Discover Classic Backyard Residences – NBC Los Angeles

Selling the pleasures of the Los Angeles lifestyle to snow-tired Easterners, back around the middle of the last century? It became something of an advertising art form: the pools, the sun, the big backyards, the umbrella-topped tables, the gaily striped lounge chairs dominated brochures and posters and magazines.

But few people who landed in Southern California moved directly to that big backyard; rather, they found their slice of nature, and their Golden State dream, in a garden apartment.

Many such buildings still exist, and many are beloved, though several of our local landscape-surrounded abodes have faced possible tear-down in recent years. The LA Conservancy has stood on the side of preserving these postwar apartments, and they’re eager to give architecture buffs a peek at three classic SoCal examples, including two that were recently spared the wrecking ball.

That peek happens on Saturday, Nov. 1, when three quintessential garden apartments will open up for exterior strolls (and some interior peeks). Baldwin Hills, Venice, and Sherman Oaks are the locations, so, for sure, you’ll want wheels for this one, to make sure you get to all three.

And those three? The famous Village Green of Baldwin Hills, built in 1941; Venice’s 1951 Lincoln Palace; and Chase Knolls in the Valley, which debuted in 1948.

An info-packed session at the Wilshire Ebell kicks off the day, and tickets are $35.

It’s a glance back at a particular style, yes, but also an aesthetic. While “mixed use” buildings continue to be all that, it’s worth noting that architects were incorporating indoor-outdoor ideas some seven decades ago, and not just for grand estates. Rather, cheerful, window-bright buildings that held multiple families also got a dose of the California dream.

Turns out that dream wasn’t just about a backyard for everyone but building a community with tree-dotted green space, where every apartment dweller had access to sunshine and fresh air.

Few landmarks are live-in, but the vintage garden apartments of LA definitely qualify.

bottom photo: Village Green, courtesy of Steve Keylon

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