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A historic Craftsman in the heart of South Park

The built-in wooden buffet with leaded-glass-door China cabinet is a feature we’re unlikely to see in a modern home

Who wooden want to live in a house like this?
Who wooden want to live in a house like this?

The turn of the twentieth century marked a significant shift in homebuilding trends across the United States. Backlash to the Industrial Revolution and the packed, grimy cities it created — particularly in the Northeast — was starting to take hold. Buyers with the income to discriminate were tiring of the Victorian-style homes made possible by the advent of factories’ mass-producing bricks and other building materials, including some of the ornate (if increasingly common) concrete flourishes that decorated the facades of structures from the late 1800s.

Enter the Craftsman movement, wherein new homes were designed and built on-site by local tradesmen who worked with artistic zeal to prove that humans, not machines, were the deciding factor in bestowing warmth and character upon a home. The trend took hold in the early 1900s and continued through the 1920s, when the Great Depression — and later, the outbreak of war — dictated the construction of the cheaper, more utilitarian housing that largely continues to this day for all but the most expensive of custom residences.

Even the outdoor spaces are cozy.

Because cities on the west coast were experiencing a massive influx of growth, and because the milder climate was more conducive to wood-frame construction in an era before advanced insulation techniques were available, Southern California in particular became home to a large portion of these Craftsman-style abodes. Let’s pop over to check out an example: 1621 29th Street, which according to the Zillow listing is a “gorgeous historic Craftsman in the heart of South Park” dating back to 1916.

Located on a quiet street just two blocks east of Balboa Park, the home has real curb appeal, with mature landscaping, including some hedges to provide a little privacy for the old-fashioned front porch. The river rocks lining the porch stairs and the chimney are an attractive touch, as are the second-floor dormer windows. There’s a narrow driveway off to one side for off-street parking, though the shrubbery makes it seem like it would be hard to fit a car there. Still, the listing does say there’s an electric car hookup in the space.

Inside, we’re immediately met by the living room with a dining area just beyond, and it’s striking how much less space people were able to live with 100 years ago. While the standard-issue stucco boxes of the 1990s and 2000s routinely topped 2000 square feet, this home, in what has always been a solidly upper-middle-class neighborhood, clocks in at just 1275 square feet of living space — at least in the main house. But that’s still plenty of room for a nice living area, where a custom stone mantle frames the fireplace (reportedly re-lined by a professional restoration firm). Coffered-beam ceilings with their original wood add a touch of class, and a long swooping archway defines the set-aside for the dining room. The built-in wooden buffet with leaded-glass-door China cabinet is a feature we’re unlikely to see in a modern home; ditto the window bench at the end of the room.

The kitchen is utilitarian, though it seems the original-looking cabinets (maybe not, as the listing says they’ve been custom-designed) have been equipped with a new solid countertop and farmhouse-style sink. Of course, the requisite chef-quality appliances have been added for the “seamless blend of old and new” that the listing promises will “offer the best of modern living while retaining handcrafted vintage character.”

The main bedroom isn’t huge, but it does have a nicely upgraded bath. And the second bath, while seeming a bit dated, does come with a handsome vintage two-tone clawfoot tub. Upstairs, we get to see the finished loft area. It’s unclear whether this is included in the original square footage, as it’s described as “bonus” space, but it could make for a cozy office or, given the low ceilings due to the slant of the roof, a kids’ bedroom. Those same low ceilings, however, seem a little off-putting in the context of the extra half-bath that’s been wedged in up here. Still, it’s a bonus.

Outside, you can “relax and entertain in the magical backyard with outdoor fireplace, barbecue, dining patio, sparkling blue saltwater pool with fountain and spa.” The garage has been converted into a “pool house” that looks like it’s being used right now as a home gym.

While the home retains a lot of its original look both inside and out (and is thus eligible for Mills Act designation and the attendant property tax breaks that come with it), there’s still a lot of modern technology. Aside from the remodeled kitchen and bath, the home has a solar array, whole-house sound system with speakers both inside and out, newer plumbing and electrical, and an upgraded HVAC system.

Public records list the owner of the 29th Street Craftsman as Kimberly and Joseph Grant, who purchased it in 1997 for a reported $147,000 and have presumably performed most of the upgrades and restoration to the home since then. It’s only been offered for sale once in the last two decades: a $154,000 listing in 2002 drew no takers.

This week’s South Park bungalow was first listed for sale in late September; its asking price of $1,595,000 remains unchanged to date.

1621 29th Street | South Park, 92102

current owner: Grant family | listing price: $1,595,000 | beds: 3 | baths: 3 | house size: 1275

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Who wooden want to live in a house like this?
Who wooden want to live in a house like this?

The turn of the twentieth century marked a significant shift in homebuilding trends across the United States. Backlash to the Industrial Revolution and the packed, grimy cities it created — particularly in the Northeast — was starting to take hold. Buyers with the income to discriminate were tiring of the Victorian-style homes made possible by the advent of factories’ mass-producing bricks and other building materials, including some of the ornate (if increasingly common) concrete flourishes that decorated the facades of structures from the late 1800s.

Enter the Craftsman movement, wherein new homes were designed and built on-site by local tradesmen who worked with artistic zeal to prove that humans, not machines, were the deciding factor in bestowing warmth and character upon a home. The trend took hold in the early 1900s and continued through the 1920s, when the Great Depression — and later, the outbreak of war — dictated the construction of the cheaper, more utilitarian housing that largely continues to this day for all but the most expensive of custom residences.

Even the outdoor spaces are cozy.

Because cities on the west coast were experiencing a massive influx of growth, and because the milder climate was more conducive to wood-frame construction in an era before advanced insulation techniques were available, Southern California in particular became home to a large portion of these Craftsman-style abodes. Let’s pop over to check out an example: 1621 29th Street, which according to the Zillow listing is a “gorgeous historic Craftsman in the heart of South Park” dating back to 1916.

Located on a quiet street just two blocks east of Balboa Park, the home has real curb appeal, with mature landscaping, including some hedges to provide a little privacy for the old-fashioned front porch. The river rocks lining the porch stairs and the chimney are an attractive touch, as are the second-floor dormer windows. There’s a narrow driveway off to one side for off-street parking, though the shrubbery makes it seem like it would be hard to fit a car there. Still, the listing does say there’s an electric car hookup in the space.

Inside, we’re immediately met by the living room with a dining area just beyond, and it’s striking how much less space people were able to live with 100 years ago. While the standard-issue stucco boxes of the 1990s and 2000s routinely topped 2000 square feet, this home, in what has always been a solidly upper-middle-class neighborhood, clocks in at just 1275 square feet of living space — at least in the main house. But that’s still plenty of room for a nice living area, where a custom stone mantle frames the fireplace (reportedly re-lined by a professional restoration firm). Coffered-beam ceilings with their original wood add a touch of class, and a long swooping archway defines the set-aside for the dining room. The built-in wooden buffet with leaded-glass-door China cabinet is a feature we’re unlikely to see in a modern home; ditto the window bench at the end of the room.

The kitchen is utilitarian, though it seems the original-looking cabinets (maybe not, as the listing says they’ve been custom-designed) have been equipped with a new solid countertop and farmhouse-style sink. Of course, the requisite chef-quality appliances have been added for the “seamless blend of old and new” that the listing promises will “offer the best of modern living while retaining handcrafted vintage character.”

The main bedroom isn’t huge, but it does have a nicely upgraded bath. And the second bath, while seeming a bit dated, does come with a handsome vintage two-tone clawfoot tub. Upstairs, we get to see the finished loft area. It’s unclear whether this is included in the original square footage, as it’s described as “bonus” space, but it could make for a cozy office or, given the low ceilings due to the slant of the roof, a kids’ bedroom. Those same low ceilings, however, seem a little off-putting in the context of the extra half-bath that’s been wedged in up here. Still, it’s a bonus.

Outside, you can “relax and entertain in the magical backyard with outdoor fireplace, barbecue, dining patio, sparkling blue saltwater pool with fountain and spa.” The garage has been converted into a “pool house” that looks like it’s being used right now as a home gym.

While the home retains a lot of its original look both inside and out (and is thus eligible for Mills Act designation and the attendant property tax breaks that come with it), there’s still a lot of modern technology. Aside from the remodeled kitchen and bath, the home has a solar array, whole-house sound system with speakers both inside and out, newer plumbing and electrical, and an upgraded HVAC system.

Public records list the owner of the 29th Street Craftsman as Kimberly and Joseph Grant, who purchased it in 1997 for a reported $147,000 and have presumably performed most of the upgrades and restoration to the home since then. It’s only been offered for sale once in the last two decades: a $154,000 listing in 2002 drew no takers.

This week’s South Park bungalow was first listed for sale in late September; its asking price of $1,595,000 remains unchanged to date.

1621 29th Street | South Park, 92102

current owner: Grant family | listing price: $1,595,000 | beds: 3 | baths: 3 | house size: 1275

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1

The Craftsman movement succeeded even more by home kits. From a Google search: "From 1908 to 1940, Sears sold between 70,000 to 75,000 homes—”from Craftsman to Cape Cods, they offered a custom home at budgets and sizes that could accommodate any size family,” according to Popular Mechanics—which were sent via train car and set up as far afield as Florida, California, and even Alaska." So it was cost that made the huge difference, not just the style of decor. As for built-in leaded-glass display cabinets, who today wants this obsolete addition to their home? Its a leftover from a different age. I remember after my mother passed away, that nobody in the family wanted her set of 8-piece fine China and Damask Rose sterling silver flatware. It had sentimental appeal, but had no other use to us. Sterling silver is valuable only when sold for melting down!

Oct. 7, 2021

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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