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2022 calendar features historic homes in Costa Mesa’s east side, benefits Historical Society

 Renee Pina poses Thursday with a 2022 calendar of historic homes in front of her own east side Costa Mesa residence.
Realtor Renee Pina holds a 2022 calendar of historic homes Thursday in front of her own east side Costa Mesa residence. A business member of the city’s Historical Society, Pina created the publication to raise awareness and funds for the nonprofit.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer )

For Costa Mesa Realtor Renee Pina, historic houses have always held a certain fascination, not only for their inherent charm but for the stories they tell about the history of the cities and neighborhoods where they stand.

“I’m passionate about old homes,” Pina said. “And when there’s so few of them, it becomes really intriguing — what’s their story? Where do they come from?”

Learning the provenance of local structures is part of the job for Pina, who’s sold real estate for nearly 25 years and runs the agency Pina & Co. But it’s also a passion project and a skill she recently put to use in the creation of a new 2022 calendar, “Historic Homes of East Side Costa Mesa.”

Hot off the presses, the calendar features an array of vintage homes built between 1900 and 1930, some erected in a still nascent and unincorporated Costa Mesa and others relocated in the first quarter of the 20th century.

The month of January shows a photo of an Eastside Heights home, built in 1915, along Tustin Avenue in Costa Mesa.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A business member of the Costa Mesa Historical Society, Pina created the publication with break-neck speed, contacting the owners of notable properties individually, arranging photo shoots and even seeking out well-known and longtime local businesses to sponsor months in the calendar.

Proceeds from those sponsorships, which include a logo and background information on the business, as well as the suggested $10 purchase price of each calendar will benefit the nonprofit Historical Society.

“These iconic restaurants and businesses are part of supporting this effort of preserving the history and the treasures of this town,” Pina said. “We’re really trying to preserve these little bungalows.”

One sponsor is Kéan Coffee, which operates a coffeehouse on Westcliff Drive, on the border between Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, and another in Tustin.

Business owners Martin and Karen Diedrich were happy to participate in Pina’s calendar project, both as business sponsors and the proud homeowners of a 1928 Spanish bungalow on Costa Mesa’s Magnolia Street that’s featured in the calendar.

Karen Diedrich described how Pina knocked on her door earlier this month and began chatting her up about the house. Before too long, they were talking about historic homes in the area and having Kéan sponsor a month in the calendar.

The cover of a calendar created by Realtor Renee M. Pina features a 1928 Spanish bungalow on Costa Mesa's Magnolia Street.
The cover of a calendar created by local Realtor Renee M. Pina features a 1928 Spanish bungalow on Costa Mesa’s Magnolia Street.
(Courtesy of Renee M. Pina)

“It was only later that she said, ‘Could I send a photographer to take a picture of your home?’” she recalled.

Now, the calendar pays tribute to the home the Diedrichs purchased in 1993 and have lovingly cared for ever since. It’s where they married in 1995 and had their son, Kéan, three years later.

“My family has been living in east side Costa Mesa since 1973, and I wanted to buy a home in the neighborhood, because I liked the area,” said Martin Diedrich, a fourth-generation family member in the coffee trade.

Mary Ellen Goddard, a volunteer who oversees the Historical Society — open to the public on Thursdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. — said she was pleased to get a first look at the new calendar, which features full-color, modern images of many noteworthy homes previously archived in black and white or sepia tone.

“It’s a fine calendar, and hopefully it will be a nice fundraiser for the Historical Society,” Goddard said Thursday. “This will be a nice surprise for people to see the colorful homes. And if they’re really interested, they can come by here and see if we have old pictures of what they used to look like.”

Pina, a self-described “vintage home expert,” who herself purchased a mid-century home on Costa Mesa’s Orange Avenue and restored it in its original 1952 style, said the calendar is just the beginning of a mission she hopes will grow in years to come.

“We’re going to build on this calendar,” she said of her future plans. “Another dream of mine is having an historic home tour. Maybe we can make it a bike tour.”

Calendars can be purchased at the Costa Mesa Historical Society, Kéan Coffee or by visiting homevaluesineastsidecostamesa.com, emailing renee@reneempina.com or calling (949) 698-2003.

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