Too many times, driving around L.A., I see developers come in and destroy the vintage elements that our city was once known for. That Melrose Place type community that we grew up watching on T.V. are now considered hidden gems. I can’t but help think of Joni’s lyrics:
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot – Joni Mitchell
This was not the case when I paid a visit to 7 Fountains over on Harper, by the Chateau Marmont. The owner of the property; Boyd Willat, grew up on this site and you can tell that he had a vision in place when it came time to develop it. It used to be a family compound that Boyd’s Dad; Irwin, bought in 1919. This was the perfect place for Irwin, a Hollywood Silent Movie Director, to entertain such Hollywood celebs like Howard Hughes, Marlene Dietrich and Harry Houdini. As a kid, I heard, that Boyd used to jump over the wall to swim in the pool at The Gardens of Allah.
The Gardens of Allah, incidentally, was the place that many people think that Joni Mitchell is referring to in her lyrics above. Even though some people claim it’s from when she vacationed in Hawaii and saw a parking lot from her hotel window. I’m good with the original intention for it truly represents what we Angelinos can relate to.
When it came time to build a multi-residence project on his boyhood property, Boyd took special care to create a courtyard setting with bungalow-style villas wrapping around it. It has an Andalusian country feel. No wonder the design was referred to as “the most romantic building built in L.A.” by Los Angeles Magazine. His objective was to create a sense of community with the outdoor space. He kept the buildings low to optimize the light and air and space in between the buildings so one can walk around in park like settings.
So far, nine of the twenty villas have sold. They only have one listed on the market right now: Villa #9 for $1,249,000. It is a two bedroom plus guest suite home office with a covered balcony and sleeping porch, approximately 1897 sq.’ (per MLS source).
Take a Virtual Tour of 7 Fountains
Hand painted tile inlays, custom wrought iron details, wood burning fireplaces, strung lights from building to building, and the gentle sound of the fountains…what a wonderful place to call home! Such perfect ambiance for writing, painting, practicing scenes…the inner creative spirit can thrive in this place.
Boyd’s background is also quite interesting. Besides dreaming up this wonderful project and see it to fruition, he is what some may call a “multi-prenuer”. He and his former wife dreamed up the all so popular: Day Runner organizer. He also invented Sensa pens (with the ergonomically popular squishy grip!). Boyd is also the President of Govino shatterproof wineglasses.
I think with any vision to come full circle, a mission statement should be in place. I just read this quote from Boyd about this development and I think he made a home run:
“7 Fountains was designed to provide its residents with a true sanctuary from the stressful, hectic pace of today’s urban lifestyle. Here is an environment rich with romance, relaxation and rejuvenation – a home which is the perfect marriage of nostalgic and high-tech functionality. The difference is in the details. Handcrafted, elegant, comfortable, unique – a genuine haven for busy professionals.”
It makes me sad to see demolition truck in front of building these days. I went through a range of emotions when I saw this video of the Auction day at the Gardens of Allah.
Check out Auction Day at the Gardens of Allah
But with the advent of new property communities like 7 Fountains, I’m hoping that other developers will understand that this is the type of properties that we truly want to live in.
Thank you Andrew Levant, the Exclusive Broker for 7 Fountains, for taking time out to tour the property with me and to provide such wonderful insight as to its rich background.
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(Image Credits & videos: freedomdownloadmovies.tv, wehoville.com, 7fountains.com, vintagela.com Allison Martino)