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THORNTON MONTAIGNE ABELL, AIA (1906-1984)

Abell attended University of Michigan 1924-1925; University of California, Berkeley 1927-1928; BA architecture, University of Southern California 1928-1931. Worked with Clare C. Hosmer in Sarasota FL 1925-1926; Joseph J. Kucera, Pasadena CA, 1926-1927; Marsh, Smith and Powell, Los Angeles CA, 1930-1942. In 1943, he started his own firm, Thornton M. Abell, Architect.

Abell won the 1949 AIA National Honor Award for Case Study House #7; Southern California Chapter, AIA, Dr. William S. Beck House, 1951; Top Honor Award, Southern California Chapter, AIA, Thornton M. Abell Office Building; Honor Award Citation, Southern California Chapter, AIA, Model House Southern California Construction Industry and Home Show, 1954. His archives are at UCSB. From 1953-1965 Abell taught at USC's School of Architecture. He was a world-renowned judge and breeder of iris and developed what is called the Black Iris. Research by Catherine Westergaard Cramer and Michael Locke.


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1933 - The John Hughes House, 364 Mesa Road, Santa Monica CA. Either unbuilt or incorrect address; needs verification. House at 364 Mesa was designed by Clarence L. Ricklefs for Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Hoerner in 1950. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1933 - The Bob Stringer Addition, Santa Monica CA.


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1936 - The James Oslund House, La Canada Flintridge CA.


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1937 - The Thornton M. Abell House, aka Petunia Hill, 469 Upper Mesa Road, Santa Monica CA.


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1937 - The Preston H. and Amy W. McClelland House, 677 San Lorenzo Street, Santa Monica CA. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1938 - The Holmes Ellis House, Temple CA.


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1939 - The Richard Woellhaf House, Santa Monica CA.


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1939 - The Norval Diamond House, location unknown.


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1939 - The E. C. Hillman House, Los Angeles CA.


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1939 - The Asston Zvolaneki Apartments, location unknown.


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1940 - The John G. Case Remodel, San Marino CA.


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1940 - The John Bonar Additions, 449 Upper Mesa Road, Santa Monica CA. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1941 - The Ida Fischer House, Aiglon Street and Muskingum Avenue, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1942 - The Arts and Architecture Magazine Second Residential Competition Entry.


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1943 - The "Post War Living" Competition Entry.


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1945 - The Herbert J. Yates House, 14050 and 14052 Valley Vista Boulevard, Los Angeles CA. Yates was the founder and president of Republic Records. Deeded in 1966 to his widow, Věra Helena Hrubá Ralston, a Czechoslovakian figure skater who reportedly insulted Adolf Hitler during the 1936 Winter Olympics when he asked if she would like to "skate for the swastika" and she "looked him right in the eye, and said that 'I'd rather skate on the swastika.'" Text and photo by Michael Locke.


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1945 - The Herbert J. Yates Remodel, 14051 Valley Vista Boulevard, Los Angeles CA. Destroyed and replaced in 1991 by a Spanish Colonial Revival style house designed by Kamran Kabrizi, above photo by Michael Locke.


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1945 - The Arts and Architecture Magazine Case Study House #7 First Scheme, Los Angeles CA.


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1945 - The Etienne and Catherine Ret House, 239 Amalfi Drive, Santa Monica CA.


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1945 - The Taylor P. and Lena D. Green House, 322 Amalfi Drive, Santa Monica CA. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1945 - The E. F. Moffit and Marta Divers House, 6622 Shadygrove Street, Tujunga CA.


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1946 - The Gustav Gilbert House and Remodel, 2451 West Seventh Street, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1945.


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1946 - The Oscar L. and Ethel Bond Mills Addition, 642 Toyopa Drive, Pacific Palisades CA. Commissioned 1945. Photos by Michael Locke.


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1946 - The Stephen Fusco Houses, San Jose Street and Encino Avenue, San Fernando CA.


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1946 - The B. G. Waters Remodel, 685 Amalfi Drive, Santa Monica CA. As of August 2020, undergoing a major renovation by architect Gregory Lance Bloomfield. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1946 - The Los Feliz Investments Tenants Housing, aka Horseshoe Ranch, Tripton CA.


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1947 - The Madeleine Q. Thomas Apartments, 939 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1946.


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1947 - The Martin J. Rowoldt Addition, 1335 North Genesee Street, Los Angeles CA.


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1947 - The Rex Thompson Apartments, Sycamore Avenue, Hollywood CA. Commissioned 1945.


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1948 - The Pedro and Henriette Miller House, 3201 West Palos Verdes Drive, Palos Verdes, CA. Commissioned 1946. Addition built in 1955, also by Abell.


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1948 - The Lester H. Wilcox Case Study House #7, 634 North Deerfield Avenue, San Gabriel CA. Commissioned 1945.


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1949 - The John Carlisle House, Via Ramon, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1946.


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1949 - The Henry W. and Rosalie Waltz Remodel, 670 Hampden Place, Pacific Palisades CA. Addition of garage and storeroom; built by Albert W. Jenewein. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1949 - The John D. Chase House, 500 Amalfi Drive, Santa Monica CA. Commissioned 1948.


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1949 - The A. Bordon Polson House, 707 Linda Flora Drive, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1948.


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1949 - The Rudolf Hrubá and Věra Ralston House, 11743 El Cerro Lane, North Hollywood CA. Commissioned 1948. Unbuilt.


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1949 - The Alan Leslie Alterations, 525 North Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles CA.


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1949 - The Tom Kelley House, Chatsworth CA.


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1949 - The Martin J. Rowoldt Apartments, Antelope Valley CA.


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1950 - The William S. Beck House, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1949.


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1950 - The D. J. Bloomberg House, 17251 Oakview Drive, Encino CA.


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1951 - The Richard and Leonora Haines House, 247 Amalfi Drive, Santa Monica CA. Commissioned 1950. Built by William Wallace Reid. The Haineses lived at 477 Upper Mesa Road (also designed by Abell) while the house was being built. Two bedrooms, a bath, and a covered patio added in 1954, designed by Abell. Detached hobby room added in 1960 also by Abell. Remodeled in 1998 by architect Ignaco Fernandez. Addition designed in 2016 by Karen-Scott Prentice Architects. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1951 - The Franklin D. Crosby Ranch, Malibu CA.


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1951 - The Powell Grady Remodel, Los Angeles CA.


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1951 - The Hillside Investment Company Inc. House Tract, 2 Panorama Drive, Yucaipa CA.


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1951 - The Mantle Hood House, 386 Mesa Road, Santa Monica CA. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1952 - The Los Angeles Seventh National Home Show and Building Exposition Model Home, aka The Californian, Inglewood CA.


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1952 - The Hatch Steel House, location unknown.


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1952 - The Louis Kornik House and Remodel, Grossmont CA.


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1952 - The Mary Miller House, Palos Verdes CA.


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1953 - The Joseph Thomas, Jr. House, Santa Monica CA.


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1953 - The J. A. Edmundson House, location unknown.


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1954 - The Robert F. Baron House, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1953.


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1954 - The Frank Tanner House, Green Lane, La Canada Flintridge CA. Commissioned 1953.


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1954 - The Walter O. Halden House, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1950.


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1954 - The Lawrence Zelkin Project, Los Angeles CA.


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1955 - The Paul and Beverly Pratt Fix Addition, 34 Haldeman Road, Santa Monica CA. Commissioned 1954. Contractor Pat Hamilton added a study and bath over the garage. Peter Paul Fix was a film and television character actor best known for portraying Marshal Micah Torrance, opposite Chuck Connors's character in The Rifleman from 1958 to 1963. Photo and text by Michael Locke.


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1955 - The Albert W. Edmundson House, Santa Monica CA.


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1955 - The Harold P. Ullman House, 800 Woodacres Road, Santa Monica CA. Remodeled in 1979-1980, also by Abell.


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1956 - The David Shonerd House and Additions, 130 Ipswich Street, Playa Del Rey CA. Commissioned 1952.


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1956 - The Thomas D. and Simone Mostovoy Hormel House, 1268 Roscomare Road, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1955. Robert S. Barry was the builder. Abell also built an addition in 1975. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1956 - The Leonard Rose Remodel, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1956 - The Lawrence Kamber House, 599 Amalfi Drive, Santa Monica CA.


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1956 - The Francis Michael and Vivian Bellveau Dunne Remodel, 340 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Original house built in 1940. Built by Carroll Nordquist. Francis Michael Dunne was an actor; his professional name was Stephen Dunne. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1956 - The David M. Shonerd House, 1048 La Vista Road, Santa Barbara CA.


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1957 - The Nancy Sainsbury Walkey House, 9 Rivas Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades CA. Commissioned 1956. Additions built in 1964, also by Abell.


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1957 - The Thomas G. and Rosaleen Wheeler Renovation, 234 Vance Street, Pacific Palisades CA. Carroll Nordquist was the contractor. Sold to Nelson and Hildegarde Gidding, who commissioned Abell in 1967 to design a remodel and addition of a study, bath, and retaining wall. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1957 - The T. C. Howard Remodel, location unknown.


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1958 - The L. B. Adelman House, 1035 Summit Drive, Beverly Hills CA. Commissioned 1955. Drawings in Abell’s archive show that both O'Neil & Associates (a Texas firm) and Thornton Abell were architects for this project. Also in the file are drawings for the 1981 addition of an "inclinator" (elevator).


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1958 - The Joseph Luchachevitch House, 1299 Sunset Plaza Drive, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1957. There is a building permit, but address no longer exists. Status unknown.


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1958 - The Marion A. and Louise Manderbach Remodel, 817 Sylvanoak Drive, Glendale CA. Original house built in 1947. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1958 - The Boris R. Leven House, 703 Greentree Road, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1959 - The Christine Reber Houses, 1516 and 1518 East Valley Road, Montecito CA. Commissioned 1957. Abell designed duplexes side by side, for sisters Christine Reber and Mary McKeen Niedringhaus (see next entry).


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1959 - The Mary McKeen Niedringhaus Houses, 1524 and 1526 East Valley Road, Montecito CA. Commissioned 1957.


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1959 - The Augustus C. P. Bakos House, 8616 Allenwood Road, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1958. Addition built in 1964-1966, also by Abell.


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1959 - The Richard Mohr House, 1266 Chautauqua Boulevard, Pacific Palisades CA. Commissioned 1958. Carport and storage room added in 1979, also designed by Abell. Architect Susie S. Yanagi remodeled the house in 2004. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1959 - The Marinette Andrews Addition, 235 Adelaide Drive, Santa Monica CA.


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1959 - The Philip Sampson Remodel, Los Angeles CA.


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1959 - The Les Baxter House, Los Angeles CA.


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1960 - The J. C. Hormell House, 630 Nimes Road, Bel Air CA. Commissioned 1958.


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1960 - The Allen Gwyn Project, Los Angeles CA.


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1960 - The Robert Willoughby Addition, 6 Rivas Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1960 - The Jarred Abell House, 102 Poshard Street, Pleasant Hill CA.


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1961 - The Eugene Farber Remodel, 12310 Rochedale Lane, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1951.


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1961 - The Karl Buck Addition, 1160 Glen View Drive, Fullerton CA. Commissioned 1960.


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1961 - The Katheryn and Arthur Newfield House, 250 South Burlingame Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1960. Replaced in 1998 (above photo) by a different house designed by Douglas Burdge. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1961 - The Joseph V. and Constance P. Shirley Remodel, 968 Linda Flora Drive, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1960. Joe Shirley was the contractor. The house was originally designed for the Shirleys in 1952 by architect Carl Maston. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1961 - The Paul F. Smith House, 200 Arno Way, Pacific Palisades CA. Commissioned 1960. Destroyed in 2011. New house built in 2012 by Ivan Svitek, above photo by Michael Locke.


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1961 - The William G. Meals House, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1960.


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1961 - The Paul Figen Remodel, 273 Trino Way, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1962 - The Burt Goldner Remodel, 3266 Woodbine Drive, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1961.


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1962 - The Norman Roller House, 4090 Robin Hill Road, La Canada Flintridge, CA. Commissioned 1958.


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1962 - The Frederick Nicholas Remodel, 15000 Altata Drive, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1962 - The Paul Goldman Remodel, 641 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Original house built in 1942 and designed by architect John Byers for Richard and Paget Neblett. The house was further remodeled by Edla Muir in 1968 and Paul Sterling Hoag in 1984. Abell's name does not appear on existing permits. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1962 - The Lee Laine Remodel, 616 Georgina Avenue, Santa Monica CA.


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1963 - The Marshall Siskin Remodel, 314 South Westgate Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1961. Destroyed in 2010 and replaced in 2011 by a house (above photo) designed by architect Mo Borghei for Farshad Hazakzedah. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1963 - The Sol Bear Fielding Remodel, 11930 Kearsarge Street, Los Angeles CA.


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1963 - The Grider and Hamilton Tract, Hollywood CA.


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1963 - The Ralph La Pietra House, 20653 West Seaboard Road, Malibu CA.


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1964 - The Rico and Constance Lebrun House and Studio, 6339 Bonsall Drive, Malibu CA. Commissioned 1962. Rico Lebrun was a widely known muralist. Sold to Constance Crown who commissioned alterations by Abell. Photos by Michael Locke


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1964 - The Alvin Koodish Alteration, 1341 Brinkley Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1962.


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1964 - The John H. Rubel Remodel, 416 South Bristol Avenue, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1963.


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1964 - The William Roennau Remodel, 804 Woodacres Road, Santa Monica CA. Commissioned 1963. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1964 - The Alan Leslie House, Las Alturas Circle, Santa Barbara CA.


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1965 - The Sylvan Schireson Remodel, 1571 North Crescent Heights Boulevard, West Hollywood CA. Commissioned 1964. Original house built in 1947.


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1965 - The Norman J. Abramson House, 30824 Cartier Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes CA. Commissioned 1964. Destroyed and replaced in 1997 by a Mediterranean Revival style house, above photo by Michael Locke.


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1965 - The Lee Balllsun Remodel, 4657 Encino Avenue, Encino CA. Original house built in 1923. Further alterations were commissioned in 1980, also by Abell.


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1965 - The Richard Hiatt Remodel, 404 Vía Almar, Palos Verdes Estates CA. Commissioned 1964. Destroyed. New Spanish Colonial style house built in 1991, above photo by Michael Locke.


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1965 - The Donald and Barbara Edinger Remodel, 831 Georgia Avenue, Santa Monica CA.


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1966 - The Marshall Siskin House, 12822 Highwood Street, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1964. Remodeled in 1969-1970, also by Abell. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1966 - The John and Constance Crown Remodel, 3397 Blair Drive, Los Angeles CA.


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1967 - The Herman Herzbrun Remodel, 4300 Empress Avenue, Encino CA. Commissioned 1965.


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1967 - The Jerome Rowitch Remodel, 310 South Westgate Avenue, Los Angeles CA.


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1967 - The Gustav R. and Miriam G. Rich House, 689 Elkins Road, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1966. Additions and remodeling were also commissioned in 1973. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1968 - The Thomas R. Pray House, 4500 Palos Verdes Drive East, Rancho Palos Verdes CA. Commissioned 1967. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1968 - The California Governor's Mansion Competition Entry, Sacramento CA.


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1968 - The Sol Bear Fielding House, Los Angeles CA.


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1969 - The Douglass P. Haner Mt. Olympus Competition Houses, Hollywood CA. Commissioned 1965.


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1969 - The Howard McElroy House, 10745 Chalon Road, Los Angeles CA.


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1970 - The James Maslon House, 10345 Strathmore Drive, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1969.


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1970 - The Bernard R. Kaufman House, 23301 Bessemer Street, Hidden Hills CA. Commissioned 1969.


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1970 - The Dan Freeman Remodel, 912 Stanford Street, Santa Monica CA.


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1971 - The Ramona Greb Addition, 441 Hillside Lane, Santa Monica CA.


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1972 - The Nelson Gidding House, Bansall Drive, Baja CA.


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1972 - The William H. Coleman Remodel, 321 Alma Real Drive, Pacific Palisades CA.


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1973 - The Bloom Remodel, 7225 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles CA.


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1974 - The H. Walter Croskey House, 29710 Cuthbert Road, Malibu CA. Commissioned 1972.


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1974 - The Karl Buck House, 4016 Calle Louisa, Cypress Shore, San Clemente CA. Commissioned 1972.


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1975 - The Stephen G. Nordinger House, Malibu CA. Commissioned 1972.


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1975 - The Noel and Susan Bloom House, 6995 Grasswood Avenue, Malibu CA. Commissioned 1973.


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1975 - The Allen Denney Remodel, 477 Upper Mesa Road, Santa Monica CA. Destroyed in 1991. A new house designed by architect Ellis D. Gelman was built in the same year, above photo by Michael Locke.


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1977 - The Elizabeth May Remodel, 468 Skyway Road, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1976.


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1977 - The Richard Arens Remodel, 12436 Deerbrook Lane, Los Angeles CA. Commissioned 1976.


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1978 - The James S. Turner Remodel, 1626 Gilcrest Drive, Beverly Hills CA. Original house built in 1948 and designed by Paul László. Abell remodeled the house extensively in 1978 and 1984. Photo by Michael Locke.


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1982 - The Monica Mays House Entrance, 449 Upper Mesa Road, Santa Monica CA.


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Year unknown - The Gene Norman House, location unknown.


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Year unknown - The Lodewick Lek Project, San Diego CA.


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Year unknown - The Sol Bear Fielding Apartments, Los Angeles CA.


Sources include: The Thornton Montaigne Abell Papers at the University of California Santa Barbara.