Art Deco in Los Angeles: Our Favorite Buildings

Although New York and Miami are widely considered to have the best examples of Art Deco architecture in the U.S., Los Angeles has its fair share.  Here are some of our favorites, all of which can be visited in one day.

In Westwood, the Bruin Theatre, named after the mascot of the University of California, Los Angeles, features the school’s blue and gold colors. In its heyday, its circular facade and ornate marquee hosted countless movie premieres.

Bruin Theatre (image The City Project)

When it was built, The Bullock’s Wilshire/Southwestern Law School was the first department store in the country designed to accommodate automobiles. It features large display windows facing the street and a main entrance facing a parking lot in the rear.  The success of this building spurred the development of Wilshire Boulevard, a major thoroughfare connecting downtown Los Angeles with the west side.

Bullock’s Wilshire/Southwestern Law School (image Hunter Kerhart)

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Game Night: Molly’s Game with Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba

If you haven’t caught it yet, you need to watch Molly’s Game: it had us watching nonstop at the edge of our seats!

The story – Aaron Sorkin’s (The West Wing, The Social Network) directorial debut – unfolds nicely, with Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) training to become an Olympic skier, glimpses into her brilliant mind, and then it takes us front seat into her career-ending injury.  After that it gets really interesting.

To deal with her cracked nerves, she decides to temporarily put off law school and flies to Los Angeles to sort things out.  Once there, she becomes a cocktail waitress.  A patron at the bar ends up hiring her to become his office manager, and not long after that she’s running his underground poker games.

Little by little, she learns about card games … the terms, the odds, the styles, the players … until she ended up running the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game, hosting players like Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and Leo DiCaprio.

An intelligently written and superbly acted (Kevin Costner plays her dad, while Idris Elba is her high-powered attorney) tale that will have you gasping at how quickly our lives can turn.

And if you’re feeling like sharing in the fun, get a few buddies together for game night. Of course, be sure to rub the rabbit’s foot for good luck:

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A Natural Find: Undyed Wool Rugs

If you’re anything like us, you’ve made quite a few changes to the way you live … using less water, shopping more frequently at the local farmers market, and using safer detergents in your laundry.

On top of it, we’re also living simpler lives.  At home, almost everything we own is in neutral colors (yes, we feel right at home at the Brunello Cucinelli store!) because they’re both calming and really practical since everything goes with everything.

So imagine our joy when we discovered that Jaipur has introduced a pretty extensive line of undyed rugs!  Made using wool sheared from roaming sheep, these rugs are super soft underfoot and come in lots of colors, ranging from light grey to bright white, butterscotch brown to soot black. Each is different, just like Mother Nature intended:

Happy, roaming sheep! (Jaipur)

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How to Decorate Red Rooms: The Essentials

Red rooms make a statement.  In deep red, they are rich, elegant, refined, sumptuous, and dramatic.  Brick reds are more earthy, so they’re evocative of country interiors.  And bright reds – like lipsticks – are passionate, powerful, and stimulating.  Here are some of our favorite red rooms.

Red Library: Assouline Paris

Details: Here, the strong orange-red details are lightened by warm beige (in the rug and the limestone walls), but then given a graphic punch by the dark wood cabinetry.  This is a perfect way to balance two dominant colors (red and black).

Image courtesy Assouline Paris

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Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakesh Home: The Essentials

When Yves Saint Laurent visited Marrakesh for the first time in 1966, it transformed him forever.  The strong sun, lush colors, and intricate patterns you see everywhere left an indelible mark in his mind.  “Marrakech taught me color,” he said.  “Before Marrakech, everything was black.”

Indeed, one of the most important parts of Saint Laurent’s legacy has been the Jardin Majorelle, the garden he restored with Pierre Berge and a must-see on any trip to Marrakesh.  (Tip for visitors: they don’t take credit cards, so bring plenty of dirhams to cover your entry fees.)  The original garden has been joined by the Musee Yves Saint Laurent Marrakech, and plans are now being made to open up Saint Laurent and Berge’s private home (Villa Oasis) to the public.

When it opens, you should think about going to Marrakesh just to see this.  Not only is the house itself spectacular, it captures all the iconic elements of Moorish and Arabesque design, which then fed our favorite Mediterranean, Tuscan, Spanish Revival, and Southwestern styles of architecture and design.  Indeed, there’s literally so much to see at Villa Oasis, it could be hard to absorb in one visit.

Starting from the outdoors, this space is surrounded by a riot of warm weather plants.  Here, fuchsia bougainvillea creates a vibrant canopy in the outdoor patio:

Villa Oasis Terrace (courtesy Elle Decor; Miguel Flores-Vianna)

Pink against cool turquoise.  Maybe not a combination you’d naturally pick out in the morning, but it works so well here. Read more