santa clara avenue, dana point

The great thing about dogs is the contemplative walk.  If you take a cue from your pet, you’ll understand just how much there is to ‘smell’ (for dogs) and to ‘see’ (for humans.)  Once a month, when M. is prepping for his antique show, I take the dogs down to Dana Point for their morning stroll.  There’s a beautiful street, Santa Clara Avenue, that we favor as it is at the bluffs edge (at least the homes are) and if you turn onto Ruby Lantern, there’s the harbor.


This house is just one half block from…


…this house.  This should give you an idea how ‘economy of scale’ is truly defined in Orange County.  (Bigger is always better.)


Making a grand entrance, either into the house or out of the garage is absolutely a must.  Some of the homes along the bluff’s edge have gates, both to the driveway and to the house itself, but in what seems an unusually democratic impulse, many do not.    I like to think of  these homes as being more ‘liberal’ (the ungated ones) although the gated ones are some of my favorites.


M. and I go ’round and ’round about the efficacy of gated neighborhoods (we deplore them,) but we’ve never really come to terms on an individual home being gated.  What are your thoughts?



Of the gated homes, the one above is my favorite.   Everything about it is understated and elegant.  From the stone work to the landscaping; quiet, unobtrusive (except for the gates) and elegant.


Across the street are my two favorite homes.  Obviously designed by the same architect in Spanish Revival mode, they appear to have been built in the past century (my guess is late ’20s to late ’40s.)


Although they appear a little the worse for wear, it’s a ‘shabby chic’ look that they wear well.


I’ve spoken with the owner of this house–he para-surfs–which is like parachuting/sailing only on a surfboard–which seems completely foolhardy and daring at the same time.  His home has a slapdash “I’m living life to the fullest and don’t have that much time to devote to making it look perfect and don’t care if it does or doesn’t,” manner, but lived in and comfortable and generous.


Yesterday, I had the nicest talk with a woman around my age who had come down to run through the neighborhood.  We discussed the relative merits of gated versus ungated, landscaping and columns and pillars and generally enjoyed about ten minutes of conversation before she directed her Nikes in the opposite direction and continued on her way.



This home is another ‘older’ one on the same block.  In this county, where new trumps old every time,  it is refreshing to see that sometimes the past does linger, dowager-like, comfortable/imposing/slightly imperfect.


At the end of Ruby Lantern is the harbor (this is the view most of the previous houses have.)




As we turn back to the car, I notice that the magnolias are in bloom, but the blossoms are too far away for a good shot of them (the scent is amazing) so I snag a shot of their glossy leaves from underneath where it appears they are lined in rusty velvet.



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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