Robert Jay Chattel, AIA, President

“Integrating historic preservation into mainstream planning and architecture is vitally important to our communities.”

13417 Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks  |   818-788-7954   |

Chattel Architecture, Planning & Preservation, Inc. is a full-service historic preservation consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The firm represents governmental agencies and private ventures, offering historic resources evaluation and project effects analysis, in addition to consultation on federal, state and local historic preservation statutes and regulations. Owner Robert Jay Chattel has worked in historic preservation for nearly 30 years. He wanted to be an architect from an early age, often building LEGO block houses and cities. His interest in historic preservation came about when he was in architecture school at Berkeley. He studied historic preservation at Columbia University, where he received a graduate degree in 1983. He started his own consulting practice in 1994.

What would you like potential clients to know about you?

“We work on a wide range of projects, including deciding if a property is `historic.’ If so, we collaborate with the property owner and design architect to achieve a project that is sensitive to the historic fabric. We also survey communities to identify eligible properties and districts, and write the policies that help protect and reuse them.”

What’s most rewarding about your work?

“Each day is new and different, and the properties we study offer such variety—from Mission Santa Barbara, where we are implementing a federal Save America’s Treasures grant with the National Park Service and California Missions Foundation, to a 1950s trailer park we recently evaluated in Santa Monica.”

What are some of the challenges you face keeping outdoor areas looking lush and beautiful with our typically dry climate?

“We often find drought-tolerant landscaping to be more appropriate for our southern California projects. We prefer not planting adjacent to historic buildings, because water intrusion, and especially vines, cause deterioration.”

What is the most popular home improvement trend your customers ask for?

“Demolition! As you can probably guess, we actively discourage demolition, working with property owners to devise creative solutions to retaining historic buildings while meeting their project goals.”

What do you like to do for fun, when you’re not at work?

“When I’m not enjoying the new ‘skinny’ margarita at Casa Vega, I’m tending to my collection of bottle trees, which create good chi in my backyard.”