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Home of the Week

Where Modern and Unique Meet

February 25, 2001|RUTH RYON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

This was one of 52 homes designed by Gregory Ain in 1948 as part of his Mar Vista Housing project, considered the culmination of the career of one of L.A.'s most accomplished--if least celebrated--Modernist architects. Mar Vista Housing, or Modernique (modern and unique) Homes, as it was advertised at the time, is a rare example of Modernist community planning in a park-like environment designed by landscape architect Garrett Eckbo.

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About this house: Designer Dwayne Howard has worked on the property--restoring and refurbishing it--since he bought it five years ago. Architect Chet Widom, a student of Ain's, already had turned the master bedroom into a dining room with a skylight, and he also expanded the house. It was originally just over 1,000 square feet with one bath.

Howard updated the kitchen and baths while retaining their original character, and he redid the landscaping in the backyard. The Brazilian pepper trees planted by Eckbo were still providing a canopy, but the rest of the yard was a 1,600-square-foot concrete slab. Howard removed the concrete and added fountains and bushes.

Asking price: $799,000

Size: The one-story house has three bedrooms and two baths in slightly more than 1,700 square feet.

Features: True to Ain's design, the house still has convertible space. A sliding wall can divide one bedroom into two. The master, added after the dining room was created, can be accessed from the two-car garage. Howard finished the garage so it also can be used as a studio. Skylights and oversized windows allow every room to be filled with light and views of mature landscaping. The home also has a fireplace and is on a 73-by-103-foot lot. Magnolia trees planted by Eckbo define the street, where unfenced frontyards serve as a common green. Although the houses, on three streets in the area, have undergone changes through the years, the neighborhood, even after more than 50 years, remains remarkably intact.

Where: 3531 Meier St., Mar Vista, two miles from the ocean.

Listing agent: Robin Zacha, Re/Max Beverly Hills, (310) 293-3043; Dwayne Howard, (310) 391-9882

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Ruth Ryon can be e-mailed with candidates for Home of the Week at ruth.ryon@latimes.com.

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