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Architect Transforms Quarry Weigh House

First in a series of intermittent columns on homes remodeled by and for architects.

May 18, 1986|Dale Baldwin

Architect Stephen B. Barasch lives in a rock house, but he has no fear of police battering rams.

He and his family live in a house that formerly served as an office and weighing station for a San Gabriel rock quarry. They don't live in a fortified house used by drug dealers!

When they bought it a few years ago, the office had been converted--after a fashion--into a single-family detached house with about 1,800 square feet of space, too small for the needs of the Barasch family.

Barasch, principal of Barasch Architects & Associates Inc., Pasadena, designed an addition of about 2,200 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a family room, a living room, a kitchenette/bar, a swimming pool and an indoor spa--virtually an entire house.

The new two-story elements of the project were separated from the existing structures by a family room with a ceiling height of 10 feet. The kitchen in the original house was remodeled, and the original building also contains a library, an office, a one-car garage that has been extended to allow parking of both the Barasch cars and a basement playroom.

The original structure was constructed of concrete block, so Barasch specified "precision" concrete blocks, similar to those manufactured at the Mission Rock Quarry, until 1954, the business at the site just south of Huntington Drive.

The sprawling, joined structures, driveways and pool occupy virtually all of the 10,000-square-foot site, yielding a low-maintenance home ideally suited to the busy Barasch life style. The house has views of the San Gabriel Mountain, including Mt. Baldy, the rock quarry spreading basin--usually filled with water--and Eaton Canyon Wash.

The project, excluding the cost of the original house, cost about $120,000, or $55 per square foot. The only contemporary house on a street of typical Southern California tract houses, it has prompted some unflattering comments from his neighbors, Barasch admits.

Part of this is due to the house's pastel color scheme--a strong contrast to the somber neutral tones of the neighboring houses.

"But I've noticed that since we finished our house, many of our neighbors have begun remodeling and fix-up projects of their own," he added.

Today is the final day of Ganahl Lumber Co.'s annual "Home Fix-up Fair" to be held under a big top at 1220 Ball Road, Anaheim. The hours of the free event are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Forty product representatives and Ganahl experts will be on hand to answer consumer questions.

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