Abetica Studios, architecture, Landscaping, Travel

Newport Beach: Crystal Cove Cottages


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.


Abetica Studios, architecture, Landscaping, Luxury

Palm Springs: Albert Frey’s 1935 Guthrie House


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.


Abetica Studios, architecture, Landscaping

Long Beach: Peninsula Beach


Long Beach’s ocean-front Peninsula Beach at low tide.

Long before the first homes were built on the peninsula as early as 1902, a private duck hunting club was located at 62nd Place.

The historic pedestrian Seaside Walk Boardwalk, made of wood and built in the 1920s, is maintained by the city, and remains popular among locals seeking relaxation walks and beautiful sunsets.

From it’s early days as a duck hunting club, many well-known celebrities, creatives and everyday people find inspiration and refuge away from the hectic demands of big-city life.



Abetica Studios, architecture, Design, Landscaping

Modernist George Montierth, AIA


Another personal waterfront favorite along the canals of Naples Island in Long Beach, California is this 1948 George Montierth-designed mid-century modernist.

Surprisingly, not much is published about the locally prolific Long Beach, California architect, who not only designed a number of timeless buildings from his offices in the Ocean Center Building in downtown Long Beach in the 1940s and 50s, but also mentored several young architects who went on to higher fame.


#midecentury #midcenturymodern #architecture #design #georgemontierth  #architect #landscape

Abetica Studios, Landscaping, Photography

Cacti of The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens


We always enjoy spending time at The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens in Palm Desert, California. Today, we took time to enjoy the gardens special beauty and snap a few photos on a cool December morning.

Ferocactus Pringlei, aka Mexican Fire Barrel Cactus, is distinguished by its thick red spines.

The Echinocactus Grussonii, aka Golden Barrel Cactus, is actually rare and endangered in the wild, but common in nurseries and landscaped patio and botanical gardens.  The extreme closeup of the Echinocactus Grussonii features the woolly-like hairs and dried flowers.

Abetica Studios, architecture, Landscaping, Luxury, Travel



Initially anxious to return to civilization, most of the newcomers grew to love Shangri-La once they learn their arrival was no accident.

The founder of Shangri-La, High Lama, is rumored to be over two hundred years old, kept forever young, like the other residents, by the magical properties of the paradise he created.  Now High Lama needs someone wise and knowledgeable in the ways of the modern world to keep Shangri-La a paradise.

Film director and La Quinta Resort guest Frank Capra wrote the screenplay for Lost Horizon poolside at the La Quinta Resort in 1937.