Project Description

The vast majority of houses in Woods Cove were originally summer homes built with in Craftsman style, but pared down to cut costs. Almost more important, almost more than the houses themselves, is the setting in which they are located.

This neighborhood has a varied terrain of gently sloping east/west streambeds running along the hills. Houses were built with a low profile to this beautiful natural landscape. Indeed, the first garden on the tour is built into the side of a canyon.

In the late 1800s, this area was called Arch Beach and was a separate town from Laguna Beach. The deep gullies of Bluebird and Sleepy Hollow canyons prevented wagons from traveling easily between the two towns. Laguna Beach could be accessed by Laguna Canyon, Arch Beach could only be accessed by Aliso Canyon to the south. In fact, to get to Laguna Beach from Arch Beach you had to go all the way around Aliso to El Toro and come down Laguna Canyon. Arch Beach had its own post office and a pier off Diamond Street for exporting barley hay to San Diego.

Through the ‘20s Arch Beach saw the building of many summer cottages, artists’ studio homes, and dream houses, all of which set the character for future development in the area and many of which still remain today.

On this tour you will see houses sitting high on an elevated lot or built into the slope of the lot. Almost all were built at a small scale so as to be surrounded
by much yard space. Gardens and landscaping have been planted to the maximum and the informal and naturally spontaneous quality generated by the terrain and accompanying landscape is enhanced by the lack of curbs and gutters in the neighborhood.