When they say “tract home,” buyers smile

Valley value gets an upgrade

ValleyModern.com wants to boost the image of the 818, one house at a time.

The San Fernando Valley has become shorthand for “We couldn’t afford Los Feliz.” However, by tracking and selling the area’s long-forgotten Modernist housing tracts, real estate brokers Craig Terrien and Margot Tempereau hope to fill Valley cul-de-sacs with creative types and “alternative families.”

“With every house we have sold, our clients have done great things,” says Terrien.

Tempereau says many clients initially rule out the Valley, only to relent after seeing what their money would (or wouldn’t) buy in Silverlake, Mount Washington and Lake Hollywood.

Once they’ve been convinced to look in Studio City or Woodland Hills, the search often extends to Granada Hills, Northridge, North Hills and other areas in the “flats.”

“For under a million, you’ve got a lot of choices,” she says.

Terrien and Tempereau met in 2003, when both were new to real estate after careers in the industry (Tempereau was an entertainment lawyer; Terrien worked in post-production). They shared a fascination with mid-century design, one that was not shared by their colleagues.

“At our old firm, we were laughed at for championing mid-century properties,” says Tempereau. Last year, they joined deasy/penner & partners, a design-centric firm dedicated to the idea of “home as art.”

Terrien notes that while a Gregory Ain home in the Mar Vista tract now sells for $1.5 million, homes in Joseph Eichler’s Balboa Highlands can still be had for under $1 million. And the closer the home is to its original condition, the lower the asking price.

“Most people still don’t get it. They’re looking at Home Depot as their ideal,” Tempereau says of homeowners who update their 50’s ranch houses with so-called improvements like granite countertops.

We asked Terrien and Tempereau to break down their Valley dream tracts.

Although they didn’t have listings at press time, “they come up all the time,” Terrien says. “An Eichler in pristine condition will go very quickly, but (others) will stick around longer.” For now.

Balboa Highlands, Granada Hills

Custom Mid-Century Ranch, Northridge

Tract/Area: Balboa Highlands, Granada Hills Tract/Area: Custom Mid-Century Ranch, Northridge
Architect/number: A. Quincy Jones/ Joseph Eichler; about 150 homes Architect/number: None listed; hundreds of tracts
Notes: Probably the best-known and most desired tract in the San Fernando Valley. This 5-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2,000 sq. ft. model on a quarter-acre lot features a central atrium, open-beam ceilings, Phillipine mahogany paneling and a pool with views. Notes: Although no architect is listed for this 1960 ranch home, it is reminiscent of the work of Edward Fickett, Gilbert Leong and Palmer & Krisel. This five-bedroom home has two large fireplaces, living and dining rooms and family room with wet bar, plus requisite walls of glass looking onto the pool. Master bath features a slider to a private area with outdoor shower.
Pricing: Competition is fierce for the homes closest to original condition, which sell for around $800,000. Pricing: $900,000 – $1.2 million

Eastwood Estates, Tarzana

Storybook Village, North Hills

Tract/Area: Eastwood Estates, Tarzana Tract/Area: Storybook Village, North Hills
Architect/number: Palmer & Krisel; about 15 homes front another tract with a few hundred smaller homes Architect/number: Palmer & Krisel; about 200 homes, with most original and untouched
Notes: Three- or four-bedroom homes, approximately 1,600 sq. ft. on large lots. Features walls of glass, clerestory windows, open-beam ceilings, parquet flooring, block fireplaces and rock roofs. Notes: This tract of three- or four-bedroom homes of about 1,340 sq. ft. features open-beam ceilings, walls of glass and clerestory windows. Many have pools. All homes occupy the same footprint; architects flip-flopped floorplans and varied garage rooflines and exterior detailing to avoid a cookie-cutter look.
Pricing: High $600s to the low $700’s; for smaller homes, expect $500-$600s Pricing: The real bargains are in the more original homes, which usually list in the low $500’s.
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