Sunday, May 2, 2010

Venice Garden and Home Tour May 2010

Hubby and I had a delicious day out on Saturday.  We took our bikes and joined in the Venice Garden and Home Tour (link here).  It was a great way to leave our own nagging little worries behind and indulge in a 3-D fantasy in glossy gleamy living color for an easygoing Saturday afternoon.

This is an annual tour benefitting a local youth group, Las Doradas Childrens Center for "at risk kids". The tour comprises distinctive homes in a delightful neighborhood close to the ocean. In Venice are gathered many modest homes housing ordinary families, but the neighborhood has been substantially transformed in recent years by ambitious and quirky architectural statements mixed into and as part of artistic/hippie enclaves and rustic and not-so-rustic celebrity hideaways basking in the brilliant sunshine.

The architecture, as in most of Los Angeles, is a mix of 20's "Craftsman", Spanish hacienda, and "modern", most of the last of which have been constructed in the past 10-15 years.   Make sure to check out the link above for more info on the history of the tour and the homes included over the years.

Although not everyone wants to be included in the tour, and have strangers traipsing through their house, many in the 'hood are "house-proud"and artistic and whatever the genre, have spruced up their homes or restored them lovingly to former glory.  Architects and landscape designers are drawn to the area through identification with others working in the same fields and as a way to find community, competitive impulses, and the obvious benefits of showcasing their ideas in a context that shows them off to their best advantage.  

Streets are colorful,

exuberantly planted, and welcoming. 

Here is a gorgeously restored Arts and Crafts house with a vegetable and herb garden out front.

The restful interior, with gleaming white magazine-layout kitchen at the back, makes for a comfortable, restrained, soothing environment.  I have to admit to a terrible weakness for Craftsman style homes.  This house really got my heart rate up when I saw it.  I had NO idea what was yet to come!

Here's a more exuberant Craftsman cottage, planted with every kind of flower imaginable, in an English style.  (You can plant practically EVERYTHING in LA.)

Most houses on the tour have endeavored to incorporate vegetable and herb gardens, and very successfully so, in quite small spaces.

This citrus green seems to be very popular and could be seen in many of the houses on the tour, as countertops, backsplash, interior walls as well as exteriors.

Water features are ubiquitous.

As are statement outdoor fireplaces with generous seating areas.  Love this blue one.

Lots of fencing ideas are explored in these homes.

Hubby and I found the masonite panels which could be painted WHATever! spoke to us.

Textures and irregularities in facade surfaces were a regular feature of the houses we saw, 

as were Frank Lloyd Wright style textured raw cement block for both exterior and interior interest.

Loved this curly, wormy laminate that was used for the stairs of this house.

Indoor/outdoor is a must for the dry air, relatively bug free, mild temperature easy going LA lifestyle.  So seductive!

Here's that green again!  Digging the recessed candle-groove in the table up front.

A huge trend has been in developing kinds of screening to protect the house from the harsh light and heat.  And to enhance privacy.

Solar panels are a must.  (Although hearing that thefts of such are increasing in these recessionary days!)  If we are talking about incorporating the latest in architectural AND GREEN trends.

Look how gorgeous this sidewalk is.  And inviting.

Reclaimed wood fencing with a mix of sizes and styles of lumber.

Not part of the housetour, but a streetscape:  leftover paint from those gorgeous robins egg blue walls for your tree trunks anyone?

Here's another one of those bumpy facades.  And a giant eucalyptus that has been preserved to add scale and drama to the streetscape.  

So how was that for an introduction to Venice?  Tomorrow I will post two houses that had ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES.   Maybe you will get that "WOW" feeling all over from them that everyone on the tour seemed to feel.


  1. YUM!

    I do like this tour Mlle Paradis!
    the 4th image down - exuberantly planted .... just adored that.

    Liked that green that showed up a lot and the masonite...looked like cascading screen of water at first glance...delicious!
    It was a delight to come on the tour with you!

    Im just home from a bit of a tour myself... good change of scenery -we've just had 2 long weekends in a I'm ready for my 5 day trip to Sydney in 2 days time... then it will be work time again...!
    Nice salcking off though!

  2. yes indeed! wonderful intro. thank you. I really enjoyed the photos so much light!
    I answered your question on the the blog but here it is again so you don't have to bother:
    "Actually these are Paulownia trees and they give these mauve flowers in April-May. Very common all over Paris. (même nom en Français - arbre de Paulownia)"
    Have a great week!

  3. Oh boy! Can't wait for tomorrow! Thanks for taking us along on the house tour, something right up my ally! Yes I agree those craftsman style houses are oh so appealing! Love the use of space, and lighting. What a fun post to go through! Thank you!

  4. How fun! I love a good house tour. And I love Venice. It's definitely one of my favorite parts of LA. I'm looking forward to the next house!

  5. Thanks fo taking me on the house tour. I was out of town and I really wanted to go and didn't even have to pay thanks to you! Great Pictures!!!!!!!

  6. we aim to please over here at P.P.! watch this space!