[Once upon a time ... there was a tiny, very romantic French Village in Hollywood ... before there were freeways, millions of people, and Trader Joe's on Vine ...ed.]
There has been so much speculation as to the sources of inspiration for this house that we are only to glad to "reveal." While in the camouflage section the Army Engineer School, Fort de Saint Menge, France, we were greatly imprest with the effects of time, the weather, and vegetation on the tile and thatch roofs. The whole rainbow was there in mosses, lichens, grasses, time-stained tile, and weather bleached thatch: all blending together in an indescribably beautiful medley of color. Beign camoufleurs, we speculated upon just how we could imitate in Los Angeles the colorful work of Kindly time. And we have succeeded!!! The exterior was a memory materialized of the charming cottages of the Côte D'Or. The interiors—the gold bathroom, the vaulted chambers, the mural decorations belie our faltering pen. The garden in front is planted informally with wild flowers and pungent smelling native shrubs. A winding path of flagstones winds across the sunken garden to the greensward. The widespreading sycamore covers the entire front garden and with its time gnarled branches protects the picturesque little garage nestling at its base.
The garden in front is planted informally with wild flowers and pungent smelling native shrubs. A path of flagstones winds across the sunken garden to the greensward.
Where Calmenga Canyon, after leaving the Hollywood mountains, widens out, there was a narrow strip of land cut through by a deep, dry arroyo. A half dozen ancient, gnarled and fantastically twisted sycamores grew precariously on its steep banks. For years the land lay idle, avoided by all prospective home-builders except the industrious gophers and the ground squirrels. One day, shortly after the close of the War, the architect just discharged from the army happened along and at once visioned underneath the wide-spreading limbs of the sycamores a little cottage with a steep roof, leaded glass windows, and checkered chimney—in fact, one that would have all the many and varied charms of the cottages in the little country villages of the Cote d'Or of France.
In the bottom of the arroyo he built a concrete viaduct to carry off the storm water and then he scraped down the steep banks until he had partly filled the arroyo. On the far side, on solid ground, he built the memory of the beautiful things he had seen in France. The shingles of the roof were dipped one by one in
the various colors, then they were mixed and laid, producing a medley of colors of all lines and shades, but in perfect harmony. One side has green as its basic color, another gray; the front starts in one corner with old rose and gray, then runs through gray into gray and blue and ends with greens and blues; but so cleverly do the colors blend that one cannot tell where one begins or the other ends. The walls inside and out are covered with overlays of transparent colors so that one shines through the other.
The living-room has a high vaulted ceiling with a hooded fireplace and raised brick hearth at the far end. A frieze of running scrolls runs round the room. The dining-room has a frescoed vaulted ceiling in the manner of the early Italian Renaissance. The walls and ceiling of the domed bath-room are covered with gold leaf. The bathtub alcove is enameled a cerulean blue. The main bedroom has a barrel vaulted ceiling with bands of ornament crossing it.
The floors throughout the house are oak, unevenTy scraped and stained a dark brown.
View showing the surrounding country. The shingles of the roof were dipped one by one in the various colors; mixed and then laid, producing a medley of colors of all lines and shades, but in perfect harmony.
Source: Davis, Walter Swindell. A Small Cement House in Los Angeles, California. House Beautiful, September 1920.
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