Newport Beach: Crystal Cove Cottages

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Originally part of the massive Irvine Ranch, Crystal Cove is a hidden beach along Pacific Coast Highway between the towns of Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar in Southern California. As kids growing up in Orange County in the 1960s, we could ride our horses and dirt bikes along the beaches and in the hills above.  The Irvine Ranch cowboys in their Jeeps would look the other way as we raced our motorcycles up and around the steep hillsides with endless views of the ocean, with our promise to stay far away from the cattle grazing nearby.

 

Funding for the restoration of the remaining 17 cottages has been largely secured. Above are some photos taken last summer of a few of the cottages awaiting restoration. We’re looking forward to visiting once again to survey the progress.

We weren’t the first to enjoy the recreational aspects of the area. The human history of Crystal Cove goes back thousands of years beginning with the ancient native Americans who inhabited its productive hillsides and shores.

Fast-forward to the 1920s and 30s, Crystal Cove became a popular summer spot for families who built simple cabins and elaborate tents on land they leased from the Irvine Company. By 1939, the Irvine Company and county officials officially limited the number of new cottages in Crystal Cove.

Through committed community preservation interest and involvement over many years, the area’s unique history, as wells as the cottages, were saved from demolition and redevelopment into a luxury beach resort, preserving Crystal Cove’s heritage and remaining cottages for the public to enjoy.

By 2011, several dozen cottages in the historic district had been restored and made available for overnight rental to the public at affordable rates, not including additional cottages restored for concession, interpretive and administrative uses.

 

Modernism: 1948 Gillman residence

1948 Gillman House

The 1948 Herbert Burns-designed Gillman residence in the Little Tuscany neighborhood of Palm Springs was literally brought back from almost certain demolition by Thomboy Properties and their team. What a treat to spend time this week exploring and enjoying this stunning desert home!

Palm Springs: Albert Frey’s 1935 Guthrie House

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Another desert mid-century modernism masterpiece we photographed this week was also designed by Albert Frey.

Originally built in 1935 in the El Mirador neighborhood of Palm Springs, a newly completed restoration and modernization of Frey’s Guthrie House undid decades of neglect and ill-conceived remodeling.

Transformed and expanded into three-bedrooms and three-bathrooms updated for contemporary desert living, the 3,583-square-foot home retains the clean lines and Albert Frey’s design aesthetics reflected in the original 1,600 square foot home.

This inviting view shows the Guthrie House opened up and reflected in the pool, hinting at the entertaining potential of the home.

 

Modernism Week 2020

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We spent another sunny and warm afternoon in Palm Springs, this time exploring the architectural gems of the desert for Modernism Week 2020.

Our first stop on our extended journey is Palm Springs City Hall, located at 3200 E Tahquitz Canyon Way, just down the street from the Palm Springs International Airport.

Designed by legendary Palm Springs architect Albert Frey, city hall was constructed in 1952.

Just as I was getting ready to press the shutter, the Modernism Week tour bus pulled up full of modernism aficionados for a brief visit. I thought it made for an interesting shot.

Follow us as we explore more iconic architecture of Palm Springs over the next few weeks.