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Vintage SoCal: An original from the dawn of Venice of America

Vintage SoCal: An original from the dawn of Venice of America
The two-family Venice property, built in 1905, is an example of the Islamic-Byzantine architectural style. (Nils Timm)

Antiquated homes often have a story to tell, but few that remain standing are as directly entwined with the history of their locations as the Rialto House in Venice. The eye-catching original was built in 1905, the same year that developer Abbot Kinney founded the seaside resort town.

Canals were dug, gondoliers were brought from Italy and a pier was erected as part of his vision for the Venice of America. A miniature railroad encircled the area. Camel rides drew visitors. Cars were not yet ubiquitous, so waterways and footpaths were abundant.

The architecture of homes for the development included the grand and the exotic. Kinney was inspired by the Islamic-Byzantine style in creating this three-story house. The carved-wood fascia, stained glass and rotundas give the home a distinct appearance. Other original features include hardwood floors, period stair railings, wainscoting and bay windows.

Inside, an elegant foyer opens to a spacious dining room. The adjacent living room leads to a marble-floored sunroom, where natural light floods in through leaded-glass windows.

The second story contains three bedrooms, an office and a balcony. A staircase with detailed woodwork leads to a third-story studio bedroom and bathroom and provides access to the rooftop deck.

The two-family Venice property, built in 1905, is an example of the Islamic-Byzantine architectural
The two-family Venice property was built in 1905. Halton Pardee Archives

There’s an 840-square-foot guesthouse above the three-car garage for a total of five bedrooms, five bathrooms and nearly 3,000 square feet of living space.

The multifamily home has been restored over the years by a series of owners. The current yellow with green trim approximates the home’s original palette.

The one-bedroom apartment was remodeled to match the architecture and finishes in the main house.

The property, at 453 Rialto Ave., is listed at $3.985 million with Penny Muck and Tamra Pardee, both with Halton Pardee & Partners.

This occasional feature celebrates Southern California’s architectural heritage through homes built before 1950.

Submit candidates for Vintage SoCal to lauren.beale2@latimes.com.

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