I just returned from The City of the Angels, aptly named in 1781. I am certain it was paradise on earth. Only one hundred years ago, the city boasted a population of 100,000. Navigating the expressways today, this statistic boggles the mind, as the city rolls on forever.
Mostly surrounded by L.A. proper, there is a spot called Culver City that used to be the epicenter of the motion picture industry. Outside the center of Culver City there are long stretches of low lying warehouses and gritty nondescript buildings; many in poor repair or empty. The remains of another time, it was never a pretty sight.
I am setting the stage for a remarkable story concerning one man and his passion for creating his own paradise on earth. His name and the name of his business is Charles Jacobsen.
My friend and I are looking for the address of his showroom; driving past yet another low slung faceless building, we turn into a wide alley. The first clue that we had arrived was a beautiful green wall of plantings with a spot to park. As soon as we stepped out of the car and glanced over to the interior wall, we saw it was covered with brilliant clear dark purple flowers climbing 30 feet into the air.
The gate opens and we are transported into a spectacular garden. Full grown trees and shrubs, fountains, furniture, objets de jardin…the whizzing cars and world outside are lost. We have entered into a perfect world of beauty and order; the most lovely commercial venture I have ever seen.
I hesitate to call it a showroom, but that is what it is. Charles, a tall and elegant man born in Hawaii, has traveled extensively and has brought his perfectly chosen treasures back to this garden where they live until sold. There is everything you can imagine from Japanese stepping stones to carved marble from India to antique Dutch furniture from Sri Lanka to stone pillars, chairs and beds and sinks lighting, textile, and….well….just about everything. He also offers a collection of stunning upholstered furniture.
All of this is merchandised with a painter’s eye and an architect’s precision. It is just plain glorious and you must visit soon.
If this hasn’t intrigued you enough, I leave you with this: Hung on the branches of the trees throughout the grounds are old bamboo cages with song birds in them. Their sweet chirping merges with the sounds of the fountains and leaves you feeling that you are far, far away in the Garden of the Angels.