One of the things I enjoy most about Los Angeles is the element of surprise. Walk along the Sunset Strip, and you’ll be bombarded by quirky personalities and undiscovered talent. Escape to one of many hikes, and you’ll find endless views of the California coast. And if you want to immerse yourself in another world, turn north off Franklin Boulevard and drive north along the winding canyon roads to catch a glimpse of the home and gardens tucked deep in the land.
Thus is what I found when I recently visited Claire Stansfield‘s home in the Hollywood Hills. The interior stylist and her family live atop one of the city’s mountains with a greenhouse, two vegetable gardens, a swimming pool, a terrace and backyard lounge area, and vast views of downtown and Griffith Park. It’s a secret sanctuary replete with a growing bounty.
From the pounding pavement to green bliss in a mere five minutes: How’s that for a quick escape?
Photos by Stacey Lindsay.
Above: I entered Stansfield’s property through her long and steep driveway, the first clue that the outdoor space is layered along the hill. Throughout the property, stone steps provide walkways to the various levels.
Above: Greenery extends along the back of the house, which faces the lawn and looks down on the pool and kitchen gardens. Shadows pepper the space in the afternoon sun.
Above: Mini planters live in a quiet sitting area.
Above: Stansfield designed a lounge area on the west side of the house. She fashioned a trellis with a custom metal frame and then attached rolls of willow twig fencing with wire.
Above: Nestled in the hillside, one layer down, is the first kitchen garden, guarded by a scarecrow.
Above: Continuing downhill past the pool, you come to the second and larger vegetable garden. Here, mixed greens thrive in the afternoon sun.
Above: Inching back upwards, I came to the quirkiest and perhaps most interesting aspect of the space: the greenhouse. The house and land were previously owned by the late Stanley DeSantis, an actor and avid gardener. While Stansfield and her husband added accessories and plants of their own, the main assortment in the greenhouse predates them. “It’s all Stanley,” says Stansfield.
Above: A happy succulent in the greenhouse.
Above: A clear view of the iconic Hollywood sign.
Is it a good day for armchair travel? If so, explore some ore of our favorite gardens around the world, from New Orleans to North London to Marrakech.
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