Echo Park house undergoes stucco striptease

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There are countless old clapboard and shingled bungalows across the Eastside that have been slathered in coats of stucco. Why? Owners cite a variety of reasons, from less maintenance to a preference for something that looks new or vaguely Spanish-Colonial.  But, in a few cases, some owners have begun to restore what one preservationist called “stuccalows” by removing layers of stucco, tar paper and chicken wire to reveal the original wood siding underneath. That is what designer and house flipper Alexandra Becket of ModOp Design has done to a 1922 Echo Park house in the 2200 block of Reservoir Street.  Becket said her crew had to perform an “exploratory demo” to see if there was still wood siding underneath the stucco and whether it was worth removing the rest. It was.

” This was an opportunity to bring the original character back to one that had been altered,  showing off a lot of charm that had been hiding underneath,” Becket said via email. “Our contractor was able to remove all the stucco and reveal the original siding within about 4 days!   It’s amazing how much it transformed the look of the house.”

The renovation, as the photos above show, is still underway, with wood siding to cover the spaces around new wood windows.  The entire project is expected to be completed in March.

Photos courtesy Alexandra Becket and The Eastsider


  1. House flippers should be run out of town. They only exploit housing and neighborhoods and drive up prices out of the reach of too many people. House flippers are a bane on society, and part of the cause of the housing bubble that just brought down the economy.

  2. What a great thing to do- I’ve often looked at stucco’d houses around the neighborhood and wondered if there was any chance of restoring them. Bravo!

    And as for the comment about house flippers- I couldn’t disagree more. This woman is putting money and energy into restoring a cute, old house. The effect may be to raise the value of the home, but I’d much rather have people restoring houses than tearing them down or leaving them in their dilapidated condition. Some flippers may just slap some paint on and stage the place with fancy furniture to drive up the price, but if the “flipper” is doing real work and adding real value to the house, what is wrong with that?

  3. No place remains frozen or static in time and thus to varying degrees is either improving or declining. Flippers are symptom rather than a cause of an improving neighborhood. Personally, I would prefer to live in an improving neighborhood. Flippers are just a part of that process….more opportunity with improvement than decline.

  4. MY HOME WAS BUILT IN 1914. all the siding was taken off, it was a very cheap stucco job they removed all original wood from around most of the doors, the windows are those 1950 louvers. house is very cold and drafty in winter hot hot hot in summer. the only siding left is under the house about a 4X4 space. the original was one inch wood white in color. What I love about this house is the view of the Elysian tract valley and the view to downtown Los Angeles. I can’t miss what I never had, and dream of one day having the house of my dreams.

  5. we love echo park

    They are doing an amazing job! Went by to see it myself and I’m keeping up with the progress. So interesting how many negative people out there don’t see anybody investing to fix up a house as an improvement to the neighborhood? I guess you’d rather have developers come in, knock stuff down, and build condos. Do something positive in your life instead of leaving these nasty blog comments.

  6. Wonderful!!
    I”m surrounded by a sea of bungalows that have beige stucco on them. They look cheap and ugly. Wasn’t like that when I moved here.
    Wish A de-stuccoing team would come to my street!

  7. Thank you for letting this old house breathe again! I don’t care if she is a flipper or not. she has good taste and is willing to bring back the beauty of a well crafted house. Two thumbs up from me, Ms. Flipper!

  8. What an inspiration. I wish houses on my block could be reformed like this. Fortunately, my house doesn’t have stucco – only ugly aluminum siding that needs removing. One day.

  9. Bless them, bless the, bless them. There are so many beautiful old bungalows in EP that have been absolutely raped. Hats off to them, what a breath of fresh air!

  10. truthclaw, I don’t disagree with your thoughts, but I think the “rape” analogy is a little too strong. (I find references to “soup Nazis” and other Nazi analogies similarly cringeworthy.)

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