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Owner wants to destroy Carpenters' house

House was featured on "Now & Then" album
February 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The owner of the Downey house where Karen and Richard Carpenter put together some of their biggest hits in the 1970s wants to raze the place. "This house is our version of Graceland," Jon Konjoyan told the Los Angeles Times. The 57-year-old Toluca Lake music writer and promoter is leading an effort to save the house from destruction. A studio/office on the property has already been torn down. The Newville Avenue compound became a magnet for fans when it was pictured on the cover of the brother and sister duo's 1973 hit album "Now & Then." An anorexic Karen Carpenter also collapsed at the house before dying in 1983. Her parents remained there until their deaths, and Richard Carpenter sold the house in 1997.

The current owners, Manuel and Blanca Melendez Parra, could not be reached for comment Friday. Their daughter, Jessica Parra, said interest in the home caught her family by surprise.

At first, the Parras invited fans inside and gave away autographed posters and other items that Richard Carpenter had left behind when the property was sold.

"In the beginning, we let everybody in. But honestly, it became horrible, not only for us but for the neighborhood,"' Parra, a 26-year-old law student, told the newspaper. "People peek in windows and take pictures. They leave flowers on the front porch."

Her father, who is from Cuba, has no emotional attachment to the house. "My dad has said, 'Fine, if they like it so much, then buy it,"' she said.

Downey officials said plans for a new residence on the site of the main house have been submitted, but no demolition permit has been issued.


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