News & Advocacy

The Santa Monica Conservancy Announces 2019 Preservation Awards

May 19, 2019

The Santa Monica Conservancy recognized eight exemplary contributors to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage. The Awards Committee was chaired by Board member and architect David Kaplan and included Margarita Jerabek, Ruthann Lehrer, Carol Lemlein and Rachel Pietron. Kaplan congratulated the families, businesses and individuals who worked to preserve our city’s historic places.


David G. Cameron Award: Carol Lemlein

Photo: Omid Razavi

Celebrating 11 years of extraordinary service as President of the Conservancy, Carol Lemlein began her involvement in the Program Committee and co-developed our signature Downtown Walking Tour. She is the face and voice of historic preservation in Santa Monica, attending nearly every Landmarks Commission meeting and countless hearings for the Architectural Review Board, City Council and Planning Commission. She has collaborated with the California Office of Historic Preservation and National Trust for Historic Preservation, and brought the California Preservation Foundation conference to Santa Monica in 2011. Among her outstanding achievements is the adaptive reuse of the Shotgun House as the Conservancy’s Preservation Resource Center, for which she helped fundraise, relocate and rehabilitate. Today, the Center welcomes and educates nearly two thousand visitors each year.


President’s Award: Sherrill Kushner

Sherrill Kushner is a founding member of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors and has made outstanding contributions, most recently as Chair of our very successful 2019 Gala. Kushner’s efforts, skills and leadership resulted in a memorable event that established a new model for the Conservancy’s fundraising to support our advocacy and educational programs. Additionally, Kushner was a leader in the rescue and restoration of the Shotgun House, an early member of the Program Committee, active in forming two historic districts and has also enriched the Conservancy’s communications and marketing over her years of service.


Historic Preservation Award: Mel’s Drive-In

Photo: Mel’s Drive-In

The 1959 Armet and Davis-designed Penguin Coffee Shop was restored to its original use by Mel’s Drive-In owner Steven Weiss, assisted by Googie architecture advisors Adriene Biondo and Chris Nichols. The distinctive sign was meticulously repurposed with the Mel’s logo, avoiding loss of the “meritorious” status which allowed it to stand despite its lack of conformance with current sign codes. The interior’s ambience was re-established with period-specific furnishings and lighting. And the Mel’s team highlighted the Drive-In’s location at the end of Route 66.


Historic Preservation Award: Grace Akazawa & Mike Necci, 1129 Ashland Avenue

Designed by Charles Warren Brown, this classic 1916 Craftsman bungalow was a pioneering residence in Sunset Park when it was primarily agricultural. The house exemplifies classic Craftsman bungalow characteristics with its prominent cross-gable roof, wide open eaves and exposed rafter tails, post-and-beam articulation of the full-width porch, and wood cladding with heavy masonry piers. The living space has been expanded at the rear in harmony with the original architecture. The owners nominated the bungalow for landmark status last year and will apply for a Mills Act contract to ensure the house remains in pristine and authentic condition.


Historic Preservation Award: 954 5th Street

This landmark home is one of the last intact examples of the hipped roof, turn-of-the-century cottages within the boundaries of the original town of Santa Monica. The 1906 cottage was moved forward on its lot to match the setbacks of other structures on the street and enable construction of a three-story structure at the rear in 2011, but the project was abandoned. In 2015, new owners obtained a Certificate of Appropriateness for new units in a smaller rear structure with underground parking. They rehabilitated the severely deteriorated cottage, restoring the porch and original siding, and saving most decorative eaves. The rescued landmark retains its original qualities and historic character for the community.


Historic Preservation Award: R.D. Farquhar Residence, 147 Georgina Avenue

This French Beaux-arts Period Revival home was designed in 1911 by master architect R. D. Farquhar for himself and his wife, the daughter of Santa Monica co-founder, Senator John P. Jones. After it was moved from its original site at 628 San Vicente in 1952, additions and alterations were made. The current owners removed unsympathetic rear additions and modernized the house while preserving the home’s spirit. Original architectural features and materials on the façade were restored and a new rear wing created. An existing garage was repurposed as a guest house and studio, and a new garage was constructed. All rehabilitation work previously specified in the Mills Act contract for this property was revisited or upgraded.


Preservation Advocacy Award: Susan Suntree and Diane Miller with Friends of 11th Street and Mid City Neighbors

Susan Suntree (left) with Diane Miller (right).

Early this year, Susan Suntree, with her co-chair Diane Miller, won a decades-long battle to designate a handful of early Santa Monica bungalows. Located between Wilshire Boulevard and Arizona Avenue, the neighborhood was zoned for multi-family development, and little remained of the original bungalows. With the support of Friends of 11th Street and Mid City Neighbors, these efforts won the support of the Landmarks Commission and this small group of early 20th century vernacular homes will continue to provide a window into the character of Santa Monica’s first Townsite tract.


Preservation Advocacy Award: Margaret Bach

A member and Chair of the inaugural Landmarks Commission beginning in 1976, Margaret Bach served again on the Commission beginning in 2006 and was appointed Commission Historian in 2014. She initiated an education program at each monthly meeting, using her research to offer portraits of various aspects of Santa Monica’s history. Her reports provided a rich context for Commission meetings and are now being shared more widely through local media, enriching our community’s awareness of local history.

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