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As California’s fortunes rose and development boomed following World War II, Los Angeles offered a proving ground for new ideas about architecture and design. One striking variation of the typical modern aesthetic was the stilt home, designed to take advantage of small, hilly lots otherwise deemed “unbuildable.” Seemingly gravity-defying, these homes are built on supporting stilts over which the home seems to float. About 1,500 of these houses were built in California during the 1950s and 60s, but very few are still standing today.


The listing of one of these unique homes for $1.599 million provides an opportunity to own a piece of LA history. Located in the City Terrace neighborhood, the home was constructed in 1962 as a case study for the engineering program at Cal State University. In 1995, it served as a shooting location for Michael Mann’s crime drama “Heat,” starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, considered one of the most influential films of its genre. The property served as the home of Danny Trejo’s character in the film, which the actor has called the favorite role of his career.


Featuring an expansive 60-foot wooden deck, the home offers views that stretch from the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign to Downtown LA and all the way to Catalina Island. 

The 2,000-square-foot home includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The .25-acre lot features a putting green, an enclosed carport studio, and a second lower deck and yard. The property combines two parcels and includes the opportunity to construct a second dwelling on the lower level.


The stilt home is located between Cal State and the University of Southern California’s Health Science Campus. Nearby options for entertainment include the Monterey Park Golf Club and City Terrace County Park. A short commute leads to the bustling entertainment zones of Downtown Los Angeles. City Terrace is an up-and-coming East Los Angeles neighborhood known for its numerous murals and Latin American heritage. Not yet popular with celebrities, it is the birthplace of former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.


The listing is held by Sally Forster Jones and Joshua F. Smith of The Sally Forster Jones Group at Compass.