Portuguese Bend Beach Club Home Is A Rare Pueblo Design With Ocean Views

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by Stephanie Cartozian

The “Flintstone House” behind the gates of the Portuguese Bend Beach Club is owned by Fred Lee, himself, a stonemason. Lee is the founder and former CEO of Ramcon Industrial Corporation, Torrance, which is a general engineering contractor specializing in the petrochemical industry. He’s also an avid fisherman whose favorite trolling expedition is four days to his “sweet spot” at Hurricane Bank. When he’s lucky, he still has four days to get home, but with a boat overflowing with yellowfin and bluefin tuna.

Fred Lee is a retired local entrepreneur, avid fisherman and racing driver. Photo by Tony LaBruno

Lee bought what neighbors call the “Flintstone House” in 2008. The house was remodeled in 1953 and has a bird’s eye view of the Pacific. His passion for collecting and racing cars, including a 1998 Dodge Viper and a 1968 Shelby Mustang, rivals his passion for fishing.

He retired two years ago as CEO of Ramcon Industries, a $200 million company.

The interior resembles a luxury liner, an effect enhanced by porthole-style lights and floor-to-ceiling windows. Skylights above the dining area and one bathroom let in more light and ocean breezes. Lee built the mosaic bar.

The architecture is in the Contemporary Pueblo style, with enclosed beamed ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, and an expansive redwood-style deck with a custom hot tub and outdoor shower – all offering panoramic views of the ocean.

“I will see whales spouting and spying from my living room and from my patio,” Lee said.

In the early 1970s, Lee lived in Lancaster and Bakersfield where his grandfather and uncle taught him mining and stone masonry. They worked closely with the owners of Sepulveda Building Materials in Gardena.

“Where the Peninsula Center is now, we would excavate the stone, scrape it and palletize it, then sell it to building material companies,” Lee said.

When it started, he says, Highridge Road was just a stretch of Hawthorne Boulevard. Truckloads of rocks that he, his uncle and grandfather excavated from there led to the construction of Highridge Road.

This work led to a bid from a construction and engineering firm in Bakersfield specializing in refinery work. While on a special assignment in South Bay, he decided he wanted to stay. Thus, in 1995, he founded Ramcon Industries and bought the “Flintstone House” in 2008.

Modern Pueblo or Pueblo Revival homes are rare in California, and more common in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, and San Antonio, Texas. The architecture originated in the southwestern United States and was inspired by the Spanish missions.

This Yacht Harbor Drive home offers a resort-style environment with an outdoor hot tub overlooking the private Portuguese Bend Beach Club. Photo by Walkthrough Productions

Notable examples of Pueblo Revival architecture include the Museum of New Mexico Art in Santa Fe, the Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Painted Desert Inn in Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

The stone mosaic bar was built by Lee and the oversized deck and wood-style flooring add an earthy effect to a home that takes full advantage of its natural surroundings. Photo by Walkthrough Productions

Lee’s house uses brick and concrete instead of adobe. The thick, battered walls have been stuccoed and painted in earth tones. The roof is flat, which is typical of this style of architecture. Thick concrete columns flank the front door and cross the inner courtyard.

Lee recently put his nearly three-decade-old home on the market.

“I have family in the Midwest, I still have places to see, so I’m undecided on my exact next location.” said Lee. Pen

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