Developer Reza Assemi stands in front of the construction site for one of three homes he is building on Van Ness Boulevard in Fresno. Photo by Edward Smith

published on December 17, 2020 - 2:47 PM
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Three new homes are being built on Van Ness Boulevard in the heart of Fresno’s Christmas Tree Lane — each a modern reimagining of the historic neighborhood’s design.

Framing is done at one of the homes at 4264 Van Ness Ave. and foundations have been laid at the other two near Santa Ana Avenue. Developer Reza Assemi wanted the homes to match the street’s aesthetic.

Two of the homes being built, including the one at 4264 Van Ness Blvd., were designed in the Tudor style with tall, pitched roofs and vaulted ceilings.

Architects Marvin Armstrong and Gary Steinert designed the homes.

Assemi wanted to use elements from 1920s-era design that aren’t as common in modern homebuilding, but reimagined in a way that still meets today’s trends.

Tudor-style homes are largely compartmentalized, said Assemi, and many homebuyers now prefer open concepts where the kitchen and living rooms flow together. So Assemi worked with the architects to design a home that marries the two styles. He said the home maintains the “open-concept” feel by utilizing wide hallways and providing visibility from one room to the next.

“People enjoy more of an open floor plan, but I didn’t want to do something like in a lot of homes where it’s completely open because it wouldn’t feel right with the look of the home,” Assemi said.

The kitchen will be a modern one, with large islands at one end and a dining/living room at the other so people can congregate in the same room where food is being prepared.

“The home is centered around the kitchen — that’s where we spend most of our time,” Assemi said.

Large windows in each of the rooms allow for views of the old growth trees and during the holidays — Christmas Tree Lane.

“Once it gets dark on Christmas Tree Lane, it just glows,” Assemi said.

Many of the windows will have true-divided lites, or multi-paneled windows, as would Tudor-style homes.

The homes will feature four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms. There are guest rooms with a detached garage.

One of the homes will be built as a ranch-craftsman style because a Tudor style does not fit a large corner lot.

Assemi does not have a listing price for the homes yet. He plans to be finished by summer 2021. They are being built on spec.

Assemi does not do single-family homes very often, he says, but he jumped at the opportunity to imagine a space on the empty lots owned by his relative, Farid Assemi. Reza and Farid both enjoy old-style homes, Assemi said.

“You’re giving a heavy nod to the past,” Assemi said. “This was kind of fun the way it worked out.”

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