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Monday, July 13, 2009

What to do after the "Stucco Bird" has left its mark on your neighborhood

The sight of a laborer carrying rolls of chicken wire and black tar paper and sacks of stucco mix down the street sends many a preservationist into depression. Why? It's a likely sign that a neighbor is going to have their wood shingled bungalow slathered in a coat of stucco. Many lovers of wood-sized homes have watched helplessly as what one Highland Park preservationist called "The Stucco Bird" has dropped a load of pastel-colored sand and Portland cement on another wood-sided house.

A renter living in an old house near downtown Los Angeles recently asked Curbed LA for advice on how to talk the landlord out of possibly "stuccoing" the shingled house. Local historical groups, like the Echo Park Historical Society (I'm a board member) and Highland Park Heritage Trust, have over the years distributed "Don't Stucco" brochures. But unless the house is located in a historic preservation zone, such as those in Angeleno Heights or Highland Park, there is not much a stucco fighter can do.

However, as the video of a Highland Park "de-stuccoing shows, there is a way to undo the damage the Stucco Bird has left behind.


  1. Good video -- interesting to watch. I'd strongly recommend that any de-stucco-izers wear a respirator mask (the same kind you'd use when painting with oil-based paints or around other chemicals). That stucco dust can't be good for a person.

  2. I once wrote a letter petitoning the city council office to reconsider the use of stucco to remodel wood-shingled homes. The response was "We find stucco to be an adequate building material."