Untold LA

Photographing the Astonishing Homes of LA's West Adams District

In 2012 photographer Jett Loe encountered the forgotten Los Angeles District of West Adams, the original wealthy area of town, the “Beverly Hills before Beverly Hills.”  Filled with an astonishing collection of Victorian and Craftsman homes in vibrant, diverse neighborhoods West Adams proved to be a revelation.  Following a successful Kickstarter campaign Jett spent two years producing this mammoth delight of a book that documents the variety of homes and people in the area.

Totaling a fully interactive 365 pages with 500 photos, 70 oral history audio clips from West Adams residents and two hours of behind-the-scenes video commentary, Untold LA is a massive treasure trove for lovers of Los Angeles, American history and architecture.

Filtering by Tag: western heights

1909 Cottage

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

Pages 115 though 120 of the Western Heights Chapter feature Dan Hakes' original home in Western Heights. Built in 1909 and recently bought by a young couple the 1,800 square foot cottage is an unusual conflux of sharp angles and rounded elements; a sort of Tudor-Craftsman? Craftsman-Tudor? You decide.

In the three images below you see that rather than fill the house with clutter the new owners have left the it sparse, letting one appreciate the home's plan.

In this gallery is the living room, fireplace and dining room, complete with several pooches.

Cottage with Wisteria

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

Page 113 of the Western Heights Chapter features Gisele Sanchez Rochet's home, a charming 1922 cottage studded with Wisteria. In the oral history audio clip below she talks about her hopes for the area.


1905 Transitional Craftsman

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

Right next door to Dan Hakes' is this home built around 1905 which was moved to Western Heights from another West Adams neighborhood in the 1920's. As in Dan's case this home was featured in the film Neighbors, though as Seth Rogen's home not as a Frat, (you can see a frame grab from the film trailer below which shows this home as well as Dan's).


1907 Craftsman with Victorian Touches aka The Neighbors Movie Frat House

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

Pages 109-111 of the Western Heights Chapter showcases the home of Dan Hakes. When family needs required a larger home he was lucky to find this 1907 Craftsman with Victorian touches. It's also the home used as Zac Efron's Frat in the new film Neighbors - you can read the post about it here:

THE REAL LIFE HOMES OF NEIGHBORS

Dan was gracious enough to let me record some of his thoughts about the neighborhood:

You can hear more of Dan earlier in the Western Heights Chapter and in the Introduction to the Book:

WESTERN HEIGHTS ORAL HISTORIES

RESIDENT DAN HAKES ON THE UNTOLD STORY OF WEST ADAMS

Almost all of the original interior details of the home are gone. The stained glass window you see below is one of the few that remain.

Dan is in the process of sprucing up the house - here you see the backyard, ripe for reinvention.

Finally we see the attic, which, when the house was purchased, came with this tub, mirrors, and other items. Below the photo you'll hear what Dan has to say about this special room.

Marvin Gaye Family Home

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

Glimpsed through embracing flora, a Tudor Craftsman, well known locally for being the Marvin Gaye family home. I didn't want to note the tragic events that happened in the home; would rather focus on the beautiful. 

Travel Without Traveling - Frank Tyler Apartment Building

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.]

On Page 107 of the Western Heights Chapter we see the side of this rare Frank Tyler apartment building. Rare as it's not the customary Tyler family home seen in the Van Buren Place Chapter and throughout West Adams.

I wanted to include this shot in the book not just because of the novelty of a Tyler apartment, (you can't see much of it after all), but for the view it affords of us of all this Los Angeles flora. The plants seem to explode from the pavement, surrounding and framing the building; I find the view extraordinary.

This was one of the great pleasures of doing the Book - the time it gave me to look - to see. It's why I recommend to anyone that they take up a craft such as drawing or photography - these arts teach you to see. Once the brain begins to process objects and movement in space differently - from what can be called an artists' viewpoint - your surroundings transform. What are normally just some plants next to a sidewalk outside an apartment building instead become a jungle, a strange ripeness, an alien invasion of the surreal in your daily stroll.

At the least seeing differently, gaining an eye for shape, color and movement, is a way to travel with out traveling.