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Mid-Century Modern Condo in Landmark Co-Op Complex by Architect Gregory Ain

Welcome to Avenel Homes, a landmark 10-unit cooperative housing development designed by master architect Gregory Ain in 1947. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places and located in the coveted Ivanhoe School District, this is a rare opportunity to own a piece of mid-century modern history and what the Los Angeles Times in 2002 called, a “compact but stylish design [that] may provide a blueprint for L.A.’s future.” Renovated in the early 2000s by architect Michael Folonis, this unit is a must-see.

2845 1/2 Avenel Street
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Asking Price: $995,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Square Feet: 1,114
Year Built: 1947
HOA: $430/mo.

Recognized as one of the second generation of Los Angeles’ Modernist architects, Ain was known more for his progressive ideas. His projects span from 1928, when he began by working with Neutra, to 1971. Avenel Homes began as an experiment combining low-cost housing with high-style design. In 1946, a group of ten couples knew that homes being built in the area by Ain’s mentors, Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, were out of their price range.

They figured that by pooling their resources and with the help of Ain’s innovative design, they could build something efficient and new. As original resident Serril Geber told the Times in 2002, “We’d seen these modern houses in magazines, and we liked the idea of having a living space that is both indoors and outdoors. We liked the idea of doing something really modern, and we liked Greg. He was a radical person in his thinking, because he wanted to put his ideas in the service of regular people. That was his mission, really.”

The group found a hillside property just off Rowena Avenue in Silver Lake and each couple contributed about $11,000 to the project. Completed in 1948, Ain’s complex remains a model for effective use of limited space for low-cost urban housing. But today it is more than just an example of utopian idealism. Interest in the mid-century style that Ain helped develop has surged in recent years, and the units have become magnets for architecture buffs. Let’s take a look inside…

The complex consists of ten identical three-bedroom units that were originally 960 square feet that offered each owner privacy and flexible floor plans for amazing indoor/outdoor living. Inside this particular unit, you will find an open and flexible floor plan that has been thoughtfully remodeled with great respect for Ain’s original vision while with providing updates conducive to living in 2019. The living room boasts incredible hillside views and an outdoor patio that truly does feel like a natural extension of the living room due to wall-to-wall glass.

Sited to capture the hillside and sunset views, each home features sliding partition walls to allow the owner to adjust the rooms to their needs as either a one, two, or three bedrooms along with one bathroom.

Most of the owners now use what was meant to be the master bedroom as a den, perfect for relaxing and entertaining.

The lovely kitchen feels at once modern and of the era. It boasts wood cabinetry, top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, and garden views.

Also Ain intended to add built-in dining tables to each unit at the time. For whatever reason, he was not able to do that. So, for this unit’s remodel, the owners decided to enact Ain’s original vision with this built-in wood dining table with seating for four.

And, yes, it contains a sliding partition door that either joins or divides the second bedroom.

That bedroom is slightly larger and has a large picture window and a second window that allows in the cool hillside breeze. The unique design provides flexibility and openness for couples and families alike. After all, the property is located within the highly coveted Ivanhoe Elementary School District, one of LA’s top-rated public schools.

The beautifully remodeled bath features tiles up to the ceiling.

The private outdoor spaces have mature landscaping and excellent lounging areas.

While it is 10 unit complex, the outdoor spaces feel completely removed and private.

Of the ten original members of the cooperative, at least four were blacklisted or questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee, leading to the conclusion that the project was “a cooperative living experiment for a group of communists.” Resident and architect Richard Corsini noted: “Most of the people that originally lived here were path-breaking political types,” and even after the communist cooperative broke up, and for decades after, Avenel Homes remained popular with progressive homeowners with utopian ideals.

To see a new generation of people come together and embrace the cooperative aspect of living together is very special.

Gregory Ain was not precious with his designs and those who knew him say that he would have been comfortable with people personalizing their space to fit with their lives. So, don’t feel bad if you do use the master as your main living room.

The ten units of Avenel Homes are rarely on the market. If you are hoping to own a mid-century modern masterpiece for under a million in one of Los Angeles’s best neighborhoods, look no further.

If you would like to view 2845 1/2 Avenal Street or find other Silver Lake homes or mid-century condos for sale, call me at (323) 697-3040 or email me at jacqueline.tager@sothebyshomes.com.

Listing provided courtesy of Robert Kallick, Compass.

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