All around Southern California you will find touches of architecture and design that shift from varying styles and time periods. Some places, you will find more era-specific neighborhoods with vintage and historical style homes throughout Southern California. From California Craftsman to Victorians to Tudors, there are many vintage and historical style homes to appreciate and possibly call your own.
Let’s get to know some of the styles that make up the architecture of one of the hottest places to come in the West for centuries and take a tour of some neighborhoods that have the flair and allure of the past in and nearby Los Angeles. (Related: The Most Expensive Homes for Sale in Los Angeles)
West Adams District – Los Angeles
An “untold” secret is that the West Adams district in Los Angeles is a neighborhood full of vintage homes. How vintage? Some of the homes are from the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Homes in the West Adams District of Los Angeles have key architectural elements which make them emblematic for being historic and not of this time but of rather, where the world has been.
Of a seemingly natural reason, some homes in the West Adams are Mission Revival in style. Mission Revival is a style that is has kinship to the various missions found in California. It is a colonial style interpretation of this Spanish influence likely found among its connected roots in what once debatably was Mexico.
Another style of architecture that makes a cameo in the West Adams District is the Romanesque Revival style. This is another 19th century spin backwards. It is meant to revive the 11th and 12th centuries of Romanesque architecture with some differences from their even more historical predecessors. This revival version is abundant with windows but employs more simplistic lines to their windows and arches.
Lastly, some homes in the West Adams District are reminiscent of the more commonly noticed Victorian and Tudor Craftsman styles. Cottages and bungalows dot the area nearby towering Victorians. The homes retain their cozy appeal regardless of their size however. These homes range from small personal and private homes to a massive Victorian that is currently serving as student housing.
Wilton Historic District – Los Angeles
The Wilton Historic District of Los Angeles has over sixty homes from the early 1900s through the 1930s. These homes, like the West Adams district range in style but are common in some pieces. The homes are primarily two story homes that were built for affluent families and remain primarily unchanged since they first were built. The neighborhood seems to have a packaged and homogenized feel to it almost preserved in a time capsule in itself.
Homes built here were built after the war in a section of Los Angeles whose streets were carved in strange ways- curved and containing flatlands and vistas which create importance and notice to their other timeliness.
Homes in the Wilton Historical District have craftsman bungalows as well as Colonial Revival stylistic influence. In fact, some say that the California Bungalow style was due to the houses found in these historical neighborhoods. There’s been many books documenting about their relevance in architecture and their attention towards their landscapes that seem to inevitably be paired with them.
Colonial Revival is, in its own way, the perfect example of Los Angeles architecture in one particular style. Los Angeles is known for its hodgepodge of design combinations from these classical and Neoclassical towards what is undoubtedly defined as “American”. Colonial Revival homes invoke Georgian and Neoclassical elements in ways that were popular in America as well as Canada. These homes have brick and wood facades, fireplaces, and a major focus on gardens.
The Wilton Historical District at one point served as a garden as well as a chicken ranch for the Plummer Family who owned a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. It’s no wonder that the homes in this area seem to want to take advantage of those flatlands and styles which cater perhaps to the gardens that they once held home to once upon another time. (Related: Delightful Los Angeles Neighborhoods for Book Lovers)
Silverlake – Los Angeles
Winding around the hills are an abundance of craftsman homes. Silverlake woodsy and earthy folks surprisingly seem almost too likely paired. In Silverlake you’ll find homes in the hills that invite the history and new age of life with their wood and garden attentive houses that surpass generations of grandeur and nostalgia. They’re perfect for the allure of that individual that’s looking to connect the pieces of a past with a future legacy.
It is likely not shocking to anyone who has driven through Los Angeles that in nearby adjacent Pasadena is a hotspot for historical houses. Victorian, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Craftsman style homes are abundant. Two neighborhoods in Pasadena are on the map for historical context. Hillcrest and South Orange are full of these style homes. Pasadena is a town that’s known to attract those with wealth and deep pockets.
An area of Pasadena in the South Orange neighborhood is called “Millionaire’s Row” due to this appeal. There are mansions and gardens that scream wealth and affluence. They are markers of a booming postwar economy and a path towards a better future. Thanks to the historical society in Pasadena, it is one of two different neighborhoods that is regularly toured. (Related: How to Rent Out Your Home for Filming)
Another area just outside of Los Angeles with historical and vintage significance is the town of Sierra Madre. Homes in Sierra Madre are also paired with tremendous trees and gardens. One such home is the residence of the Guiness Book of World Records’ largest blossoming plant- a giant wisteria vine planted from a one-gallon pot back once upon a time in 1894.
There are over 50 homes listed as being historical within Sierra Madre ranging from the late 1800s until 1930. Some of these homes once served other purposes. One listed home was a schoolhouse prior to being converted. There are sprawls of farmhouse homes as well as, you guessed it, craftsman homes. Drive along Highland, Grand View, Baldwin, or Bonita to get a peek at the past.