Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God, Life and Mulch~ The Maloof Foundation Tour

God never promised life would be easy. He gave us a mulch pile- and it is our purpose to turn life's garbage into as close to our personal vision of paradise as we can. That doesn't mean we'll ever reach perfection- but it will keep us busy.

Blue is a signature element in the home of the late Sam Maloof, the  first craftsman awarded the MacArthur fellowship. Dubbed by People magazine as the "Hemingway of Hardwood "when a freeway extension  threatened to cut through his original property, the residence and workshop were deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic  Places. The buildings and many of the trees were painstakingly moved to this 6 acre hillside parcel in nearby Alta Loma. Gene Sasse captures the essence of place through imagery of the barn-inspired architecture within the garden developed with native and compatible  Mediterranean plants. 
No detail of Maloof furniture escapes masterful articulation, as replicated by Gene Sasse's lens. 
People magazine dubbed Sam Maloof as the "Hemingway of Hardwood." The first craftsman awarded the MacArthur Fellowship: when a freeway extension  threatened to cut through his inland empire property, the residence and workshop were deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic  Places. The buildings consequently moved to the current 6 acres of hillside in nearby Alta Loma, where the expanded complex where the custom furniture business is continued by his shop-workers, fondly known as "the boys" to whom he largely left the business. 

Photographed by Gene Sasse from the perspective on peering down the axis of the hand-built circular stairway in the original home, the similarity of line to a cut-away Nautilus seashell  is revealed.e

Photographing the home of Sam Maloof,the immigrant who made it big in America, is verboten. Built room by room as he and Alfreda, his first wife of 50 years could afford, the warren of rooms are impractically set up for docents to manage a crowd aiming lenses. However, strolling the garden with a camera captures some of the garden magic created by marrying virtue and good humor. 

Sam found love again after his first wife with Beverly (now) Maloof. With the help of  a Metropolitan Water District Water Wise Grant and community volunteers, she raised from the earth a garden designed to be an embracing partner with the Maloof Historic Residence Museum. A place the website describes as full of "places of discovery, delight and inspiration." 

I gathered lots of ideas to bring home. Here, the simplest lumber bridge provides sturdy footing for Gerry to traverse over a now dry wash. 

A low rock water basin is constructed below a sycamore tree- a notch in the wall allowing torrential foothill water to escape without tearing the structure out- much like an overflow of a dam does.

The longhorn sculpture- a rustic rendition of wood
 Art in the garden draws you out- 

Pays homage to what you love. Don't you wonder if a mouse or rat did a double-take before crossing the path guarded by this "cat"?

Art can celebrate your faith while putting a smile on your face. 

Lastly for this post- What is a garden without fruit?  Fig leafs large enough to wear to cover-up on the beach.  - perhaps we've found the garden of Eden in the foothills, east of LA. 

To learn more about the Sam Maloof Maloof Foundation For Art and Crafts; the garden and tours- click here.


  1. What a fantastic place this is....!
    I went to the Web Site and looked at a lot of the "art" all around this fascinating place....So Very Interesting and Beautiful. I can see how one could spend many days here, discovering ALL the amazing surprises around every corner.

  2. Lydia,
    What a lovely and interesting place. Love seeing the whimsical art along the pathway. You have captured it well.

    Thank you for sharing.
    XO Trisha

  3. Good morning Naomi and Trisha. So glad you enjoyed the tour.

  4. Really a pretty and interesting place. Yes, thanks for sharing! Sue

  5. How fun! Some garden whimsy along with horticultural delights. The lumber bridge intrigues me.

  6. Hi Nikki- You and roomie would have fun on the tour. My recommendation would be to get a reservation for a house tour between heat waves):-

  7. Truly a magnificent artist in wood. Did Gerry ever get to meet him?

    Judy in Seal Beach

  8. Good morning Judy. I should have arranged a meeting, but I always worked remotely on Maloof projects. Gerry was pretty excited that I knew who he was though. A couple friends who know the Maloof's of entertainment venues wondered if they are related- which they aren't. Small world.

  9. What a beautiful spot. Thanks for hte tour!

  10. beautiful spot - thank you for sharing it and thanks for visiting me!


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