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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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

Decorating the Modern Penthouse: The Essentials

Soaring ceilings.  Dramatic windows flooded with light.  Views across Manhattan to the rivers.  Today’s ultra-luxurious penthouses, like those you’ve seen on Million Dollar Listing New York, have a wonderful Master of the Universe feeling to them:

Tamarkin Co. project at 550 West 29th Street; courtesy Tamarkin

But in fact, they’re quite challenging to furnish correctly.  The angular walls, metal casement windows, and double height ceilings can feel cold, generic, and even a bit too industrial.  These spaces are begging for the right finishing touches to make them soar and feel like home.
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