We moved into our present home in December of 2007. Built in 1935, it's a style called Monterey Revival (50% Monterey Colonial/50% Colonial Revival), especially popular here in Los Angeles in the 1930's.
I loved it on sight. It was a demure little house, full of airy rooms and a bearing a confidence that belied its bijou size. It was in perfect condition and full of original details and I instantly felt it was the sort of place a family such as mine should live in.
We embarked on a flurry of projects, the first of which was to add a brick wall surrounding the front of the house to create a private garden, where I could grow flowering privet, a teeny field of lavender and have a little green patch to call my own.
Work moved fast. Two months later, the wall was up, the lampposts and wooden gate had been installed, the exterior was freshly painted and we had commenced work on the interior. At the time of this photo, landscaping had yet to be planted and the poor little house looks slightly embarrassed to be so exposed. Even now, I can hardly look at it without averting my eyes from its gleaming white nakedosity.
What a difference a year makes. It's still a work in progress, but the ivy is flourishing, the privet hedge is straining to be seen and the climbing roses are making a run for the balcony. It's becoming clothed in a delightful, disorderly charm.
Here's the laissez-faire glamour I'm going for, as evidenced by a past visit to Charleston House.
(Charleston House, Lewes, East Sussex, England, 2007)
I still want to add some more flowering vines to the left side of the house (it's north-facing - any suggestions?) and continue wrapping my roses in a circle around the guest room window, and I must confess that knowing nothing about gardening or horticulture doesn't deter me in the slightest. I'll learn as I go. My gardening hero, Beverley Nichols, said it best:
The greatest service of the amateur in the art of gardening - or, indeed in any of the arts - is that he does things wrong, either from courage, obstinacy or sheer stupidity. He breaks rules right and left, planting things in the wrong soil at the wrong time of the year in the wrong aspect. And usually, we must admit, the result is disastrous. But not always.
Isn't that wonderful?