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BED AND BREAKFAST : CASA DE LA LUNA : Room to Relax : The Spanish-style house in Ojai offers seclusion, a beautiful view and, of course, a bountiful morning meal.

May 31, 1990|JANE HULSE

There is a place in Ojai that is so still and private that Hollywood types slip in frequently for weekend getaways. In fact, two Canadian psychologists once holed up here for weeks to write a textbook.

So if you suffer from ho-hum breakfast, whiny kids, noise overload or a simple case of the blahs, you may find the relief you need at Casa de La Luna, a one-of-a-kind bed-and-breakfast hideaway.

Ancient oak trees envelop the long driveway leading to the 5,000-square-foot Spanish-style home Bud and Doris Scott built themselves in 1968. It's part of a seven-acre estate they call the Gardens of Perpetual Spring, named for the 2,000 flowers, shrubs and trees they've planted.

The Scotts' talent and resourcefulness are apparent all over the house and grounds of Casa de La Luna, yet the couple have a casual, warm and folksy manner. On a recent morning, Doris Scott was pushing a broom on the walkways. Her husband, in jeans and an undershirt, was working on a temperamental toilet.

Bud Scott, a 70-year-old retired dentist, loves to talk about his cattle ranching family, which settled in Ventura in 1869.

"My grandfather was known as the cussingest man on the plains," he said. Bud was a rancher himself in the San Joaquin Valley until he decided to study dentistry at the age of 36.

"I wanted to practice dentistry in Mexico," he said. "I settled for building Mexico here," he said, gesturing around the vast home.

"We decided to build an authentic colonial hacienda," he said. "So we started exploring Mexico to find out what we wanted."

They found it in a little village in northern Mexico. It was the jail--housed in an old hacienda.

They drew the plans for the house, and pretty much built it themselves, with the help of their daughter, Carol Barr, the oldest of their three grown children. The huge wooden front doors open to a spacious entryway with a high, beamed ceiling.

Had it not been for the 1984 Olympics, they never would have gotten into the bed-and-breakfast business. When the call went out for Ojai Valley residents to open their homes to athletes, the Scotts did just that.

Casa de La Luna has been open ever since. It's one of only four home-style bed-and-breakfast spots in the county. (Santa Barbara has at least 15.)

Barr, a nurse and the mother of two children, is now back home with her family to help her parents run the place. Both mother and daughter are artists and the house is filled with their work. Barr's specialty is porcelain painting. Her delicate roses are seen on the tile and sinks in the guest bathrooms and on the many oil lamps and vases.

Together, mother and daughter painted an exquisite Florentine rose ceiling in the dining room. Below it is a long table, carved by Bud Scott. His wife hand-finished, stained and upholstered 14 chairs for the table. He cut ornate windows in the room and fitted them with stained glass.

Paintings hang everywhere, some by Doris and Carol. Others are collectors items. They sell limited-edition prints, and often display works from collections on loan.

There are six rooms available to guests, ranging from $65 to $95 a night. Three are in the main house, two in a converted caretaker's home, and one is a separate cottage. All have baths, two have fireplaces, and one is quite roomy, 1,000 square feet.

They all have little personal touches. The curtains and decorative pillows are handmade.

"I found these wonderful marbles at a Ben Franklin store," said Barr, pointing to a tall glass of glistening marbles on a dresser in one of the rooms. Years ago, her grandmother had a similar goblet on her dresser.

Breakfast at Casa de La Luna is a treat. Macadamia nuts, gathered from the trees on the estate, go into the waffles. And, oranges, peaches, tangerines, apples, plums, cherries, apricots, lemons and limes--all grown there--go into the fruit salad. They also serve eggs, potatoes, and French toast.

But the best part of all is the view from the dining room table. It faces an aviary where two dozen or so canaries and other birds flutter about.

"Everyone wants to sit on the window side of the table," said Doris Scott.

Here are some other home-style bed-and-breakfast spots in Ventura County.

* La Mer, 411 Poli St., Ventura: This 1890 Cape Cod-style house has a view of the ocean. The five rooms are decorated in a European motif. A breakfast buffet includes fruits, homemade cereal, cheeses, European breads, ham, croissants, apple strudel and homemade cakes served in a Bavarian-style dining room. Complementary wine comes with each room. Mid-week specials include excursions to a local dude ranch, Wheeler Hot Springs and carriage rides in Ojai.

* Theodore Woolsey House, 1484 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai: This oak-shaded house, built in 1887, is a historic landmark. The seven rooms are decorated with antiques. Breakfast, served buffet style, includes pastries, breads, muffins and cereal--oatmeal in winter.

* Ojai Manor Hotel, 210 E. Matilija St., Ojai: This former school, built in 1874, is the oldest building in Ojai. Located downtown, the two-story building with six guest rooms features contemporary art, antiques, folk art and handcrafted furniture. Continental breakfast includes homemade muffins and scones.

* THE DETAILS: Casa de la Luna is located at 710 S. La Luna Ave., in the Meiners Oaks district of the Ojai Valley. From U.S. 101, take the Ojai Freeway to Ventura Avenue, make a left on California 150 (Baldwin Road) and a right on La Luna Avenue. For information and reservations, call 646-4528.

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