Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Houses of Beverly Hills

“You can see all the stars if you walk down Hollywood Boulevard,” as Ray Davies of the Kinks so eloquently put it in his warm and melancholy song, Celluloid Heroes. But if you want to see how the stars of Hollywood live, you need to walk along North Beverly Boulevard.

While attending the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit just over a week ago, most days I walked to and from the Luxe Hotel on North Rodeo Drive where I was staying to the Beverly Hills Hotel where the event was held. Since L.A. is a car-centric city, I had the wide sidewalks much to myself and the only obstacle I encountered was crossing the four-lane speedway known as Sunset Drive.

Judging by the houses I passed each day on the palm-tree lined street, I’d have to say the living is quite good and each house
displayed a bold and tasteful sense of individuality.

Some of the homes on the boulevard would be quite comfortable in a New England setting. Others looked toward Asia and Italy for their
architectural characteristics. Then there are the quintessential concrete structures with terra cotta roofs that are so popular in California. There are basic ranch houses besides elegant mansions. And wooden structures next to houses with slate facades. Traditional structures with elaborate columns that would be at home in the Garden District of New Orleans sharing space with sleek, modern houses at home in a urban setting. The landscaping in front of each is just as diverse in its look and
aroma. If there was one dominate flavor, it would have to be Jasmine.

Every house represents the character of an individual yet manages to enhance and embrace the neighborhood.