A BIRDHOUSE IN PARADISE: William Mellenthin and the San Fernando Valley Ranch Homes
A book on the life and work of William Mellenthin, and his son, Mike Mellenthin
Written by Chris Lukather, Foreword by Alan Hess
UPDATED EDITION! AVAILABLE NOW!
In the 1950s and ’60s housing developments began peppering the land outside of Los Angeles. Affordable, family-friendly communities like the San Fernando Valley initiated an exodus to the suburbs. It was in the Valley that designer-builder William Mellenthin developed his singular brand of cozy, charming home. They became known as the Mellenthin Birdhouse ranch home—so called because they featured a cupola or dovecote built prominently into the roof. Architect, author and historian, Alan Hess, describes why Mellenthin’s homes were so coveted. “The dovecote, or bird house, (Mellenthin) incorporated prominently into gables facing the public street reinforced the straight-shooting, unpretentious utilitarianism and friendly rural values of the times.”
Gathering information from original Mellenthin homeowners, articles, brochures, as well as the Mellenthin family, A Birdhouse in Paradise reveals many facts and details about this industrious and influential man. The volume features rare photographs and documents (many never seen before) that illustrate a young, burgeoning San Fernando Valley as it became “the new suburban paradise,” as well as floorplans and photographs of the iconic, Ranch Home.
Contains new information on William Mellenthin’s son, Mike Mellenthin, a home builder like his father. Mike graduated from USC with a degree in engineering. Mike was a numbers guy and his homes were built to perfection—updating and improving the design and build of the famous Birdhouse ranch homes that his father had originated. Exclusive photos and information.
120 pages, black and white & color photographs, soft cover.
Rare, never-before-seen photos and documents.
June 6, 2018
I was interested in the history of the architecture of homes that I grew up with in the valley. Beautiful pictures and interesting story. Now I know why the quirky add on to the ranch style were done. Highly recommend
May 29, 2018
I lived in a Mellenthin neighborhood as a child and have never seen these adorable homes get their due until now. Good photos, too.
March 13, 2018
I love this book! A rare find about an often overlooked contribution to Southern California architecture. This book offers great insight into a post WW2 storybook chapter of Americana that played out in the developing San Fernando Valley suburbs of Los Angeles. Great photos, both new and archival. Highly recommended to anyone interested in Southern California history or architecture.