Monday, June 3, 2013

Architectural Digest June 2013 Celebrity Homes Issue Sheryl Crows Home and Pool

  Working with Sheryl Crow on her Hollywood home is, and was one of the highlights of my career. Mostly because she was such a decent, hardworking, considerate and kind human being who just happens to be exceptionally gifted in so many ways, and beautiful inside and out.
   My friend and Architect Jim Fry arrived at a meeting last week and said did you know that you were in AD this month? And... I did not, and was so pleasantly surprised to see this shot again.  I am eternally grateful for the credit given my the editors. I am so grateful that Sheryl's incredible assistant, Nanette Daquilla saw to it that the writers knew of my contribution, because quite often in these kind of stories, a  particular vase or chair gets mentioned and the landscape design and construction do not.  So Sheryl, Nannette and Architectural Digest thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for including me and for featuring my work. It makes my mom very happy....
Sheryl Crows house is an amazing place, full of original period architecture, eclectic art, furniture and her style.. which is beautiful without pretense. I designed and built the pool, and two garages which hold up a green roof landscape and the pool. As well as a new patio and fireplace which ties the main house to the outdoor living room. The deck that Sheryl is standing on in this picture is made of IPE and we have been maintaining it for 12 years. The IPE distributors that we purchased from are very well managed from green perspective because they plant 8 trees for every one cut.So I am proud of the condition of it in this picture because after a couple of years most decks do not look presentable. There are other pictures on my blog of her house, but I will post some of the process of construction of the pool and some of the huge crane work that we did during the project. Her homes( 3) of them are for sale as one compound with 11 acres in Hollywood. I hope that whomever buys it preserves and maintains the two craftsmen homes and the Spanish home which is shown here in the photos. It is a rare example of an indigenous landscape from the turn of the century.. 1900's that is. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jonny Appleseed Landscaping Inc Wins 4 Awards at the California Landscape Contractors Association Statewide Awards in Coronado California

I am extremely happy that we WON 4 awards from the State wide competition of the California Landscape Contractors association last night. We won :

  • First Place Small Residential for the Greenblatt Residence
  • First Place for Unlimited Commercial For the Hotel Bel Air
  • Outstanding Achievement in Medium Residential installation for the Greenblatt Residence and the highest award that we received was the
  • Herb Frank Memorial Award for the best in Commercial Landscaping

The project at the Bel Air was the hardest thing I have ever done, but also one of the things that I am most proud of. The Bob Greenblatt residence is a beautiful craftsman home and I have been so pleased to work with Bob for the last 18 years. It is a real joy to work for him and I am blessed to have been a part of these projects


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hello There! I have been so busy doing many homes and keeping the Hotel Bel Air ready for every sultan and wedding that comes through town that I haven't had time to blog.  I have missed all of you out here in cyber space. So I thought that I would look back, and show you guys this pond that I built 23 years ago before my daughter, Camille was born.   It was built before the earthquake and as is my natural tendency as a native Californian, I built it with lots of steel to reinforce it for an earthquake. It survived the Northridge Quake very well, when the chimney of the house did not. 
     It was so happy a space for the fish that the koi grew very large quickly.  So the clients at that time Mel and Paulette Blumenthal wanted to add space to what was a smaller pond, which originally went to the space where the Bonsai is in this picture. So we excavated and created the stone islands that you walk across to get to the backyard garden, a new 6' space for the pond extension and a second waterfall. The fish grew even larger and multiplied. This photo was taken this year and the fish are still happy and healthy, thanks to the pond service of Tony Sullivan and Coral Reef. It is lovely space and one that helped me start to create my love of water features.
 All the best... Jon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hotel Bel Air Reopens and USA Today Feature

The work that we have been doing at the Hotel Bel Air for the last two years is finally ready to be seen by the public! The hotel is reopening now and the landscaping is being well received which makes me very happy. Yesterday the Friends of Virginia Robinson Gardens brought 35 members to the Hotel which was very gratifying to me. The new Hotel Bel Air features the design work of Alexandra Champaulimaud on the interiors, David Rockwell on the restaurant spaces, and Leo Daly and HLW architects. Wolfgang Puck is doing the new restaurant which is really delicious, and I recommend at least stopping by for a drink or dinner on the terrace to check out the landscape. Or... pay for the Presidential Suite and stay for a weekend.
The hotel features a lot of green changes which I designed and built including a Grey Water system, and drip irrigation on the new Villas site. We also removed over 4000 plants and trees and reinstalled them when the job was completed, with less that a 2% loss of the plants that were relocated so far.
USA TODAY featured us in an article today in the travel section written by their travel editor, Kitty Yancey who was so nice to speak with. Here is a link to the article: The story was wonderful but I have one correction... I have not worked for John Mayer yet. Hopefully, he will call me one day because I love his music and , hey.... we could jam a little during our lunch break because music is my real love and I am a keyboard player.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mark Wahlberg Is selling his house.. and featuring my landscape

I was very happy to see that Mark Wahlberg had featured pictures of the landscape and Pool, entry, and Gym in his recent campaign to sell his home. We worked on his estate for approximately 2 years creating some really interesting and fun features, back when the Entourage was real.. and the TV show was not even a gleam in Marks eye. It was a very fascinating and fun place to work, with the real Eric, Johnny Drama, and Henry..( Not Turtle) Rasta, and all of his agents friends and ... Girlfriends showing up. My crew even played his crew in basketball in some big games on Saturdays on the basketball court that Mark had painted to feature his beloved boston Celtics logo.It was quite a competition, but considering that my crew is made up of workers that average 5'4" and that Johnny Drama is about 6' 4" , we did not have much of a height advantage but we held our own.
The landscaping scope started out simply. with us building him a jacuzzi on the side yard. Pretty soon Mark and I came up with big plans and wanted to make this property his dream home. The next thing we did was design and build a wonderful grotto pool that we sculpted out of rock castings. The grotto itself has rock fissures that allow light, and steam mist into the grotto jacuzzi area. The waterfall comes from a stream that flows down hill through a green roof, or landscaped top that hides the massive nature of the structure quite well. The grotto roof was poured in one day and has more than 1,000,000 pounds of concrete and 10 tons of steel that we tied by hand. The caisson were raised up by a scaffold and hand winch , that I designed for the site. It was something akin to raising a roman column up 22' in the air on a hillside. The most unusual feature is the water slide which I designed to travel 50' down hill through a tunnel of rock and down into the pool with a huge splash. It has three speeds, and the first time we turned it on, Mark made Henry go down it first to make sure that it was safe on the highest speed ! The pool also has our trademark sandy beach entry with a rock reef.
The pathways and walls feature the use of broken concrete which make this project very Green, We recycled over 20 trucks of broken concrete which would have been hauled away to the dump. The last part of the project was the driveway, solid Iron gates, and motor court construction. It was a very difficult and exciting project but I am so glad to have had the chance to do the job and to have watched Mark start his producing empire, fall in love and start his family. Here is a link to the article about the house. We still maintain the property.. and I hope to stay on once it is sold to.. the next entourage ....,0,5377800.photogallery

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sheryl and Jon

During a photo shoot for our CLCA Beautification Awards, Sheryl was kind enough to pose for a shot with me..... So here it is!
Her property won 1st place for Residential Estate, and one of the highest honors the California Landscape Contractors Association bestows, the Sweepstakes Award, plus awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Design Build Category, all of which belong to my crew who did an outstanding job. Without them, nothing gets built! It is truly all in the details. My thanks to Sheryl and to the CLCA for recognizing our project.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sheryl Crow Project pictures

Here are some more pictures of Sheryl crow's Pool and landscape. the pool is a zero edge, something that we specialize in building. The water falls on all sides at once silently and creates a very relaxing zen feeling. It is also a perfect mirror to the surrounding landscape.
Most of the plants in her garden and natives to her property, and not just Native plants that we ran out and bought! The were actually divided from some species that have been growing on her well preserved hill for 100 years. We brought in others which will thrive in the hot dry hill and compliment the existing landscape. My goal in creating her pool was to make a gathering place, and a focal point for her homes.... Some where in time, where LA stops, and her life begins.
And of course I installed a stereo system with 4 stereo fields that are in perfect phase around the pool area. Floating in the pool is the audio sweet spot, and as a life long musician myself, I am very proud to say that Sheryl Likes the way it sounds! The day it was finished it was a thrill to play her the duet with Tony Bennett that she sang with him as a test. She had recorded it and had not heard it back on a normal stereo system since the sessions. If you have not heard it, check it out! It will broaden your opinion of what you think Sheryl Crow can do. She is also one heck of a Jazz singer.

Architectural Digest visits Sheryl Crow March 2011

In the March 2011 issue of Architectural Digest, I am very pleased to say that our work was published in the feature along with Sheryl's Interview and interior photos. The story focuses of course on the house and its interiors which is typical for Architectural Digest, but I was especially happy that the first and largest picture in the story featured Sheryl's beautiful picture, standing in front of the pool and deck which I designed and built for her. It was a very adventurous project which started with the purchase of her 1926 hillside Spanish Style home on a very nice 3/4 acre lot. She then fell in love with the neighbors property and later purchased his 10.8 acres and two craftsman homes which date from 1898, and 1906 respectively. I have unified the three properties and created a new driveway, pool, decks, walkways, a bridge, and many acres of irrigation and landscape. It all started with us installing over 3 miles of fencing up a hill that rises over 1200 ft vertically to keep the bobcats away from her animals.
It has been a labor of love for sure. I can very honestly say that Sheryl is one of the nicest people that I know, and that she is one of the rare people in Hollywood that an even greater person inside, than the sum of all of her accomplishments put together. Here are some of photos from the article and I am very honored to say that tomorrow I will be on KNX 1070 radio between 3 and 4 p.m. to talk about the article with Cindy Dole on her Home Wizards Show. It will be my 3rd time talking with Cindy who always is so generous to me, so I hope that you can tune in.

Monday, January 3, 2011

CLCA 2010 Beautification Awards

Happy New Year! I am sorry that I have not been here to blog in a few months! I have been buried knee deep in the work on the renovations of the Hotel Bel Air, and have been so busy with that, and with the holidays and family.
Well, I am very happy to report that the California Landscape Contractors Association was kind enough to award my company with two awards at the Statewide Level.
We won a special category of the Special Effects Award for the Smith residence in Studio City California. We also won an Outstanding Achievement for the Swartz Residence in Pacific Palisades. I am very happy that my crew was honored with these awards which point to my crews dedication and creativity, because I am only as good as the workers that install the projects. The result really is made, or broken by the execution of the details. What is unique about the beautification awards is that they are judged by other landscape professionals who tour the sites, and are not told who did them, so they have no prejudice towards the projects and are only evaluating the work. I am very grateful to the CLCA, and had a great time at the awards which were held at the Disneyland resort hotel.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Letters From My Grandparents

When I was about eleven years old, I used to look forward to visiting my grandparents in Berkley California. My Grandmother was a wonderful person, who was an incredible cook, played piano, and was the sweetest thing ever. My Grandfather was also wonderful and was the Dean of Engineering at UC Cal Berkley. And I used to enjoy going up there and talking about the aircraft, computer science, and kinds of things he was designing. I would also talk about their garden with my Grandmother and work on it with my Grandfather.
I recently found in a box some letters from my grandmother, to me when I was eleven years old. I wanted to share them because I had given her garden advice about her azaleas, about the blackberries, about her fruit trees... um from where... I have no idea. I think I may have seen something on a T.V. show or... I don't know. My Dad may have shown me things in our garden and I shared them with her. So she wrote me some letters about how it had effected positively their garden in Berkley.
Anyway it was kind of neat to think that some how maybe her support and encouraging words made me feel like I could have a business in landscape; as strange as that may sound. So here are these letters from my Grandmother and Grandfather.
Today is a special day for me because the California Landscape Contractors Association Awards dinner is this evening. It's in Anaheim at the Disneyland Hotel and I submitted The Smith garden and The Schwartz Garden. I'm excited to go with my son and on-site team. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

Thanks again and we'll keep you posted