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Observations on a New Life in Spain

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Hollywood Revisited

5 December, 2012 (09:20) | Living in Europe | By: admin

View of the Hollywood sign from our new apartment on 9th St. in Los Angeles.

I was born in Hollywood, but have been living abroad for over a decade. (6 years in NZ, 6 years in Spain.) Although most of our family and friends live in California, Mark and I prefer the pace and simplicity of life in Barcelona, where we don’t even own a car, where we can afford to live near the beach, where we have created a rich and rewarding life for ourselves.

I recently inherited an apartment building near downtown L.A. though, so instead of fighting our destiny, Mark and I are taking over the top apartment of the building, not to live in full time, but to have a nice place to stay when we do our annual L.A. visit. The apartment needs work, but is in a great location. It will be fun to reintegrate into life in L.A.

These next 2 shots are from the living room looking out:

As it were, I’ve been storing my 1953 Baldwin piano at a friend’s studio, but he can no longer take care of it for me. The timing is such that while in L.A. on family business I am able to relocate my beloved baby grande to our new apartment downtown. It is a happy reunion. This piano is the first piano I ever played, so not only is it an exquisite piano, but it is of sentimental value. When I was a kid I would show off by squatting underneath the piano and playing it upside down and backwards. I was about 5 years old.

Reunited with my vintage 1953 Baldwin baby grande.

From where I sit at the piano there is an art deco hallway leading to a master bedroom, which leads to a room which is destined to become Partners In Rhyme Inc. headquarters. (The bathroom and kitchen are so funky that I don’t bother to photograph them):


1) Art Deco hallway 2) Master bedroom 3) Future Partners In Rhyme Inc. office headquarters. Right now the room is funky, but that will change.

The living room leads to a big terrace and side balcony:

1) Big living/dining room/den 2) Living room opens onto this sun deck 3) There is a long terrazza that goes along outside the living room.

I am in L.A. for an extended stay due to a family tragedy, so I have time to put my wishes forth to remodel and take over the apartment. Mark joins me and we hire the crew that has done good work for my family in the past. The workers become available, and work begins at once stripping and tearing down walls. My poor piano has to go under wraps:

My Baldwin piano all wrapped up.

Once they start tearing down walls its hard to imagine what the place will look like when its done.

I return to Barcelona with the understanding they will continue to work on the remodel. Mark will go to L.A. for 2 weeks when executive decisions need to be made. By next spring we’ll have an awesome home in L.A.

We’ll still live and run our business from Barcelona, but with a home in L.A. we expect to spend more time there. As I write this we are already $25,000 into the remodel, originally estimated at $35,000. I expect we’ll spend at least $50,000 by the time its finished, with new appliances etc. Mark wisely sums it up; “Its a good thing we’ve been saving money, so we can afford your inheritance,” he says.

I’ve always wanted to be bi-coastal between Europe and USA, but only now is this feasible. If all goes according to plan, early next spring Mark, Quixote and I will be able to have an extended stay in our new apartment.

Before returning to Barcelona two of my oldest Hollywood girlfriends stop by to approve. The place is in shambles, so we go up to the roof where I shoot a snapshot of them:

Tina and Arlo stop by. Tina lives close by; she’s really thrilled we’ll be living in L.A. part time in the future. We’ll be neighbors. Arlo used to play bass in my band. She looks forward to jamming again. So do I.

I end this post with a couple shots of our new neighborhood, taken from the sun deck. Neither Mark nor I have ever lived on the East side, so it will be interesting o explore. It looks to be a melting pot of Latino and Asian cultures, with the odd Caucasian artist, writer, or musician thrown in the mix:

On a clear day you can see downtown, Century City, the Hollywood Hills and sometimes you can even see the ocean I’m told.

One last snapshot of the Hollywood sign from our new apartment: