Category Archives: Hollywood Hills

The Garden of Oz

The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz The Garden of Oz

In 2nd grade, I played the lion in my elementary school’s version of The Wizard of Ozzzzzzzzzzz wherein we relayed information about insects via the timeless tale of Dorothy’s exceptional search for Kansas in a land of bees and termites.  We were in good company of word play based on the 1900 novel/1939 film.  The Garden of Oz is among said company in nomenclature, but it’s distinctly Los Angeles in experience.

Like Simon Rodia of Watts Towers, Hollywood Hills resident, Gail Cottman, has mosaicked her garden with glass and other found objects.  Like the mélange of heritage in Los Angeles, the Garden of Oz has multiple thrones paying homage to various figures from Duke Ellington to Hiroshima survivors.  And, like the Angelino sensibility of public life, the garden is closed off behind locked wrought-iron gates and is unassuming to the driver-by.

From the outside, one has access to “The Wall of Toys,” designed by Arthur Sellers  (one of 75 contributing artists), “A Throne of Your Own,” and a mail box where one can deposit letters to Oz.

Storer House

Frank Lloyd WrightFrank Lloyd WrightFrank Lloyd WrightFrank Lloyd Wright

Leave it to Frank Lloyd Wright to build homes that are not only impossible to live in, but also impossible to maintain (see Falling Water’s effort to raise $500,000 for window repair alone). While a non-profit failed to raise enough funds for a renovation of the fellow Frank Lloyd Wright Mayan Revival, the Ennis House, a private owner fit the bill for the Storer House.

The action film aficionado, Joel Silver, might be best known for bringing us the franchises of Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, and The Matrix, but he’s also effectuated two Frank Lloyd Wright restorations – one in South Carolina, and the other with this Hollywood Hills home.  This 1923 historic structure, recognized by both the city and the national registry, was purchased by Silver in 1984 and saved from disrepair.

Chemosphere

John LautnerJohn LautnerJohn LautnerChemosphere Treehouse

In the land of earthquakes, you have to be out-of-your-mind to reside in a house built on stilts.  So, I guess it’s a good thing Frank Lloyd Wright’s disciple, John Lautner, designed a 29-foot-high, 5-foot-wide concrete column to hold up his “chemosphere.”

Following Wright’s example of building unlivable houses, the concrete column might be the only practical aspect of this home.  But, sometimes you have to travel from your driveway to your doorway by funicular if you want to wake up every morning with the best view.

Farther up the hill, there’s a funny shaped pod.  From what I can tell, either John Lautner also designed a tree house or some Hollywood Hills residents are harboring aliens.

For an excellent LA Times article about this landmarked home, check here: http://www.latimes.com/features/home/la-hm-landmark-houses-john-lautner-chemosphere,0,2280421.htmlstory

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