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Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: Welcome
Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: Text


Rehabilitation is the process of working on a historic structure or site in a way that adapts it to modern life while respecting and preserving the historic, character-defining elements that make the structure, site or district important.

These Residential Rehabilitation Guidelines are intended for the use of residential property owners and caretakers planning work on contributing structures or sites within the HPOZ. Contributing structures are those structures, landscapes, natural features, or sites identified as contributing to the overall integrity of the HPOZ by the Historic Resources Survey for the Jefferson Park HPOZ. Generally, “Contributing” structures would have been built within the historic period of significance of the HPOZ, and will retain elements that identify it as belonging to that period. In Jefferson Park, the historic period of significance is 1887 to 1951, the time period in which the majority of construction in the area occurred. In some instances, structures that are historic in their own right, but were built outside of the period of significance of the district, will also be “Contributing.”

The Residential Rehabilitation guidelines are intended to be used in planning, reviewing and executing projects for single-family structures and most multi-family structures in residential areas. They are also intended for use in the planning and review of projects or structures that were originally built as residential structures but have since been converted to commercial use. For instance, the Residential Rehabilitation Guidelines would be used to plan work on a historic structure built as a residence that is now used as a day-care facility.

This chapter also contains guidelines for projects that may be exempt from review all together (such as some landscape projects), but are included to assist the user in executing a project that will be compatible with the HPOZ as a whole. Additionally, the guidelines in this chapter may also be of use to owners of Non-Contributing sites who wish to execute restoration or reconstruction projects of their own accord. Non-Contributors that have undergone adequate restoration may be redesignated as Contributors pursuant to 12.20.3 of the LAMC.

The Residential Rehabilitation Guidelines are divided into ten (10) sections, each of which discusses an element of the design of historic structures and sites. If you are thinking about planning a project that involves the area around your house, such as repaving your driveway or building a fence, the “Setting” would be a good place to start. If you are planning work on your roof, you might want to look back at Chapter 6, Architectural Styles to determine the style of the building and what type of roof and roof materials are appropriate, and then at the “Roofs” section here in Chapter 7.

While the Design Guidelines throughout this Preservation Plan are a helpful tool for most projects, some types of work may not specifically be discussed here. With this in mind, it is always appropriate to remember that the Design Guidelines of this Preservation Plan have been developed in concert with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, a set of standards used nationally for the review of projects at historic sites and districts. All projects should comply with the Secretary of Interior’s Standards, and where more specific guidelines have been set for by this Preservation Plan, the guidelines herein.

The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation:

1. A property shall be used for its historic purpose or be placed in a new use that requires minimal change to the defining characteristics of the building and its site and environment.

2. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of historic materials or alteration of features and spaces that characterize a property shall be avoided.

3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or architectural elements from other buildings, shall not be undertaken.

4. Most properties change over time; those changes that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.

5. Distinctive features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved.

6. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and other visual qualities and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary, physical, or pictorial evidence.

7. Chemical or physical treatments, such as sandblasting, that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used. The surface cleaning of structures, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible.

8. Significant archeological resources affected by a project shall be protected and preserved. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.

9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the massing, size, scale, and architectural features to protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment.

10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


The site design of an historic structure is an essential part of its character. This design includes the streetscape in which the site is set, the planting strip along the street, setbacks, drives, walks, retaining walls, the way a structure sits on its lot in relation to other structures and the street, and other landscaping elements. While many of the historic structures in the HPOZ may have lost some of these characteristics over time, certain common characteristics remain which help to define the character of these historic areas and the structures within them.

Traditionally, residential structures were sited on their lots in a way that emphasized a progression of public to private spaces. Streetscapes led to planting strips, planting strips to sidewalks, sidewalks to yards and front walkways, which led to porches and the private spaces within a house. Residential structures were configured in such a way that living space was oriented toward the front of the house and utility spaces such as kitchens, service porches garages were most often oriented toward the rear yard. Rear yards were most commonly used as a utility space, keeping car parking, gardening, and household chores to the privacy of an enclosed and private space. Common setbacks in the front and side yards helped ensure these orderly progressions. Preservation of these progressions is essential to the preservation of the historic residential character of structures and neighborhoods. Preservation of these progressions is often essential to the maintenance of historic neighborhood streets as a functioning resource around which a neighborhood interacts.

Adherence to the following guidelines is both historically appropriate and environmentally friendly. Historic site development patterns, such as open and landscaped yards with minimal hardscape helps minimize rainwater runoff and pollution to our rivers and ocean. Retention of a mature tree canopy in the HPOZ creates shade and reduces artificial cooling costs and energy consumption. The preservation of trees, gardens and diverse landscaping provides habitat for a variety of animal and insect species that share our urban ecosystem.


1. Mature trees and hedges, particularly street trees in the public planting strip, should be retained whenever possible. If replacement is necessary, in-kind species are recommended.

2. If a mature tree is to be removed documentation should be provided by an independent expert as to the tree’s vitality and/or the extent 

of any hazards that may be caused by the tree’s continued growth. Mature trees should always be replaced with a minimum 24-inch box tree of similar species at an approximately similar location.

3. Historic topographic features should be preserved whenever possible. Leveling or terracing a lot that was traditionally characterized by a steep hillside or raised lawn is not appropriate.

4. The construction of retaining walls along a front property line, where the streetscape is traditionally defined by a landscape knoll is inappropriate.

5. Historic walkways and other hardscape features in the front yard should be preserved. If these elements are replaced, they should be replaced with materials similar to those historically present in the area. Walkways in Jefferson Park are most often poured concrete with simple rectangular scoring.

6. If historic retaining walls, pathways, stairs or fences exist, they should be rehabilitated or preserved in place. If they must be removed, they should be replaced in kind. If reinforcement is necessary, finish materials should match the original in materials and design.

7. If historic fencing did not exist in the front yard areas, new fencing is strongly discouraged. When fences are found to be appropriate they should be comprised of simple wood pickets or darkly colored wrought iron with minimal ornamentation.

8. Heavy masonry pilasters,concrete block, horizontal wood fence boards ornate wrought iron, hollow steel and vinyl are fence materials that are incompatible with architectural styles found in Jefferson Park.

9. New fencing should harmonize and be integrated with the landscape design.

10. Painting unfinished stone, concrete or masonry historic retaining walls or garden walls is inappropriate.

11. In some cases arbors or pergolas may be appropriate if constructed with traditional building materials.

12. Pavement within a front yard should generally be limited to a single-width driveway and a walkway. Other areas should be reserved for planting materials and lawn, and non-porous ground coverings should be minimized. Parking within the front yard is prohibited by the City’s municipal code and front yard parking pads are not permitted.

13. Open areas at multi-family properties should remain open and used for landscaping and open-space. The in-fill of gardens, courtyards and other open areas for parking and vehicular circulation is in appropriate.

14. Landscaping should not be so lush or massive that public views of the house are significantly obstructed.

15. If recurring historic plantings exist in the neighborhood, efforts should be made to reintroduce similar landscape elements.

16. New carports should be located out of view to the general public (rear yards are preferred).

17. Permiable pavement surfaces such as gravel, decomposed granite or interlocking pavers are encouraged. “Hollywood driveways” which consist of paved strips for vehicles should not be filled-in with non-porous materials.

18. New physical features within a front yard, such as ponds, fountains, gazebos, recreational equipment, sculptural elements, etc. are generally discouraged. When appropriate, such features should be diminutive in scale and style and visually deferential both to the residential structure on site and to similar physical features that were constructed during the Period of Significance.

19. Drought tolerant alternatives to traditional front yard lawns may be found appropriate at some locations so long as such alternatives are consistent with the prevailing character and appearance of front yards in the neighborhood. In most cases front yards in historic neighborhoods are green and open. A thoughtfully prepared landscape plan using alternative low-water plant species may replicate the desired greenness and openness.

20. In addition to compliance with the City’s sign regulations (LAMC 12.21 A 7), any signs used for a home-based business or church structure in a residential area should be designed with sensitivity for the historic context. Such signs should be minimal in size, should not conceal any significant architectural or landscape features, and should be constructed of materials and colors that are appropriate to the style of the house and the Period of Significance. Illuminated signs, vinyl banners and digital signs are not permitted by the City in residential areas and would be inappropriate in an HPOZ.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


Windows are an integral part of a historic structure’s design. The placement of window openings on a façade, also known as fenestration, the size of openings, and how openings are grouped, are all of great importance. Of equal importance are the construction, material and profile of individual windows. Important defining features of a window include the sill profile, the height of the rails, the pattern of the panes and muntins, the arrangement of the sashes, the depth of the jamb, and the width and design of casing and the head. In some cases, the color and texture of the glazing are also important.

Most windows found in Los Angeles’ Pre-WWII Historic Districts are wood-frame true divided light windows. True divided light windows have multiple panes of glass. These windows are usually double-hung, fixed, or casement style windows. Double-hung windows have operable sashes that slide vertically. Casement windows open either outwards or inwards away from the wall. In some areas, metal frame casement or fixed divided light windows are common.  These windows range from simple one-over-one windows to windows with panes in specialty shapes or leaded and stained glass.

Traditionally, the more elaborately detailed windows in Jefferson Park were located on the facades that were visible from the public right of way. Private windows tended to be reserved for the rear and the back of the side facades and were of a simpler wood double-hung construction.

Maintaining historic windows makes good economic sense, as they will typically last much longer than modern replacement windows. Problems with peeling paint, draftiness, sticking sashes, and loose putty are all problems that are easy to repair. Changing a sash cord, re-puttying a window, or waxing a window track are repairs that most homeowners can accomplish on their own to extend the life of their windows.


1. Repair windows wherever possible instead of replacing them, preserving the materials, design, hardware and surrounds.

2. If windows are determined to be non-repairable, replacement windows should match the historic windows in size, shape, arrangement of panes, materials, hardware, method of construction, and profile. True divided-light windows should be replaced with true divided-light windows, and wood windows with wood windows.

3. Replacement of non-historic windows on facades that are not visible from the street may vary in materials and method of construction from the historic windows, although the arrangement of panes, size, and shape should be similar.

4. The size and proportions of historic windows on a façade should be maintained, as should the pattern and location of windows on a facade.

5. Filling in or altering the size of historic windows is inappropriate, especially on visible historic facades.

6. The use of windows with faux-muntins on street-visible facades is inappropriate.

7. Adding new window openings to visible historic facades is inappropriate, especially on primary facades.

8. Adding new windows on facades not visible from the street may be considered but should match the rhythm and scale of the existing windows on that facade.

9. If a historic window is missing entirely, replace it with a new window in the same design as the original if the original design is known. If the design is not known, the design of the new window should be compatible with the size of the opening, the style of the building, physical evidence on the house itself, and evidence derived from similar houses in the neighborhood.

10. The installation of ‘greenhouse’ type windows extending beyond the plane of the facade is inappropriate on street-visible facades.

11. If energy conservation is the goal, interior or exterior storm windows, not replacement windows, should be installed. Historic windows were not dual glazed. The California Historic Building Code allows new or replacement windows that do not meet today’s code requirements to be used, if desired by the homeowner. Weather-stripping is another option to increase energy efficiency.

12. Awnings and shutters should be similar in materials, design, and operation to those used historically and should conform to the shape of the window on which they are installed. Awnings should not be used on architectural styles that did not popularly use such features.

13. Security bars are discouraged and should only be installed on non- street-visible facades. Bars should be simple in appearance, and should be painted in a dark color or to match the predominant window trim. If safety bars are desired on street-facing facade, they should only be installed on the interior of a window or opening.

14. Decorative bars or grillwork that is original to the structure should be retained.

15. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the HPOZ Board regarding window repair and replacement resources within the community.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


The pattern and design of doors are major defining features of a structure. Changing these elements in an inappropriate manner has a strong negative impact on the historic character of the structure and the neighborhood. Doors de fi ne character through their shape, size, construction, glazing, embellishments, arrangement on the façade, hardware, detail and materials, and pro file. In many cases doors were further distinguished by the placement of surrounding sidelights, fanlights, or other architectural detailing. Preservation of these features is also important to the preservation of a house’s architectural character.

Replacing or obscuring doors can have a serious negative effect on the character of a structure. Generally, historic doors and their surrounds should not be replaced unless they cannot be repaired or rebuilt.  If doors must be replaced, the replacement doors and their surrounds should match the originals in dimension, material, con figuration and detail. Because it is often difficult to find standard doors that will match historic doors in these details, replacing historic doors appropriately often requires having doors custom built or requires searching for appropriate doors at architectural salvage specialty stores. Your HPOZ Board can help you find a solution for your door project.

Maintaining historic doors makes good economic sense, as they will typically last much longer than modern replacement doors. Problems with peeling paint, draftiness, sticking, and loose glazing, are all problems that are often quite easy to repair. Applying weather stripping, re-puttying a window, or sanding down the bottom of a door are repairs that most homeowners can accomplish on their own.

Screened doors were often historically present on many houses, and appropriately designed screened doors can still be obtained. However, installing a metal security door which blocks your door from view is inappropriate, and should be avoided.


1. The materials and design of historic doors and their surrounds should be preserved.

2. The size, scale, and proportions of historic doors on a façade should be maintained.

3. Filling in or altering the size of historic doors, especially on street- visible facades, is inappropriate.

4. Adding new door openings to street-visible façades is generally inappropriate.

5. When replacement of doors on street-visible façades is necessary, replacement doors should match the historic doors in size, shape, scale, glazing, materials, method of construction, and pro file.

6. Replacement doors on non-street-visible façades may vary in materials and method of construction from the historic doors, although the arrangement of panes, size, and shape should be similar.

7. New door openings may be appropriate on non-visible facades, however new doors should be compatible by virtue of materials, decorative features and size. For example wood French doors added to the back of a house would be more appropriate than metal or vinyl sliding doors.

8. When original doors have been lost and must be replaced, designs should be based on available historic evidence. If no such evidence exists, the design of replacement doors should be based on a combination of physical evidence (indications in the structure of the house itself) and evidence of similar doors on houses of the same architectural style in the district. Appropriate replacement doors can often be found at salvage yards.

9. Painting historic doors that were originally varnished or stained and are not currently painted is not appropriate.

10. Original hardware, including visible hinges, door knockers, and latches or locks should not be removed. Repairing original hardware is preferable. If replacing hardware is necessary, hardware that is similar in design, materials, and scale should be used.

11. Security doors on the street-visible facades that block the view of the main door are generally discouraged.

12. Screen doors on the visible facades are allowed, provided they are historically appropriate in material and design.

13. In the interest of energy savings, alternative methods of weather- proofing should be considered prior to consideration of the removal of an original door. Methods such as wall, attic and roof insulation or weather-stripping existing doors or window panes within doors may provide energy savings without the removal of important historic features.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


Historically, residential porches in their many forms—stoops, porticos, terraces, entrance courtyards, porte-cocheres, patios, or verandas— served a variety of functions. They provided a sheltered outdoor living space in the days before reliable climate controls, they defined a semi- public area to help mediate between the public street areas and the private area within the home, and they provided an architectural focus to help define entryways and allow for the development of architectural detail.

Porch design, scale, and detail vary widely between architectural styles. To help determine what elements are particularly important on your porch, consult the architectural styles of these guidelines, or contact your HPOZ board for a consultation

In addition to preservation benefits, retaining porches makes economic sense, because the shade provided by a porch may greatly reduce energy bills. Porch elements which have deteriorated due to moisture or insect damage should be carefully examined to determine if the entire element is unsalvageable. If only a part of the element is damaged, then piecing in or patching may be a better solution than removal and replacement. If replacement is necessary, the element to be removed should be carefully documented through photos and careful measurements before the element is discarded. Having these photos and measurements will assist you in finding or making a replica of the element you are replacing. When porch foundations fail, the underlying cause is often ground subsidence or a build-up of moisture around the foundation. In these cases, a careful analysis should be made to locate the causes of the failure, and eliminate them as a part of the project.


1. Historic porches should be preserved in place.

2. Decorative details that help to de fi ne a historic porch should be preserved. These include balusters, balustrades, columns, and brackets. The State Historic Building Code allows balustrades and railings that do not meet current building code heights to remain if they do not pose a safety hazard.

3. If elements of the porch, such as decorative brackets or columns, must be replaced, replacement materials should exactly match the originals in design and materials.

4. If porch elements are damaged, they should be repaired in place wherever possible, instead of being removed and replaced.

5. When original details have been lost and must be replaced, designs should be based on available historic evidence. If no such evidence exists, the design of replacement details should be based on a combination of physical evidence (indications in the structure of the house itself) and evidence of similar elements on houses of the same architectural style in the neighborhood.

6. Additional porch elements should not be added if they did not exist historically. For instance, the addition of decorative “gingerbread” brackets to a Craftsman-style porch is inappropriate.

7. In many instances, historic porches did not include balustrades, and these should not be added unless there is evidence that a balustrade existed on a porch historically.

8. Enclosure of part or all of a street visible historic porch is discouraged. However, enclosures that are comprised primarily of glazing (windows), that do not obscure or remove important porch features such as piers, balustrades, columns  and  roof  forms,  that do not involve removal of original exterior walls, doors or windows and that are not disruptive to the surrounding streetscape may be considered through a Certificate of Appropriateness.

9. Enclosure of a porch on facades that are not street visible, for instance a sleeping porch, may be appropriate if the porch form is preserved and the porch openings are fitted with windows using reversible construction techniques.

10. Alterations for handicapped access should be done at a side or rear entrance whenever feasible, and should be designed and built in the least intrusive manner possible, using reversible construction techniques.

11. Addition of a handrail on the front steps of a house for safety or handicapped access reasons may be appropriate, if the handrail is very simple in design.

12. Original steps should be preserved. If the steps are so deteriorated they need replacement, they should preserve the original form and use historic material or similar material.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


The roof is a major character-defining feature for most historic structures. Similar roof forms repeated on a street help create a sense of visual continuity for the neighborhood. Roof pitch, materials, size, orientation, eave depth and con figuration, and roof decoration are all distinct features that contribute to the overall integrity of an historic roof. The location and design of chimneys as well as decorative features such as dormers, vents and finials are also often character de fining roof features.

Certain roof forms and materials are strongly associated with particular architectural styles; for instance, built-up faux thatch roofs are often found on English Tudor Revival cottages. Consult the architectural styles guide of these guidelines for more specific information about the roof of your house.


1. Historic roof forms should be preserved. For instance, a complex roof plan with many gables should not be simplified.

2. Historic eave depth and con figuration should be preserved.

3. Roof and eave details, such as rafter tails, vents, corbels, built in gutters and other architectural features should be preserved. If these elements are deteriorated, they should be repaired if possible. If these elements cannot be repaired, the design, materials, and details should match the original to the extent possible.

4. When original details have been lost and must be replaced, designs should be based on available historic documentation. If no such evidence exists, the design of replacement details should be based on a combination of physical evidence (indications in the structure of the house itself) and evidence of similar elements on houses of the same architectural style in the neighborhood.

5. Many houses in Jefferson Park do not have facia boards. Flashing roof edges is a preferred means to weather-proof roof edges and application of facia boards/removal of rafter tails is inappropriate.

6. Where still existing, historic specialty roofing materials, such as tile, slate or built-up shingles should be preserved in place or replaced in kind whenever possible.

7. Where in-kind replacement is not possible, replacement roof materials should be substantially similar in appearance to those used originally, particularly when viewed at a distance from the public sidewalk, and should convey a scale, texture, and color similar to those used originally.

8. Light colored asphalt shingle is generally inappropriate. Earth tones, such as rusty reds, greens, and browns, as well as dark grays are generally appropriate in replacement roofs where asphalt composition shingles are involved.

9. Skylights or solar panels should be designed and placed in such a way as to minimize their impact. Locating them so they are visible from the public-right-of way is generally inappropriate. Locations on the side and rear roof surfaces are generally preferred. Skylights, when appropriate should be flat and relatively flush to the roof surface.

10. Existing chimney massing, details, and finishes should be retained. If replacement is necessary, the new chimney should look similar to the original in location, massing, and form.

11. Existing roof dormers should not be removed on visible facades. New roof dormers should not be added to visible facades.

12. Rooftop additions should be located to the rear of the house and designed so as to minimize their impact on the visible roof form.

13. Masonry chimneys that were not originally painted or sealed should remain unpainted.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


Architectural details showcase superior craftsmanship and architectural design, add visual interest, and distinguish certain building styles and types. Features such as lintels, brackets, and columns were constructed with materials and finishes that are associated with particular styles, and are character-defining features as well. Determining the architectural style of your house can help you to understand the importance of the related architectural details of your house. The architectural styles of these guidelines, or your HPOZ board, can help you determine what architectural details existed historically on your house.

Decorative details should be maintained and repaired in a manner that enhances their inherent qualities and maintains as much as possible of their original character. A regular inspection and maintenance program involving cleaning, and painting will help to keep problems to a minimum. Repair of deteriorated architectural detail may involve selective replacement of portions in kind, or it may involve the application of an epoxy consolidant to stabilize the deteriorated portion in place. These options should be carefully considered before architectural detail is replaced, since matching architectural details often requires paying a finish carpenter or metalworker to replicate a particular element, which can be a major expense.


1. Original architectural details or features should be preserved and maintained, particularly on the street visible facades. The removal of non-historic features is encouraged.

2. Deteriorated materials or features should be repaired in place, if possible. For instance, deteriorated wood details can be repaired with wood filler or epoxy in many cases.

3. When it is necessary to replace materials or features due to deterioration, replacement should be in-kind, matching materials, texture and design.

4. When original details have been lost and must be replaced, designs should be based on available historic documentation. If no such evidence exists, the design of replacement details should be based on a combination of physical evidence (indications in the structure of the house itself) and evidence of similar elements on houses of the same architectural style in the District.

5. Materials, such as masonry, which were not originally painted or sealed, should remain unpainted.

6. Original building materials and details should not be covered with stucco, vinyl siding, or other materials.

7. Architectural details and features that did not originally appear on a structure, and/or that are not appropriate to the architectural style of a building or structure should not be added. For example, decorative spindle work should not be added to a Craftsman-style balcony.

8. Decorative detail that is expressed through the pattern of materials used in the construction of the house, such as decorative shingles or masonry patterns, should be preserved or replaced in kind. Covering or painting these details in a manner that obscures these patterns is inappropriate.

9. Architectural detail on new building additions and other non- original construction should echo that of the historic style, without directly copying the style of ornamentation. The architectural detail of an addition should be of a simpler design than that of the original.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


The characteristics of primary building   materials, including   the scale of units that the materials are used and the texture and finish of the material, contribute to the historic character of a building. For example, the scale of wood shingle siding is so distinctive from the early Craftsman period, it plays an important role in establishing the scale and character of these historic buildings. In a similar way, the color and finish of historic stucco is an important feature of Mission Revival homes.

Before you replace exterior building materials, make sure that replacement is necessary. In many cases, patching in with repair materials is all that is needed. For instance, warped wooden clapboards or shingles can be removed, and new materials can be pieced in. Sometimes, epoxy or similar filler can be used to repair small areas of damage. Replacement of deteriorated building materials requires careful attention to the scale, texture, pattern, and detail of the original material. The three-dimensionality of wood moldings and trim, the distinctive texture of weatherboards, and the bonding pattern of masonry walls are all important to duplicate when replacement is necessary. When repairing or refreshing stucco finishes, it is important to understand the role the texture of the stucco finish plays in the design of the structure. Different architectural styles were characterized by different finishes, and care should be taken to replicate the original fi nish when stucco work is needed. Replacing or concealing exterior wall materials with substitute materials is not appropriate. For example, placing synthetic siding or stucco over original materials results in a loss of original fabric, texture, and detail. In addition, such surfaces may conceal moisture or termite damage or other causes of structural deterioration from view.

Basic Tips on Painting: When painting a home, buy good quality paint, because it covers better and lasts longer. Many paint companies have catalogs with historic paint colors, and most paint and hardware stores can mix paint to match the colors in the catalog. You may not need to re-paint - if the paint is dirty, try cleaning it first. If you clean and maintain the paint regularly it is less likely to peel or crack.

Nineteenth and early 20th Century houses, including most Arts and Crafts period styles, are best suited to natural finishes and earth-tone color schemes using three harmonious colors for body, trims and accents (such as window sashes). 20th Century American Colonial Revival style houses do well with at least two contrasting colors on the body and trims. Spanish Colonial and other similar styles do well with adobe and earthen shades on the body and natural finishes or fanciful colors on the trims and accents. Consult the Chapter 6.3 for more information on paint schemes for specific architectural styles.

Basic Tips on Stucco: Stucco is plaster applied in two or three coats to brick, metal, or wood lath. Stucco was common around 1890 to 1940, especially in Period Revival architecture like Spanish Colonial and Mission.  Original stucco was never sprayed on.  Usually, the last coat of stucco was applied by hand with a smooth finish.  Because stucco was applied by hand, it is difficult and expensive to copy.

The best way to preserve historic stucco is to maintain it: clean stucco once a year and check for water leaks around the roof, chimney, windows, doors, and foundation. Repair water leaks and direct water runoff away from the building. Small hairline cracks can be fixed easily but if the stucco has a large crack, it may be best to hire a professional. You only need to replace stucco when 40 - 50% of the historic stucco has lost its bond.

When repairing or refreshing stuccoed finishes, it is important to understand the role the texture of the stucco finish plays in the design of the structure. Different architectural styles were characterized by different finishes, and care should be taken to replicate the original finish when stucco work is needed.

Basic Tips on Wood Siding: Wood siding in Los Angeles is usually made of Douglas Fir or old growth Redwood. These woods are more resistant to termites, decay and rot, shrinkage, and warping than new wood siding.

Common problems with wood siding include drywood and subterranean termites, dry rot, and mildew. You may not need to replace your wood siding if it has these problems. Try cleaning first. Mildew and many stains can be removed with 25% bleach in water and a small amount of detergent. A fresh coat of paint can protect the house and improve its look. Minor damage can often be repaired with epoxy or similar filler. Fix leaks around gutters, chimneys, roofs, and windows because water leaks lead to wood damage and can attract pests like termites.

Drywood and subterranean termites can be reduced with a few simple steps. Dry rot is a fungus, and is found where water doesn’t drain well, such as window sills, so be sure to repair water leaks right away.


1. Original building materials should be preserved whenever possible.

2. Repairs through consolidation or “patching in” are preferred to replacement.

3. If replacement is necessary, replacement materials should match the original in material, scale, finish, dimensions, details, profile, and texture. Custom milling is widely available to ensure the best fit.

4. Building materials not originally painted should not be painted.

5. Original building materials should not be covered with vinyl, stucco, or other fi nishes.

6. If resurfacing of a stucco surface is necessary, the surface applied should match the original in texture and fi nish.

7. In choosing paint or stain colors, homeowners should select paint colors appropriate to the period of the structure to be painted. The Architectural Styles Section 6.3 provides information on paint colors and application that are appropriate for particular architectural styles.

8. In choosing paint or stain colors, homeowners should consult manufacturer catalogues that include historic paint palettes. Any manufacturer can use these catalogues to mix paint that are compatible with these palettes.

9. Exterior paint should have a matte finish, not glossy or semi-gloss.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About


The usefulness of historic structures in the modern world is often increased by updating these structures with modern heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, satellite television or broadband internet systems, solar panels, and other mechanical appurtenances that require the location of equipment outside of the historic structure itself. While the location of one of these elements may not seem to make a significant negative impact on a structure or neighborhood, the visible location of many of these elements along the streetscape can have a significant negative effect on the historic character of a neighborhood.

With careful planning, many mechanical appurtenances can be located where they cannot be seen from the public way. Air conditioning units can be placed in the rear yard or through rear windows. Attic vents can be placed on the rear elevations of a roof, or in a rear dormer. Satellite television dishes can usually be placed in the rear yard or on a rear elevation of the roof. J unction boxes can be placed on rear facades. Wiring for cable or telephone equipment or electrical lines can be run through the interior walls of a structure instead of along visible facades.

Even when mechanical equipment must be placed in a visible location in the side or front yards, landscaping or paint treatments can help to conceal these incompatible elements.


1. Satellite television dishes and other mechanical appurtenances should be placed in a location that is not visible from the public way, whenever possible.

2. Small dishes or other appurtenances (under 2’ in diameter) should be located on lower rear roof surfaces, on rear yard accessory structures, on rear facades, or in the rear yard.

3. Satellite dishes and other appurtenances that are mounted on the fabric of an historic structure must be attached using the least invasive method, without damaging significant architectural features.

4. Mechanical apparatus not mounted on the structure should be located in rear or side yards out of view from the public way. Placement of such devises out of view and sound of neighboring homes should also be considered.

5. Utility meters should be located on non-street-visible facades and out of view from the public right-of-way.

6. Mechanical apparatus not mounted on  the structure may be installed in areas visible from the public way if there is no other technically and economically feasible location for  installation  and if appropriate landscape screening is proposed and installed as a part of the project.

7. Mechanical apparatus that must be placed in street visible location should be obscured from view where possible, including the use of landscape screening and the use of paint colors to match the surrounding environment.

8. Utilities should be placed underground where feasible.

9. Electrical masts, headers, and fuse boxes should be located at the rear of a structure where possible.

10. Solar panels should not be placed upon rooftops that are visible to the general public. Location upon detached garages in many instances will be appropriate, or upon rear-facing roofs that are minimally visible from a public street. Solar panels should be low in profile, and should not overhang or alter existing rooflines.

Chapter 7 Residential Rehabilitation: About
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