With asking prices running to the tens of millions on the rare occasions when such treasures hit the market, owning one of the classic estates of Los Angeles remains but a dream for many. Meanwhile Douglas Woods offers the next best thing in his new stunning new book Classic Homes of Los Angeles from Rizzoli, an exclusive look into some of the finest period revival residences and gardens to be found in and around the area's legendary neighborhoods. The volume's 240 full-color photographs by Melba Levick depict a panorama of richly detailed architectural styles popular in Southern California during its "Golden Age of Expansion" from 1899 to 1938, from Craftsman, Tudor, Georgian and Victorian to Spanish Colonial and Tuscan Revival. Famous landmarks are included as well as many never-before-seen gems.
The cover of the book (above) shows the Prindle House in Pasadena built by architect George Washington Smith in 1926, a pristine example of Spanish Colonial Revival style. Also included are the 1899 Doheny Mansion with its incredible glass-domed Pompeian Room, now part of Mount Saint Mary's College; the stately Huntington Mansion with its palatial great hall, now the Huntington Library museum; the estate of the great Hollywood producer and director Cecil B. DeMille which was recently listed for sale at $18 million; the elegant 1932 Fudger House in Beverly Hills where Danny Kaye lived and entertained for many years; and Frank Lloyd Wright's famed Millard House, aka La Miniatura, from 1923 in Pasadena which was our Estate of the Day in February 2009.
In his introduction to the book, author and architecture expert D.J. Waldie poses the question, "What makes a classic home of Los Angeles?" The answer, he writes, is one that "sympathetically embraces the fundamentals of life here: light, air, landscape and romance." To achieve these qualities, "architects and their clients in the first half of the twentieth century turned to various pasts that were not their own," he notes, "but without turning away from the future they thought Los Angeles represented." For the most part, Waldie writes, "they declined to engage in the culture wars of Modernism (although many great Modernist homes are part of the city's architectural heritage). Some Angeleños thought houses had other, more consoling work to do. A house that can dream for and with its owners, that can dream of both escape and shelter, makes it a classic of Los Angeles." Check out the gallery for a preview.
Gallery: Classic Homes of Los Angeles