Citywide

The Santa Monica Conservancy will host its annual Fall Salon on Saturday, October 23, from 3 – 5 p.m. at the Armstrong-Cobb house, a former home of Bette Davis. The Salon will feature a tour of the estate, a reception with wine and delicious hors d’oeuvres, as well as a talk about the house’s architect, the renowned John Byers, by Dr. Ken Breisch, Associate Professor at the University of Southern California’s School of Architecture.

Designed in 1926, the Armstrong-Cobb house is a magnificent two-story Spanish Colonial Revival residence overlooking the Riviera Country Club. Originally constructed for Donald Armstrong, it was altered in 1934 for Irvin S. Cobb, author of many books and short stories, some of which were adapted for silent movies. The residence was featured in the March 2006 issue of Architectural Digest.

The current owners purchased the house in 2004 and have since added a new wing and tiled courtyard designed in the spirit of Byers’ architecture. The interiors of this special house retain many signature characteristics of Byers’ work, including handmade terra cotta floor tiles incised by workmen’s fingers, hand-carved wood beams, wrought iron decoration, tiled wall murals and a tile-faced stairway.

John Byers (1875-1966) discovered his talent in architecture while working as a translator between a homeowner and Mexican craftsmen who were constructing an adobe home in Brentwood. Inspired by the vernacular architecture of Latin America, Byers turned to architecture full-time in 1922 and received his architecture license in 1925. He revived adobe construction enhanced by authentic handmade materials, which are abundant in the Armstrong-Cobb house. He remained a Santa Monica resident, enjoying a long and successful career. Many celebrities were among his clients, and many of his projects are landmarks today.

Advance purchase is required by Oct. 18 and can be made at www.smconservancy.org. Tickets are $150 for members; $175 for non-members. Proceeds will benefit the Conservancy’s educational programs. If purchasing by check, please mail the Santa Monica Conservancy at P.O. Box 653, Santa Monica, 90406.

— Submitted by the Santa Monica Conservancy