Secretary’s Standards


Jane B. Eisner Middle School
Los Angeles, California

The Jane B. Eisner Middle School has a new home in a former 1923 Pacific Bell Company telephone garage. The building is a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument and located within the Harvard Heights Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. Seeing an opportunity for a new charter school to occupy the building, the Camino Nuevo Academy planned a school that would provide the next level of education for students attending their nearby elementary school. Frederick Fisher & Partners Architects designed an adaptive reuse project integrating the necessary seismic upgrades and other improvements to accommodate a school user.

Chattel worked closely with the team to ensure the design conformed with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. This meant retaining and properly treating the most important features of the building: its historic garage doors, ornamental concrete door surrounds, the high volume, vaulted interior spaces and bowstring truss ceiling. It also meant careful selection of new materials and paint colors for compatibility with old.

Chattel prepared a report evaluating impacts of the project under the California Environmental Quality Act, ultimately finding a less than significant historical resources impact. The project also involved a substantial public outreach component because the project site is located within an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone. Chattel participated in numerous meetings with neighborhood groups to ensure project goals were understood and that community concerns were heard. This also included consultation with the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources and Los Angeles Conservancy. The official opening ceremony for the Jane B. Eisner Middle School was in February 2013 and the school is now actively being used to serve local students.

The project won a California Preservation Foundation Design Award in 2013.


Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Preservation Plan
Los Angeles, California

Chattel created a Preservation Plan for over 100 National Register of Historic Places -listed resources at the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center Campus. The Preservation Plan was prepared to guide the treatment of historic properties and appropriate future development at VA West LA Campus. 

The Preservation Plan is now an effective tool for the VA to streamline compliance with federal and state regulatory requirements, such as Section 106, NEPA, and CEQA. The Preservation Plan provides guidance on how to avoid adverse effects on the historic properties. Technical appendices in the document provide key reference materials useful in preparing compliance documents to meet all applicable historic preservation and environmental regulatory requirements. Additionally, the Preservation Plan provides guidance on appropriate new infill construction, additions to historic buildings, landscaping and the rehabilitation, maintenance, and preservation of historic buildings on the Campus. 

The Preservation Plan includes comprehensive information on the treatment of historic resources on the Campus. Sections include: Assessing and Avoiding Adverse Effects, Character-Defining Features and Design Guidelines, SOIS Compliance, The Section 106 process, and Schematic Design Review.

Services also included collaboration with archeologists to identify areas of particular sensitivity for the discovery of archaeological resources.


1012 second street
santa monica, California

1012 2nd Street a used historic preservation incentive program embodied in the Santa Monica Municipal Code that is a critical and important part of the City’s historic preservation program. Initially adopted by City Council in 2006 as a Zoning Variance process, the program is now implemented through review of Major Modifications to allow some flexibility in development standards and implementation of incentives for projects that include the retention and preservation of a designated Landmark building or Contributing Structure to an adopted Historic District. The 1895 Landmark turn-of-the-20th cottage was once owned by Glendale and San Fernando developer Leslie Brand and used as a weekend retreat. Designated in 2005, the property was initially identified in the City Historic Resource Inventory. When demolition was proposed, the Landmarks Commission took action to preserve the Landmark cottage but allow demolition of a 1924 multi-family unit building at the rear of the property.

Rehabilitation and expansion of 1012 2nd Street yielded a four-unit condominium with subterranean parking. The Landmark cottage is part of the unit that extends into the new construction via a glass enclosed bridge. Chattel collaborated with archtiect Howard Laks on the design, which integrates new and old quite skillfully with the bridge connection serving as a hyphen. Among the incentives used to allow the project was the ability to add additional floor area to the new construction, essentially acting as a on-site transfer of development rights. The top level unit is a flat configuration that is set back from all elevations to reduce its apparent mass and read as a penthouse.

The Cities of West Hollywood (rehabilitation incentives) and Beverly Hills (historic incentives permit) have both adopted similar programs that allow for flexibility in addressing conditions unique to designated historic resources. These conditions severely restrict allowable development and constrain feasible reuse, rehabilitation and expansion. By providing reasonable accommodation and ensuring conformance with the Secretary’s Standards, these projects have been exemplary, award-winning good neighbors. 1012 2nd Street, completed in 2016 and recipient of a Santa Monica Conservancy Rehabilitation Award, and 954 5th Street, completed in 2018, are two such projects worthy of note. The former San Vicente Inn (now San Vicente Bungalows and No. 850) completed in 2018, is a comparable example in West Hollywood.