William Mellenthin began building homes in 1930’s and 40’s, during the housing boom in the San Fernando Valley. In the 1950’s, he bought the 12 acre estate of Buck Jones in Sherman Oaks, and planned a subdivision full of his signature rustic homes, which featured quaint details inspired by the Crafts architects in England. His son Michael came aboard and continued to produce homes for the company. Throughout the valley, these homes began to be known as Mellenthin “birdhouses”, distinctive for their birdhouse structure over the garage, and for the diamond pane windows, red brick fireplaces, welcoming front porches, pine paneled kitchens, and storybook touches that we associate with the optimistic family images of the 1950’s. The look of Mellenthin homes has become a trademark of the landscape of the San Fernando Valley, in neighborhoods such as the Hidden Woods and Chandler estates of Sherman Oaks.
Many of these homes have been remodeled out of recognition, but some still exist today, in their well-maintained condition. The recent appreciation of the charm and nostalgia these homes exude, as well as their quality construction, has made them a collector’s dream, and has kept their values high, even in a volatile market.