The ‘Flat Stanley’ Project

In spring of 2017, I agreed to help my niece in Northern California with her ‘Flat Stanley’ project. For two weeks, I was to take Stanley to visit various places in Southern California. It was an interesting experience. Below is a list of places we visited. Yes, I took the assignment seriously.
Thursday, 4/6/17
Arrival (Chatsworth)
Saturday, 4/8/17
9301 Tampa Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324
Sunday, 4/9/17
300 E. Martilija Street, Ojai, CA 93023
KNEAD Baking Company
469 E. Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 93023
Bart’s Bookstore (Ojai)
302 W. Martilija Street, Ojai, CA 93023

Waypoint Cafe at Camarillo Airport (Camarillo)

740 Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo, CA
Gardens of the World (Thousand Oaks)
2001 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362
Thursday, 4/13/17
Belwood Bakery Cafe (Northridge)
8735 Tampa Avenue, Northridge, CA 91324
Saturday, 4/15/17
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
Little Tokyo
Union Station
El Pueblo
Olvera Street
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
Jewelry District
Sunday, 4/16/17
California State University, Northridge (Northridge)
Thursday, 4/20/17

San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour – Day 4

This was the last day of our tour.
Sutro’s at Cliff House:
Our last meal in San Francisco was this elegant brunch with a view of the ocean. While we were browsing the old photos on walls, the executive chef came to us and told us the story of Cliff House. It was destroyed and re-built twice. The brunch was fabulous with live harp music and a view of the ocean. A great way to say good-bye to San Francisco.
Sutro Baths: A Forgotten Landmark
A beautiful ending to this memorable trip. With Eleanor as our guide, I learned a great deal about furniture. There was just not enough time.

San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour – Day 3

We slept in and walked through Union Square to meet with the group for lunch. It was so crowded on Independence Day.
Neiman Marcus
The department store, designed by Architect Philip Johnson, houses the beautiful rotunda from the original City of Paris Building ( This article ( features photos of the City of Paris. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the top floor, right under the rotunda.
We were there mainly for the “High Style: The Brooklyn Costume Collection” exhibit. I don’t know much about fashion design and its history, but the princess in me was excited to see gowns, shoes, and jewelry. I was particularly moved when I entered the Charles James section. His approach to fashion design was “architectural”. And his sketches really spoke to me.
Ball Gown, 1949-50 (image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art website)
We drove by this beautiful landmark. I have seen the structure in photos many time, but was still impressed seeing it in person. Next time I come to San Francisco, I will make an effort to actual walk around the ground. I would also like to check out the Walt Disney Family Museum nearby.
Since it was Independence Day, nothing was scheduled for the evening. We gather at the penthouse suite of the hotel and enjoyed a view of city with fireworks.

San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour – Day 1

After meeting everyone in the group at dinner the night before and a good night sleep, we officially started our excited tour.
I can only describe 38 years (1884 – 1922) of non-stopping construction as ‘crazy’! A humble farm house turned into a mansion of approximately 24,000 square feet of living space. As a trained draftsperson, being in the house was a little uncomfortable. There was no logic to the design. However, I enjoyed learning about history and witness the craftsmanship of a century ago. Back then, this house was ahead of its time with plumbing and electricity. The number 13 and the spider web motif were used throughout.



Most of the people don’t know this charming little town was the State Capital of California for a short time. We spent some time at the capital building and learned a little bit about the history.





Led by Paul Duchscherer, we were shown part of the printing process. This changed what I thought about wallpaper.




Opened in 1915 and revamped by Phillippe Starck. The legendary Art Deco style Redwood Room is paneled with wood from a single redwood tree. Check out this blog article for some vintage images of the Redwood Room.

San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Tour with Eleanor Schrader

This 4th of July weekend, I joined the San Jose / San Francisco Victorian Themed Architecture Tour organized and led by award-winning historian Eleanor Schrader. I became a fan of Eleanor’s since the first time I met her. (Read about my first tour with Eleanor HERE.) I was so happy that I could fit the San Jose / San Francisco in my schedule.
Over 4 nights and 4 days, we visited many landmarks and indulged in art, culture and history. San Francisco and the surrounding areas have so much to be explored. Upon returning home, I just had to do my own research on places we visited.  Please click on the links below to read about my experience:
Unexpectedly, the best part of the trip was the people. We all joined the trip because of our interest in design and history.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with. Everyone was so inspiring and full of life. Over the four days together, we became good friends.
Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers:
Eleanor Schrader:
Ghirardelli Square:
Palace of the Fine Arts:
Winchester Mystery House: