It’s hard not to notice with a bit of awe and envy the sleek, one-story house that seems to sit alone atop a steep Montecito Heights hillside. It’s a setting that has attracted the notice of artists, such as Mary-Austin Klein, who has painted views of the home (pictured above) from below and a nearby ridge. In August, when construction crews began installing large metal poles (shown in the slide show) into the grassy slope below the house, artists and residents took notice. Before most Montecito Heights residents knew what was going on, the publisher of the Above the City Blog published photos of the construction and asked:
“Anyone know what is going on with the hill under one of our favorite midcentury modern houses on the hill?
Well, now most people know about the solar panel project and the controversy and debate it has triggered. But what’s going with that house?
The one-story house on Evadale Drive was built in the early 1960s by Frank Frisk, who died earlier this year at age 93, according to a posting on the Montecito Heights Improvement Assn. Yahoo Group. The group’s messages are not publicly available but a member pass along the posting from January:
“Our neighbor on Evadale Drive, Frank Frisk, has passed away. He was 93 years old. He built his house in the early 60s. We believe it was the first house on Evadale Drive. He kept magnificent gardens and shared a bounty of fruits and vegetables with his neighbors every summer. He retired many years ago from a long career at the Broadway Department Store.”
It’s not clear who designed the house, which like many in Montecito Heights is hidden from the street by fences and hedges but wide open to the views. The vista from the Frisk home includes the Southwest Museum on Mount Washington to the west, the Verdugo Hills to the north and Elysian Park to the south. Frisk, according to a 2000 Los Angeles Times column, loved gardening and bees. A resident who checked on the house recently said a caretaker was unaware of the solar project below.
P.S.: Martha Benedict emailed in new photos of the solar array (pictured at right). She writes: “Construction on the solar array sped up quite a bit in advance of the noon Thursday shutdown. Where one panel appeared last Friday, many more have been added to the lower slope since. Each of the dark spots is the shadow of an installed panel. Several empty frames have also been put on poles. In the second photo, Griffin Avenue is visible at the bottom center with the Audubon Center’s solar panel-covered roof on the left. Presumable the project will remain like this until the two-week hiatus ends.”