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Volume 15, Issue 42  | May 26, 2023Subscribe

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Visitors on the 48th Annual Laguna Charm House Tour get a glimpse of Laguna’s heritage

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Those who attended the Laguna Charm House Tour, presented by Village Laguna, on Sunday, May 21, experienced a taste of the heritage of Laguna Beach as they toured houses in neighborhoods dating from the early 1900s. Visitors toured cottages and bungalows, a working artist studio, art in the tradition of the early plein air painters and houses related to families that formed some of the community’s landmarks, in addition to a church.

Styles ranged from early California Monterey revival, summer cottage and early 20th century bungalow to period revival and mid-century modern. Most were located in historic North Laguna, an area that grew from an empty 1906 subdivision to a quiet neighborhood of tree-lined streets and gracious, enchanting homes.

visitors on first home

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Weeping Elm

First property: Weeping Elm

Entering through the Dutch doors of this 1937 board and batten Beach Cottage, guests are greeted with the light, open, airy, carefree charm of a quintessential Laguna summer beach home. Purchased by the Satterthwaite family in 2017, Weeping Elm Cottage reflects the aesthetics and sensibilities of original beach cottage culture of early 20th century California, built modest in scale with simple, box-plan construction. The property was listed on the City of Laguna Beach’s Historic Register in 2018.

 Visitors on second home

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Hummingbird Bungalow

Second property: Hummingbird Bungalow

Walking into Hummingbird Bungalow was a step back in time. Built in 1913 on the edge of Boat Canyon, the house is owned by Betsy Woltz and is one of the earliest remaining cottages in the neighborhood, part of the 1906 Cliff Drive subdivision of Howard Heisler and L.C. McKnight. The house has one bedroom, one bathroom, with a bungalow-style enclosed porch, living and dining area, kitchen, basement and loft. The property was listed on the City of Laguna Beach’s Historic Register in 1991.

Visitors on Christian Science Church

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Hummingbird Bungalow (on left) behind the Christian Science Church. Betsy Woltz and her late husband Robert met and worshipped there.

Third property: The First Church of Christ, Scientist

Prior to 1916, Christian Scientists in Laguna Beach gathered in private homes. As interest grew, meetings moved to several larger locations until a permanent church, designed by Laguna architect Aubrey St. Clair, was built on the corner of Glenneyre and Legion streets in the 1930s.

Visitors on inside church

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Reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie architecture style, that philosophy seems to have prevailed in this church designed by Los Angeles architect Paul R. Hunter. The rectangular stained-glass windows suggest Wright influences.

A new church site was purchased in 1950, and construction began in 1951. The church was formally dedicated in 1956. A Moller pipe organ was installed in 1961. The distinctive wooden beam, wood paneling and chandeliers in the main auditorium were added in the early 1970s. The auditorium church plan modeled on a lecture hall with congregants gathered around a dual pulpit is an American Christian Science approach to church design.

Aldeita Court “Little Village

A graceful archway spans the Mediterranean Revival Aldeita Court and connects the buildings and Laguna’s pioneering families with the town’s artistic past and future. The property features house and apartments in a U-plan around a romantic brick courtyard with a tiled fountain.

Local historian and Laguna native Jane Petty Janz said that the original house on the property was built in 1908 by Oscar and Lee Farman. The Farman house was moved off the land in 1939 and their son-in-law (married to their daughter Thelma) built three apartments and an upstairs home for Lee.

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Visitors on plein air studio

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Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Gallery

Fourth property: Laguna Plein Air Painters (LPAPA)

Today, the property harkens back to Laguna’s artistic history. The Aufdenkamp’s home, plus a later addition, is now the nonprofit Laguna Plein Air Painters Association gallery. LPAPA was founded in Laguna Beach in 1996 and is considered the steward of Laguna’s plein air legacy.

Visitors on inside gallery

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Inside LPAPA Gallery

The Gallery presents Juried Art Shows, Showcase Exhibitions, Artists-in-Residence Exhibitions, and is open Wednesday through Sunday.

Visitors on working artists studio

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Tracey Moscaritolo studio

Fifth property: Working Artist’s Studio

Fauvist impressionist painter Tracey Moscaritolo operates her working studio on the north side of the archway. A sculptor turned acrylic painter, she explained, “I was a metal sculptor for several years, but once I began to paint, I knew I found my true path.” She moved to California from Massachusetts and was inspired at an early age by plein air painters of Cape Cod’s Provincetown during summer visits.

Visitors on Holly Haven

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Holly Haven, Designer Clark Collins is in the vest facing the visitors

Sixth property: Holly Haven, Monterey Revival Style

When looking for a home in North Laguna, Sharon and Tony Domenico decided on what was an odd, badly remodeled house that had been on the market for a year. No one knew what to do with it – it was a wonderful location but unattractively boxy behind 1960s mansard roofs. There was an awkwardly placed front door leading to steps inside that took up a good share of the living room. Designers James Ward Henry II and Clark Collins prepared remodel plans that were approved, but when construction got underway, demolition revealed the story of the house.

Visitors on outside Holly

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With all the restoration completed by the owners, Holly Haven qualified for the Laguna Beach Historic Register

The owners decided to respect the history of the house, which is woven into the history of Laguna. It was designed by Ropp and Mackey in 1935 and over the years has housed former Mayor Kelly Boyd, whose mother was the daughter of the Thurstons, who homesteaded Aliso Canyon in 1871.

For more information on Village Laguna, visit

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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