If you’ve ever seen The Naked Gun, which I had the delight of re-watching this weekend, you might recognize El Miradiro as the terrorist headquarters (set in Beirut) from the opening scene. Before serving as a backdrop in the crass comedy, as well as a handful of other earlier films, the Indo-Saracen style structure served as the private residence of real estate tycoon, Leslie C. Brand.
Somehow this was built. Not in Asia or Europe, but right here in California. Behold, the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC for short).
At first we thought we were lost. With Highland Park behind us, we slowly made our way up a series of narrow, twisting roads. We had only been in the car for 15 minutes, but the scenery felt as though we had left the city altogether. When we finally reached the entry gates, we were shocked by the sight of the gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship in Mt. Washington.
Even after watching Citizen Kane twenty-plus times and seeing endless photos of the real palace, the first sight of Hearst Castle is an overwhelming spectacle of architectural and decorative awe. Only four hours from LA, the castle sits atop 250,000 acres of ranch land in San Simeon, CA., with 360° views as far as the eye can see. Architect Julia Morgan was commissioned to build a grand estate for the Hearst family, and over a span of nearly 30 years, Hearst and Morgan built 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways, including the world’s largest private zoo. Quite accurate by Xanadu’s description, Hearst collected countless artifacts, art and antiques from all over the world, which led to the continual expansion of the property to warehouse his goods.
Since it was our first visit, we chose the Grand Room Tour which included the main assembly hall, the refectory, the billiard room and the theatre. Although the tour hardly covered a fraction of the estate, it was evident that the artifact collection was quite serious.
Over on Fairfax, between 3rd and Wilshire, awaits a treasure box called Tini. Short for ‘This Is Not Ikea,” the massive two-story space is overflowing with unique, vintage home decor items handpicked by the ever-tasteful owner, Alexis Hadjopulos, from a multitude of eras that are anything but mass-produced and flat packed in a box.
With everything from Midcentury credenzas, 1940s TV sets, fur coats, chandeliers, superhero lunch pails and 80’s grunge wall posters, and so. so. so. much more, TINI doubles as a museum of the evolutional styles of the American home. You could spend an hour passing through the multiple (and usually themed) back rooms without realizing that your parking meter has been blinking EXPIRED for the last 18 minutes before you even reach the upstairs.