Paul Goff and Tony Angellotti discovered the Ruin about 12 years ago when it was a small, abandoned stone house. They were hiking in Pioneertown's Pipes Canyon, and there it was, all by itself in a cove-like setting of boulders and desert plants and barely the remains of a road to get to it.
They hiked back about a year after and the roof had been knocked in, or it had caved in after years of weather and neglect. A few months later, on another visit, they saw the western wall where the front door and window once stood were gone. So there it was, the ruin of what used to be someone's home. They later learned that a gold miner lived in it about a hundred years ago.
In 2004, they purchased the property. Neighbors asked if they could have some of the wood from the fallen roof to make things. They told them to help themselves and just asked them to leave a few boards for us. They soon realized that they were starting the initial clean up!
They always thought the ruin, as it stood, would be an incredible place to have a dinner party. Dinner in the Ruin — that was their goal. They imagined entertaining in front of the majestic stone fireplace as the sun went down and the stars appeared in an evening sky. Among the discovered treasures are the hand and footprints of a small child pressed into the cement floor in front of the fireplace. Magical.
Spring of 2012 Tony Angelotti designed the courtyard. Their friend and neighbor, Tony Bayevich, who is a boulder and stonemason, broke off all the concrete from fallen rocks and salvaged them. Together they moved boulders from around the property to define the space. They dug and poured footings for what would become stacked stone wall benches. With Tony B.'s skilled craftsmanship, The Ruin Venue came to life.
Olive trees do well in this area of the high desert. In fact, They harvest and cure the olives from trees surrounding their Pipes Canyon home, which is a mile away. In early May they drove to the Central California town of Lindsay where olives are grown and packed. They found an orchard where the olive trees were being replaced, and they bought three 75-year-old trees and had them delivered to Pipes Canyon. Now they grace the courtyard of The Ruin Venue and provide a bit of shade and character to an old western California homestead that once was.
Their original plan for a bottle wall shifted to a patio bar made with empty wine bottles saved from dinner parties. Tony B., my Tony and I built the bar in two days with about 120 bottles stacked with concrete inside recycled window frames from an old gas station.
The final touch: a Middle Eastern-style table that's more than 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. It sits as the centerpiece of the courtyard.
People travel all over the world and they see ruins of homes and dream of restoring them. But they love their Ruin as a ruin. It's an enchanting event space for them. When people ask me what they plan to do with it, I tell them: Nothing. It's done.