Ferreting Out a Hollywood Rarity in Culver City, California
Considering they are among the best-known examples of Los Angeles’s indigenous Storybook style of architecture, the Lawrence and Martha Joseph Residence and Apartments hide themselves well. Tucked in a short Culver City block capped by Sony Studios at one end and a Venice Boulevard median at the other, Historic Cultural Monument No. 624, with its gurgling ponds and quaintly thatched roofs, appears like a mirage to the casual passerby. The complex was built by former Disney artist Lawrence Joseph between 1946 and 1970, some time after this Hansel and Gretel aesthetic—a product of 1920s Hollywood—had waned. It was saved from the wrecking ball in 1996 by the widow Joseph, who donated an easement to the Los Angeles Conservancy. For a rare treat, pass by after dark: if the upper floors are lit up, you might see sumptuous interior details.