If there’s such a thing as the official house of Long Beach, it would be the California Craftsman Bungalow.
The style, marked by low-pitched, gabled roofs with wide overhanging eaves; exposed rafters under beneath the eaves; long, covered front porches under the roofline; and tapered or square columns supporting roof or porch, was simple and inexpensive, rising from the Arts and Crafts movement that began in the late 19th century in England as a rebuke to the Victorian style and moved to America in the early days of the 20th century, becoming more ubiquitous from 1900 to its peak in Long Beach in 1920.
They sprung up all over the town, such as it was, in the 1920s. You won’t find them in the parts of town that arose in the post-World War II era, but they cropped up in Bluff Park, Bluff Heights, Downtown, Carroll Park, Rose Park, Belmont Shore and California Heights.
The Long Beach examples are generally relatively simple, compared to the considerably larger mansions that were built by the architects Greene & Greene in Pasadena, with few models here containing more than three bedrooms, and often just two.
Almost all in Long Beach are single-story houses and many have built-in drawers and cupboards in the dining rooms and bedrooms which give the homes a nostalgic charm that is admired by homebuyers turned off by the more featureless residences in the 1950s and ‘60s tracts.
They are still, or, rather once again, popular after a bit of a fall from favor during the mid-20th century. Models that have weathered the intervening decades since the 1920s tend to have been well cared for and carefully preserved and today can fetch close to $2 million and, for grander versions, even higher.
Today, we’ll look at a small sampling of Craftsman homes currently for sale, starting with an “even higher” model at 2303 Ocean Blvd. in the Bluff Park Historic District.
The house is indicative of how other styles sometimes merge with Craftsman. In this case, the home has touches of Swiss Chalet influences. Designed, supposedly, by the firm of Meyer & Holler, who designed the home that would become the Long Beach Museum of Art, built one year after this house. The team also did Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater and Downtown Long Beach’s Ocean Center Building and Downtown’s Walker’s Department Store.
The three-bedroom, four-bath, 2,729-square-foot was built in 1911 and has gone through several owners and was close to falling apart when it was bought by Realtor Michael Anderson and accountant Jerrell McElroy in 1975. The couple transformed it into the extraordinarily beautiful showcase that it is now, and later owners further improved it by using remarkably clear redwood walls, ceilings and other trappings.
The primary bedroom, added later, stretches the entire width of the second floor and offers clear views of the ocean.
Saving you a couple of bucks is a three-bedroom, three-bath Craftsman at 410 Newport Ave. in a quiet stretch of Belmont Heights.
Listed by Kathy Shasha at $1.5 million, the 1919 home has been renovated to near-original condition with many olden-day details intact. The open floor plan’s kitchen is a highlight of the home, with its 10-foot-long island, two pantries with pullout shelves, and a farmhouse-style copper sink and stove hood.
If you prefer outdoor cooking, the backyard patio features a kitchen with a gas barbecue and fireplace as well as a wood-burning pizza oven.
The house has new plumbing and electrical fixtures, and new air-conditioning and heating. An ADU out back, also with air-conditioning, can be rented out or used as an office/studio,
More affordable than the previous two homes is a two-bedroom, two-bath Craftsman at 1085 Orizaba Ave.
Listed at $849,900 by Kelsea Mazzocco, the 1922 home has been remodeled, now sporting an open floor plan with the kitchen flowing into the brick and concrete backyard.
The gated property gives a bit of security to the cozy 1,251-square-foot house that includes a bonus room and bath built off the backyard garage.
The house has a large, bright primary bedroom as well as a laundry room and a breakfast dining area.
It’s handy to some of the city’s top watering holes and entertainment spots, including Joe Jost’s. Alex’s Bar and the Bamboo Club.