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Location: Avalon, Calif.
The Skinny: The Capri to L.A.'s smog-choked Naples, Catalina Island offers idyllic refuge from city life, just 22 miles off the Cali coast. This 1927 Spanish Revival boasts spectacular views over Avalon harbor, a hamlet that featured prominently in Roman Polanski's epic tale of corruption and deceit, Chinatown. While that film's fictional Albacore Club is nowhere to be found, Avalon itself resembles an elite club, with just more than 3,000 residents and "autoettes"—glorified golf carts—rather than cars.
This is an island property, and the decor skews toward the nautical and the marine. For one, the kitchen looks like the day care center at the local aquarium, and elsewhere a giant stuffed sailfish is mounted to a wall. Ah, the eternal appeal of taxidermy. All is forgiven though, thanks to the massive windows and the ravishing vistas beyond. Not much need for all that wall painting when the real thing is just a hundred feet away.
· La Casa Gaviota [Crosby Doe]