Before And After: Historic Bungalow Sheds Prison Bars


This dramatic makeover of this home in the Jefferson Park neighborhood near West Adams really caught my eye. ArtCraft Homes beautifully renovated the 1925 residence, but from the street, what was removed makes a much bigger impact than what was added. Taking off the steel bars, gates, and antennas that had engulfed this house revealed a charming bungalow underneath. I’m always telling people to tear down those bars. Making a neighborhood look like a prison makes people act like they’re in prison. It must have worked; there is already an offer on the property.

Photographs by Larry Underhill

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  • john

    The bars probably went up because they were robbed or there were home invasions, or they had pets who needed to be outside but you didn’t want someone stealing the pets. Maybe they had a lot of kids, and needed outdoor storage. Maybe they didn’t get good police service, or didn’t trust the police, so they had to make their own secure spaces.

    You make it sound like they put bars up the screw up the neighborhood. I can see your scolding finger wagging through the web page, and it ain’t nice.

  • Abby

    When my friends and I were buying our first homes in the late ’80s and early ’90s, we had a ritual we called the Bar Removal BBQ. It involved wrenches, crowbars, beer, and burgers or steaks, and was the celebration of buying a new home. The neighborhoods we moved into (Ocean Park, Venice, Pico-Robertson, Mar Vista) are now seriously gentrified, but at the time my father tried to talk me into a home in a “nice” neighborhood like Altadena.

    I credit the bar removal with bringing a new sense of community to our neighborhoods by removing the barriers and evidence of distrust.