I often visit Descanso Gardens in La Canada-Flintridge but never bother to see anything other than the flowers. It was time to expand my exploration and visit the Boddy House (pronounced BOH-dee). This was another of my spontaneous adventures. I knew little about my destination other than that it had been built in 1937 for Elias Manchester Boddy. That small amount of information was sufficient to encourage me to see it for myself.
The house is set on a hill above the gardens. It’s a pleasant walk through the oak forest.
Within minutes the Boddy House appeared. There are a few other things up top as well: An art gallery, a rooftop garden, and a stairway leading on up to a Mediterranean-terraced area called Hope’s Garden.
Simple and Traditional
I wandered to all the little outdoor places before approaching the house. The entrance is at the back, or what to me seems like the back.
If you’re expecting a old-fashioned home, you’ll be disappointed. This house may have been built eighty years ago, but it was recently remodeled. It is thoroughly modern inside. These days, the house is an event venue and, as such, needs up to date features.
A docent was near the door and I chatted with her for a while before wandering off to explore on my own. While the rooms weren’t historic, they were lovely. Many gave a sense of the history of the place.
Light from big windows flooded into all the rooms. Of course, the views of the gardens and the valley are stunning. The color pallette was in light colors of tan and gold.
The living room and Boddy’s study are in deeper shades. I liked his desk with its tiny Corona typewriter.
Doesn’t that look like a pleasant place to sit and write? I think so. Of course, I could end up looking out the window and daydreaming.
But Who was Boddy?
My biggest takeaway from this trip wasn’t about the house, but about the man. I had never heard of him. Boddy was a publisher in Los Angeles in the heyday of the motion picture industry, but he didn’t start out that way. He was the son of a farmer. He served in World War I as a second Lieutenant. His rise from rags to riches is a typical American self-made man story.
He joined the local Los Angeles newspaper as an editor in 1926; within months he was running the paper. He wrote books and a story for the movies. He even ran for the U.S. Senate in 1950 but lost to Richard Nixon.
If you get to Descanso Gardens, I hope you take the time to walk through the forest and visit the Boddy House. It’s a pleasant sojourn featuring lovely rooms and the history of an interesting man.
To see more images from my visit, please click here.