The former home of the Ruskin Art Club in Windsor Village underwent a complete renovation during 2014 and has reemerged as a refined single family home in the Mission Revival style, worthy of the its designation as Historic Cultural Monument #639 in Los Angeles. The renovated home is now on the market for $2.395 million.
“The Ruskin” as neighborhood residents refer to it, sits on the corner of 8th and Plymouth Blvd in the Windsor Village Historic Preservation Zone (HPOZ.) Designed by architect Frank Meline. the property at 800 S. Plymouth originally served as the rectory of the Wilshire United Methodist Church located one block to the north on Wilshire Blvd.
In the mid-1920’s it became the home of the Ruskin Art Club, an art salon established in 1888 by women devoted to art education and collection. The women’s art organization continued to use and offer the front portion of the property as a public space through most of the 20th century, while the back half of the property was rented out as a private residence, the two halves connected by an inner courtyard.
In early 2014, the Ruskin Art Club sold the property and ended a 90 year history as a public institution in the neighborhood. In a Facebook posting, the Club’s President Gabriel Meyer shared the news with Ruskin membership:
I wish to inform you that economic realities have necessitated the sale of the Ruskin Art Club’s historic 1922 clubhouse in the Windsor Park [sic] district. The club has been struggling for some years to maintain the facility and address the serious repairs it so urgently needed. To that end, we have sought partners and solutions that would allow us to retain and restore the beautiful headquarters we have enjoyed for nearly 90 years. But as the scope of that task became ever clearer along with our dwindling resources, the board of directors realized late last year that the only realistic option that remained to us was to sell the clubhouse and invest the proceeds in an endowment that would ensure the historic organization’s future and enable it to get back to its primary mission, the one for which it was founded 126 years ago: the support of the arts and artists of Southern California.
By 2014 the property was in major need of updating and repair, and local residents were encouraged when Scott Lander of Lander Design purchased the Ruskin with the intention of bringing it back to its former glory. Much of the interior was a wreck, although the bones of the building, including the wide hardwood moldings, Batchelder fireplace and original doors and windows remained intact.
Lander dove into the renovation with great speed, causing some contention within the community and the HPOZ Board which felt Lander was often putting the cart before the horse in the HPOZ approval process, and with his request to demolish the original garage to make way for a garage/studio combo. In the end however, everyone seems pleased with the results. The home now sits proudly on its knoll on a prominent intersection in the northern section of Windsor Village.
Curbed National included the Ruskin as one of the “Hands Down Most Beautiful Houses for Sale in 2014”, claiming it was one of the few home across the nation for sale last year that qualify as having “excellent decor, riveting architecture, or something hard to define that we’ll just go ahead and call ‘soul.’ ”
The Larchmont Buzz shot some photos pre-renovation; photos of the new Ruskin below are by Cameron Carothers.