The first place I ever smelled weed was in Venice, California, which also just so happens to be the location of this home. It was a hazy, earthy, strange scent, a scent matching the green façade of this home in their foreignness to me. I was in seventh grade and there to “explore new places” with my mom, cousin, and younger sister. She drove us there in her minivan, my mom. Yet once out of our bubble, out onto the boardwalk, the same boardwalk Romy and Michelle lived over, that leafy, green scent surrounded us. I was shocked and appalled. Where had my mom taken us?! This home is very much like that: at first overwhelming, but now legal, now acceptable, now able to advertise its primordial lushness.
Enormous palm fronds, overhanging down past the eaves, greet you as approach the home, designed by Robert Thibodeau. While Edith Wharton would care for her palms potted and placed in the drawing room, I am a great admirer of the vertical forest this house enables. The visual and physical layers of the composition are incredibly multifaceted; generous concrete steps lead up and over a moat filled with numerous lily pads, steel beams, walls of glass, delineated boxes of white stucco, and massive, sleek wooden doors—a different delight for the hand and eyes at every level. Above you, a hanging garden wraps around your with palms, ferns, and vines. A row of potted five-foot-tall cacti stand sentry to the right of the front door and of the principally located gate, which bids access to the side yard and swimming pool. At every turn, textures and materials are in a constantly pleasing ebb and flow.
Mirroring the exterior, the interiors of this home offer the overwhelmingly inviting atmosphere of a house in the jungle. Tall fiddle figs, disappearing walls of glass, and wooden ceilings, create the feeling of living in and amongst the treetop canopy. The bohemian interior décor, set on finished concrete floors, mixed with the waterfall marble countertops, engage with the vanished threshold between the inside and out of doors—by bringing large plants onto the façade as well as inside of this home, and for rooms of casually elegant furnishings, with full, rich colors and fabric weaves, allowing for large walls of disappearing glass to connect these special indoor and outdoor spaces. The outdoor space the main living areas interact with is the light, bright lap pool and just wide enough exterior covered loggia.
As a born and bred southern Californian, I am especially easy to please with water features—I love them in any and all shapes and forms! My undergraduate university, Chapman, was renowned for its many fountains, which we students were, at one time, allowed to swim in. Water is a foreign luxury here in coastal sage scrub territory, so we hold it in high esteem, especially when in landscape design. The brazen, self-assured qualities of water features such as fountains, pools, and ponds, demand attention and closer inspection, especially if you can find the latter two on the same property. The house is a California “entertainer’s delight”—you can throw all the doors open and allow everyone and everything to comingle, the indoors and out, the plants and the concrete, the natural wood furniture paired with the natural architecture of the exterior jungle, a home a pair of Birkenstocks would love to call home.
The second floor continues the same dreamy, jungle aery vibes, with thick tiles, vibrant, exciting wallpapers, sizable sheets of marble, a wood paneled staircase between all four, yes this home has a basement, first and second floors, as well a third floor roof-top deck.
The treetop views from the third floor roof deck are private and peaceful. Perhaps a jacuzzi could be hauled-up and installed? This is magical, unexpected amenity that would be well used if I were to live in this home.
1621 Crescent Place also boasts sizeable amenity areas and service quarters, such as an outdoor kitchen, recreation room, sizeable three-car garage, and even a basketball hoop for when you’re in a sporting mood.
I see long boards covered in cheeses and jams, crackers galore, shrimp cocktails, bruschetta, an evening revolving around friends and good food, constantly, when I see this house. You live in a tree house, and should entertain as such: whimsically.
My favorite dining table, a launchpad for those activities, are those from the Regency period, with their clean, sophisticated lines all set on casters. For a space such as this would be the country house casual elegance—where the primordial forests meet the human hand. These pieces are from Elizabeth James Antiques.
These early Victorian balloon-back chairs—a wonderful, happy heart shape to me, when all upholstered in a thick, deep green velvet.
1621 Crescent Street is located in Venice, California and is currently listed at $8,500,000 by Tiffany Rochelle of Compass. The house, situated on a 4,551 square foot lot, is 4,400 square feet and has 4 bedrooms and 4.25 bathrooms.
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