Historic Preservation

Top Gun / Graves House Restoration

The Graves House was built in 1887. It is a prime example of oceanfront folk Victorian architecture. It is one of the oldest surviving houses in Oceanside. In 1985 the house was used as a filming location for the blockbuster movie Top Gun. The house is now affectionally referred to as the “Top Gun House.”

The scope included relocation and exterior rehabilitation. The historic house was relocated from its original site one block south on the same street fronting the Pacific Ocean. The house was moved twice; first to a temporary site to allow an underground parking structure to be constructed and finally to its new site framed by a resort hotel.

The exterior restoration included the demolition of a non-historic addition on the east side, restoration of the front, side and rear porches, repair and restoration of the exterior horizontal wood cladding, restored and replicated doors and windows, reconstruction of missing ridge cresting utilizing historic photos as a guide, restoration of the front and rear porch stairs, restoration and reconstruction of decorative woodwork, and reconstruction of the brick chimney.

Through the detailed documentation of existing elements and review of historic photographs, the design team was able to carefully restore all of the original decorative woodwork. Historic photos served as a critical reference for the detailing and reconstruction of the front and rear porch stairs, newel posts and railings, which were non-existing at the time of relocation.

This was a multi-decade project. Work began in 2007 when the City of Oceanside required historic documentation. The financial crisis of 2008 and threats of litigation delayed the project for several years. Work was not completed until this year. Structural upgrades were necessary to stabilize the roof and walls and new electrical and plumbing systems were installed to accommodate a new retail tenant, proposed to be an ice cream shop. The house is much beloved by the community and is a symbol of Oceanside and its military and beach culture.

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  • Project Awarded

    Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    N. Pacific Street & Pier View Way

    Project Owner/Developer:

    SD Malkin Properties

    Owner Contact Name/Email:

    Jeremy Cohen / jzcohen@sdmalkin.com

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Heritage Architecture & Planning

    Image Credit:

    Heritage Architecture & Planning


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P.O. Box 122228
San Diego, CA 92112-2228
Federal Tax ID: 95-3513927

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