Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Mansionization in Reynier Village

On March 1 the Los Angeles City Council approved new regulations, backed by Paul Koretz of Council District 5, to control the size of Mcmansions, large modern 2-story houses built on small lots, replacing quainter older homes in single-family neighborhoods.

8921 Hargis-2017 house, photo by Elisa Leonelli

8921 Hargis-2017 house, photo by Elisa Leonelli

The first of these mansions was recently built in Reynier Village at 8921 Hargis, in place of a small wooden home, that was sold on May 12, 2016 for $750,000.  The asking price of the new house is $1,750,000.  A tidy profit for this developer.
I actually like the architectural style of this modern structure, in comparison to the old 1,346 square feet house built in 1947.  However we have to be watchful so that massive houses towering over your homes are not built to change the character of our lovely village.

8921 Hargis-1947 home

8921 Hargis-1947 home

Here’s a message from local realtor Laura Anderson, president of the Faircrest Heights Neighborhood Association: “Our beloved neighborhood, with the charm of its architecture, is a hidden jewel, much like Reynier Village. Concerned residents rallied together to go to City Hall for the hearings on a regular basis. I encourage you to join forces and keep the integrity of your neighborhood.  I support change but we need to have guidelines in place.”
Check out the Facebook page of ‘No More Mcmansions in Los Angeles’ and sign the petition. Contact the SORONC Board and our District 10 Councilman Herb Wesson, so they may put pressure on City Hall to protect Reynier Village from mansionization.

To understand the changes in city regulations, you may read an article posted by Deni Mosser on Nextdoor.

Beware of ‘Porch Pirates’


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…for thieves and for nefarious activity that is.

This is a busy time of year for UPS, FedEx, and USPS. But beware, porch pirates are watching those deliveries. It is up to all of us to be especially watchful if there is suspicious activity in the
neighborhood. People driving-by slowly or perhaps cars following delivery trucks are just some of the things to watch for.

Videos on the evening news of incidents across the country show suspects brazenly making off with  other people’s packages.

At the end of October it was reported that the LAPD busted a sophisticated package-theft ring that preyed on homeowners in the San Fernando Valley. But as we all know, ANYTHING, can happen anywhere. Authorities said the thieves used a delivery service’s smartphone app to follow trucks delivering packages. The thieves would wait for the packages to be delivered and then scoop them up moments later. Thieves were so brazen that according to KCAL 9, the LAPD came up with a name for them: “porch pirates.”

Police offer the following tips to protect residents from Porch Pirates:

Have packages delivered to locations where a person is home
Have packages delivered to the vendor’s local store for pick up
Have packages held by the delivery company for personal pick up
Ask for notification when package is delivered so you can have a trusted neighbor pick up for you
Add delivery instructions like, requiring a signature upon delivery
Get to know your delivery people, if you can, and ask them to place packages behind fences or in patios, anywhere less obvious than by front doors

Police warn that most porch pirating occurs during the day when residents are away, and the thieves are often involved in identify theft in addition to taking parcels. Neighbors working together can harden the target against porch pirates.

Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477), or by texting 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Online tips may be placed at, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts.

About 10 percent of Americans say they’ve been a victim of package theft, according to the website Dont’ be a victim.

– By Joseph Martinez

Be water-wise

Autumm Joy Sedum

Autumm Joy Sedum

As you all know, California is experiencing a record drought.
Mandatory reduction measures in water-use are coming soon.

Meanwhile, you can make many water-saving improvements in your home and garden AND get rebates from DWP.
Install high-efficiency toilets and washing machine.
Collect water from gutters in rain barrels.
Replace your turf grass lawn with drought-tolerant landscaping.

For ideas on what plants to choose, visit LADWP’s California Friendly Landscaping

Walk around the Mar Vista Green Garden Showcase
Saturday April 25 from 10am to 4pm

Take a “Be Water-Wise” gardening class online from MWD (The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California)
Visit Descanso Gardens to get inspired by the recently opened Low-Water Beauty showcase, which includes a permeable driveway.

Attend Save Water-Save LA, town hall organized by SORONC Green Team
Sunday May 17: 12 to 3pm, at Castle Height School, 9755 Cattaraugus

Deni Mosser + Elisa Leonelli

Foundation bolting


It’s November 2013, and almost 20 years have passed since the big (6.7) earthquake rocked Northridge on January 17, 1994. At that time, more than 40,000 buildings were damaged in Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Santa Monica and West Los Angeles had significant damage, and 9 houses on my block alone lost their chimneys.  One mile away, the La Cienega Blvd. overpass of the I-10 freeway collapsed.

In 2008 the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported: “California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years”  and “the likelihood of a major quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 30 years is 46%-and such a quake is most likely to occur in the southern half of the state.”

While I have always wanted foundation bolting, I wasn’t sure how much it would cost or whom to trust with the job.  My new neighbors had their house bolted shortly after they moved in.  I thought to myself: “How smart of them, I should do it too, but can I afford it?.” After much consideration, I finally asked them “Who did your bolting?”  To my surprise, they hired a well-qualified local South Robertson business called Avalin Design Construction Co.  I called the owner, Fred Cohen, engineer/general contractor (lic. 613782), and he came over to inspect my house. Several days later, a reasonable proposal was sent to me by email.
After quite a bit of internet research on seismic retrofitting, it was easy for me to make the decision to hire Avalin.  As I write this, I’m pleased to say that his team of installers are under my house, drilling and bolting. The job should take approx. 4 -5 hours.

While no retrofitting job can guarantee that my home won’t be displaced from its concrete foundation, it will bring me some peace of mind that it will be safer and less prone to major structural damage during an earthquake.

Text and photos by Deni Mosser

Outdoor rooms

We were so impressed by the landscaping of the outdoor spaces of a Reynier Village home now for sale that we asked the owners for some tips on how they accomplished this result, in case other neighbors wished to do something similar and eco-friendly in their own backyard.

“Our goal was to create an outdoor room feel.  For our back patio area, we wanted to create a walled garden space, and we felt that drought-tolerant plants would be appropriate.  We called uponAtlas Design Consultants to help us, they proposed concrete poured in a geometric pattern, that would allow water to drain into the ground, rather than into the sewer system (a growing ecological concern). We hired contractor Marlon Rosales to pour the concrete. We also installed a rainwater collection barrel, tucked away behind one of the 3 California native dodonaeas that we planted as replacement for the rose bushes.  We hired another contractor, Rudy Martinez to install a custom redwood fence around our property, for aesthetic reasons and also for security.  We’re very happy with our outdoor spaces.”

Check out their website for more info, or if you wish to purchase this house

Text and photos by Elisa Leonelli

Colorful front doors

Your front door is the gateway to your home. What does your front door say about you?  Are you traditional or adventurous? What color is your front door?   Why did you paint it that color?  We’d love to hear from our neighbors.

Text and photos by Deni Mosser

Burgundy-red door compliments the gray color scheme of this mid-century house

Bright blue-green door is exciting next to its neutral exterior paint

Natural wood compliments Spanish architecture

Weathered driftwood is serene and harmonizes with the plantings and irregular stepping stones

What Makes a Good Neighborhood?

Partial view of South Robertson Neighborhood Council area

Partial view of South Robertson area

Journalist Peter Lovenheim (of Rochester, NY) realized how little he actually knew of his neighbors or his neighborhood. This inspired him to write a book,  In the Neighborhood: the Search For Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time.

After watching his fascinating 30 minute lecture discussing ‘what makes a good neighbor’ on the Zócalo Public Square website,  I realized how lucky we are to live in Reynier Village and in the South Robertson Neighborhoods Council area of Los Angeles.

Our community works together to help each other and to  help beautify the neighborhood.  We spend time gardening together at Hamilton High School or attend neighborhood land use or public safety meetings at the local Robertson Recreation Center.   We have monthly meetings and an Annual SoRo Street Festival on Robertson Boulevard.

But how well do we actually know the residents on the block where we live?  Do we know what makes a good neighbor?  Can we do better to help each other or just try to introduce ourselves?   Should our community have more social events such as women’s night out or guy’s night out where we meet at a local restaurant once a month to chat?  Should we invite our neighbors over for some homemade soup once in a while? Do all our meetings together have to try to solve neighborhood issues?   Comments are welcome!

Text by Deni Mosser