Tuesday, September 15, 2015

1956 Storybook Village Palmer & Krisel Fixer – North Hills, CA

Situated on a corner lot in North Hills’ Storybook Village is this 1956 Palmer and Krisel-designed mid-century home for sale. Built by A. Sandler and D. Aldler Enterprises, this 1,565 square-foot home includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two car detached garage on a 8,100 square-foot lot with an asking price of $429,900.

This corner-lot home holds massive potential to become a show-stopper. The front yard is ready for a water-efficient landscape makeover, while the exterior of the home appears to keep its original form, with the exception of some added brick veneer and a wrought iron fence enclosing the service porch where a wooden fence would have originally been. A heavy clay barrel tile roof covers the home, and while it is certainly a durable and long-lived material, it is a stark contrast to the mid-mod lines of the property.

Living Room

Dining Room

Like most Krisel-designed homes, this property features the kitchen at the front of the property, while the living, dining and den addition are at the rear. The interior of the home still maintains its original open, beamed vaulted ceilings and basic floor plan with the exception of a permitted den addition off of the living room.

Den addition at rear of home is perfect for the wood paneling lover

The living room is anchored by its signature Krisel full-wall modernist fireplace, highlighted with clerestories. The wall of glass originally overlooking the backyard now overlooks the den addition, which is a mid-century wood-paneled time capsule in itself. The dining room sits adjacent to the living room, and luckily still retains its original windows overlooking the backyard.

Kitchen with original cabinets and tile countertop

The kitchen at the front of the home retains its original cabinetry and tiled countertops, and offers a full wall of windows overlooking the front yard.

Master Bedroom

Secondary Bedroom

Secondary Bedroom

Guest bath - wall heater is original

Master Bathroom 

All bedrooms are modest in size; however the open vaulted ceilings help the spaces feel larger than they are. The master features a sliding glass door to the backyard which helps let additional light into the room. Both bathrooms have been updated at some point in the late 1970s or early 1980s; however we can still spot the nifty original wall heater in the hall bathroom.

There are no photos of the backyard shown, but Google Maps tells us that the backyard is mostly paved with plenty of patio space for entertaining along with a few mature trees and shrubs.

We love seeing fixers like this with lots of original character still intact; they hold so much potential to be brought back to mid-mod grandeur, and this one is a great opportunity for you to write a new ending for this Storybook Village home.

Check out the full listing on here: 9401 Valjean Avenue

Or here: 9401 Valjean Avenue


  1. My Name is Marcel. I'm the new owner of this House. I'm ready to start to update this house respecting it's original design as possible and I would like to use a mid century modern approach. If you have ideas, pictures, success stories, blueprints, flyers or suggestions I would love to hear from you. Thanks. MD

    1. Hi Marcel, Congrats on the upcoming purchase, what a great home. We don't have many images yet of early Storybook Village homes, but there's lots of original still intact here. The kitchen cabinets and counters are original and as intended by Krisel; should they be changed try to keep everything as free from ornamentation and excessive over-design as possible. If the tile counters don't stay, consider simple materials, such as composites or laminates (Jonathan Adler has a great new collection out), try to steer clear of granite whihc is quickly becoming dated. The homes typically had wall to wall carpeting in them, but if you don't go that route condiser era-appropriate flooring such as VCT tiles, cork, or even polished concrete. Parquet floors were also used in mid-century San Fernando Valley Krisels, but laminate flooring and similar were not and therefore tend to look slightly out of place. If you replace the windows try to keep them aluminum-dual paned rather than vinyl, as the vinyl tends to be chunky, and steer clear of mullioned-panes. The hallmark of midcentury modern was a comprehensive blending of the indoors with the out, and mullions destroy those sightlines. The bathrooms would have had a flush-mount American standard pullman augmented with marble counters on a floating vanity - if you can stick with an undermount sink and floating vanity you'll be ok, try to avoid granite. The bath surrounds would incorporate a monochromatic mosaic tile surround, try to avoid beiges and floor tiles on the walls. Mid mod didn't use beiges in the quantities that we see today in new construction, they tended to use pops of color in tilework and furniture. If you replace the baseboards, keep them low profile and free from ornamentation, in mid-mod architecture the goal was to pull the eye through a space rather than down, so try avoid excessive detailing at the floor level. The white baseboard look is one that tricked down from high end design in the late 1990s and now looks slightly out of place on mid-mods; it's ok to have them the same color as the wall. Lastly, as outdoor living was important, try to create a modern, clean-lined aesthetic in the backyard. When you paint outside, you can go with mid-century colors or a more-updated Palm Springs style color scheme, but beiges and browns always look odd on these homes. Color schemes usually incorporated 3 or more colors (body, trim and accent), and you probably should take the roof color into consideration when picking color. Lastly, take a look at Racquet Club Road Estates in Palm Springs for inspiration, or Paradise Palms in Las Vegas. There's some great ideas there. Good luck, thanks for reaching out!

    2. Thank you so much for the great advise. Like the concrete floors that I was considering and the NO-use of granite. I actually was considering quartz countertops and like you said, always under-mount sinks. The roof I need to change as well as the exterior pink paint color. I'll try to post before and after pics. I'll check the sources you cited.
      Again, thank you so much.

    3. You're welcome, it sounds like you have a pretty good grasp on things, we can't wait to see how things turn out!