Caruso is known for creating beloved town centers such as The Grove, and the newly opened Palisades Village promises to be yet another of the L.A.-based development company’s popular neighborhood destinations. Imagine a walkable gathering place that serves as a centerpiece within one of California’s most desirable coastal communities, complete with a curated mix of high-end shopping, dining and lifestyle offerings.
Now think of a coveted selection of brands ranging from the first brick-and-mortar Amazon Books to sought-after fashion labels like Tamara Mellon and Rachel Zoe, along with the Bay Theatre by Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas boasting a replica of the original marquee created in 1948 by motion picture theater designer S. Charles Lee.
“With Palisades Village, Caruso aimed to create the best street in the world, a truly walkable downtown area in Los Angeles,” says Dave Williams, executive vice president of architecture.
“We drew inspiration globally and focused on small scale storefronts and details from many great shopping streets—Bleecker Street in New York City, Fillmore Street in San Francisco and Newbury Street in Boston. The design team visited coastal villages like Sag Harbor, Nantucket, Newport Beach and Balboa Island, and layered in residential details from Pacific Palisades, to create our own vision of ‘California Coastal’ architecture.”
A vision, indeed. Situated at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Swathmore Avenue, Palisades Village features a variety of architectural design themes, including Mid-century modern, contemporary and coastal aesthetics, all enhanced by residential-style materials such as crisp white trim, high-gloss paint, brick and masonry, slate roofs and copper gutters. The center also is on course to be the first ground-up business district in the state to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The entire project encompasses 125,000 square feet on 3 acres. In addition to the aforementioned sites, the center also includes 10 restaurants and cafes, from casual eateries, like edo little bites for healthy cuisine, to fine-dining establishments such as Vintage Grocers offering a neighborhood market with chef-driven prepared foods.
Amenities include concierge services, garage and valet parking, a complimentary bike-share program, an expansive park with a sidewalk promenade and patios, and a community room for local residents. Living options also will be available at The Residences at Palisades Village, featuring eight one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments ranging from 1,352 to 2,524 square feet, all showcasing private terraces and courtyards.
“At the heart of Palisades Village is the hope that it will become a part of the everyday fabric of the community and a daily gathering place for locals, their friends and families,” says Michael Gazzano, Caruso’s vice president of development. “That is why everything about the development, every decision that was made, tied back to how it fit within the infrastructure of the Palisades and its local community.” palisadesvillageca.com
Photographs courtesy of Avablu.com
Location, location, location goes the real estate mantra when looking for a home to purchase. In this case, one in the sweet spot of walkability, with access to everything a family could want—the beach and hiking trails, tennis courts and gyms, small specialty shops, large supermarkets and a weekly farmers’ market, movie theaters and schools, cafes and restaurants, and the spectacular, new Palisades Village.
All help to make the beautiful single family home at 825 Alma Real Drive, which has a pool and resides in one of Los Angeles’ most coveted neighborhoods, hard to beat—and that’s before one steps inside to find a beautiful, well-balanced interior. The home’s picture-perfect setting is worthy of a Nancy Myers movie—think dark gray shingles, large white-framed windows and glossy red front door—is encircled by a lush green hedge and punctuated by a matching gray gate between two stacked stone pillars.
As much as the location is of paramount importance, so too is the visual connection between rooms. It is the elusive element that makes a home inviting. It’s not enough that a residence is large and that its rooms are generously proportioned (at 6,300 square feet, the six bedrooms in this well-sized home are quite capacious), it must be able to easily and comfortably contain all the activities of a modern family’s busy and varied life: children’s pool parties and raucous Super Bowl Sundays, the space in which to host both Thanksgiving for family and over a dozen friends for a quiet business dinner. And it must support the ebb and flow between solitude and togetherness—pubic and private space—that allows a family to co-exist in peace and harmony.
This house has these qualities in spades, beginning with the small den off the front door. A solitary retreat just outside the circle of interconnected rooms that make up the rest of the main floor, it’s perfect for a houseguest who can quietly slip in and out without disturbing the other occupants (there’s a full bath on this floor for his or her comfort).
More importantly, these days, when working at home is more commonplace, its view over the street action as well as its position within earshot of the rest of the house makes for an ideal office.
Located directly across from the formal living room, one can conduct business meetings without worry of family interference. Should the discussion run through lunch—or dinner—participants can adjourn to the adjacent dining room. While this space is within view of the kitchen, it’s not quite open to it, giving it an air of formality, when the occasion calls.
The choreography of the first floor, which links individual rooms into a perfect chain of interrelated spaces, also supports the casual rhythm of daily life. There’s the large open plan kitchen that embraces the family room and overlooks the backyard and the pool. With its large central island and state-of-the-art appliances, it easily hosts the numerous tasks a kitchen is called on to perform: the chaos of weekday mornings; the endless parade of teenager trips to and from the refrigerator; the inevitable gathering of friends and family during dinner prep.
Its seamless integration with the family room, with its stacked stone fireplace, allows both rooms to work in harmony. The backyard, accessed via multi-paned sliding glass doors, runs the length of both rooms. With its pool, waterfall and fire pit beckoning, this space is an exemplary example of Southern California’s legendary indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
Here children can play while their parents prepare dinner and catch up on the day; party guests can find space for a tete a tete without wandering away from the main rooms; a hired chef can perform his magic near friends yet still at a distance from the dining table. Winter or summer, this is truly the strong beating heart of the home. Its well-considered sightlines, which visually connect every room on this level, is a boon, whether one is hosting a large party or relaxing with family. It is a reminder that connection is what makes a great home.
In cooler weather, a gathering can head for the basement whose large, light-filled central room, with its high ceilings and munificent proportions, can easily fit a pool table as well as a generous sectional. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms on this floor, as well as its own separate entrance, via a spiral staircase, this level makes it easy for one to be generous with sleepover invitations. The home’s muscles are also on this floor, from a gym to a laundry room. (There’s also space for a concealed washer-dryer on the top floor.)
The four upstairs bedrooms echo the details that underscore this home’s beauty and substantiality—crown moldings, solid doors, and considered proportions. Peaked ceilings amplify the well-designed rooms, plantation shutters are beautiful and practical, closets and bathrooms are spacious (the master bedroom’s walk-in closet is a room unto itself), and balconies, off the master and the landing on this floor, provide vantage points from which to survey the beauty of the surrounding neighborhood. For neighborhood—and the value of connection, family, and friends that it implies—is the very core of this home.
Many homes are beautiful. Many homes are well-suited. But finding all desirable attributes in one package? There simply is no place like this home.
ANTHONY MARGULEAS OF AMALFI ESTATES | 310.293.9280
LIST PRICE $6,595,000
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PAUL JONASON
Turning onto El Medio, one is struck by the quietness of the road.
Is it really possible to have just passed the busy village of Pacific Palisades, with its many cafes and sophisticated shopping, including the highly-anticipated Palisades Village set to open this fall?
The final destination—601 El Medio—is just minutes from the popular enclave, but seems worlds away.
No doubt this one is among the very best.
Rising from an expansive corner lot, seemingly drawn from a calmer time, the house at 601 El Medio is set off by wild yet lush landscaping, its dark wood clapboard exterior highlighted with mint-green trim channeling the palette of its surroundings—the rich earth and leafy expanse of Will Rogers State Park, the sparkling ocean—into something warm and welcoming.
The home’s graceful front portico and subtly bowed front window underscore this feeling.
The interior of the home only amplifies the promise of its exterior. In keeping with the tradition of a Craftsman home, every detail, from the crown moldings to the simple yet substantial hardware, to the tile work and wood mantled fireplaces, serves to elevate the home from the merely pretty to the architecturally sublime.
Its southern exposure, just slightly west of due south, keeps the interior temperate year round, even during Los Angeles’ notorious heat waves.
Cool and inviting, this home’s natural milieu lends itself to gracious hosting, whether the occasion is a dinner party, a long alfresco lunch in the garden, or afternoon cocktails.
It’s easy to imagine the dining room, for example, as the setting for a bountiful Thanksgiving.
Located just right of the front door and flooded with light on two sides, the space could easily accommodate a long table for 16.
A pass-through from the expansive kitchen makes it easy for one to move a colorful array of side dishes onto the table at the beginning of the meal and, just as easily, whisk them away at the end.
Open to the main entryway, yet set off by two half-room dividers, the space is inviting for latecomers held up by the holiday traffic.
And certainly, given the home’s six bedrooms, hosting family and out-of-town guests is assumed.
French doors open the large kitchen to the home’s side alley, providing a natural corridor for transporting food to the backyard.
(Here, dogs can scamper before their own dinner or happily lap up scraps.)
The kitchen’s walk-in pantry provides plenty of room for staples so that one is always prepared to feed a crowd of kids that will naturally gather here after school.
There’s also ample space for a table for the family that materializes around meal prep without hampering the cook’s pathways from the deep farmhouse sink to the multi-burner Viking stove, to Sub-Zero refrigerator and back.
The gleam of polished wood floors steers everyone into the house, past guest bedrooms layered with luxurious natural materials and artisanal touches—French doors that open onto the garden, lustrous dark wood cabinetry, stone shower floors and marble countertops.
(One room, with its reclaimed barn wood floors, beamed ceiling, and skylight, is currently being used as a gym. It would also make a luxurious bedroom, opulent home office or expansive craft studio.)
There’s a family room here, too, and a tall wine fridge, poised for easy access from the dining room, the living room, or the garden.
Given Southern California’s picture-perfect weather, made even more pleasant via ocean breezes blowing in off the Pacific, the home’s heated patio is another natural spot for entertaining.
Here’s the place for long leisurely lunches in the Italian style dinner parties that last well into the night, lit by candles and fueled by ideally chosen vintages or an evening picnic in the spacious
Asian-styled garden. It’s not surprising to learn that this romantic space, with its winding stone pathways, graceful trees and the music of its boulder fountain has been the backdrop for a wedding.
Upstairs, each member of the family has a private space of their own.
Every bedroom is a retreat, with a wrap-around porch. In the generous master suite, two sets of French doors lead to this feature and frame nearby treetops.
Coupled with the vaulted, beamed ceiling and a majestically tiled fireplace, this space feels like a cabin sanctuary.
Adding to the getaway feeling: a substantial shared closet, bathroom with a custom granite wave sink and a round Japanese soaking tub made of such fine fiberglass that it precisely mimics the traditional heavy stone version.
In the terrace off the master bathroom, one finds the perfect setting for morning sun salutations.
Or, with a glass of wine in hand and stars twinkling overhead, a mini vacation at the end of the evening.
On Sundays, one might slip out to nearby Pacific Palisades Charter High School for the area’s weekly farmers’ market.
In addition to the abundance of organic fruits and vegetables on offer are delicious provisions including jars of bacon jam, Corn Maiden’s tamales, fresh croissants from BreadBar and Bountiful Bakeries’ carrot cake.
Later, one obviously stops to see the puppies from Star Paws Animal Rescue Group.
Might there be another puppy to add to the mix? What’s one more? After all, every dog needs a good home.
No doubt this one is among the very best.
Photography by: Paul Jonason