Echo Park bungalow gets de-stuccoed

Before .... | Photo by Alexandra Beckett

After de-stucco | Photo by Charmaine David

Several months ago workers were busy scraping a layer of stucco that had covered the wood siding of an Echo Park bungalow being renovated by house flipper and designer Alexandra Becket and Greg Steinberg of ModOp Design. With the stucco removed and the siding repaired as part of a major overhaul, the 89-year-old house in the 2200 block of Reservoir Street went up for sale at $749,000 (the price includes a separate, rear apartment). Not many old house owners are willing to spend the time and effort to “de-stucco” their houses to bring back some of the original features. Steinberg, in an interview with the Take Sunset blog, describes some of the costs involved:

One of the biggest expenses in construction are the dump fees and stucco weighs a lot so that added up in terms of cost. In addition, most remodelers use composite siding in order to match the original. In the many places where it needed to be repaired, we used redwood siding to match the original from 1923, which was an additional cost.

Now, the question is how much of a de-stucco premium is a buyer willing to pay for this property.

Related post:
2220 Reservoir Street in Echo Park. Take Sunset


  1. With the old stucco exterior, all the interior work would still make it only a nicely upgraded house. With the siding restored, it’s transformed. The work done will take this house from affordable to very desirable.
    I’ve only driven in the area so I don’t know what the housing values are but for once, you can see where the money went, and where the value will stay. Can’t afford it, like my own neighborhood, but this is a charming place.
    Separate meters for utilities which is very good if owners want to rent…I’m sure they’d have few problems finding a tenant (if they didn’t want too much for it).
    There’s a similar house up the street from where I live and they went the stucco route–I regret their choice everytime I walk past it. A neighbor had theirs stuccoed and recommened the owner have this place stuccoed—a beautiful, large craftsman–architect worked for Green & Green…some people have either no taste or no sense of style or history.
    ModOp, thank you for remembering style AND history.

  2. WOW. Yes yes yes a million times yes!!

  3. I also just noticed in one of the photos of the ModOp link that the front windows USED to be much bigger prior the terrible stucco-ification. See here–


    It’s blatantly obvious where they re-framed the hole for the smaller sliding windows. Though I’m sure the originals were pretty beat, it makes me wonder HOW bad they were and if they were salvageable!

  4. Good eye Lauren! The original 1922 windows were long gone when we acquired the house. We took out aluminum windows and replaced them with wood framed dual paned windows.

    • I am un stuccalowing a craftsman in west adams. its a long process but will be well worth it. I can only do the front right now as lower 18 inches of redwood siding has been removed from the sides of the house. Until I can find replacement, side stucco stays. And we call these homes a much harsher word than stuck-o 🙂

  5. finally the evil goo is coming down.

    LA is such a beautiful city and the nightmare of stucco has been used by cheap landlords and slum owners for decades as a way to avoid making life better.

    may all the urban blight of the City of Angels vanish and the true riches be exposed.

  6. Is stucco used to prevent termites? Hide termite damage? What is its function that makes it so popular here?

  7. This is so absolutely fantastic, it’s enough to make me not thinking unkindly of flippers.

  8. Wood siding in general just doesn’t perform very well in our climate – when blasted by 300 days of sun each year the paint lasts 5 years at best – especially when painted a deeper shade – and after too many coats you are stuck grinding it all off. Then dry rot and termites anywhere the water gets past the paint. Looks nice though!…

  9. Wow – it is beautiful. ModOp, you guys rock! One thing though, why didn’t you put in more appropriate light fixtures. All that recessed lighting is so not craftsman.

  10. Carc,

    My 1887 wood-sided house is doing just fine, thanks.

    You know what doesn’t perform well in our climate? Neglect.

    To answer anon, people apply stucco because they think it requires less maintenance and because they think that after doing so, others will mistake it for a new home.

    Quite simply, they don’t know any better.

  11. SolanoCanyonPop

    What a clear difference. If that was its original look from the 1920s, god strike down the fool who stuccoed it like that!

  12. We’ve been wanting to de-stucco our craftsman house in the canyon, too! Great job, guys!

  13. a trillion times better !

  14. Beautiful!!! I’d be all over it if I had a down payment saved up! 🙂

  15. anon-

    stucco is used mainly because it’s cheap and requires less skill and time to install.

    What most do not realize is that stucco is NOT waterproof. It absorbs and holds moisture and when not installed correctly will cause more damage than good, promoting temite problems.

    As for HPOZ’s. they are only enforcable when the work is done under a permit. And if you want to report a bldg code viloation to LADBS you must leave your name and address or the violation will not be looked into, a big detterment to a lot of people on this side of town.

  16. Believe it or not, there are many folks who look at stucco as an upgrade. I’ve talked to a few, one of whom was trying to convince me to stucco my place! This person was adamant that stucco would make my house look better. There’s simply no accounting for taste.

    I think it’s a bit of a stretch to assert that “…the nightmare of stucco has been used by cheap landlords and slum owners for decades as a way to avoid making life better.” Really, I doubt that’s anyone’s motive. More likely, their motive was the opposite, with a budget they could afford.

  17. Halleluiah! Now lets hope that this trend continues to blast its way across many older LA Neighborhoods where this nasty, unsightly trend blighted the landscape and scarred many an architecturally wonderful home from the 70’s through the early 90’s.
    Good Riddance!

  18. As long as we’re on the no-accounting-for-taste “upgrade” discussion, can someone please explain the appeal of those cinder block fences with metal bars and lion (or fruitbasket) medallions on them? GAWDAWFUL. And proliferating in my neighborhood. UGH.

  19. daisyT-

    There is a word for that from urbandictionary.com

    (verb)- the act of making something worse in an inept attempt to make it better, usually by adding unnecessary, useless, and/or ridiculous elements


  20. that is a beautiful renovation. thank you for not short-cutting it.

  21. Simply beautiful. Kudos and Thank You from all of us who appreciate beautiful things. (Now I know why those stucco houses don’t look quite right – they weren’t meant to have stucco!)

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