Feb 26, 2012

Homes From Around The World

The architectural styles of homes unique to a particular region or city are often travel icons. 

The decadent Victorian homes referred to as Painted Ladies say San Francisco as much as the Golden Gate Bridge.

Though in the same country the adobe homes of New Mexico and other parts of the Southwestern United States couldn’t be any more different than the Victorian beauties of San Francisco. Their architectural roots are Native American and the material used to build them suited to dry, hot climates. 

More than a few colonial Mexican cities have been named UNESCO World Heritage sites due in large part to their stunning architecture. This colorful casita in Guanajuato may look small from the outside but don’t be fooled. Homes of this genre regularly feature an outdoor central courtyard and are long and spacious.   

Like the casitas of Mexico, Hutong homes found in Beijing, China also appear small from the outside and feature a courtyard lifestyle.
What style home is unique to the part of the world you live in?

Feb 11, 2012

The Canals of Los Angeles California

I wonder how many tourists strolling the boardwalk in Venice Beach, Los Angeles realize that the area is named for the canals built by a tobacco magnate at the turn of the last century?

Less than a five minute walk from the counter culture malcontents, tourists, surfers, street performers and homeless along the beach and boardwalk the pedestrian paths of the Venice Canals make for a nice stroll. They provide ample opportunity to appreciate the eclectic architecture of the homes that line them. It’s not uncommon to wonder what it would be like to live here. To start, you’ll need a few million dollars to purchase a home.

Abbot Kinney and his partner as part of a resort town they founded complete with amusement park, known as Venice of America, built the man made canals. Venice, its namesake of course the original in Italy, fell on hard times in the 1920s in part due to prohibition and politics. Its decline continued through the 1970s when urban blight was at its height. In the 1980s Venice began its ascent and was reborn again as a tourist mecca aided by its pedestrian friendly nature, a rarity in LA, and was touted as a unique attraction during the 1984 Summer Olympics. 

If you find yourself in Venice brunch along the aptly named Abbot Kinney Boulevard at Hals Bar and Grill. Or if you prefer a ringside view along the boardwalk check out Figtree’s CafĂ© and Grill. I can recommend the huevos rancheros and the coffee is good.