City Living meets Desert Oasis; Stonehurst Venue in Shadow​ Hills

Tucked away in Shadow Hills California, just 15 mins from the Burbank Airport, is a new (but vintage) event venue that is a mix between a secret garden, Joshua Tree and an artists community all rolling into one, fantastic package! Welcome to, Stonehurst!

The History

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Photo: Even Keel Photography

The original owner Joe Stromei, was a true character! He owned a chain of vintage clothing stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco called Aardvark’s Odd Ark.  If you are an LA native (like me) you remember spending time rummaging through piles of vintage finds and racks of old-school gems at the location on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood.

As a young boy in the 1940’s, Joseph fell in love with plants and became a horticulturist. Spanning 9 acres of lush, rolling hills,  Stonehurst is located in Sun Valley and Shadow Hills. The property is so large, it spans two cities!

Zoned for equestrian use, Stonehurst was once a horse ranch. Joe, a master of many things, also bred beautiful singing canaries (ya know, as you do!) on this property. Can you spot the hidden bird houses?

Joe planted and tended to all the plants you now see at Stonehurst. As a mason, he hand-poured all the stone pillars and walkways that line the property. That is a ton of rocks to move! His stonework and attention to detail is such a sight to behold. Every portion of this venue has heart in it and you can feel that as you tour the grounds. You can tell that Joe loved this land.

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If you enjoy lush foliage, and I do, Stonehurst is full of it! From huge cacti, birds of paradise, mature trees, and succulents galore, this venue has the greenery you are craving for all those Instagram worthy snaps. Some of these plants must be 20, 30, 40 years old.

There are so many photo opportunities around the property to take advantage of. It’s a photographer’s dream! Luckily, Miriam Brummel, a long-time friend, and owner of Even Keel Photography was with me to capture all the colorful moments.

The Greenhouse

This sprawling property is full of so many options for wedding and events. There are three main spaces that can be used in different capacities. The Greenhouse, The Barn, and The Upper Lawn. There is also a two-bedroom Craftsman-style Bungalow, Joe’s original cottage, for overnight guests or as a wedding suite, nestled on the back of the property. Think, “Snow White and The Seven Dwarves” meets “California Charm”.

The Green House (seen below) is original to the property and is where Joe grew most of his plants. Many of Joe’s prize-winning rose plants were donated to museum gardens around Los Angeles. It has been given a full facelift however to reveal a cleaner and more modern look that will surprise and delight you. Think about all the florals you could hang from those beautiful, wood beams!

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With floor to ceiling windows around three sides, natural light floods into the greenhouse creating a glowing ceremony location to fit 200 guests. The Greenhouse is 3200+sq ft of usable space separated into two parts by a stone partition. It is and open slate full of design and layout possibilities.

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Dolphin Rentals, our of Pasadena, was kind enough to showcase some of their collection as one of the exclusive vendors at Stonehurst. Tables and chairs are not included in the venue rental but can be rented and brought in.

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I love the brick throughout the greenhouse as well. It adds so much texture and dimension to the room!

The Barn

For all you couples that love the feeling of Joshua Tree but don’t want to make the trek out to the desert, this vintage barn is for you! The barn is over 100 years old with 3 horse stables inside. How cute are all the little bird houses for Joe’s canaries?

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The barn is currently being rehabbed to reinforce the vintage facade and make it suitable for an indoor wedding ceremony.

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Think of what a magical grand entrance or first moment this spot would be!

Fun Facts

-If you look carefully, you can spot several stone figurines located around the property.  Some may even be smiling at you!

-Original owner, Joe Stromei had hundreds of roses, irises, succulents, anemones, pansies, abutilon, palms, pools, trees and stone walls. Not to mention his 4 dogs, 500 chickens, 200 canaries and uncounted amounts of goldfish. He was a lover of all living things.

-The LA Times called Joe Stromei’s plant collection, “An artful hodge-podge and a zany masterpiece”.

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The 100 year old barn wood tells a story all it’s own! Think about all the interesting things it has seen over the years. You don’t find that in brand new properties!

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You have options for al fresco dining on the paved patio or the upper lawn Indoor seating would happen in greenhouse or rented tent. Either way, your guests will have a unique dining experience. The property is open to all licensed and insured caterers but does require a kitchen build out. Portable restrooms are also required rentals.

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This is the perfect venue for an outdoor loving couple who would like the feel of a destination wedding but the convenience of being close to a major city. It is quiet, secluded but has helpful built ins like an attached parking lot for up to 60 cars. I wouldn’t suggest it for a couple who has many older or handicapped guests as the ground can be slightly uneven in some spots. But and all, Stonehurst is an amazing property full of hisotry and charm. I can’t wait to design and plan a wedding there soon!

Fresh Eyes

The owner, Nancy Kwong, brings a fresh, female approach to the venue’s ownership. She has valued and cared for all the efforts and creativity that Joe brought to these grounds. Coming from the branding and packaging world, Nancy is thrilled to have found a venue that she can bring back to life and share with the public. They are open to rentals for wedding, corporate, social, and retreat events.

N A N C Y   K W O N G  S T O N E H U R S T

9485 Stonehurst Ave.| Shadow Hills, CA 91352 
626.226.8826  IG/FB @thestonehurst thestonehurst.com (coming soon)

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