Jenijoy La Belle
1920s cottage "has great flow."Her
living room has timbered ceilings and arched walls; Zeus looks down from an oversized fireplace, and a Farahan Sarouk rug radiates color.
By BETTIJANE LEVINE The Los Angeles Times
April 14, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST
"Every morning I shower with Milton," says Jenijoy La Belle
, referring to tiles she found on eBay
and installed on her shower wall.
thought they were salacious," La Belle
says."I kept telling her
: â€˜Think Adam, think Eve, think the Bible.'" It didn't work.La Belle
has lived in her
little 1920s cottage in Pasadena, Calif., for a decade, and says she's
still surprised she
found something so Elizabethan, so poetic.A Shakespeare and Blake scholar and professor of English at the California Institute of Technology
spends much of her
mental time in the 17th and 18th centuries.And she
has turned her
little compound (a one-bedroom house and a separate structure, which she
uses as her
library) into an ode to her
passion for poetry.
The library, a stand-alone room with a fireplace, is a favorite spot for La Belle's
"The house has great flow," says La Belle
, 63, something that adds immensely to its pleasures."You walk from each small, narrow doorway or hall into wide open spaces.It's true of every room in the house."And although many architects talk of the trend to smaller houses as something new, La Belle
small house proves great minds were thinking that way more than eight decades ago in Pasadena.Alcoves in the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen make the rooms feel spacious and airy.
The house is filled with La Belle's lifelong collection of tapestries, engravings, drawings, carvings and, yes, even a few tchotchkes.A small golden bicycle, which she
believes was owned by dwarfs in a South American circus, is something she
picked up in Portugal that now hangs on her
front porch.A small silvery cast of a man's foot, picked up in a novelty store, bears a drop of "blood" that La Belle
painted on it, to resemble stigmata.
It is a beam-ceilinged, stand-alone room with a fireplace and small bath, which La Belle
has converted to a library.Previous owners had used it as a bedroom, she
also uses the room for dinner parties, she
says."Of course, I have to run out here from the kitchen with the food, but it's a very short distance.And friends like the fact that they can easily reach for a dictionary when we debate the meaning of a word."The living room was the most difficult for her
to furnish, she
says."That corner fireplace is big enough to park a Volkswagen
in. It's really too big for the room," she
says, which is why she
likes it so much.She
placed stone lions on the hearth, but couldn't decide what to do with the mantel, which is carved wood.