Olive Garden Meets Zankou Chicken: Houses That Wish They Were Restaurants

The Olive Garden Meets Zankou Chicken Meets KB Homes
The Olive Garden Meets Zankou Chicken Meets KB Homes
Michael Hernandez

What better place to find inspiration for residential architecture than restaurants? That's just what these proud homeowners did to their L.A. area abodes.

Above, the Olive Garden meets Zankou Chicken in this homage to pan-mediterranean architecture and cuisine.

The circus tent awnings reflect the carefree nature of the family that lies within the secure perimeter of a trespasser-proof wrought iron gate and wall guarded by lamp-wielding lions. All the better to keep the paparazzi away from the camera-shy movie stars, or that Hummer safe since it can't fit in the garage.

Is it a House or a Fish 'n' Chips Joint?
Is it a House or a Fish 'n' Chips Joint?
Michael Hernandez

This home-turned-dentist-office-turned-takeout-joint-turned-home-again reflects a certain sophistication in its mashup of European and New World architecture.

English Tudor gables peek above the French Provincial flat roof out front, clad with wood shingles for a contemporary '70's western flair. The window blinds echo the attic vents, but the designers weren't afraid to throw caution to the wind with their mix-and-match masonry work. Stuccoed columns support the portico that must have once been a grand entry or drive-thru window.

Post-modernism takes residential architecture to new heights
Post-modernism takes residential architecture to new heights
Michael Hernandez

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L.A. has a long tradition of Spanish Revival architecture. But this home takes residential architecture to a whole new level with Mexican Restaurant Revival.

One can imagine long lines of patrons snaking up the front staircase and under the the covered colonnade of Moorish arches. While they wait, they can get a glimpse of the interior through the wrought iron window bars or the thick wood balustrades on that window to the left. Red roof tiles top the tan, textured stucco walls, which are finished with a permanent installation of Christmas lights!

More table space was apparently needed at some point, so the front roof was enclosed -- like a Renzo Piano post-modern flourish -- with parts salvaged from Sky Lab.

This avant-garde design choice was slow to gain acceptance by their more conservative neighbors in the '50's ranch house and Cape Cod Revival to either side. But let's not throw stones inside glass bad houses.

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