Several weeks ago, I saw an announcement about upcoming tours of a local artist’s compound. After closing the property to outsiders for two years due to Covid, they were once again opening it up to a limited number of visitors. In the past when I had read about these tours, I was interested but, for whatever reason, hadn’t gone. There was always an excuse, however, if I’m being completely honest, it boiled down to “Maybe I’ll go next year.”
If Covid has taught us anything, it is that “next year” isn’t guaranteed, and that things can change seemingly overnight. Even though this is true for everyone, at every age, it is especially true for those of us with more years behind us than in front of us. With this in mind – and not wanting to risk my inner procrastinator taking over – I went straight to my computer to reserve two tickets. I am so glad I did.
The compound, designed and built by James Hubbell, sits on a 40-acre ranch near the mountain town of Julian, California. An internationally renowned artist, poet, and architectural designer, Hubbell is widely known for his organic-style buildings which are works of art. His hand-crafted doors, stained glass windows, gates, and sculptures using wood, stone, metal, glass, and clay can be found throughout the property. Although most of the structures were built in the 1950s and 60s, several had to be rebuilt when a wildfire raced through the area in 2003. Now in his 90s, Hubbell no longer lives on the property, but his sons and the foundation he created, carry on his vision and his legacy.
Here are a few of the fabulous doors and windows I saw during the hour-long tour. I will share more next week.
I hope you enjoyed this peek at James Hubbell’s compound. Please come back next Thursday to see more of this incredible artist’s work. In the meantime, check out Dan Antion’s Thursday Doors post and see the doors that others have shared.
137 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – James Hubbell’s Doors and More”
Janis, what a treat to see so many design elements integrated together. I think these are the most unique doors I’ve seen on Thursday Doors!
I can’t believe that it took me so long to finally visit the property. The tour was amazing and we had plenty of time to poke around and take pictures. It was a visual treat.
Reminds me of the Gaudi things in Barcelona!
Yes, his work has been compared to Gaudi’s (and Hobbit houses 🙂 ).
What a gorgeous place! These dwellings feed the soul, not just provide a space and shelter.
The whole compound felt very organic and the buildings enhanced rather than competed or overwhelmed the natural setting. He has designed buildings around the world and now I want to see them too (although I probably couldn’t gain access to the personal dwellings 🙂 ).
Amazing! Thanks for sharing this!
I’m amazed at how a few details can turn an ordinary door, and ordinary door handle, an ordinary window into something completely extraordinary! Thank you for sharing this extraordinary view with us!
Everywhere I turned I saw something that amazed me. I’m not sure that there were any straight walls or ordinarily framed doors or windows. The work that must have gone into every detail was mind boggling.
These are fantastic doors, Janis, and I love the metal work. From the soft shapes to the ornamentation. I like everything I see here. I look forward to seeing more photos from this compound.
Thanks, Dan. I was pretty sure I’d have Thursday Doors material when I went, but I was overwhelmed – in a good way – when I started to look around. The metal work was extraordinary.
I really like the depth of some of the hardware.
How gorgeous! I love the free-flowing style.
I love it too! Although I haven’t been to Barcelona, it reminded me of the pictures I’ve seen of Antoni Gaudi’s work.
A touch of Gaudi definitely!
Just beautiful and I enjoyed the kitty!
That kitty and his brother were so friendly. They followed our little tour group around begging for ear scratches. If I could have figure out how to smuggle them out, I would have.
I’m so glad you got those tickets so you could share Hubbell’s artwork and vision, Janis! The metal work on the doors and the stained glass is quite extraordinary. All that mosaic tile in the restroom is simply stunning.
I felt so lucky to have the chance to wander around the property and learn about its history. I can’t believe I waited so long to go.
Wow! Just wow!
Yes, that pretty much sums it up 🙂
I second that- Wow Just Wow! Incredibly gorgeous and magical
Yes, magical. That is a great word to describe the property and the artwork I saw.
I too am impressed with the beautiful doors. Thank you for sharing.
They were amazing… each one so different.
This is near Julian? We’ve twice air b n b’ed in Julian! I’ll have to look into this. My artistic children would love this, as would I!
You’d love it. I think they will have tours again in the fall. Go to ilanlaelfoundation.org for more info.
I signed up for the newsletter already so that I’ll get notified when they’re open for touring. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this story. I can’t believe I lived in San Diego for more than 50 years (before moving north to Tehachapi) and never visited Hubbell’s place. Very interesting… Thanks again!
I know! I’ve lived here pretty much forever and it was my first time. I’ve promised myself to stop saying “next time.”
Oh my gosh, I love these! I can’t pick a favorite!
They were all pretty great. More next week 🙂
Thanks for your marvelous tour. What a place!
Hi Anne. For some reason you ended up in my spam folder but I was able to rescue you. The tour was really fabulous and the weather was spectacular… we couldn’t have asked for better.
RESCUED! Thank you. I just found one of my regulars en-spammed, also. Wonder what happens.
I have no idea. A long time ago, many of my comments on other blogs went into spam because I was using my laptop on someone else’s internet connection.
I’ll bet there are 100 reasons why things go wrong.
What a cool place! I’m glad you finally got to go (and take pictures!).
It was something I had wanted to do for a long time. Thank goodness for digital pictures… I took a ton.
Really cool doors. Looks like a good day trip!
It was a great day for doors!
Hi, Janis – I am currently tending to a family emergency, I could not agree with you more about ‘Seize the Day – Tomorrow in not guaranteed.” I am so glad that you booked htose tickets. These doors and windows are breathtaking!
I am trying to ignore my inner procrastinator as much as I can (it’s a difficult habit to break, for sure) and “just do it.” Sending good thoughts your way for a positive outcome.
A perfect entry for the Thursday Doors theme! What a fascinating place, full of eye candy, Janis. I’d like to say “I wish I knew about this compound while we were parked on our friend’s property in Julian,” but we had zero time for entertainment. Maybe next time? If I’m allowed to say this. 🙂
I know you were busy when you were in Julian. I hope “next time” things are less crazy for you.
Your photos are incredible, Janis! Thanks for sharing.
It was a very special place and the docent who led our tour captivated us with stories of its history. Truly a one-of-a-kind property.
These doors, windows, hardware, and glass are truly beautiful. Each one echoes ‘artistic talent abounds here.’ Thank you for sharing.
James Hubbell had a vision and he went about making it come alive. I felt so lucky to have been able to walk around and view the art close-up.
What a beautiful, interesting place! I’m so glad you visited and shared it with us. It reminds me a bit of the Earthship Community outside of Taos, NM. We’ve driven through Julian a number of times and I never knew about this place. If we ever get back that way, it’s now on my list. And I’m with you about not postponing what we want to do. Thanks for the great tour!
Because he lived on the property until just recently, the compound was only opened for one large tour once a year on Fathers Day. Now that he has moved off the mountain, they plan to do more, but smaller, tours, which I prefer anyway. I hope that you’ll get the opportunity to see it (and let me know that you are in the area 🙂 ). I’ll check out the Earthship Community… it sounds interesting.
Oh such a treat to experience this via your post, Janis. While the Julian property is a lot larger, it does remind me of the Cosenti compound in Phoenix…(he)artists living the life…It fills me to the brim.
Oh, another property to check out! I love that Hubbell didn’t allow obstacles (like building codes in some cases, apparently 🙂 ) to get in the way of his vision.
Wow! What a cool place! I loved the pictures you shared. The door with the forged metal designs was my favorite but they all were so beautiful. Good for you for going for it. I have been telling myself the same thing. Do it now!
That door was a favorite of mine too. I think it’s easy to put off opportunities that are close by, thinking that there is plenty of time. As we know, it ain’t necessarily so.
Gorgeous! The doors are unique and I’m intrigued by the hand-forged door hardware. You live in a region that is endlessly fascinating to me. Thanks for sharing your photos here.
That door handle was an amazing piece of art. I loved how he took an ordinary object and made it beautiful.
What a beautiful place to visit and delight in viewing the amazing artistic creations!
I’m glad you enjoyed them, Peter. There was beautiful art everywhere I turned.
Very unique and fascinating doors, thank you for sharing!
I’m glad you enjoyed them!
What a fascinating place. I was hooked immediately with the Santa Fe/Taos vibe in the first picture.
It was Santa Fe-y with the colors and organic shapes. I loved the turquoise tiles set into the salmon-beige stucco walls.
Janis, what took you so long, this place is amazing. I could spend days studying the details. Thanks for sharing.
I know! When I posted a few pictures on Facebook, a few local friends said they also “always wanted to go but never have.” Too many of us put things off.
What an idea – turning your home into art. Thanks for sharing the tour. (I do confess I am wondering who cleans all those beautiful things – because they are wonderfully-kept and very detailed)
I admit that I had a similar question. Minimalism wasn’t a “thing” there, for sure. Fortunately, they have a group of artists and volunteers that take care of those things.
If the restrooms are that nice…. Great pics and doors, Janis! – Marty
Haha! I had to stop in each one… whether I needed to or not 🙂
Wow! What a fabulously, artistic, mildly weird, gorgeous place! Doors truly can be fascinating. We recently went to Sante Fe. Everything… everything… was pretty tan there… Except the doors!!! They were fantastic! (I might actually have one on the painting easel right now!)
There is something about doors that lend themselves to personal expression. Maybe because they are often the entry to our homes and our guests’ first impression. I hope you share your painting when finished.
Great photos of unique and beautiful doors.
Thanks. It was fun to explore all the beautiful art and lovely vistas on the property.
Absolutely beautiful – and I so agree with your philosophy of seizing the day.
I know you do, Anabel. It’s evident with all the exploring you do.
How neat! Thanks for sharing all the beautiful photos. I totally agree with you, if you want to do something, do it now if at all possible 🙂
As they say, at the end of our lives, our regrets will often be about what we didn’t do, not what we did.
And I thought his telescope was incredible. Wow! Such a stunning compound! Looks like a mansion for upscale hobbits.
Haha… different Hubbell obv. I love your description of it being a mansion for upscale hobbits. I think they’d feel pretty comfortable there despite it being above ground.
Janis, Such beautiful artworks using a variety of natural materials. Thank you for sharing your photos. I’m glad you went and took pictures.
He is a man of many talents and I love that he wasn’t afraid to try something new. His wife is quite accomplished herself. Both are now in their 90s and not as active but they are still creating.
When we lived in So. Cal., we visited Julian several times, but I didn’t know about Hubbell’s compound. What an exceptional variety of doors. They’re all beautiful in their own way, all the detail so stunning. Thanks for sharing!
The property is off the beaten path so, unless you read something about it, you’d never know. I imagine the people who live in that area prefer to keep it that way 🙂
Those stained glass doors are fantastic. I can’t imagine the work that has gone into them or how much they cost.
Thanks for the tour, Janis. I look forward to part 2 next week.
All that work must have taken a long time and I know that I don’t have the patience for it… but I’m glad that others do 🙂
Stunning photos, Janis! Perfect for this post! Truly works of art. I am always in awe of creativity and “hand-forged.” All of it is amazing, yet I likely would spend a longer time than necessary in the restroom.😊
Thank you for prompting me to make sure I take part in many of the events around here. I wholeheartedly agree how “next year” isn’t guaranteed. I look forward to next week’s post. Thank you for sharing, Janis. 💕
I felt sorry for those who actually needed to use the restrooms 🙂 From what I can see, I think you are pretty good at seizing opportunities and discovering fun things to do, Erica.
Oh my goodness, what an amazing place. Those hand forged door handles are beautiful. The buildings so organic! It reminds me of project ideas I dreamt of, but could not and didn’t even think were possible. That meeting place door reminds me of Norwegian Rosemaling so much I am going to use it as inspiration for a design. What a talent!
Oh, I’d love to see your design when you finish. How great that one artist’s work can inspire another’s. I get the feeling that Hubbell didn’t let too much get in that way of bringing his imaginations to reality.
I am glad you introduced me to Hubbell!! He does sound so productive.
It looks beautiful there! The buildings reminded of a house in Hillsborough, CA. I’m glad you didn’t procrastinate any longer and went. I’m looking forward to seeing more of your images from the place.
I’m glad you enjoyed the tour. Judging from some other comments, there are a number of interesting dwellings throughout the US. I love it when architects are also artists.
Really amazing place! That bathroom photo was extraordinary. Just thinking of the time it took to create these works wore me out and I had to go take a nap.😂
I felt the same way! I’m so happy that others have the creativity and vision so I (after doing no work) can just admire it 🙂
These are gorgeous!
I was happy to share this amazing property.
Thank you for the introduction to this amazing artist and installation.
James Hubbell has designed buildings and art installations world-wide, not just locally so I hope I can see more of his work as I travel.
Impressive studio. And your photos captured the coolness in it. I love the city of Julian, and every once in awhile on our way to San Diego, we stop there for lunch. Out of the way yes, but worth. Thanks for this. Donna
I’m glad you enjoyed the tour. Julian is a nice little town that has stayed little despite the tourists (which is a good thing).
Thanks for sharing..those studio doors are stunning!
I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. All the doors were unique works of art.
This was amazing Janis – I don’t blame you for being happy you didn’t put it off to another time. I’ll look forward to part two of this event.
The creativity and work that went into each installation was pretty impressive. I’m so glad that I was (finally) able to see it.
I’m so glad you didn’t put off visiting any longer….how wonderful!!!
I’m trying to be better about seizing the opportunities as they come.
I’m so happy you went and that you shared it with us – YAY!!! Way to seize the day! That’s a gorgeous place. You picked beautiful examples to share in this post. Thank you for inspiring us not to focus on next year, today is here for the enjoying. 🥰
Hi Shelley. I was such a special place and I’m so happy to have been able to see it for myself. And, you are so right about enjoying today – and every day.
Hi! I have a hunch you’ll see many more places to discover and share! Happy Travels to you!
New look of hobbiton houses. Nice. 🥰
They do look a little like above-ground Hobbit houses (I didn’t see any Hobbits, though). 🙂
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