The Venice Garden & Home Tour, Saturday, May 3, 2014, will feature 30 gardens and homes in the secluded, charming Walk Streets east of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the beach Walk Street neighborhood adjacent to the colorfully chaotic Venice Boardwalk. This annual fundraising event benefits the Neighborhood Youth Association. Fantasy is alive and well in Venice, and Abbot Kinney’s 1904 vision of a Venice-of-America, a Coney Island at the Pacific Ocean resonates today.
The Walk Streets inland from the ocean are actually non-street walking paths, quiet, peaceful oases in the midst of the congested city where homes face each other across the paths. Here the lush vegetation of mature trees, huge palms, magnolias and eucalyptus provide shelter and filtered sun, and the lots are large enough to accommodate gardens, carefully designed by homeowners and landscape designers. Families with strollers pass residents on their way to and fro. There’s no need to drive to Abbot Kinney Boulevard; it’s just minutes away. Restored bungalows sit next to contemporary structures, roses bloom near spare, drought tolerant pocket gardens, dogs bark back and forth, cats slip in and out of fences, and one can overhear neighbors in a garden quietly talking over morning coffee.
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Garden tour-goes will see a startling remodel of a 1920s bungalow into a California Modern with a spacious vegetable garden. There is also an architect’s three-story light-filled solution to how to make a comfortable family home from a 600 square foot imprint. There are updated Craftsman and beach cottages where the homeowners respect the past and slick new homes designed by acclaimed Venice architects. The Venice Boardwalk Walk Streets where Abbot Kinney once lived are short steps from the gritty, gorgeous playground by the sea that is Venice Beach, and Kinney’s fantasy continues to thrive.
On the tour will be a home remodeled like a custom made art deco designed yacht, one block away an original, unchanged 1905 “Sears Kit House”, and just blocks from the shore a stunning loft with a second-story lap pool. Venice’s famous murals cover buildings near these homes, and the sounds from the boardwalk drift back from the beach. Bongo drums and jazz soloists accompany the constant flow of bikers, skaters, walkers and tourists taking in the scene. Among the many intriguing homes is a large corrugated steel barn-like building designed by Arata Isoaki, once Eric Clapton’s home. Venice is an art Mecca where the buzz of creativity is ongoing. Studios of Sandy Bleifer, Jean Edelstein and Helen K. Garber will be open and are representative of the creative work generated in this California enclave. Homes and gardens by innovative architects such as Rios Clementi Hale, Koenig Eisenberg, Frederick Fisher & Partners, Arata Isoaki, Alex Meconi, and Doug Pierson, also designers Youn Choi and Jae Omar and landscape designers Gardenerd, Jay Griffith and Rios Clementi Hale are included on this tour.
The Venice Garden & Home Tour is the fundraising event that draws visitors from all over California and gives financial support to the Neighborhood Youth Association that provides an after school program for children and youth from low-income families giving them individualized academic support and comprehensive life skills development in a sustained and focused manner over the critical years of their lives that allow themwww.venicegardentour.org to achieve a successful and productive adulthood.
The 2014 self-guided, walking Venice Garden & Home Tour starts at the Neighborhood Youth Association, 1016 Pleasant View Avenue (between California and Broadway) in Venice at 10:00am and continues until 5:00pm. Neighborhood parking is available as are shuttle vans and restaurants. Biking is encouraged. Tax-deductible, non-refundable rain-or-shine tickets are $60 advance, $70 the day of the event.