Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Buzz on Larchmont: Bret Parsons on Roland Coate Tonight at Chevalier’s; Landis’ Labyrinth Toy Shop Celebrates 10 years Friday

Buzz on Larchmont: LA architectural history book talk tonight tonight; 10th Anniversary celebration Friday

Fans of LA’s architectural history won’t want to miss local realtor Bret Parsons and his co-authors Marc Appleton and Steve Vaught at Chevalier’s Books at 126 N Larchmont tonight at 7 pm talking about the latest book in their series “Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940” focusing on the masterpieces of Roland E. Coate who produced hundreds of exceptional designs from Santa Barbara to Bel-Air, Hollywood, Hancock Park, and Pasadena that ranged from quaint bungalows to grand mansions.

The second volume in the series, “Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940” features the work of Roland E. Coate

Coate’s worked during what is widely considered the golden age of home design in the region with architects like Wallace Neff, Gordon B. Kaufman and Paul R. Williams, just to name a few.  His ability to work in a variety of styles from English Tudor to Monterey Colonial with equal grace made him a favorite among clients seeking the very best. His client list—with names like Doheny, O’Melveny, Hoover, and Hertz—reads like a “Who’s Who” of the most important and influential figures of the era including Hollywood celebrities such as Darryl F. Zanuck, Barbara Stanwyck & Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, Irene Mayer & David O. Selznick, Frank Capra, William Wellman, Pando Berman, and Myrna Loy. Other celebrity residents of Coate-designed homes have included Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Kenny Rogers, Danny Kaye, and fashion icon Tom Ford. The Coate-designed mansion in Hancock Park of aviator/film producer/oil magnate Howard Hughes remains one of the most famous houses in Los Angeles.

“In 1939, a former associate, architect Paul R. Hunter, wrote in the publication “Pencil Points” that Coate helped to establish the information, comfortable, open-style house of today, which is regarded by many as the finest expression of California residential work,” according to the authors.

The book is filled with historic images from the pages of “The Architectural Digest,” the forerunner of today’s magazine “Architectural Digest,” started in 1920 by James Cooke Brasfield, an importer and advertising executive from Tennessee. The magazine was, at the time, a large folio format filled with professional photographs provided by architects, in the early years, and accompanied by captions noting the owner, architect, contractor and others who worked on the project as well as an occasional floor plan. There was little or no editorial content in the magazine in those early issues, but there were lots of advertisements. Now those issues have become an extraordinary architectural archive treasure trove.

Parsons and his co-authors have acquired every issue published during the period of 1920s-1940s and are committed to reproducing the work of these architects. Roland E. Coate is the second in their series, their first volume featured the work of GORDON B. KAUFMANN, the renowned architect of Hoover Dam and the Los Angeles Times Building, as well as the residences of legendary Los Angeles families which included Greystone, the famed Doheny mansion in Beverly Hills and Beverly House, the famous Beverly Hills estate of Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst seen in The Godfather.

Parsons has written four books, including Colcord Home (2008), the biography of the beloved Southern California architect Gerard Colcord. He is associate manager of Compass Realty’s, formerly Pacific Union International, Larchmont office just a few doors north of Chevalier’s Books.

Co-Author Marc Appleton is the founding principal of Appleton Partners LLP, an architectural firm in Santa Monica and Santa Barbara. He has written, published, or contributed to many books, including George Washington Smith: An Architect’s Scrapbook (2001), Robert Winter’s Myron Hunt at Occidental College (2012), and Ranches: Home on the Range in California (2016).

Co-Author Steve Vaught is an author and historian who specializes in Southern California architecture and social history. He has written about Palm Springs’s rich history in The Committee of Twenty-Five, The First 65 Years, 1948–2013 (2014); Sentinels in Stone: Palm Springs’ Historic Tennis Club Neighborhood and its Iconic Walls (2015); and Einstein Dreamt Here: The Willows Historic Palm Springs Inn (with Tracy Conrad) (2015).

Celebrate Landis’ Labyrinth Toy Shop’s 10th anniversary on Larchmont this Friday.
Landis’ Labyrinth Toy Shop Celebrates 10 years Friday

This Friday, January 18, Landis’ Labyrinth Toy Shop at 140 N Larchmont is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Larchmont Blvd.

In honor of the celebration, Landis’ staff have prepared special gift bags (one per family) and, they offering 10 percent off on all items in the store.

“We are so thankful for all the support we have from our customers over the years,” Laura Gelles told the Buzz on behalf of the staff and owner Devony Wolfus. “We think everyone will enjoy the gift bags too.”

Gelles said the toy shop is looking forward to being on Larchmont for another ten years. Lots of customers have been asking her what might happen with the store since the building was sold. Gelles said they are planning to stay and worked it all out with the new owner.

Be sure to stop by on Friday and celebrate!

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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