Thursday, December 23, 2004
Michael and Elizabeth Lynberg have a home in Pacific Grove that looks to have been lifted directly from background scenes in James McElroy’s, L.A. Confidential. It’s evocative of black-and-white crime novels set in southern California not because the house was built in 1926 and remains as it was then. It’s not the pink/peach exterior; the archways over entryways that seem diminutive compared to modern homes; not the Spanish tile roof; nor all those features combined, though they do offer half the explanation. The clincher for the Hollywood genre effect is a long line of thick palm trees sixty feet tall that front the house for more than a block. Approaching from either direction one has the immediate feeling of time returned to film noir.
“Maybe that’s one reason we were so drawn to this particular house” Michael Lynberg says. “We lived in areas around UCLA for a while. Houses like this are all through there, in Santa Monica and other neighborhoods.”
Another aspect of the property that adds to the mystique is a studio at the back with its own entrance and own garden gate, the type of place where ‘30s screenwriters sat at heavy black Royal typewriters, smoking themselves through sleepless rewrites, at least as the movies show it. “That studio was my office for the five years we lived here,” Michael says. “It’s the perfect writer’s studio.” Michael has eight books published and more in the planning stages.
The Lynbergs rented the house for the first year they were here. It is the house Elizabeth and their baby son had come to find in California all the way from the family’s Boston base.
“While we were tenants here, we would look at other houses to buy,” Michael says. “Each time we’d get lucky and find something we thought we liked, we’d come home to realize we so much preferred this house that we were willing to stay here our whole lives if nothing matched it.”
Choosing not to be tenants forever, they asked the owner if he would consider an offer. It was accepted and they began a very contented embrace of the house for four more years. What finally did give them a reason to move was the birth of their second son and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase a bigger home at a good price from good friends. “We’re happy with our new house, but I really miss that studio and my ten second commute to work everyday,”Michael says.
The Historical Society of Pacific Grove has shown an interest in the house at 533 Pine for it’s authenticity and excellent condition. The society requires a percentage of any home they want to designate to be true to its builder. The Lynberg’s home earned a 100 percent rating. It was deemed either a Mediterranean Revival or a Spanish Eclectic, both of which bring smiles to Elizabeth and Michael. “We’re just proud they admired it,” Michael says.
The Lynbergs rewired both buildings, put in copper plumbing and replaced counters and sinks. “I actually painted the whole inside of the house by myself,” Elizabeth says. The colors there are warm and soft and hint at the blush of a sleepy sun nodding behind the Hollywood hills, the time when long shadows of palm fronds might imperceptively sway around a curvy, satin-clad blonde leaning against the archway, pensive and waiting in the evening air.
Price $1,025,000. 533 Pine, Pacific Grove. Contact Peggy Jones 917-4534 The Jones Group Coast & Country Real Estate