Predicting the Future of Bradbury’s House

Yahoo! blogger Jennifer Karmon writes in a post for Spaces that Ray Bradbury’s old Cheviot Hills neighborhood, once a bastion of the middle class, is attracting wealthy buyers who raze the original ranch homes and replace them with mini-mansions. Will Ray’s house be next?

She points to the example of a house just purchased by Travis Barker of Blink-182:

In 2011, a time-capsule house built in 1950 — the classic “house with great bones,” undeniably dated and in need of help — came onto the market for the first time in more than 40 years. It had 2 bedrooms and 2 baths in its 2,220 square feet, on a big-for-the-neighborhood corner lot of about 9,500 square feet. It was listed at $1.2 million and sold for about $50,000 less than the asking price.

That humble house was torn down. In its place rose this luxe 4-bedroom, 4-bath, 4,000-square-foot “architectural showpiece” with a “children’s wing” separate from the master suite. It was listed at $4.25 million; Barker bought it for $4 million.

Karmon expects the same thing to happen to the late Ray Bradbury’s house.

His family had listed it after his death for $1.5 million; it sold soon after for more than a quarter-million dollars above the asking price. The buyer, according to Variety’s David, is prize-winning avant-garde architect Thom Mayne.

While it feels “too soon,” LA is a place where people have been erasing the past and building over for its entire history. A few readers like to track down the homes where famous writers once lived – I’ve driven by Heinlein’s Laurel Canyon address, and Judith Freeman wrote an entire book about Raymond Chandler’s apartments and houses. However, these are not public property and the owners inevitably will preserve, neglect or develop them as they like.

3 thoughts on “Predicting the Future of Bradbury’s House

  1. Cheviot Hills, where Ray’s house is/was, is the next neighborhood over from mine. Both neighborhoods have the same thing happening. Houses that were fine in the 1950s — even large by the standards of the time, as most Cheviot houses were — are no longer thought of as being that big. And most are dated; products of their times. The house, except for Ray having lived there, is not an icon of architecture. Ray’s house, which I’d been in a few times prior to his passing, was pretty much the same as when he first bought it. Even someone wanting to keep its bones would have done a lot of remodeling to get it up to modern standards for kitchens, bathrooms, etc. I will not be the least surprised to see it torn down and replaced with a mini-mansion.

  2. I had borrowed a copy of Farewell, My Lovely from the library, and had it in my shoulder pack for reading on the bus. Late one night after visiting friends in the area, I was in Santa Monica, Philip Marlowe’s “Bay City”. I suddenly realized I was just a few blocks from a specific address listed for “Bay City” in the novel, so I walked over to that street and looked for the address mentioned in the story. I found that the house number, while not existing in this universe, fell exactly between two actual houses on that side of the street, with the architecture of the houses in the neighborhood matching the description of the house in the novel. Clearly Mr. Chandler had researched the neighborhood before writing the book.

  3. P. S.: The guest house I lived in behind a main house on Diamond Street in Arcadia, which I once found on Google Maps out of curiosity, was gone when I looked for it again some years later. The guest house and the main house had both been razed for a mini-mansion, and my house number no longer exists.

    I can understand why O. J. Simpson’s house was razed, as was the house of the Charles Manson Sharon Tate/Abigail Folger (and others) murders would be torn down as well, but you would think the Bradbury house would be preserved. As seen on Cosmos, Sir Isaac Newton’s house still exists, so well maintained that someone could live it in comfortably today, and the book In Search of Dracula shows a photograph of the house in which Vlad Tepes, Drakulya, Voivode of Transylvania, was born, preserved as a monument in modern-day Romania. As you noted just recently, Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s house in Sri Lanka is perfectly preserved.

    There are locations all over London with the blue circular plaque on the outside indicating that this was where a person of note was born or lived a substantial part of her/his life.

    Mr. Bradbury’s house is equally a monument worth preserving as is the home of “the Hermit of Hollywood” mentioned in …and he built a crooked house…., the Heinlein house on Lookout Mountain Road. These are places of *our* history, even if that is not seen by the occupants of the land of Mundania, and both should be preserved somehow, along with the preternaturally IDIC-shaped Heinlein house on Bonny Doon Road north of Santa Cruz.

    It’s too late to preserve the Heinlein house in Colorado Springs, as a subsequent idiotic owner tore it down from what I understand, but it isn’t (yet) too late for these others.

    (I would include Ellison Wonderland on Coy Drive, too.)

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