Friday, February 20, 2009

Spanish Beauty

I've written a lot about the many older homes in South Pasadena. You all know about my borderline obsession with Craftsman houses. And I'm also particularly fond of Victorians. But I don't want to leave out examples of Spanish Revival. Like this one, built in 1923.

These simple, little stucco houses are iconic in Los Angeles. You'll see them all over the place, as omnipresent as California bungalows and just as cheerful. While many other styles of the early 20th Century tried to replicate neighborhoods of the Northeast, these homes were inspired by Spain, by way of Florida. Local architects and designers were so taken with Florida's Spanish style boom, they brought national attention to it at the 1915 Panama-California Fair in San Diego. After that, homes like this popped up all over Southern California, and transformed the urban face of the growing Los Angeles metropolitan area. You can't look back at classic Hollywood cinema without seeing a lot of classic Spanish architecture. (I can imagine Barbara Stanwyck peaking out of one of those windows...)

This home certainly flaunts its Southern California personality, especially with all the muted native plants along the curb, and the impossibly wonderful row of palm trees above.

31 comments:

dbdubya said...

These are even more common in your old nieghoborhood - the Westside. Especially in the Melrose and Fairfax neighborhoods.

There are a couple of oddities in this house. The chimney is unusual, and what are the orangish square objects along the edge of the roof. Anybody have an idea?

Sharon said...

This looks like something I would find in one of the many historic districts in Arizona. Even those tall palms fit right in.

Judy Williams said...

This pops up and the words "oh I really love this" immediately were there in my head. Without reading any of the commentary, this has such a Spanish feel to it. It also reminded me of South Texas, as I've mentioned before, because of the palms. They have such a presence as they stand tall above the building. I like the mix of the curve of the archway and the linear quality of the diagonal curb and slightly bent trees.

Yakpate said...

What a fascinating history these ubiquitous Spanish houses bring to California. Thanks for the insight.

I also wondered about the orange thingies on the roof-line, which I didn't really notice until I clicked to enlarge. In close up, the native plants are gorgeous... and I especially like the primary blue paint that lines the arched windows.

Your photos make me realize how unique and precious a home is.

Margaret said...

You've made this look so spacious. I would hardly have guessed it's South Pas.

Cafe Pasadena said...

I've seen this beefore, LA, but just cant't recall where exactly.

Laurie said...

Hey all,

I believe the orange things are luminarias placed on the roof line.

dbdubya said...

I think you're right, Laurie. When I first saw them I thought they might be luminarias, but discounted that idea because it's a silly place for them. How would you light them? What if they were lit and a gust of wind blew one off their precarious perch? But, I can't think of any other explanation.

A wonderful display of luminarias can be seen at the South Pasadena Relay for Life which will be held this hear on April 18 and 19. It's a 24-hour walk at the High School field to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The track is lined with luminarias that are dedicated to cancer victims and survivors. Our little town raises over $100,000 each year for this worthy cause.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Now that I've joined the "Craftsman Challenge" your off and running on Spanish revival. We're linked

I thought Spanish Revival was a homegrown movement based on our own Spanish history. I'm a little disappointed to find out otherwise...sweet little house

Tanya said...

Gorgeous!

Sumi Ko said...

This picture brought a smile, love the leaning row of palm trees behind the Spanish stucco.

I grew up in San Diego and always loved the Spanish architecture. My dream house used to be a toss-up between the Spanish and Japanese architecture...is there time to have both? I'm a young 75!

dbdubya said...

Sumi Ko - It's never to late! How about a Spanish house with Japanese landscaping? They go well together, and you only need to have one house.

Ken Mac said...

nice history Laurie. As a New Yorker, one of the first things I notice when I visit LA are all the bent palm trees. Like some big wind came and pushed them to the east... speaking of Stanwyck..have you seen Baby Doll? Pre code and scandalous!

Jacob said...

I lived in one of those little stucco houses in the late 40's out near Pico and Fairfax...and we'd go to a friend's house in Pasadena to watch the Rose Parade -- they lived in one like this, too.

Virginia said...

Ripley's Believe It or Not......yep we have 'em right here in B'ham, in the Hollywood section of Homewood. I thought just the other day I should take a few pics for ya'll. Well now I simply must!
V

Babooshka said...

Now this really is another world to me. Just when I think I have a handle on South Pasedena you pop another style out of the bag.

Petrea said...

I love the Spanish style. I'm with PA, I thought it was more local. Thanks for enlightening me.

Laurie said...

PA and Petrea, the Mission Revival style in California -- common in so many train stations -- is different than the true Spanish Revival style home I show here. Over time, both styles borrowed aspects from the other, and each was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement. The classic Spanish Revival floorplan layout of many of these houses can be seen all over Florida, whereas the Mission Revival structures here were the ones so heavily influenced by the Spanish missions. It's fun to look at the differences in styles, and how they each influenced the other over time. Kind of like looking at jewelry from the nouveau period into deco. For a while, you could see both the flourishes of art nouveau next to the geometry of deco in the same ring or necklace.

dbdubya said...

That explains why this house, while similar to many in the Southland, has a different look and feel to it. I notice a number of subtle differences, including the chimney, porch, and detail at the roofline. Mission Revival tends to show more tile and often part of the roof is sloped in addition to having a recessed roof like this one.

Thanks for the clarification, Laurie.

Laurie said...

No problem Dbdubya. Here are a few more examples to note differences:

Scripps College in Claremont was designed by famous Spanish REvival architect Gordon Kaufmann. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Mission Inn in Riverside is pure California MIssion Revival. You can notice that the Mission structures often look more like, well, churches! The Mission Playhouse in San Gabriel, for example, really looks like you could go there for sanctuary. The Spanish REvival, like here in the famous Santa Barbara County Courthouse designed by Moosler, is pure Spanish Colonial Revival.

Things get even more confusing when you add Mediterranean Revival into the mix -- also well represented around these parts: like Pasadena's City Hall and LA's Ambassador Hotel! Just because it's stucco, doesn't mean it was related to the old missions. THere really are differences if you look.

People say LA has no architecture? Ha, they're just not paying attention.

Laurie said...

ANother fun thing about Pasadena City Hall -- it was part of the widespread City Beautiful movement in urban planning and design during the early part of the 20th Century -- and not a nod to the Spanish Missions in California as is widely assumed. This movement also gave us Chicago's Natural History museum and many grandious city and state government buildings and libraries. It's a fascinating study -- because the movement aimed to rid the world of social ills through beautiful design. Now THAT is a radical idea!

And that, I believe, is the extent of my armchair architectural knowledge...

Laurie said...

One last thing -- it's fun to listen to architects argue about Pasadena City Hall. Some insist that it's mostly Beaux Arts inspired. Others say it's s modernist version of Italian Renaissance. I learned that it was primarily Mediterranean Revival in its bones, with lots of little extras thrown in to delight and confuse everyone.

I'll stop now. Can you tell this is a favorite subject of mine?! :-)

dbdubya said...

LA has no architecture? That's worse than saying we don't have changes in the seasons. Nowhere but here can you find the various Spanish/Mediterranean/Mission etc, next to Craftsman, down the street from English Tudor, Colonial, Ranch, Art Deco, and virtually every other type of architectural style.

If you haven't toured the LA City Hall, take the Gold Line down for an afternoon. It's LA's finest building. Until the 60's it was the only building allowed to be over 13 floors, and it towered over downtown. Inside, especially the first 3 floors, are spectacular pieces of art. Union Station and the Post Office Terminal Annex across the street are also wonderful old buildings.

As for seasonal changes, you have to have spent many years to notice and appreciate the subtle changes between seasons. Another topic, though.

Mister Earl said...

I rented some original Ed Wood movies at Videoteque and there were shots of the LA skyline when all there was was City Hall and the Hall of Administration, which still stands.

A couple years ago we had our office holiday party in a room near the top of City Hall that has a balcony that goes all around the outside.

Dixie Jane said...

Laurie, your Daddy and I spent many a weekend in San Clemente so that he could body surf and I could watch. As far as I could tell, all of the houses in S.C. looked Spanish with tile roofs, etc. like it was a building code. Somewhere in the neighborhood was San Juan Capistrano where the swallows come back every year on queue. Spanish, of course. Like Judy said, in South Texas there are many Spanish style homes and tall palm trees.

dbdubya said...

The Observation Deck at the top of the LA City Hall is a well kept secret. 360 degree views of Los Angeles. It's rarely used.

Many years ago I had an office in the 27th floor of City Hall. I actually had an window that opened from which I could see everything south of downtown including Catalina and planes in the approach pattern to LAX. It was a great building to work in, rickety elevators and all.

Laurie said...

Hi again,

I had no idea there was an observation deck on top of LA City Hall. Can anyone go up there? (And with a camera?)

Virginia, I know about those B'ham Spanish homes -- and you simply MUST cover them on your blog!

Ken, can you believe I've never seen Baby Doll? And to think, I wasted all that money on film school. I'll definitely have to check it out. Thanks for the reminder.

Sumi, great to see you here!

And it's always great to read all of your words, people. Thanks for making my blog so interactive and fun. Until tomorrow.

Mister Earl said...

Not everyone can rent the room on the observation deck - you have to be "sponsored" by someone on the city council or board of supes or something. But I think anyone can go up there. Call City Hall and ask.

Mister Earl said...

Actually, you don't "rent" it. Your group just has to be sponsored by someone and then you get to use it. We got to use it because someone's mother worked at City Hall and knew a Councilperson to sponsor us.

seo services india said...

very nice



shriram.sharma.seo@gmail.com

珊珊李 said...

徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信,徵信社,徵信社,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信公司,尋人,抓姦,外遇,徵信,徵信社,徵信,徵信,徵信,徵信,徵信,徵信社,徵信