April 10, 2009

FAIRY-TALE HOMES of Los Angeles. Why aren’t people on the left denouncing this obscene display of wealth?

UPDATE: Reader Lois Brenner corrects me:

You’re confusing In-N-Out Burger with Wolfgang Puck. (Forgive the unintentional pun, you’ll see later) We’re not talking Candy Spelling neo-vernacular Aircraft Hanger Style, these are tiny little boites (1,500-2000 sq ft, a nice-sized apartment, with a lawn and a garden in other words), often called “story book style” because there is no other term for these puckish little fantasy cottages. They ain’t big, they ain’t new and vulgar (they’re California “Old” and vulgar), and about the last people you would ever find living in them are pretentious yuppies (although sheer demographic press will likely affect that; and in the worst possible way: Yuppies tend to pull a couple of them (along with their irreplaceable trees and plantings) down and erect some inhuman warehouse thingie right up to the property line. These were not built for people who wanted to live large, but for folks who wanted to live in their dreams. Like people who wanted to live or work in coffee cups or shoes, or eat in the Brown Derby for that matter. They were built in the 20s and 30s, usually near studios and designed by back-lot artists for people who wanted one-off little dream homes and who didn’t care about safety, comfort or the [then] not too seriously enforced building codes. They are a grand means of anything-goes self-expression (but human-scale, modest, sweet) a wonderful and unique part of life in this weird and wonderful city, and a vital part of the American Dream, which meant, in this case, that Everyman’s home WAS his castle. I used to love seeing them when I was a kid and was thrilled whenever I passed a new one, and I always longed to grow up and live in one. Alas! I did not grow up, but down, as Henry James would have put it, and it’s Munich Modern for me.

You’d love ‘em! Everybody does!

I stand corrected.