Historic Herkimer Arms is split in two, ready for move to new home on Raymond Ave.


From Brigham Yen’s Pasadena real estate blog, the historic Herkimer Arms — the only apartment building ever designed by Greene & Greene — has been cut in half in preparation for its move to 407 N. Raymond Ave.

There, Heritage Housing Partners will convert the two-story structure from its current configuration of eight apartment units into two large, full-floor units. Architectural features like the exterior Gunite finish, terra-cotta tiles, built-ins, corner cabinets and
original doors will be preserved.

You can see some of those details here, in interior shots captured by staff photographer Keith Birmingham in August 2007.

A full story and more photos will be in the Star-News tomorrow.


Behind the scenes: Rose Magazine’s photo shoot with the Rose Queen and Royal Court



Here’s a quick glimpse inside our photo shoot yesterday with the seven lucky ladies of the Tournament of Roses 2010 Royal Court. We are super excited about this year’s editorial fashion spread and working with photographer Watchara Phomicinda.

Q. Can you guess the location of our shoot? (Answer, and more, below.)

The Court — with their stylist and Tournament of Roses escorts — gathers on the patio
Princess Kinsey Stuart in the stacks
Cramming the equipment into the small spaces between shelves was a challenge
Princess Katherine Hernandez in front of the Peter Pan Fireplace
That’s a pop-up “Nancy Drew” book from the children’s wing
Queen Natalie Innocenzi in the reference section.
(A. Yes, the shoot took place in the historic Pasadena Central Library.)
Our hot lights were Diva Lite brand, which is sort of fitting, no?
Mood lighting in a stairwell with Princess Michelle Van Wyk

Huge thanks to the library administration and staff — and especially the unsuspecting patrons — for allowing us to invade for a couple of whirlwind hours.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed ‘La Miniatura’ house still on the market and coming down in price



CurbedLA notes a price change on Frank Lloyd Wright’s historic “La Miniatura” house, built in 1923 into a ravine above the Arroyo Seco.

It’s been on the market for more than a year, starting back then with a selling price of $7.733 million. Now the listing is down to $5.59 million, CurbedLA reports.

The home’s owner David Zander (that’s him at top) talked to the Star-News in July 2008, following a multimillion-dollar restoration and just after he first put the property up for sale. From the archives, reporter Janette Williams wrote:

… it’s not for everyone.

Lloyd Wright’s buildings are known for being less than watertight, and the building materials and techniques don’t always
stand up well to climatic wear and tear.

The architect pushed the design technology and materials beyond his time, Zander said.

“That’s why many of his houses leak. I think that the house will leak forever – it just wants to, but it varies from
time to time and place to place. The house has a mind of its own.”

The restoration has put “La Miniatura” in very good condition, (Wim) de Wit, (architectural curator of the J. Paul
Getty Research Center) said, but agreed it will always need a lot of upkeep.

“It needs someone who appreciates architecture and will have patience,
who enjoys the spatial quality relating architecture
and nature,” he said. “It really needs to be lived in … not to be a

(Below are some photos from a July 2008 photo shoot by photographer Walt Mancini.)


Bizarre tableaus from the annals of anti-aging


The Anti-Aging and Healthy Living Expo set up shop in the Pasadena Convention Center this weekend, and photos of the vendors left us, at best, puzzled.

Concerned about aging? Cut to the chase and climb into your very own body bag portable hyperbaric chamber. (Passes given to those who actually need this device for medical, therapeutic uses.)
Clearly needing to be preoccupied with aging is this gal, who appears to be a ripe-old, gorgeous twentysomething.
Confirmed. (To be fair, the hair does look nice.)
OK, these Kangoo Jumps seem fun for the athlete who is not afraid to be stared at quizzically by the neighbors. Let’s take bets on how many times I use them before stowing in the back of the closet.
We’d much rather juggle SoyJoys to stay forever young than have to eat them.

(Photos by Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff)

Welcome to the haunted dollhouse



This weekend, I’m going to be screaming my head off during Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

But if I was three inches tall, I would go inside this haunted house instead.

Michael J. Kouri is a Pasadena “psychic medium” with a kitschy side interest in doll houses and miniatures.

If you’re not part of this niche interest group, you might not be aware that the most obscure items ever are available in a size only a doll — or a small rodent — could enjoy. Glass lollipop jar. Oil and vinegar cruets. Small LIFE Magazine with Michael Jackson on the cover. Or add this itty-bitty feather duster to your French-maid costume. (Note: I don’t even have these items in full-size for my real home.)

And continuing on a love of all scaled-down things — let’s get miniature, miniature … I wanna get miniature — we recommend Kouri’s exhibit of intricately detailed haunted doll houses on display this month at The Village Book Shop in Glendora. (626) 335-5720


(Photos by Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff)

Tournament of Roses announces P. Scott McKibben as executive director



Starting Nov. 30, McKibben will lead the professional staff and 935 volunteers who plan and stage the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.

He is executive vice president and chief revenue officer for the Los Angeles Times Media Group.

McKibben replaces John M. Dorger, who has served as chief executive officer since 2000.

More from the Star-News soon.

(Press release here.)

Scenes from a simulated dirty bomb detonation



Real dirty bomb detonation? Not a form of entertainment.

Simulated dirty bomb detonation? A little entertaining — sort of like a radioactive obstacle course — but also prudently instructive.

This morning, Methodist Hospital conducted a practice run of what would happen in response to a bomb with radioactive material detonating at the Toyota Speedway at Irwindale. The scenario imagined hundreds of victims being exposed to radiation.

Dozens of nurses, hospital administrators,
“victim” volunteers from local schools and decontamination specialists were part of the demonstration in Arcadia.

From the Star-News:

Sara Gutkind, 16, went through the process twice, playing two different victims.

“First I was a schizophrenic. I was hearing voices in my head and I thought they were trying to kill me,” Gutkind said. …

“Then I was a mother with a 7-month-old
infant,” she said. “I don’t think the baby was doing too well. They
said he had stopped breathing.”

Organizers added wrinkles to the scenario, including a pair
of students who stormed the emergency room demanding treatment, and
victims who were pregnant or didn’t speak English.

Hospital employees interview students from Rio Hondo Prep who have simulated injuries.
(Points to the kid at the top for realistic body language. Or maybe he’s reading a magazine?)

Rio Honda Prep students Jimmy Davis and Chelsea Parker are not really in trouble.
They’re testing security measures during the simulation


The decontamination shower


A Rio Hondo Prep student is screened by a hospital technician with a Geiger

counter — to check for radiation after decontamination

Stephanie Wong gets hosed

Pasadena area real-estate and development roundup


  • There will be a ribbon-cutting Monday for the new Jet Propulsion Laboratory Flight Projects Center at 4800 Oak Grove in Pasadena. The structure was designed by Irvine-based architecture firm LPA Inc. (via CurbedLA)

  • Would you prefer two years of NFL games in Downtown Los Angeles or Pasadena? What Majestic Realty’s John Semcken wants, he almost always gets. (via CurbedLA)

  • The Pasadena Convention Center has received a
    Best of 2009 award from California Construction for its $150 million
    expansion project.
    (via Star-News)

  • Elected officials gave the hard-sell for Gold Line Foothill Extension funding Wednesday. (via Star-News)

Residential real-estate highlights:

  • An abandoned mid-century Pasadena home with three bedrooms and one-and-three-quarter bathrooms is on the market for $550,000. (via CurbedLA)

  • Legal consultant Stuart A. Forsyth and Mary J. Forsyth have listed a two-bedroom, two-bath home at 455 Cherry Dr. in Pasadena for $1.195 million. (via BlockShopper)

Royalty in the making: Rose Queen and Court before-and-afters


Ahead of our annual fashion shoot next week with the newly-announced 2010 Rose Queen and Royal Court, get a look at the transformation these local women have undergone in about a week.

The before photos on the left were taken on Oct. 12 at the big reveal of the seven Rose Court princesses. The after photos were taken yesterday during the announcement of Arcadia resident Natalie Innocenzi as Rose Queen.

What say you of their red, red blazers and red, red lips?

And: Did you know you can now follow the Royal Court on Twitter @therosediaries and at their official blog? The Tournament of Roses, that bastion of Pasadena tradition and ritual, is making strides into the modern era. Hello, Facebook! And YouTube. SRSLY.

Rose Princess Katherine Hernandez, 18
Pasadena, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
Rose Queen Natalie Innocenzi, 16
Arcadia, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
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Rose Princess June Ko, 17
Arcadia, Arcadia High School
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Rose Princess Lauren Rogers, 17
Altadena, Blair High School
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Rose Princess Kinsey Stuart, 18
South Pasadena, Pasadena City College
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Rose Princess Ashley Thaxton, 17
Altadena, John Marshall Fundamental High School
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Rose Princess Michelle Van Wyk, 17
La Canada Flintridge, La Canada High School
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