If anyone visits there in the near future, I would love to hear some feedback on the tour. We are planning a visit to the area in April and might want to schedule a tour.
I wanted to see it. It's going to be popular, I think. I'll post a review when I go.Edited: 5:29 pm, March 01, 2012
"Tickets for March 1 - 31 tours of the historic house are sold out. Tickets for tours April 2 - 15 will be released at 9 a.m. (PDT) March 15"
Thanks for the link, I'll have to get tickets for our visit next month, as March is already sold out.
The news just said all the initial tickets sold out in 10 minutes.
We visited Sunnylands (the new visitor center, new gardens, tour of the older estate) on March 4th 2012. I think it’s better to view the estate as one of the Stately Homes of the USA rather than as a jewel of mid-century modernism, because I don’t think it is. Sure, the home has open space, horizontal lines and big windows, but any small Frey desert home easily excels when it comes to beauty and invention. The fussy interior design (wall coverings, antique furniture, Gauguins in gaudy frames) is often at odds with the simple structure.
Nothing more clearly revealed this disconnect between the Annenbergs and their architect as the anecdote about how Mrs. Annenberg could not accept the perforated raw steel columns supporting the atrium and had the holes filled in and the columns painted celadon green. We saw this insensitivity repeated throughout the house: ill-placed chandeliers, claustrophobic rooms, garish colors. Only when we looked out through the large plate glass windows did the clean lines of “modernism” become refreshingly apparent.
This emphasis on Sunnlands modernist design is unfortunate and even our tour guide had difficulty keeping it the focus, with most of her lecture devoted to visiting celebrities and antique furnishings. She also had a hard time downplaying the ostentatiousness of the place. The v-shaped entry was described as being “welcoming,” when the whole layout was clearly designed to impress and was not unlike entering the expansive lobby of a Grand Hyatt. This makes sense, however, as the Annenbergs attracted a high-profile “caviar crowd” who, in turn, expected to be impressed. In this sense I suppose, if nothing else, Sunnylands could be seen as an interesting example of what happens when traditional taste meets the modern.
So you aren’t disappointed, know that the impressive column fountain from Mexico, positioned outside Sunnyland’s front door, is no longer operative. Also, the big, round topiary trees seen in so many promotional photos, which I thought lent the home a cool sculptural look, were all removed!
What an excellent review. Thanks for posting it here for us to see..
Thanks very much for the feedback!