Hollyhock House – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hilltop Temple

Hollyhock House © Kayte Deioma

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Hollyhock House
4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
www.barnsdall.org

Hollyhock House, located in Barnsdall Art Park on top of Olive Hill in the Los Feliz/East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, is the first house that Frank Lloyd Wright designed in Los Angeles. The American Institute of Architects has recognized it as one of the most significant structures of the 20th century. It was the seventh building in Los Angeles to be declared a National Historic Landmark (2007).

The park is located on Hollywood Boulevard at Vermont, but you can’t see the Hollyhock House from the street, since it’s surrounded by trees. There is a parking lot next to Hollywood Blvd, with the entrance near the corner of Edgemont. You can also drive up through the parking lot and find spots along the loop road that circles the top of the hill.

The house is operated by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. After being closed for several years for major renovations, the house is open for self-guided tours. The entrance is through the Visitor Center on the loop road, which is connected to the main house via a long pergola. There is no photography allowed inside. See the website for hours and admission.

Background

The striking building was a commission from oil heiress, theatre aficionado and social activist Aline Barnsdall, who planned for the house to be part of an art and theatre colony.  It was like pulling teeth for her to get the design out of Wright, who was otherwise occupied building the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo during the entire construction time from 1919 to 1921.

He was trying to make an international comeback after multiple personal scandals in the US. Final features of the Hollyhock House were actually designed by another famous name in LA architecture, Rudolph Schindler, who Wright brought from Chicago to work on the project. Wright’s son, Lloyd Wright, also worked on the original construction, even before he later qualified as an architect. Barnsdall eventually fired Wright, but brought Schindler and Lloyd Wright back to finish the job.

Hollyhock House

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

The hollyhock was Barnsdall’s favorite flower, and Wright’s design incorporates multiple variations of a geometric hollyhock motif on on textured concrete blocks called textile blocks and also in the stained-glass windows, carpets and furnishings. Exterior walls cantilevered slightly inward give a vague interpretation of a Mayan temple, leading some to call the architectural style Mayan Revival, but Wright called it California Romanza. Water flowed from a square pool in front of the house under the building into a moat around the fireplace and back out into a water feature in the courtyard. Like many of Wright’s concepts, that didn’t work out so well, having a tendency to flood the living room.

Hollyhock House © Kayte Deioma

The moat around the fireplace at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Nothing about the final design and construction of the 17-room house was very practical or comfortable, so Aline Barnsdall and her daughter never really lived in the house. With the cost overruns and the lack of a solid design for the theatre, she gave up on the arts colony idea and started work on donating the house to the City of LA before it was even finished. The City rejected the donation initially, but in 1927 the property was transferred with the condition that the California Art Club could lease the house for its headquarters for 15 years, and that Aline Barnsdall could stay in a smaller house on Olive Hill referred to as Residence B, which has since been demolished. She lived there until her death in 1946.

Hollyhock House © Kayte Deioma

The gallery at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

To create exhibit space in the house, the California Art Club knocked out two en suite guest rooms on the south side of the building to create a gallery, and that space currently has an exhibit of the original designs, drawings and history of the house.

Hollyhock House © Kayte Deioma

The atrium and patio at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

In the 1940s, Lloyd Wright was contracted to do some renovations and made some significant changes, including completely redoing the kitchen and turning the sun room into an open patio. He was brought back again in the 70’s to make further alterations. The current restoration of the first floor is predominantly back to the original 1921 Frank Lloyd Wright design, with the exception of Lloyd Wright’s 1940’s kitchen.

Here is a preview of the beautifully restored Hollyhock House and see some of the details that were uncovered, and some of the second floor spaces not open to the public.

An upstairs view at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

One of the bedrooms at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

The dining room at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

The kitchen at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

The living room at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

The music room at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Inside the front door at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Hollyhock House © Kayte Deioma

Entrance to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Detail on the front door at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Hollyhock House © Kayte Deioma

A view of the Hollywood Sign from the walkway at the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in Barnsdall Art Park, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

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A Visit to John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood

John Kelly Chocolates

Co-Owners John Kelson and Kelly Green at John Kelly Chocolates shop and factory in Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

John Kelly Chocolates
Hollywood
1508 N. Sierra Bonita Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 851-3269
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am – 5:30 pm, Sat 10 am – 5:30 pm

Santa Monica
1111 1/2 Montana Ave
Sana Monica, CA 90403
(310) 899-0900
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 am – 6 pm, Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Sun 12 – 5 pm

Also at:
www.johnkellychocolates.com
service@johnkelleychocolates.com
(800) 609-4243 toll free
(323) 851-1789 fax

I am a chocoholic. I admit it.

But I’m just as picky about chocolate as I am about other kinds of food. I don’t like my chocolate bitter or waxy or too sugary. At the LA Chocolate Salon I find far more chocolates that I don’t like, compared to the ones I do. This is why I’m sometimes reluctant to do a tasting at a boutique chocolatier. It’s really hard to look at someone who has put a lot of effort and love into creating THEIR perfect version of chocolate and have to say “sorry, not my cup of tea.”

So I was very relieved when I accepted the offer to visit the John Kelly Chocolates factory in Hollywood, to discover that not only is it very much “my cup of tea,” it’s just about my new favorite thing. Co-Owners John Kelson and Kelly Green opened their Hollywood chocolate factory in 2005, supplying upscale outlets like Nieman Marcus and the Ritz Carlton hotels. The smell of chocolate brought passersby knocking on the door looking for the source of that heavenly scent, so in 2010 they opened a shop at the little factory just off Sunset Boulevard and in 2012, they opened another retail store in Santa Monica.

Kelson had a background in luxury sales and Green in marketing. Neither one was an expert in chocolate. They started with a recipe created by a friend that they really enjoyed. “We had the good fortune of having Vickie Delgado who knew chocolate and taught us, and we adjusted the recipe until we had something unique.” says Green.

Unlike the typical chocolate truffle, the offerings at John Kelly have their origins in fudge, but what they call fudge is much creamier and less sugary than any fudge I’ve ever tasted. The pieces or bars are coated in semi-sweet chocolate, which is also something you don’t usually find with fudge. You can get your 1 oz truffle fudge bites plain or with walnuts, as caramel nut clusters or peanut butter fudge. The 2 spicy dark chocolate bars come in the milder chipotle and ancho chile or the fiery habanero and jalapeno variety.

There are almost as many flavors of exotic salts that top the chocolates as there are filling, from Hawaiian Red Alaea sea salt to Himalayan pink salt. The dark chocolate with French grey sea salt won the sofi Gold Award from NASFT for Outstanding Chocolate in 2009 and it’s easy to taste why. Everything I tasted was wonderful, but the rich pure cacao goodness of this one just tastes like more.

Other favorites for me were both of the spicy varieties, the peanut butter/chocolate duo, the chocolate and caramel with Hawaiian red sea salt and the orange chocolate and…really each one was my favorite while I was eating it.

All the truffle fudge flavors are extremely rich and dense and just a small taste can be very satisfying, allowing a 1 oz piece to be enjoyed over a couple days – or an 8 oz bar all in one sitting if you’re not careful. In addition to the shareable 8 oz bar, a 3 lb party slab that serves 48-64 people can be ordered in any flavor.

At $3 for a one ounce piece, $3.50 for 2 oz, and $13 for a half pound bar, it’s not your supermarket candy bar, but it’s a relative bargain for luxury chocolate.

You can stop in either of the retail shops in Hollywood or Santa Monica or visit the Hollywood shop and factory on a Tourific Escapes tour.

If you’re like me and drool over everything chocolate, enjoy the photos from John Kelly Chocolates below.

A Vat of Gooey Chocolate

John Kelly Chocolates Factory in Hollywood - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
A vat of gooey, melty chocolate being mixed at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Dipping Fudge Truffles

Dipping Fudge Truffles at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Dipping Fudge Truffles at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood.
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Fudge Truffles being dipped in chocolate coating at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Chocolate Line at John Kelly Chocolates

Chocolate line at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Chocolate line at John Kelly Chocolates.
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Fudge truffles coming out of their chocolate coating bath.

Chocolate-Covered Truffle Fudge

Chocolate-covered truffle fudge - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Chocolate-covered truffle fudge coming off the conveyor belt at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Handmade Walnut Caramels

Making walnut caramel truffles at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Making walnut caramels that will be covered in chocolate at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Walnut Caramels at John Kelly Chocolates

Walnut Caramels at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Hand-made walnut caramels waiting to be covered in chocolate at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

A 3 Pound Bar of Chocolate

3 Pound Bar of Chocolate - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma

Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma

The three-pound slab of chocolate coated truffle fudge at John Kelly Chocolates is designed to serve about 50 people or me and another 10 chocoholics.

Salting Chocolates

John Kelly Chocolate Factory - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma, used with permission
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Salting chocolates with French gray sea salt and Hawaiian red sea salt at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Sampling the Chocolates

A Tour Group at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Tour group members get samples of chocolates to taste at John Kelly Chocolates in Hollywood, CA

Golden Wrappers

Golden Wrapping at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Like Willie Wonka, John Kelly Chocolates wraps some of their precious cargo in golden wrappers.

Tourific Escapes at John Kelly Chocolates

Tourific Escapes Tour at John Kelly Chocolates - Photo © 2012 Kayte Deioma
Photo Credit: © Kayte Deioma
Tourific Escapes has a couple different tours that stop at John Kelly Chocolates.

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Final Passage for the USS Iowa

USS Iowa

Final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it opened as a museum ship in July 2012.

When the historic battleship USS Iowa was tugged away from Berth 51 in San Pedro to its new permanent home at Berth 87 on Saturday, it carried not only the memory of the thousands of Navy seamen who served aboard the ship, but some of the men themselves. Ninety-two-year-old Bob Dedic was part of the original crew when the ship was commissioned in 1940, and was back again for this final voyage. So were other veterans and active Navy sailors who served on the ship during its 50-year tenure until it was decommissioned in 1990. There were also active Navy and Navy Sea Cadets as young as 14 all spruced up in their dress whites.

USS Iowa Final Voyage

Volunteers with the Pacific Battleship Center reel in the chains for the final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA

Dignitaries on board included Congresswoman Janice Hahn and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both beaming with pride in bringing the future museum ship to Los Angeles. I can tell you they were beaming, because I was on board too, along with a passel of TV crews, journalists and photographers invited to document and share this last hurrah.

Rescued from mothballs where she had been languishing in the Bay Area, the ship made the full 400 mile voyage to San Pedro under the push-pull of a team of tug boats, arriving in Los Angeles on May 30, 2012. She got a bottom scrubbing to remove any potentially invasive species or contaminants before being cleared for the final tow to her new home.

USS Iowa

Tugboats provide power and LA City Fire Boats provide fanfare fountains for the final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA

The volunteer crew from the Pacific Battleship Center cast off the chains and we set underway for the short journey accompanied by the twin brigantines Exy and Irving Johnson, as well as the tall ship the Spirit, sailing only under one sail to keep her speed down to ours. Two LA City Fire Boats at the bow and stern spouted water streams to martial arrangements of Anchors Away and Oh Shenandoah (an off choice, I thought) creative a festive spirit as we pulled away from land. A few dozen other sail boats, yachts and motorboats joined in the parade.

USS Iowa

Final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it opened as a museum ship in July 2012.

Along our path, close to 1000 people had gathered along the waterfront to welcome the USS Iowa to her new home. Our destination was only a mile away, but to add a little grandeur to the event, as well as better photo opportunities for us and the news ‘copters above, we paraded up the channel under the Vincent Thomas Bridge, where we paused briefly before resuming our tow in the reverse direction.

USS Iowa

Teenage Navy Sea Cadets in the Color Guard for the final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it openwd as a museum ship in July 2012.

Technical difficulties docking meant that we got to enjoy the marching band and cheering crowd that welcomed us from captive positions on the deck while Randy Newman’s I love LA blared from the ship’s speakers. Due to the delay, the young Sea Cadets never got to present the Color Guard during the truncated award ceremonies as proclamations and awards changed hands. They didn’t seem to mind. Having stood their posts proudly as the ship found its new home, they became part of history, documented by TV and news cameras and yours truly for posterity.

USS Iowa Final Voyage

Final voyage of the battleship USS Iowa from Berth 51 to its new home at Berth 87 in San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA where it opened as a museum ship in July 2012.

The USS Iowa is open to the public as a museum ship. For information and tickets, visit pacificbattleship.com.