Design By Chance – Malibu, Beverly Hills and DTLA(revisited)

Posted on November 10, 2017

Sunday, unfortunately our last day in LA, doesn’t disappoint us with lots of discoveries and surprises.
We begin with a drive up the Pacific Coast Hwy to Malibu and another small center called Trancas Country Market. It is a delightful center anchored by a country market - Vintage Grocers - that also has a buffet breakfast that you purchase by the lb and can take outside to sit and eat. By the way, they have the best bacon, I think I have ever tasted...nice thick crispy slices. It also has a very busy Starbucks, an interesting restaurant and a few retail shops for clothing. It is a beautiful place, clad all in barn board, which seems to be the new craze for LA...everything that is being freshened up is clad in barn board. This is an enjoyable place to sit in the sun and ogle the vintage cars as they come in to pick up their brew of choice.

Vintage Grocers at Trancas Country Market (from their website)

Outdoor space at Trancas Country Market

Vintage car at Trancas Country Market

Vintage car at Trancas Country Market

Vintage car at Trancas Country Market

Back down to Beverly Hills to the Beverly Gardens Park for the Beverly Hills artShow to visit 4 blocks of art and crafts...another delightful surprise that we had happened upon. Apparently this show has been going on for over 45 years and had some very beautiful works from paintings and prints to glass and ceramics. The 95 degree, sunny afternoon was challenging but the park was lovely with massive eucalyptus trees for shade and a cool roundup of food trucks for sustenance. The Food Trucks included The Pudding Truck, A Rockin’ Ice, Amazebowls, The Deli Doctor, Hang 10 tacos, LA Donut, Berlin Truck (Gourmet Grilled Cheese), Belly Bombz, India Jones, Pie ‘n Burger and Cousin’s Maine Lobster (attention Shark Tank fans), just to name a few. For the complete list click here.

Art at Beverly Hills artShow

Art at Beverly Hills artShow

Art at Beverly Hills artShow

Art at Beverly Hills artShow

Vases at Beverly Hills artShow

The pond at Beverly Gardens Park

Amazing tree at the Beverly Gardens Park

Food trucks at the Beverly Hills artShow

After a very pleasant afternoon and a few purchases, that you will soon see in Urban Mode, we headed for the car and decided to google Hennessey + Ingalls book store to see where their new store is - DTLA. We decided the drive is worth it for the best book store in the world, right? So, back on the 10 for an hour and a half and when we arrive, we discover Base Camp for The Arts District aka One Santa Fe...another very interesting mix of retail, restaurants, galleries and living spaces.
It’s astonishing to see the amount of development that is taking place in DTLA. I remember this area as being very sketchy and derelict and now it’s being built up and connected with their new metro system. Perhaps that will free up the freeways a little.
We were delighted to discover a new design area that we didn’t know about. One Santa Fe is a new mixed-use development, comprised of retail, residential and commercial spaces. The living spaces offer studios and one or two bedroom apartments that include some amazing amenities. The retail and dining spaces are called The Yards. The Yards has a very modern vibe to it and is filled with a diverse selection of shops and eating options. After having a snack at Cafe Gratitude and perusing the newest architecture and design books at Hennessey + Ingalls for an hour we set out for The Grove for a little people watching. (Spoiler alert, we never made it to The Grove.)

The shops at One Santa Fe in the Arts District

The shops at One Santa Fe in the Arts District

Nail Box at One Santa Fe

We had just turned on to 3rd St when we saw the sign for Salt & Straw and screeched to a halt. How could we pass up ice cream from the Best Ice Cream Shop in the world? OMG, it puts ice cream into a totally new category! It was worth the 35 minute wait! While we weren’t brave enough to try the 5 creepy Halloween flavours: The Great Candycopia, Freckle & Hyde Potion, Dracula’s Blood Pudding, Essence of Ghost and Creepy Crawly Critters, we highly recommend the Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache and the Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons.

Salt & Straw Ice Cream

While enjoying our ice cream, we take a drive around this area - Arts District. Located next to Little Tokyo, you can still see that it was once very industrial – filled with factories and warehouses. It is now a haven for artists with great coffee and food, studios, galleries and so much more. There is a lot of developing going on here and we can’t wait to come back and see what’s new.   
So, we are homeward bound fully sated on design, food and incredible experiences!


Design By Chance - Palm Springs

Posted on November 08, 2017

On to our next day of Design By chance, thru Instagram, we learn that the Modernism Week Fall Preview Show is happening in Palm Springs this weekend! What a stroke of up early and on the 10, in 2 short hours we pull into Palm Springs to soak up everything modern from houses and landscapes to lighting and art.

Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale

The Fall Preview includes a selection of the popular events from Modernism Week that is celebrated every February. These events include Architectural Tours, walking tours, the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale (which has great furniture, accessories and art) and the Premier Double Decker Architectural Bus Tours. This was our first time at the Fall Preview and we had a great time.

Amazing artwork at the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale

Mid Century Modern furniture at the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale

Architecture at the Palm Springs Modernism Show & Sale

We find out that the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center is now open. This classic E. Stewart Williams’s building was previously a Savings and Loan building. Recently renovated by Los Angeles architects Marmol Radziner, who are known for their restoration of the well known Kaufmann House, the building is striking with its glass pavilion. The firm based its restoration on photographs of the building taken by famed photographer Julius Shulman along with Williams’ original drawings.

Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center

Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center

“We rehabilitated the 1960 Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan building, to create a new satellite exhibition space for the Palm Springs Art Museum. Designated as a Class I Historic Site by the Palm Springs City Council in 2009, this classic Mid-Century International Style structure originally designed by E. Stewart Williams, is now devoted to architecture and design exhibitions.” – Marmol Radziner

The museum reopened in 2014. One of the delights is the museum gift shop which is partially located in the bank vault. The museum is currently showcasing a show featuring Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture. This shows runs through January 7, 2018.

The vault in the Gift Shop in the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center (pic from Marmol Radziner website)

Beautiful Artwork at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center Gift Shop

Change is happening. A trip down Palm Springs main street, North Palm Canyon Drive, demonstrates the large projects that are being built. New hotels and developments are underway that will forever change it, in a good way, I think.
After a quick lunch at Jakes, we visit a few modernist galleries and then end at our friends at Pelago. If anyone plans a trip to Palm Springs, please visit this beautiful modernist shop. They just moved into a much larger space on Main St. They showcase a carefully curated collection of all things modern from eye glasses and jewellery to lighting and furniture. It is a delight to shop in.

Pelago Palm Springs (pic by Pelago Palm Springs)

Pelago Palm Springs (pic by Pelago Palm Springs)

Pelago Palm Springs

Beautiful sculpture in Palm Springs

The Kaufmann House - Palm Springs by Marmol Radziner
(Pic from Marmol Radziner website)

We say good bye, then back on the 10 to Santa Monica where I am trying to get at least an hour at the best architecture and design bookstore in the world, Hennessey + Ingalls. Two hours later after experiencing the glorious sunset on Ocean Boulevard, we turn onto Wilshire Boulevard where the book store has been for many years...only to find a big FOR LEASE sign in the window. How disappointing!

Beautiful sunset at the Santa Monica Pier

Beautiful sunset over the ocean in Santa Monica



Design By Chance – Platform and DTLA

Posted on October 28, 2017

The next day was a day of discovery, design and inspiration. Our first stop was at Platform in The Hub at Culver City. It’s difficult to describe this place and the experience of it. To call it a mall would be a huge insult. This is an ultimate experience of design, culture, food and retail on a tiny, precious scale. Again that description “deep” comes to mind. Every store, restaurant and coffee shop are “originals” no chains here.

Platform - pic from L.A. Times website

Platform is a new development in Culver City, small in size, only 50,000 square feet of unique brands of retail and fabulous cafes and eateries. It has a semi industrial yet intimate feel due to the boxlike corrugated exterior of the buildings that resemble shipping containers and raw concrete. These materials are brought to life with a brightly coloured mural by local artist Jen Stark and beautiful plantings.

The Architecture of Platform

The largest shop is the Tom Dixon store showcasing his furniture, lighting and objects. Within Tom Dixon, there has opened a clothing store - Reservoir – a carefully edited selection of women’s clothing and shoes that fits in perfectly with the vibrant esthetic. Also added recently is Hayden, an all day neighborhood cafe and wine shop - a beautifully designed space with exquisite food. Hayden was opened by chef-partner Ari Kolender and Anthony Cailan (brother of Eggslut chef-owner Alvin Cailan). I personally, am not a foodie but...when my taste buds stand up and dance when I eat, I know it is amazing!

Hayden at Platform

Wine Wall at Hayden

Breakfast from Hayden

Tom Dixon at Platform

Inside Tom Dixon at Platform

Plantings at Platform


 Plantings at Platform

Beautiful Potted Plants at Platform

Sidewalk Details at Platform
Pure Cycles Container Store at Platform

Take a Wee Spin at Pure Cycles Container Store at Platform

The entire experience of Platform brings together all of your senses. From the incredible eateries to the well designed plantings and outdoor lounge areas to sit and enjoy, it is truly one of a kind.

A few streets away, we discovered this beautiful glass building with an exoskeleton metal structure. We have since found out this is a restaurant called Vespertine housed in the Waffle Building. Vespertine’s chef is Jordan Kahn. We hear it is absolutely an experience you don’t want to miss. It had a beautifully landscaped garden at the exterior, which has seats to relax in and enjoy the view. We walked a little to the right – outside of Stink Studios - and stumbled upon this amazing structure high up in the air – a metal structure with planters filled with cacti – about 150 feet in the air. It was incredible.

Vespertine in the Waffle Building
Garden behind the Waffle Building
  Amazing cacti garden high above in The Tract

Beautiful metal sculpture in The Tract

Taking the time to drive around and discover what else the area called The Tract had to offer was well worth it.

It was then time to regretfully leave the Hub and make our way DTLA to visit our friends at A+R and their new store at ROW DTLA.

The ROW DTLA: A historic district, thoughtfully reimagined for creative space, retail & art. With approximately 1.3 million square feet of office space and 200,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, The ROW DTLA has the potential to become a destination haven for people who appreciate good design, be it in clothing, jewellery, food, beer, furniture or accessories.




Coming soon to The ROW DTLA

Its current occupants include an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, food trucks, retailers and one of our favourite design stores – A+R.

I am totally envious of their new store, the space and layout as well as the product lines. While they carry many of the same lines as we do, they have the space to showcase more products from each line and it looks good.

A+R at The ROW

A+R at The ROW

A+R at The ROW

After an hour of talking shop, design and Google/American Apparel gossip, it’s time to check out what else is happening in DTLA, which included some black ice cream at Little Damage.

There is also a very dark side to DTLA that I find difficult to look at and understand. It is a very sad situation and I am horrified with the tent city that is set up along the sidewalks. It astonishes me that there is so much development happening with new hotels, condominium developments, night clubs, restaurants and retail stores....and yet, hundreds of people are living in tents on the sidewalks! What is going to happen to them? There is seriously something wrong with a city that has so much wealth in it and yet others have to live like this.

...and I ask myself...what is the design of this?


Design by Chance – WestEdge Design Fair and DesignLIVELA

Posted on October 25, 2017

It was a last minute impromptu dash to LA for a Design Show that I had never heard of before...The WestEdge Design Fair. Based in The Barker Hangar, an airplane hangar beside the Santa Monica airport, it was a real gem. What a welcome change from the larger shows that I normally attend in gigantic impersonal convention centers with expensive parking, long lineups and big corporate exhibitors.It can only be called “deep”, my new favourite term that I learned from my new favorite TV documentary series The Life-Sized City. It means...small, off the beaten track...a real gem.

As the exhibitors were putting the finishing touches on their stands, we participated in a series of panel discussions in a large tent outside the back of the hangar. Moderated by Lindsey Shook, California Home + Design’s Editorial Editor, there were 3 panels, consisting of leaders of the Los Angeles design community who explored a range of topics including: ‘The Art of Investing in your Real Estate’, ‘The Healthy Home’ and ‘Made Local: Los Angeles‘.

The Art of Investing in your Real Estate Panel

I was very pleased to hear the Real Estate panelists agree that in order to sell your property at the best possible price, the staging furnishings and accessories must be of a quality that matches the property and the price that you are asking. As well, it is essential to display the walls with “original artwork”. Product from staging rental warehouses and artwork from your local Big Box Stores does not convey the quality or the price that you may be looking to get for your property.

The Healthy Home” was about what it means to be “green” when you are building, renovating or furnishing your home. “Designing a healthy, eco-friendly home is becoming more and more important. With the new WELL building standards and an ever-evolving collection of eco-materials, it can be difficult to navigate the smartest choices.”

Made Local: Los Angeles’ was an interesting discussion consisting of 5 different designers/makers living and working in LA. Alex Segal and Riley Rea of Croft House, Jamie Davis of Portola Paints, Meyghan Hill of (wh)ore haus studios and  Uri Davillier of Neptune Glassworks discussed the journey of creating, marketing their products and what they thought the attraction was for their clientele to purchase original as opposed to made in an off shore factory for less. “In the current world of design, locally made objects and furniture are playing a central role in the home and why it’s important to shop for handmade, local design.” A very interesting talk that was near and dear to my heart!

Made Local: Los Angeles Panel

The talks were followed by a reception on the show floor where everyone had an opportunity to meet and talk to the panelists as well as the exhibitors. It was also a relaxing opportunity to take a stroll through the show and see the different exhibits before all the attendees arrived. I thought that the exhibits were more artisan based and hand crafted ... from beautiful lighting to ceramics, flooring, carpets, accessories and jewellery as well as furniture.

WestEdge Lounge

Outdoor Lounge by Juniper House

Beautiful Art

The Milk Stand Popup shop by the fabulous team from Design Milk showcased up and coming design companies. Visitors and attendees could buy offered items ranging from home accessories and leather goods, to modern jewelry and artwork.

Milk Stand Pop Up presented by Design Milk

Modern Planters by AirPlantMan

What a delight to experience an exhibition of creativity, design and integrity!



Thinking Outside The Box

Posted on July 16, 2015

Love the creativity that Potash Architects took with this shipping container.

Shipping containers are often repurposed to create buildings, and this structure by Tel Aviv studio Potash Architects features one container balanced at a precarious angle. Named Shipping Container Terminal, the building provides offices and technical facilities at the Port of Ashdod – one of Israel's two main cargo ports, located about 40 kilometres south of Tel Aviv. Read more at

Cool Tat

Posted on July 14, 2015

You've been looking for a Gold Party Watch but everything is out of your price range. Not anymore! Check out Tattly's Party Watch (Gold).

You're ready to celebrate any occasion wearing this Party Watch (Gold) by Julia Rothman!

Amazing Small Space Living

Posted on June 09, 2015


We just loved the creativity of this space!

'Architect Christoph Kaiser turned a dismantled grain silo, purchased online from a Kansas farmer, into a cozy studio in Phoenix, Arizona. The 190-square-foot space is outfitted with a highly customized interior—only the Eames dining chairs were not made by Kaiser—that serves as a comfortable home for him and his wife.' Read more here. Via Dwell.

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