A vintage house on Adelaide Drive will be rehabilitated, and an industrial building that once housed the Paper Mate Pen factory will be the subject of in-depth research, due to decisions made at the May 11th Landmarks Commission meeting.The Isaac Milbank House at 236 Adelaide Drive is one of a number of historic homes located on Adelaide. In 2002, the Landmarks Commission designated the house as a landmark due to its fine design in the Craftsman style, and its significance as one of the homes built in the days of Santa Monica’s northern expansion.The applicant, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture, submitted a detailed proposal of changes for the house and two accessory structures, a carriage house and a guardhouse. Some of these changes include replacements of non-original elements, such as paving stones, exterior shakes, and exterior doors, with new elements that match the original style, a new concrete terrace, a 44-square foot addition to the existing kitchen, and refinishing of the second floor balconies. The existing circular concrete driveway will be removed and replaced with landscaping.A representative of the architectural firm told the Commission that the owner wants to retain a “beach house” feeling. The firm also assured the Commission that three trees on the property, including a huge Moreton Bay fig tree, would be left intact. They used a flat floor plan of the property, and a paper model of the fig tree, to show the tree’s position in relation to the plans for the driveway. They also plan to move the existing guardhouse so it would not be impacted by the fig tree’s roots.The only protest to the plan came from a neighbor who, in several letters to the Commission, and in her public comment appearance, expressed concern that the rehabilitation plan violated all six criteria for designation. “It will become just another Santa Monica McMansion,” she stated.The Landmarks Commission did not find that the plans were in violation of guidelines for modifications to landmarks. They praised the architectural firm for the work they had put into the process and noted that some changes, such as the removal of the old-fashioned driveway, designed for the days of chauffeurs, are necessary for adapting to today’s lifestyle. They approved the Certificate of Appropriateness unanimously.The former Paper Mate Pen factory at 1681 26th Street was proposed for designation by a letter from an Altadena resident. Closed for operation since 2005, the building was owned by Gillette (owner of Paper Mate) but was sold in 2007 to Hines 26th Street LLC.Preliminary reports by PCR consultants in behalf of the City, and by researcher Mary Jo Winder, said that the elongated two-story building, built in 1956, was of inferior quality and did not meet any of the six criteria for designation. Nevertheless, several Commission members were curious about the building’s role in the history of Santa Monica industry and requested more information. The item was therefore continued, in order for City staff to research and compile that information.
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