How A Seedy Motel Called The Farmer’s Daughter Became A Boutique Hotel
“Flying Bacon” by Jessie Azzarin (Photo via Farmer’s Daughter Hotel)
The farmer’s daughter, in fiction, is an attractive, pure-hearted young woman who grew up on a bucolic farm. She’s Daisy Duke. She’s Dolores Abernathy of Westworld. She’s Mary Ann, stranded on an uncharted desert isle. Technically, she’s even The Walking Dead‘s Maggie Greene. She appears in songs, she’s a central character in crass tavern jokes, and she turns up in many an adult film. But in Los Angeles, Farmer’s Daughter is also a hotel.Peter and Ellen Picataggio bought the Farmer’s Daughter Hotel on Fairfax Avenue in 1997. At that time, Ellen said it already bore its peculiar name, but it was something of a “no-tell motel.” It’d been there since the ’60s, had its halcyon days through the ’70s, and fell into disarray thereafter. For a short period of time, it was a Best Western, but not when the Picataggios got their hands on it. Ellen described the owner they got the property from as “absentee.”
Looking at old photos supplied by the Picataggios reveals the kind of unremarkable, bland, yet oddly endearing decor of any mediocre American motel. The off-white bathroom with the hair dryer attached to the wall, the small closet stacked with unused phonebooks, the green carpeting you rarely see outside of motels and dated transit hubs, and the plain bed, dressed in pink and green patterned comforters, positioned beneath uninspired paintings of ambiguous landscapes. These pedestrian rooms served as the accommodation for many a CBS studio guest, including those who went to sleep dreaming of spinning The Big Wheel and winning a lump sum from Bob Barker. The sign was a big, yellow roadside eye-catcher, with a smaller marquee below that read, “Our Rooms Are Tops” on one side and “Extra Nice Rooms” on the other.
“Gotta love the cheap art on the wall,” Peter said of the old rooms. “I think I might have kept a piece somewhere just for fun and memories. Never forget where you came from.”
The original yellow sign, too, is now a part of the hotel’s office.