Anaïs Nin’s Los Angeles Hideaway Still Keeps Its Secrets


Among many writers, there is a widespread belief that a desk must be set, an office tidy, an entire house cleaned, before finally sitting down and filling in the blank pages before them. One cannot help but think of such habits—the physical manifestation of routine and discipline—when visiting the fully preserved home of the mid-century French-American erotica. Anais NinHe died in 1977 in Los Angeles at the age of 73. Here, hidden among the pine trees overlooking the Silver Lake neighborhood reservoir, Nin envisioned a low, one-story airport that she calls “one big studio, no separate, little compartments.” This statement was included in the first edition of his diary (first published in 1966), which he began writing at age 11 as a boy traveling from the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine to America, and continued until his death. Today, there are 18 volumes – the last of which is unpublished – containing a work of outspoken, feminist, obscene, often censored essays about her various lovers; literary criticism (British writer DH Lawrence was a favourite); Popular works of fiction, many of which were originally self-published, such as “House of Incest” (1936) and “Delta of Venus” (1977).


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It’s easy to see why this house, completed in 1962, is where most of the work is done: There are virtually no distractions, visual or otherwise. Approached from the end of a long driveway on a steep, winding road, it resembles a mansion entirely covered with rich, dark Douglas firs. Inside, the 1,300-square-foot original interior features lots of wire-brushed plywood in the form of dense striped boards and built-ins, among two other materials: concrete blocks and sheet glass. Huge windows on one side of the house offer views of a rock garden, a small pool, filthy cliffside bush, and the city beyond. Besides the narrow kitchen, there are several well-defined rooms: the living area is linked only by an accordion-style sleeping area, which is usually separated by a floor-to-ceiling wooden partition that remains open; Nin had no children and preferred not to have overnight guests. Next to the bedroom, in the back corner of the building, there is a small private study of about 100 square meters.



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