The House That Al Built, With a Twist

The House That Al Built, With a Twist

Beth Zeigler
Aug 27, 2010

Name: Al TeMan, Construction
Location: Silver Lake — Los Angeles, CA
Size: 2,000 + square feet
Years lived in: 13 years — owned

Arriving at Al TeMan's house on the day of our Apartment Therapy shoot can only be described as extraordinary. While, yes, Al's house is ginormous in size, it also bursts with a passion for life that most folks work a lifetime to achieve. Al is a charismatic individual himself and was more than happy to show me around (while giving me a history lesson as we walked the property).

Al stumbled upon the house in 1994--and at the time, it sat condemned by the city following the Northridge earthquake. In the coming years, Al added square footage and created a house that green activists would be proud of. Instead of buying new materials, Al uses found and salvaged pieces--in fact every piece of wood in the house is salvaged. Take for instance the downstairs bathroom's windows (they're from Edgar Rice Burroughs' home). A television show is in the works where camera crews will follow Al around town, showing Angelenos where to look for buried treasures. His coolest finds have to be music sheets written for Frank Sinatra by famed composer Nelson Riddle (Al was able to turn his score into a profit when he sold them to the Library of Congress). But most of the rare finds he holds onto--like the larger than life glass mosaic in the downstairs recording studio. It once sat as a table in Big N Tall Books but when the store closed, everything had to go. Turns out the beautiful piece was created by Karin van Leyden (a German artist who migrated to Brentwood in the 1940s). These large glass murals were coveted at the time and even found their way into the home of Rita Hayworth.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Reclaimed/Recycled Architecture

Inspiration: Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top

Favorite Element: All the old wood and metal

Biggest Challenge: Building a showcase home for next to nothing

What Friends Say: OMG--Your house is amazing!

Biggest Embarrassment: The fact that I'm not done yet

Proudest DIY: The attic conversion into the "Landlords Lair"

Biggest Indulgence: My vast collection of nail guns

Best Advice: Keep your eyes open!

Dream Sources: The street

Thanks, Al!

Images: Beth Zeigler

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