Friday, May 04, 2007

Dutton's Bookstore

In today's L.A. Times, there's an article about the historic, architectural significance of Dutton's Bookstore on San Vicente Blvd. in Brentwood. Dutton's moved into this 1950 building in 1984. It's a mid-century modern, courtyard group of offices, designed by Milton H. Caughey. Dutton's has taken over almost all of the lower level. They are one of the few remaining independent bookstores in Los Angeles. Their other branches in North Hollywood and Beverly Hills have closed. Dutton's holds book signings and readings in the courtyard. Many famous authors have read here. This alone, makes the location historic. There are offices on the second level. It's a charming space and so very California in it's design and feeling.
The developer that owns the property wants to tear down this lovely building and erect condos and shops, with a space for Dutton's in the new design. I had heard of this imminent change through my connections with the L.A. Conservancy's Modern Committee. Larry and I visited Dutton's a few months ago on a windy, rainy day to take a look at the shop and snap some photos. It just wouldn't be Dutton's without the 50's, breezy feel of the original building. Sigh.

Dutton's Brentwood Bookstore

11975 San Vicente Boulevard, LA, CA 90049




At 11:19 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is really sad. Is there anything at all that could be done? It's a beautiful building! I grew up in the L.A. area and didn't realize until I moved away how many very cool midcentury buildings there are, and how much they define the whole "feel" of the city.

Thank you for the Black Sheep Knittery tip, by the way. I went and found some lovely goodies. (I'm the Coloradan you met at SnB a few weeks ago).

At 2:42 PM PDT, Blogger Bratfink said...

That looks like a motel to me.

Ellen, have you ever gone to Bart's Book in Ojai? It's used books, but it's so unique!

[I love books... new, used, who cares?]

I do so love the things you teach me in your blog. Thanks for that!

At 4:06 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things are so rough for independent bookstores everywhere, I thought you were going to say that the bookstore was going too! The store that was in Beverly Hills for a bit was so beautiful; I read that it was closed because they couldn't afford the rent.

It's really sad how the value of the property in LA causes these wonderful places to be closed.

In the valley we have Portrait of a Bookstore, which is hooked up with Aroma Cafe coffee house, and the inimitable Iliad Bookstore. The owner of Iliad bought a building in an area of NoHo that has small industry, just so he could stay open and not be beholden to landlords.

I try to always buy my books at the locals, especially independents. Although at the moment I'm desperate to de-clutter two bookscases.

At 9:16 AM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Ladies...thanks for your comments and insights into the world of mid-century modern architecture and independent bookstores.

I, too, try to buy from the independents as much as possible and to support all small stores in my 'hood!

At 10:39 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ellen, I'm a native New Yorker, and while I love my city, where did we go wrong, architecturally?

At 12:17 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...


New York is a waaaaay older city than L.A. There are buildings in NY that are hundreds of years old! Here in L.A., we think that a building from 1918 is ancient!

I know that you have tons of mid-century modern in the burbs and outlying areas of Manhattan. Do some scouting around, outside your borough and get back to me!


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