1930s Streamline Moderne in Fairfax headed for landmark status

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The campaign to preserve a 1920s Streamline Moderne single-family home in Fairfax won a big victory today when the city’s cultural heritage commission approved its application for monument status.

The house at 947 Martel Avenue was designed by William Kesling, a master of the Streamline style, which incorporates the curves, chrome, and portholes of planes, trains, and glamorous ocean liners who used it on a number of apartment buildings throughout Los Angeles.

Actor Wallace Beery commissioned the residence, which is reportedly one of only 21 known remaining Streamline Moderne properties designed by Kesling.

In a statement read before the commission, Adrian Scott Fine, advocacy director for the Los Angeles Conservancy, stated his support for the nomination, calling the house “a rare and remarkably intact example of Streamline Moderne.”

Planning staffers had recommended that the commissioners approve landmark status for the house. Commissioners Barron and Kennard, who visited the house, agreed the house was still in good, largely original condition. Commissioner Kennard called the property “an amazingly intact house.”

The owner of the residence, developer Ilan Gorodezki, had originally submitted plans to the city to build a 17-unit condo complex on the property and an adjacent site that houses four apartments—a move that would have required demolishing the Kesling.

At an August 20 hearing, Gorodezki and his wife Linda Flloko told the commission that they no longer planned to demolish the house. They opposed the nomination and we not present at the hearing today.

The nomination still needs the approval of full Los Angeles City Council.

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