East of Kester and one block south of Vanowen, along the 14800 block of tree-shaded Lemay Street, a trio of old, early 20th Century houses stands intact.

14836 is perfectly renovated, beautifully painted in dark gray paint, white trim and white picket fence, looking as if it were picked off the pristine Pasadena streets, flown through the clouds and dropped here gently.

14842 has not yet undergone the external transformations, but its original architecture seems to have been little changed.

14848 is the largest and grandest and most eccentric and is built with massive roof overhangs, a Wisteria covered pergola, a deep and long porch and an array of tropical plants. It is painted in various blues and browns and seems also under some renovation.

Van Nuys has many gracious and heartfelt pockets of old.

And Van Nuys, central to the San Fernando Valley, and its local seat of government, serviced by highways and public transportation and industry, this maligned and misunderstood district is still awaiting an infusion of money and imagination, sweat and vision which has been sorely lacking here since at least 1975.

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