A Tuscan Retreat in the Hollywood Hills
About the Project
We started this project in March 2009 and christened it Villa Pina after the sweetest dog you ever met.
The clients, a businessman and his actress wife, had just purchased this newly renovated 1937 Spanish revival/Mediterranean hillside home. The landscape was seriously overgrown and poorly laid out. The scope of work consisted of reconstructing a series of terraces on different levels with awkward access to the pool area. The property itself backed into undeveloped hillside. They were enthusiastic about employing a bold color palette. (Be sure to see the before/after photos!)
Having spent some time living in Capri, Italy, the couple adored the hillside villa feeling. The question was: could I capture that feeling with a renovation of the landscape?
After a serious cleanup, I conceptualized a distinct function and color personality for each outdoor terrace, specifying building materials to echo old-world charm. Each terrace would feel like a discovery.
I proposed extending the indoor dwelling spaces onto “living room gardens” that would include a den with gas fire pit off the living room; an arbor-covered dining room with grotto-style water feature off the kitchen; a small park off the master bedroom; and a lounging terrace adjacent to the pool.
During the development of the design, I relocated access steps to the pool terrace, thus creating grander access and greater space for a new room with green roof for the pool equipment and storage. The new landscape lighting relies heavily on LED technology. Two large infiltration pits manage storm water on site, and a new concrete swale behind the main retaining walls relieves the hillside runoff. A satellite-controlled weather timer manages the drip irrigation system quite well.
This property is Ocean Friendly and a Certified Wildlife Habitat®. The project was also featured in the “Garden Gallery” chapter (‘Hollywood Dazzler’, pp. 106–114) in Nan Sterman’s book, Hot Color, Dry Garden.
(NOTE: All work was performed by licensed landscape contractors.)