Classic Homes of Los Angeles by Douglas Woods ; photography by Melba Levick
Photography by Melba Levick; introduction by D.J. Waldie
Let your fingers do the walking through this book, a veritable visual tour of homes deemed "classic" by author Woods. This being Los Angeles, "classic" does not mean just one thing, but encompasses several styles-Tudor, Craftsman, Georgian, Spanish Colonial, and Tuscan. But, as stated in Waldie's introduction, classic Los Angeles homes are those "that sympathetically embrace the fundamentals of life here: light, air, landscape...and romance." The definition for this book is narrowed to homes built from 1899 to 1938, and mostly located in the historic residential core of the city (with guest appearances from Pasadena, San Marino, Beverly Hills, and La Canada Flintridge). Each home is introduced with a full-spread photograph and short history in text that often describes the personalities of the homeowners more than those of the houses themselves. Not only is the cult of personality such an LA attribute, but it makes it all that more interesting to pore through the interior photos showing eclectic mixes of furniture, art, lighting, materials, and murals. Emphasis on the gardens grants Waldie's criteria, and happily so, as many of the eccentric interiors could have easily been plucked from East Coast or Midwest robber baron homes. In a city of transplants, who would expect otherwise? Woods' summaries, for the most part, do include the current state of the home and the restoration architects. My college literature professor defined a classic as "something everyone references, but no one reads." This book includes homes often referenced-Doheny Mansion, Gamble House, Adamson House, La Miniatura-and makes it possible for all to read about them.