Tech Townhomes wins Santa Monica Conservancy Stewardship Award!

 Robert Chattel, historic preservation consultant, Alison Perchuk, former Sun Tech Townhomes HOA president and resident, and Tom Cleys, Santa Monica Conservancy board member

Robert Chattel, historic preservation consultant, Alison Perchuk, former Sun Tech Townhomes HOA president and resident, and Tom Cleys, Santa Monica Conservancy board member

Chattel is proud to announce that Sun Tech Townhomes Owners Association (HOA) received a 2018 Santa Monica Conservancy Stewardship Award. The award recognizes the diligent work necessary to maintain integrity of this 1981 Postmodern 18-unit Landmark.

In 2017 the property was designated a City of Santa Monica (City) Landmark, and in 2018 Chattel assisted in obtaining a Mills Act Contract between the HOA and the City to enable rehabilitation, restoration and maintenance. Without the Mills Act Contract, the scope of work would have been prohibitively expensive.

All 18 property owners had to consent to the HOA entering into the Mills Act Contract and Chattel facilitated this effort. While most Mills Act Contracts have a 10-year implementation schedule, due to the high cost and complexity of necessary work, a 15-year implementation schedule was proposed by the HOA and accepted by the City.

As an exemplar of modern design and technological innovation, Sun Tech Townhomes is a remarkable example of Postmodern design with asymmetrical volumes, grid-incised and curvilinear walls, distinct color palette and communal pathways. Our collaborative efforts ensure that this distinctive property will be preserved and shared with future generations.


Psst! The Password is "Celebrate"

On Thursday, April 19, 2018, the Mob Museum Improvement Project opened to great fanfare and clinking of Prohibition-era cocktails in the Underground speakeasy and distillery. Robert Chattel and Caroline Raftery also visited the new Use of Force and Crime Lab experiences, which debuted earlier this year.

Check out the press in the Las Vegas Review Journal and Wall Street Journal. And, special thanks to the Las Vegas Historic Preservation Commission, Nevada State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service for your continued support of this cutting edge, culturally significant, and FUN adaptive reuse project. Make your way to the Underground! 

CHS Gala at Old U.S. Mint

 CHS President Emeritus Robert Chattel and SHPO Julianne Polanco at the 2018 Gala (Drew Altizer)

CHS President Emeritus Robert Chattel and SHPO Julianne Polanco at the 2018 Gala (Drew Altizer)

Robert Chattel was honored to be one of several former California Historical Society board of trustee members to attend the Gala event on January 11, 2018 honoring statesman George P. Shultz. A tireless public servant, Dr. Shultz served two different Republican presidents of the United States: as Secretary of Labor, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Secretary of the Treasury under Richard Nixon, and then as Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan. In 1972, while serving as Secretary of the Treasury in the Nixon Administration, Dr. Shultz helped save the Old U.S. Mint from demolition, preserving one of the most important historic buildings in the western United States. In 2016, the City and County of San Francisco selected CHS, the State’s official historical society, as its partner on the Old U.S. Mint Restoration Project. Together CHS and San Francisco are exploring the 1874 National Historic Landmark as CHS' future headquarters and a center for history and learning. Images below are from 2016 when CHS and San Francisco announced a $1 million State grant to fund additional work to further the project.

Chattel Adventures in Film, Whiskey and MAGIC!

Chattel did a hard hat tour of the new Academy Museum in the former May Co department store at Wilshire and Fairfax. Our tour guide was Andrew Werner, facilities director for the new Museum. It was great to see how the Renzo Piano-designed addition will connect to the Albert C Martin, Sr-designed Art Deco/Streamline Moderne 1939 department store.

Following the hard hat tour, we gathered at Tom Bergin's on Fairfax for dinner and drinks with pub owner Derek Schreck. In 1936, the pub opened as Tom Bergin's Old Horseshoe Tavern & Troroughbred Club on Wilshire. The Vestry whiskey lounge on the newly rehabilitated and expanded second floor was especially fun! Check out Vestry on LA Eater.

Our last event of the year was our annual holiday staff party. And this year, it was MAGIC! It helped that we were welcomed to The Academy of Magical Arts at Magic Castle. We thoroughly enjoyed a great meal and entertainment in the Lane Mansion in Hollywood, as re- imagined by impresario Milt Larson. The Lane Mansion is a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and has a Mills Act historical property contract. It's always good to see the properties we inspect after hours.

Have happy holidays and a great new year!

Mueller's Grove lives on

Over a century old, the Ernst Mueller House sits proudly on a piece of what was once a 30-acre ranch of citrus groves and magnolia trees. Today, the rehabilitated Ernst Mueller House is preserved amidst the rapidly developing Etiwanda neighborhood of the City of Rancho Cucamonga. Chattel worked closely with GFR Homes as they developed Mueller's Grove, a subdivision of 10 newly constructed single family homes. The goal was to ensure the ranch house's historic rural setting was preserved.

 Ernst Mueller House, rehabilitated. (Chattel, 2017)

Ernst Mueller House, rehabilitated. (Chattel, 2017)

Built in 1914, the Ernst Mueller House is a Craftsman ranch house once surrounded by citrus groves of lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. Today, it is a rare example of a property that still retains its integrity and feel as an early citrus ranch.

Ernst Mueller was a German immigrant and early settler of Etiwanda, California, who gained prominence as a citrus grower and active promoter of the citrus industry. Sources cite Ernst as being proactive in picking his lemon crops prior to the "freeze of 1913," which devastated much of the region's crops and in turn Southern California's citrus industry (Historic American Buildings Survey, National Park Service, 2000). It was his success as a grower that enabled Ernst to construct the two-story, eight-room Craftsman ranch house.

In 1994, the Ernst Mueller House property was designated a local City of Rancho Cucamonga Historic Landmark. This designation included the house, what was remaining of the surrounding citrus grove, Eucalyptus wind-rows, and a bordering row of magnolia trees planted by Ernst himself in the early 20th century.

Twenty years after it was determined National Register eligible in a Section 106 survey for the Route 30 (now I-210) freeway, Chattel collaborated with developer GFR Homes to ensure the setting of the Ernst Mueller House was retained as proposed subdivision plans were drafted. Chattel's report sought retention in two notable ways:

First, a portion of the historic agricultural setting was retained by incorporating a buffer of space around the house. A reverse frontage and step-in retaining walls provided the house with "breathing room" amid the adjacent properties of Mueller's Grove.

Second, a new garage was constructed and made accessible from the rear, where a new street servicing the Mueller's Grove development was constructed.

Today, the Ernst Mueller House evokes the memory of an early citrus ranch celebrating the legacy of agriculture in a rapidly urbanizing community.