Keeping the Last Century Alive in Los Angeles

Patricia Kirk profiles Dave Goldstein, a Los Angeles native on a mission to preserve, restore, and rent historic residences throughout Hollywood.
March 24, 2012, 7am PDT | Ryan Lue
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Known by his followers as the "Duke of Art Deco," Dave Goldstein has a reputation for fidelity to the style. He purchased his first vintage apartment 25 years ago, and has since accumulated a portfolio of over 30 properties that he restores and rents out, cultivating "a following of art deco and Hollywood groupies" in the process, as Kirk puts it.

The apartments, previously occupied by the likes of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, have survived the better part of the 20th century, and naturally fetch higher-than-average rents for the area. Some were even commissioned by Hollywood greats, like Charlie Chaplin or Jack Haley (the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz). But, Kirk explains, he's not in it for the money.

"It's a hobby that got out of hand," says Goldstein, who used to restore old cars, as well. "Most restoration is original materials, and that's hard to do and turn a profit." Kirk elaborates, "his properties are profitable only because he bought many of them 20 to 30 years ago at one-third today's value... [he] has paid as much as $300 for the right doorknob."

According to John Thomas, president of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, Goldstein's work has even increased the value of nearby properties, because of their impact on the aesthetic of the neighborhood.

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Published on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in Urban Land
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