Avalon Ventures’ Kevin Kinsella Remakes Private Copley Library in La Jolla

10/20/10Follow @bvbigelow

Kevin Kinsella moved to San Diego with his Ford Pinto in 1978. He still remembers driving shakily past the private library of newspaper publisher James S. Copley in the tony enclave of La Jolla, and thinking, “Wow.”

To Kinsella, who graduated from MIT in 1967 with an undergraduate degree in management, “It looked like one of those ivy-covered buildings had been plucked out of Cambridge and dropped in La Jolla.”

Times change, and so do fortunes. Earlier this year, Kinsella bought the two-story, 15,822-square-foot Copley Library for a reported $3.75 million. He’s spent the months since then updating and remodeling the interior of the building, which has been renamed The Kinsella Library. He also has been remaking the building as the new headquarters for Avalon Ventures, the venture capital firm he started in 1982.

Avalon Ventures moved into the library at the end of August, and Kinsella recently gave a tour when Bob Buderi, Xconomy’s founding CEO and editor-in-chief, was visiting San Diego. While the headquarters of some major venture firms are renowned for their opulence, Avalon’s office surely ranks as one of the few museum-quality spaces in the VC industry, with a collection of art and memorabilia that reflects Kinsella’s personal interests and aesthetics.

Kevin Kinsella

Kevin Kinsella

The library’s main attraction is an airy central reception hall, ringed by a second-story balcony with an antiqued iron railing that overlooks the entire room. On prominent display is a candy-apple red grand piano on loan from Yamaha, which Kinsella explains is the piano that Elton John plays when he’s on concert tours through Southern California. “Yamaha was kind enough to loan it [the piano is signed by Sir Elton] to The Kinsella Library, while the 9 foot Yamaha Disklavier which we have on order is being hand-built in Japan for delivery in May 2011,” he said.

At the other end of the hall is a wooden sculpture of a breaching humpback whale carved by sculptor Ron Sansone of Hana, Maui, (where Kinsella lives part of the year) from a single piece of kamani wood.

Some rooms off the central reception hall have been converted into … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Danny

    I don’t know if this article has anything to do with Avalon (A Rare Earth company).Must be some mistake from Google..second time in a month
    Danny

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  • Sir Donald

    Fantastic article. What Kinsella has done with this is a phenomenal example to the community.