Monday, December 05, 2011

Historic Homes & Dinner!

The Crenshaw Mansion

On Saturday Larry treated me to the very festive West Adams Heritage Association Progressive Holiday Dinner and Home Tour to kick off our holiday festivities. This is the 25th year of the tour and it took place in one of the more beautiful areas of Los Angeles, Lafayette Square. This is a photo-heavy post!
I've always loved this area of town. Most of the homes are very stately, usually at least 5,000-6,000 square feet and built in the late teens or early 20's. There are also a number of Mid-Century modern homes in the area, most designed by architect, Paul Williams (who was also a resident).

Interior Detail, Crenshaw Mansion

We chose a 4pm start, which made it possible for us to see half of the homes during daylight hours. Luckily, the weather was fairly mild with only a bit of wind. We registered at the historic Crenshaw Home. WOW! The woodwork in this place is amazing.
Here's the description from the brochure about Lafayette Square:

Originally envisioned by George L. Crenshaw as one of the region’s premier real estate tracts before the area even became a part of Los Angeles in 1909, Lafayette Square’s design was based on European cities, inspired to bring a feeling of tradition and graceful style not widely found in a very young Los Angeles. Crenshaw’s son Charles described the Square, and its central drive, St. Charles Place, as “a ‘Spanish pasear,’ a place where residents could stroll and meet socially.” Over time, Lafayette Square became home to many of Los Angeles’ luminaries including George Pepperdine, Sepulveda family descendent Princess Conchita Pignatelli, Actor Fatty Arbuckle, Alexander Pantages, Norton Simon, boxer Joe Louis, singer Little Richard, and architect Paul R. Williams.

Our tour guide, Susie, first led us to a modern home, built in the 1950's, designed by Paul Williams for the appetizer portion of our progressive meal.

Mid-Century Modern Paul Williams designed home in Lafayette Square

This house is a knockout! It's very different from the classic, older homes in Lafayette Square. The home is still occupied by descendants of the original owners. The appetizers were, cold and zingy. I felt like I was in a Rat-Pack movie while in this house, sipping champagne....very swanky!

Next up, the salad house. Once again, a gorgeous home filled with beautiful antiques.

Drought-Resistant Landscaping at the Salad House
Italianate-Mediterranean style soup house

The soup home housed an incredible collection of Weller Pottery in celadon green! The soup was cream of butternut squash, served in elegant glass mugs.

Weller Pottery Collection in the soup houseThe stately dinner house

The dinner house was not a tour house. However, we did see the exterior, living and dining rooms of this beautiful home. The docents rushed us into the dining area to a yummy dinner, served family style of chicken cacciatore, pasta w/ tomatoes and shaved parmesean, zucchini melange, along with white wine.

My friend and active member of WAHA, Danny Miller was the sommelier at the dinner house. All of the volunteers were really scurrying around to keep the meal on schedule. I heard that there were almost 500 people registered for this event!

Ellen and WAHA volunteer, Danny

Our last stop was an imposing Spanish Colonial Revival home. This style is sometimes referred to as Spanish Romantica. Wow! The towering, beamed ceilings, tile work, built-ins, floors....all were very impressive. The current owners have only lived here for a short time and they are still renovating. I really liked the rustic and "unfinished" look of this place. The owner is an artist and did much of the renovation herself.

Larry at the Spanish Romantica Home

Our dessert was a very rich fudge brownie cake with salted caramel sauce and a touch of whipped cream.

Child Labor at the Romantica Home

All in all, it was a wonderful tour! I urge you to check out the West Adams Heritage Association's website for upcoming events.

Happy Holidays!

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At 5:00 PM PST, Anonymous Danny said...

I'm adding "sommelier" to my resume even though I was only serving ONE kind of wine! Sorry for the rushing--we somehow got hopelessly behind schedule at that hour. Always great to see you and Larry at WAHA events--you really need buy a house on our block and give it the Bloom touch!

At 5:03 PM PST, Anonymous Jo Anne said...

Looks like a Fab-O event!! I really like the 2nd house - very cool looking.

Saw the one woman show at the Kirk Douglas last night "The Night Watcher" and I highly recommend it.


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