The Fourth Annual Echo Park Home Tour provided not just a chance to punish our lungs walking up streets so steeply graded I often go out of my way to avoid driving them, it offered a chance to gossip (about houses, dogs, people), snoop and set aside ambivalent or guilty feelings about how “fancy” the Echo has become since the latest turn of the century. True to Echo Park, several of the nine houses were very small. I would guess that one of them – a “stair street” cottage (even though there were no stairs, just a paved somewhat vertical walkway) seemed about 800 square feet total; it has been occupied for the last forty years by a pair of ballet dancers, a married couple who painted murals in the living room. Walking through was like visiting a music box – albeit one with pictures of John Lennon and yellowed cloth-bound books. Another small, exquisite house was originally built from a Sears kit for garages: tiny house, huge view, enormous personality. Not on the tour: The smallest Echo park home I know of is on a stair street and is about two hundred-some square feet; not surprisingly, it recently rented to a young woman relocating from New York City.
Photo: November 2006, by Martin Cox