- Hollywood Hills, West Adams, Pasadena and Highland Park contain a number of historic homes.
- The cost to restore and preserve a historic home is much higher than the initial purchase price.
- Fenton is looking to undertake LA restoration projects on a contract basis moving forward.
When it comes to restoring historic homes Leonard Fenton has a true understanding of how time consuming, detailed and costly preservation projects can be.
An entrepreneur who sold his ad agency to Microsoft, Fenton has spent roughly his entire adult life, at least 25 years, restoring his home – a 1913 historic mansion atop the Hollywood Hills.
Dubbed Artemesia, the mansion represents the largest Craftsmen residence ever built at 13,000 square feet.
Spanning the past three to four years, Fenton treated the restoration of the eight-bedroom, seven-bath mansion as a full-time undertaking, putting “millions and millions” of dollars into updates, repairs, decorations, staging and preservation. In short, the original cost of the property is significantly dwarfed by the costs associated with restoration.
Offering full restoration services to Los Angeles homes
After devoting so much time on Artemesia, Fenton is now looking to acquire other historically significant properties and restore them to their former glory on a contract basis for other Los Angeles homeowners.
“I want to make sure it’s the right type of person,” he said. “As a homeowner, you don’t want someone looking over your shoulder, but you don’t want people remodeling homes in a tacky way.”
Fenton explains the importance of “polishing” a historic home’s existing features while also updating it to modern standards via the installation of hi-tech data cabling, instant hot water and fiber optic cables.
He will concentrate his future restoration efforts on Los Angeles homes, as the city boasts pockets of historic homes all within a 30-minute drive of Artemesia.
The eastern part of the Hollywood Hills is known for its concentration of Craftsmen homes, while the West Adams area features Spanish Colonial, Victorian, Transitional and Craftsmen residences. Other markets with an inventory of historic homes include Pasadena, Highland Park and areas surrounding the University of Southern California.
Because the city as a whole has a “diminishing stock” of historic homes, restored residences remain in high demand among the wealthy.
“A really beautiful historic house is more recession-proof than most other houses,” he noted.