A few weeks ago a few friends and I did the Venice Garden Tour again. This year was unlike any other that I experience. First, it showcased one of my favorite neighborhoods in LA – the Mar Vista Housing Tract by architect Gregory Ain dating from 1948. Second, it showcased homes on the other side of Lincoln Blvd. from Venice Beach. These houses are part of a rapidly changing neighborhood and are unlike anything you had ever seen in Venice – very large, on very large lots and with many pools. Those of us who had bikes loved doing the tour by bike and the rest of us had a car, so we ended up doing lots of walking and had a great time.
Lots of houses were open in the Mar Vista Housing tract so we saw a variety from radically renovated to nearly mint and everything in between. Years ago we looked at one of these houses for sale and fell in love with it – from the folding walls to all the built-in storage, it felt like living on ship set amidst a garden. It was so open, light and painted like a Mondrian with a tiny pool in the backyard surrounded by fruit trees. Sounds so ideal but we knew we couldn’t live in such a tight ship at the time and the price was oh so steep, so hopefully someone else bought it and gave it lots of love.
The first house we visited had been lovingly renovated and was filled with art (like most of the houses on the tour). My favorite vignette from the tour was here in the living room, a huge picture window framed the black bamboo filled lanai outside, a gorgeous sight both inside and out.
The backyard featured an artist’s studio and triangular-shaped pool and deck, making use of all the outside space for entertaining. I loved the built-in bench on the deck. The color combinations inside and out of this house were earthy (lots of olive) with bright punches of color (reds and oranges) and made it both calm and lively at the same time.
A softer side of the house was the side yard dining area, originally the driveway, here an inviting table was surrounded by soft perennials (lots of foxglove), red plums, vegetable and herbs. The Airstream Bambi at the end of the driveway created a “fence” for the dining area and made it very private.
What a great start for the tour. I wonder where we go next. Stay tuned.