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“The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God”.
Antonio Gaudi

For 20 years now, I have driven visitors by this house, so its inhabitants are undoubtedly tired of seeing my face.  It is known as the O’Neill House.  You may have a hunch as to who “O’Neill” is, but it isn’t Eugene, the famous playwright.  Rather, it refers to Don O’Neill, whose first name is easy to remember if you think of Don Draper from Mad Men.

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Don O’Neill was a successful art dealer specializing in Art Nouveau.  In 1978, when the prehistoric Soviet Leonid Brezhnev was in charge of my homeland, Don and his wife Sandy planned to renovate their guesthouse, doing something in the spirit of the beloved Antonio Gaudi.  It took five years, and workers said they went crazy because of the sheer number of tiles they had to install.  Then, after seeing the result, Don decided to convert the main house, as well.

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Unfortunately, he did not live to see the realization of this idea, but Sandy vowed to complete the project, and it was finished in 1988.  They say that Sandy still lives there, so she is probably familiar with my face.  I hope that someday I will be allowed to take pictures of the interior, as I have long since proven my loyalty to the house.

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The address is 507 North Rodeo Drive, and parking is available across the street next to the huge banyan tree, which those with poor vision sometimes mistake for a baobab.

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The O’Neill House, in my opinion, is one of the best buildings in the city.  And it is also somewhat (if not very) beautiful, although I apologize for using such a coarse and unsophisticated word.  Therefore, the Benjamin Eye Institute’s slogan Life is Beautiful – See It! can be put to good use here. 

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Every time I see this house, I have (as they say) a renewed will to live, and furthermore to live in a place like this.  It is obligatory, of course, to take your uncle from Alabama there, or your grandmother from Minsk, but your peers will appreciate it first and foremost.  They will already begin to criticize, though: it is not Antonio Gaudi, there are too few tiles, and no, it is not the Sagrada Familia…

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Well, excuse me.  As long as they are rich, they are happy, and now you have a piece of history in your pocket.

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Text: Sebastian Varo
Translation: Richard Crenwelge
Photo: Tatiana Minchenko

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