Nevermind the fact this getaway happened weeks ago - the start of summer if I'm being honest, being the kick off trip to our partnership with Airbnb - if you're following along here, you know chronological order tends to wane, and really for no other reason than time. It's slim and there's never enough to allow me to exist as orderly as I'd like. But so goes life.
There story with this place though isn't so much about location or even the house per say - both of which I readily adore. Topanga being one of my very favorite weekend points of retreat. And the house, a breezy adobe with an earthy treehouse vibe, beautifully decorated with a cozy bed loft, darling kitchen and hosts who just so happen to be as pretty (and handsome) as the wide lot they inhabit here, is just as incredible as the photos (and reviews) suggest online. Like I said, Airbnb is great that way. I can't think of a single time my expectations weren't utterly exceeded by a booking.
Our time in Topanga was loose, languid in the best way. Spent napping on the hammock on the deck up top. Running downtown for beer and Popsicles when the heat set in. Sitting around the table in the shade playing cards and making peanut butter sandwiches and sliced mango fruit bowls for lunch. Denise and the girls came up one night to stay with us but we proved just as lazy as a bunch. Skipping the beach outings and the restaurants down the road off the highway where we typically go for margaritas and burritos. Sticking around the lot instead. Holed up in that amazing garlic shaped teepee, scattered with pillows convincing one to lay down and read a little longer. Which I did. Incredibly enough.
The owners had given me a back story on the place which left me slightly mesmerized hearing it from his point of view - about his first introduction to the house - taken randomly by a friend to a party in the remote area of this hillside to a packed yard gathered for a bluegrass party where he had visions of it being his home one day and watching his first son be birthed in the bed upstairs. A house he, by a weird twist of fate, ended up in years later. Along with the lady he feel in love with months after when a friend suggested her as a roommate for him. And yet my fascination feel heavy on details surrounding about the original owner. A young french couple, both of them sailors, who had come to the states to build this very practical adobe abode - with boat proportions as their main guide - and made it home to a family of children she had here in the house. He told me she was a "character" a vivacious women with a cigarette pressed constantly between her fingertips. Lively, attractive, and adventurous with quite a life story to tell. The descriptions of her kept taunting my innate love of oddly placed people with a vibrant history. And, well, vibrant French women in general. So I did what any right minded person struck with a piercing intrigue would do. I google stalked her late into the night and found her working as a local real estate agent with a newly constructed house further up the canyon that is described as a mod but minimal true tree house design. With half of the home space open to the outside as well as news on her son, on another property below, building one of the first man made ocean boat sleep stations that is, based on what I could find, essentially a boat set atop a constructed ocean cove for sleeping in for the pure sake of blissful quality rest periods.
Needless to say, I was semi obsessed by it all. An infatuation only amplified when I stumbled unto the neighbors house on our last day there while walking the dog up the hill and was caught snooping by a young girl on the top balcony who called out with a hypnotic inquire so slight I kept thinking I must be hearing things until I finally spotted her there smiling at me down below. She told me her name and how long she had lived there. I invited her down to meet the kids at the house but she said she had to ask her mom first. When her mother appeared on the sprawling rock lined deck she was kind and equally inviting. I told her I was staying at the place down the hill and had been up admiring her house so she showed me around, pointing out the ravens lined on draping branches in her courtyard who flock to her eager as dogs as she speaks of them. I ask how long she's lived there and she says two years. A purchase made on a whim when she went to see it and fell in love on the spot. The house, then, on the brink of foreclosure. The original owner being the same French women who built the Airbnb property with the back history I was dying to unravel.
She mentioned many of the same characteristics of this mysterious French women as my host, but in vaguer detail. The house though filling in where her details recede. Stunning architecture obvious from every corner I take as I make my way around the place courtesy of the sweetly offered tour. Wood windows 20 feet high, bed lofts in odd but brilliant places, custom closets and arched entries overlooking lush, overgrown landscape and wood beamed delight throughout a kitchen cooler than anything I've ever managed to save on Pintrest. And yet everything I've come to except from this, a women I've never met but am by now growing desperate to somehow.
When I return the house is full of dramatics about me being gone so long. They were worried but more so annoyed. I tell Denise about the good luck of this home tour and the kids about the talking ravens in the tree but they go mostly unappreciated and before I know it we are all packed in a hurry, hungry, grumpy, and driving down the dusty trail back towards home. The newly illuminated vision of that women sitting on my brain. A vision secured later that night when I find more photos of her online where she is dutifully manning the ropes of a sailboat in the rain somewhere in early 70's. Cigarette hanging dully from her lip as she steers the boat. Blue raincoat and blunt blonde bangs. And I am enthralled. I think to myself that if I knew anything about movies I'd write a script about her. Or if I had patience for a novel I'd write a book on her. Perhaps if I were braver I'd track her down and buy her a drink, but I'm none of these so she ends up here. Main subject of a post I meant to dedicate to easy travel but fell in love with a backstory instead.
So thank you, Airbnb, for letting me do so. For putting us up and allowing us to discover these new incredible places that never have a shortage of intrigue, ambience and appeal. For me, it's always the best part.
Property link here