Taste and Tastelessness

Vulgar is as vulgar does
When 2500 square feet isn’t enough

Sherwood Forest is a hidden enclave of elegant one-story ranch houses on sprawling lots with deep setbacks. Four bedroom, three bath, 1950’s Connecticut.  The kind of house Mr. Sheldrake took the 6:15 train home to in Billy Wilder’s The Apartment.  If you had the money to buy one, tear it down, and replace it with something twice as big, would you build this? Would you go full New Yerevan Brutalist? Would you pave over the front yard and add the tallest fence in the neighborhood?

The Sheldrake
The Sheldrake

“Free” Landscaping

Our utility bills at work
The law of incentives at work

In the interest of conservation, the Department of Water and Power is offering cash rebates to homeowners willing to replace their beloved lawns with drought tolerant landscaping.  If this calls to mind some of the lovelier succulent and native plant gardens one sees in the swankier parts of town, that would be an understandable assumption.   The Valley being the Valley, it’s a little different in practice.

An outfit called Turf Terminators is pocketing $3.75 per square foot for scraping turf, backing up a dump truck of gravel, dropping it without a weed barrier and planting a one gallon pot every six feet and calling it “landscaping”.  This plague of ugliness is sweeping north from Oxnard Blvd., the unofficial demarcation line between good taste and tastelessness in the Valley.