Woodland West | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Woodland West

The Woodland West neighborhood in Woodland Hills is a distinctive collection of Contemporary Ranch style houses in a planned mid-century subdivision. Charles Du Bois designed some 1,300 residences for developer Don-Ja-Ran Construction Co. in collaboration with Peerless Building Co. After more than seven phases of construction, Woodland West was completed in 1964. Its houses are one and two-story, single-family residences set on wide lots that accommodate the rambling, horizontally oriented Contemporary Ranch buildings.

The streets are curvilinear, and many of them end in cul-de-sacs to enhance the rural, quiet feel of the location.

The buildings were designed and built-in repeated models and share similar scales and Modern design elements that give the whole district a harmonious feel: low-pitched gabled roofs that cover two-car garages, dramatic doorways, overhanging eaves, and cladding including board and batten, beadboard, stucco, and natural stone.

Du Bois is best known for his Mid-Century Modern designs in other tract developments, including the Vista Las Palmas development in Palm Springs. He is responsible for the Palm Springs neighborhood’s dramatic A-shaped entry volumes that were inspired by Polynesian "Tiki"-style structures. The Woodland West development contains houses with similar design inspiration. It is a wonderfully intact neighborhood that effortlessly conveys its postwar suburban feel into the present day.

Santa Fe Art Colony
1916 building that originally housed the C.B. Van Vorst Company, now known as the Santa Fe Art Colony

Santa Fe Art Colony

Originally built to house the operations of C.B. Van Vorst Furniture Manufacturing Company, since 1988 it has been home to live/work artists as the Santa Fe Art Colony. In June 2019, the Conservancy nominated the building for local Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) recognition.
Photo by Sarah Locke

Rancho Estates

Of the many tract housing developments Cliff May designed in the 1950s, the largest (and one of the highest-praised) was Lakewood Rancho Estates in Long Beach.