Behind the Bend

At the 2018 Palos Verdes Homes Tour, guests visit three remarkable homes beyond the gates of Portuguese Bend.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Amber Klinck
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

There’s something about a great reveal … a little magic in the surprise. This year’s 32nd annual Palos Verdes Homes Tour, Legends by the Sea, presents three uniquely stunning properties, all of which boast spectacular ocean views. Catch a glimpse of these awe-inspiring seascapes from the vantage point of the homeowners who enjoy them on a daily basis.

During the tour visitors will walk through a sun-filled sanctuary overlooking Abalone Cove, be transported to an Italian villa built nearly a century ago and meander through an author’s extraordinary collection of art from across the globe while enjoying the scenery from her fully renovated 1950s beach house.

Founder’s Grand Vision

Driving up the tree-lined road to Villa Narcissa, the hustle and bustle of daily life starts to feel worlds away. That feeling is amplified the minute you arrive, greeted by lavish gardens and elegant statues. The walls of the entrance are adorned with paintings from floor to ceiling. Built in 1924, the villa has delicate treasures displayed in every room—photographs, jewelry boxes, trinkets from the past—that transport its visitors to another time.

Eric deCarbonnel opens the shutters in every room, letting in the sunlight as he walks through the house. “I loved coming here in the summer growing up,” he says. It was Eric’s great-grandfather, Frank A Vanderlip Sr., who built Villa Narcissa after purchasing roughly 16,000 acres on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 1913.

The villa’s sprawling terrace overlooks the tennis courts below, but it’s the sweeping views of the Pacific that stop you in your tracks. On the horizon, clear as day, is Catalina Island. A portion of the terrace is shaded by rows of olive trees; string lights hang above.

Today the property is often used as a vacation home for the Vanderlip family, as well as a venue for coordinated events. “My mother has been organizing painting weeks here,” Eric notes.

Author’s Eclectic Abode

Walk through the double gate, past the vibrant bougainvillea and the Zen-like garden that leads you to the entryway, and then you’ll see it: the unobstructed ocean view from Lynn Doran’s flawlessly remodeled 1950s home. “I love it here; I love it,” she says.

A relatively large outdoor space allows for ample seating, an open-air dining area and plenty of opportunities to entertain. “I’ve had big parties with a tequila bar and a mariachi band on the cliffside,” Lynn notes.

Eclectic pieces of art from across the globe, impeccably curated by Lynn, add color and warmth to the space. Four sets of double doors, pre-hung and brought back from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, waited patiently in storage until the home’s renovations were complete. Splashes of color and hand-painted tiles complement the home’s whitewashed wooden ceilings.

Light pours in from the skylights, while sea life often makes an appearance in the windows. “I was in the kitchen, and a pelican flew by,” Lynn says. “It just took my breath away.” Gazing at the coast from the master bedroom, another pelican makes an appearance.

Only miles from one another, with their proximity to the ocean aside, these three homes couldn’t be more different. Their owners, however, were all similarly drawn to the beauty of Palos Verdes, with each of them holding a deep appreciation and respect for the land.

Cliffside Contemporary

Light floods into the 6,000+-square-foot home from every angle. The sky-high ceilings and glass-gabled roof offer an open and airy appeal, only grounded by the panoramic views of the Abalone Cove below.

Walking down the long, private drive, the full scope of the seascape is briefly concealed. It’s not until you’re standing at the entrance of the home, gazing across the main living space and peeking over the infinity pool, that the blue horizon presents itself.

The outdoor pool and patio area with direct beach access is quiet and peaceful with only a light breeze and the sound of the water below. “I’m out here all the time,” says homeowner Patty Woods. “We’re so in love with nature and anything that raises money and awareness about what our community is. That’s why we’ve opened our home to this event … so people can see this and cherish it and reconnect.”

The large, contemporary Mediterranean makes the most of its proximity to the beach with outdoor access in nearly every room. Patty showcases her creativity through a collection of art—most of which is her own—throughout the house. Every room has a story, complete with cherished pieces … some handed down for generations. The library on the second floor of the home serves as an ideal spot to dive into a good book.

On Friday, April 20 and Saturday, April 21, these owners will open their homes and offer visitors a glimpse of what life is like on the Peninsula. Proceeds from the tour benefit the Palos Verdes Art Center. For more, visit

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