Chuck Kovacic’s 221B Baker Street Los Angeles is located in the San Fernando Valley surrounded by the beautiful and spectacular Coastal Ranges that stretch along the Pacific Coast of the North American Continent from Mexico to Canada’s British Columbia.
When my son and I arrived at the Kovacic’s hacienda we found an authentic period piece of Southern California architecture filled with Art Deco and Art Nouveau artwork, furniture, and Chuck’s original paintings. Chuck’s painting studio and artist library includes some of his accomplished and awarded impressionist and plein air paintings.
We ooohed and aaahed our way through what could easily be a museum, every surface and object in every exquisitely designed room attesting to Chuck’s superb professional enthusiasm for the art of collecting. Beginning with the 1920s living room which looked out to an impressionist painter’s garden, and ending with the illustrated kitchen tin collection, and the Sara Bernhardt room.
In another area of the house we were invited into that time and place beloved by Sherlockians and Holmesians the world over. Chuck’s impeccable recreation of Sherlock Holmes’ sitting room, the incredible 221B Baker Street Los Angeles. There is the iron fireplace, the mantel with Holmes’ clay pipe, and the Persian Slipper. Holmes’ unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of the mantelpiece and the coal-scuttle cigar humidor that Doctor Watson told us about in, “The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.” And so much more. We were also treated to Chuck’s knowledgeable and history-filled storytelling as we learned about the adventure of each find.
Just being in Chuck’s faithful recreation is a most welcome experience for this Sherlockian author, it felt like home to me. A home that Sherlock Holmes would inhabit with everything he would need. A British Bulldog pistol, walking sticks, swords, boxing gloves, lanterns, a Bobbie’s rattle, Holmes’ extremely comfortable Slipper Chair, Watson’s Basket Chair, the settee for his clients, gaslights, the chemical corner, and much, much more. All accurate to the period and set where Holmes or Watson would have put them.
You feel Holmes and Watson might run through the door at any minute and quickly hang their hats. Holmes would take to his chemical table to verify his evidence, all the while filling Watson in on his latest discovery. Watson would reload his revolver and thank Mrs. Hudson for the tea. Before grabbing their hats and running back out the door to continue the adventure.
We were also treated to tea. Chuck brought in a lovely tray with period China teapot and cups. He told us when English folk come to visit, they say it feels like their grandmother’s house. Exactly what my son felt on entering this most-famous fictional sitting room.
I attempt to bring it to life within the chapters of my novels. Chuck has created, piece-by-piece, a 360-degree, real representation of what we see in our imaginations when reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. And it is not behind glass or roped off, like the Sherlock Holmes Museum or the Sherlock Holmes Pub, you are in the middle of an immersive and interactive environment. To be able to hold what could have been Watson’s Webley Mark IV service revolver and feel the weight of it, to know the exact dimensions of everything in Holmes’ sitting room, to relax in his chair, and to be able to experience what he may have brings a sense of reality to the study of the Great Detective.
Like the study of Egyptology, the remnants found can build our understanding of a lost civilisation. Or how from the bones of a dinosaur, a palaeontologist can replicate an animal never viewed by man. This is also a creation combining the art of imagination and reality. Thanks, Chuck, I’m sure Mr. Holmes is very comfortable in your home.
And so, my Holmesian friends, if you happen to find yourselves in L. A., make sure you visit 221B Baker Street Los Angeles.
Gretchen Altabef is an Award-Winning author who emulates Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories for MX Publishing. From a woman’s point of view and the history Conan Doyle left out. She also publishes with Belanger Books, Mondadori, and Mystery Magazine. The first, These Scattered Houses, is in Holmes’ own voice, and resourcefully chronicles the conclusion of his underground years. This is where the Rachel Holmes Series begins. The second in the series is, Remarkable Power of Stimulus. After 3 years away, Holmes finds London awash in murders, No. 221B under siege, anarchists threatening Paris, and the return of Irene Adler. Fully aware he is under surveillance by Moriarty’s henchmen, Holmes steps out of the cab into Baker Street knowing he will find Watson’s friendship and unerring aim are as dependable as the British Rail. Ms. Altabef’s most recent novel, THE KEYS OF DEATH is the genesis story of the world’s most famous address, and the young occupants of No. 221B Baker Street.
Gretchen is currently tucked away in her writer’s cabin with a goodly stock of Earl Grey and delicious concoctions from Mrs. Hudson’s Garden. Where she is diligently at work on the third Rachel Holmes novel. Rachel Holmes now has her own BLOG, listed above, where she will keep you apprized of the book’s progress.
Do you enjoy my stories? Are there ways they could have been improved? Please help me and future readers of my books by posting a review on Amazon. Doing so would be incredibly helpful. Thanks in advance, Gretchen.