Me & Windsor Smith!
Very recently I spent 11 days in LA, doing a little work, having a bit of fun and meeting some pretty amazing people including my design idol Windsor Smith whom I’m pictured with above. Right before I headed to the airport to jet back to New York I was able to spend some time with Windsor for a long chat about her design work and career as well as her newest venture, Room in a Box. I was also lucky enough to get a grand tour of her AMAZING home that we all saw and loved in House Beautiful. I almost had to pinch myself! I’ve spent a ton of time in LA since I was a young girl and this was truly one of the best trips I’ve had. During my days off from working I totally immersed myself in LA’s design scene and packed my schedule with a slew of meetings and visits to some of LA’s best design shops…all of which I can’t wait to share with you! Here are a few highlights from my trip…
My room at the Chamberlain West Hollywood
I stayed at my favorite hotel which is the Chamberlain West Hollywood and since I hadn’t stayed there in about a year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the rooms and bathrooms had been re-decorated.
The desk area in my room at the Chamberlain West Hollywood
The rooms still have that mid century modern vibe going on but they’re a bit more tailored with more pops of color than before.
Beautiful bathroom floors at the Chamberlain West Hollywood
I was totally inspired by the pattern of the tiles as well as the veining of the marble on the bathroom floors.
The wallpaper in interior designer Kristen Panitch’s Santa Monica office
I also had an opportunity to visit the home and office of Kristen Panitch, who is another one of my favorite designers. Above is a sneak peek at the wallpaper in her office. Can you say STUNNING?! Kristen was such a delight and I really enjoyed getting to know her. I also got a little peek inside her home which you’ll soon see in one of your favorite shelter magazines! I’ll be sharing a few more peeks of her gorgeous office as well as a recap of our conversation in an upcoming post so stay tuned!
Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors
During my trip I also had the pleasure of meeting a couple of my favorite bloggers whom I’ve long admired. Above is interior designer Amber Lewis who you may know from her witty and popular blog Amber Interiors. This woman is beautiful, funny and totally talented. She can DIY like nobody’s business and not only does she have an amazing home, she also happens to have the most adorable family ever. Another blogger that I was totally psyched to meet was Michal Spitzer from the blog Style Curator. She and I have been Twitter buddies for like ever so I was beyond excited to meet her in person!
Peter Dunham’s Hollywood at Home
In between all of my meetings I checked out a few must-see design shop and art galleries including Hollywood at Home ( one of my favorites!), Hillary Thomas’ newly opened Chic Shop, Nickey Kehoe and M+B gallery to name a few.
The short rib sandwich at Joan’s on Third
And what’s a great trip without great food so of course I indulged in a few amazing meals at some of my favorite places to eat in LA! Above is a to-die-for short rib sandwich from Joan’s on Third which I’ve blogged about before. I ate two of these buttery slices of heaven while in town.
Il Sole. Photo via Eater LA
I also had an amazing dinner at the newly remodeled il Sole in West Hollywood. (Get the fettuccine with prawns in a light spicy tomato sauce if you go!)
Eveleigh. Photo via Eveleigh
Another place I checked out for dinner is a relatively new restaurant that’s been getting a ton of buzz called Eveleigh which has a great atmosphere, amazing drinks and pretty good food. I think I must have hit up all of LA’s trendiest and most buzzworthy places because in addition to the above I ate lots of fish tacos, about a half dozen cookies from Milk, exactly three cupcakes from Sprinkles, one Umami Burger (which I found slightly disappointing) and more sugary sweet lemonades from Lemonade than I can count. And after about six days of straight gluttony I bought into another trendy ‘to do’ and went on a juice cleanse! (As If I couldn’t buy anymore into the hype lol!)
Juices from the Pressed Juicery
I paid a visit to the Pressed Juicery in Brentwood and got 2 days worth of cleansing and detoxifying juices which I consumed at the tail end of my trip and I have to say the juices exceeded my expectations. They were a little on the expensive side but really yummy and refreshing. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on food and I felt so much better after just 2 days of a mostly liquid diet. (I cheated a little and had salads for dinner!) I would highly recommend checking out the Pressed Juicery or a similar cleanse available in your area.
LA’s Nuart Landmark Theatre
Finally, I made it my mission to go see the documentary Bill Cunningham New York while in LA (ironic) since I wasn’t able to see it during the film’s limited run in New York. The film gave a poignant look at the life and career of the iconic New York Times photographer and I was so inspired by Bill’s intense passion for staying true to himself and doing what he loves. Go see it if you can! Also – be sure to check back over the next few weeks as I’ll be posting more in depth stories about my design adventures in LA including profiles on some of the incredible people I met and places I saw! Stay tuned!
All watermarked photos above were taken by Nicole Gibbons for So Haute
Photo: Mooncici’s Etsy Shop
I recently returned from a week long trip to Los Angeles and I’m already wishing I was back there! I LOVE LA! I was in town for work and then extended my trip into a long weekend and had such an awesome time. I’ve been to LA many times over the years and never gave the city any serious thought but lately the sunshine, palm trees and laid back California lifestyle have begun to seduce me and I find myself daydreaming about living there. Here’s a recap of my week long trip. The post is quite long so while you’re reading, I’ll be away plotting out my master plan to get to LA permanently:)
I usually stay at The Chamberlain whenever I’m in town but this time I decided to try the SLS Beverly Hills which is a relatively new hotel designed by Philipe Starck. The hotel is situated on La Cienega and San Vicente right near the Beverly Center mall and easily accessibly to West Hollywood, the Sunset strip and the La Cienega design district. The hotel’s interiors are bold, sleek and modern and rumor has it Philipe Stark was given a $100million budget to design the property. Above is the guest lobby which leads into Tres, one of the hotel’s restaurants. There is a separate lobby for visitors dining at The Bazaar, which is a popular restaurant also located within the SLS. One of the only drawbacks of the SLS (and this is totally subjective) is that it turns into a bit of a scene at night with all the people coming in and out of The Bazaar and you feel as though you’re walking past a nightclub when you arrive to the hotel at night. Thank goodness for the separate lobbies! Another feature of note is the hotel’s gift shop curated by Moss, the unique furnishings and accessories gallery based in Soho.
The guest rooms were minimal and chic although not necessarily practical. My room looked exactly like the the one above. It was actually quite dark and there were smoky gray mirrors on just about every wall surface including in the bathroom. It definitely looked cool but made simple tasks like putting on makeup a challenge! Still, the space was intimate and cozy and the bed comfortable enough to allow for a good night’s sleep. And the service at the hotel was outstanding!
Perhaps the best feature of the SLS Beverlyl Hills is its rooftop pool area. On the left is a shallow 18 inch wading pool with cold, refreshing water and on the right is a slightly heated swimming pool.
Cabanas, lounge chairs, huge canopied daybeds and colorful Louis style armchairs by sixinch surround the pool creating a very stylish lounge like atmosphere designed for relaxation. As soon as I finished with all of my work obligations, I spent much of my free time here enjoying the sun! One not of caution is that on the weekends, the pool area gets a bit scene-y with loud music and a younger crowd…fun for people watching but not for relaxing. Overall though, I definitely enjoyed my stay at the SLS.
I was really excited that my trip to LA happened to coincide with Westweek which is the market week for the design industry in LA. I wasn’t able to attend many of the Westweek events due to work obligations but I did attend a fun cocktail party hosted by One Kings Lane founders Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus. The event was at Almont Yard – a community of design showrooms that includes Nathan Turner, Harbinger & Lucas Studio, Karthryn Ireland Textiles and Claremont Fabrics all which surrounds a quaint little courtyard. The party was swimming with alll the top names in the LA design community who came out to toast the kick off of Westweek. At the event I introduced myself to Peter Dunham who I was beyond excited to meet since he’s one of my favorite interior designers. He couldn’t have been nicer and invited me to stop by his shop Hollywood at Home which recently moved to a new location on LA Cienega at the end of last year. The old location was actually in Almont Yard in the space that Kathryn Ireland now occupies. Sadly, I didn’t have time to drop by but I definitely plan to the next time I’m in town!
Me pictured with Joe Lucas of Lucas Studio. Photo by Stephanie Keenan.
In addition to Peter Dunham, I was thrilled to meet Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat of the design firm Lucas Studio whose work I absolutely adore. The Lucas Studio design office and their furnishings, fabric and accessories showroom Harbinger are also located in Almont Yard. I blogged about Lucas Studio a while back and Joe sent me the kindest thank you email afterward so it was especially nice get to meet him in person. I was also excited to meet Susan Feldman and Ali Pincus, the evening’s hosts since I’m a huge fan of One Kings Lane which they launched last year. I spent some time chatting with another interior designer who introduced herself as Carla and after about 10 minutes of chatting she handed me her business card and I realized I was talking to Carla Lane who I’m a big fan of and have blogged about before! It was quite a serendipitous moment! She too couldn’t have been nicer and gave me lots of advice about the design industry in LA. At the party I also bumped into designer Brad Ford who was in own from New York and had spoken earlier that day at a Westweek panel at the Pacific Design Center about the role of blogs and new media in the design industry. He was with LA based decorator Vanessa de Vargas who spoke on the panel as well. I also spotted interior designers Joe Nye and Barclay Butera, textile designer Lulu de Kwiatkowski and Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis. It was definitely the party of the week and I’m glad I was able to attend!
On the Saturday of my trip I met up with designer Kishani Perera for lunch at the trendy LA eatery Joan’s on Third. Kishani filled me in on her upcoming feature in the June issue of House Beautiful on stands next month! (Congrats Kishani!) She also just joined twitter and you can follow here. As much time as I’ve spent in LA, I’d actually never been Joan’s before! If you’re not familiar, Joan’s is a gourmet marketplace and restaurant often seen in paparazzi pictures because of all of its celebrity fans who eat there regularly.
At lunch I ordered this sandwich filled with short rib, melted Monterey Jack cheese, arugula and sweet caramelized onions on buttery grilled country bread. The sandwich was featured on the cover of Bon Appétit’s February 2010 issue and I swear it tastes as good as it looks in this photo! I loved it so much I went back 2 days later for another one!
Another restaurant I was dying to check out was Blue Plate Oysterette in Santa Monica. It’s a sister restaurant to Blue Plate, also in Santa Monica, but this spin-off specializes in seafood fare. I had heard lots of buzz not just about the food but also about the restaurant’s interiors which were designed by Tim Clarke. The food was delicious. I enjoyed a classic lobster roll with sweet potato chips and my boyfriend (who joined me in LA for the weekend) had fish tacos…both equally amazing. We at outside on cute blue wooden picnic tables while looking out at the beach which is located directly across the street.
The restaurant’s interiors have a beach casual vibe with subtle oceanic references like the pearlized leather banquettes which resemble the inside of an oyster shell, light fixtures made from recycled sea glass jars, sea shell wall sconces, brass mermaid door knockers which hang on the bathroom doors and the soft hues of blue throughout which mimic the colors of the sea. Photographs of beautiful beaches line the walls and there is also a huge octopi motif gilded mirror that serves as a focal point on the restaurant’s back wall which is covered in a bark wallpaper that evokes the color and texture of driftwood.
Here’s a shot of the restaurant’s open kitchen. I would highly recommend checking out Blue Plate Oysterette if you’re ever in the area and you can find more info on their website here. Thanks for reading my ridiculously long recap of my trip LA! xoxo
Sorry I’ve been MIA! Work and life have been crazy! I spent 5 days in LA last week for work so I thought I’d give you a little recap of all of the design related stories from my trip…good and bad. Let’s start with one of my favorite hotels, The Chamberlain West Hollywood.
Stayed a fabulous two nights at The Chamberlain. I go to LA quite often and stay here a majority of the time. It’s quiet and cozy, centrally located and I love the large rooms, the pool, the service, and the gorgeous lobby pictured above. But…during this stay I was very disappointed when my expensive T3 flat iron
mysteriously went missing. I realized it after I checked out and when I called the hotel said they could not locate it. And since then, hotel hasn’t been very responsive to my phone calls. I think I deserve some sort of compesation…or at the very least an apology but nothing yet. I’m hoping they’re just busy and not ignoring me because I’m going back there next week and will surely make a fuss about this if it’s not resolved before my next stay! Anyway…I extended my trip a few extra days to visit friends and enjoy LA so I decided to switch hotels and stay somewhere a bit less expensive after I was finished taking care of business. I landed on Maison 140
in Beverly Hills which is a sister property to the Chamberlain, both owned by Kelly Wearstler’s Hubby Brad Korzen.
Let me start by saying that I had really high expectations for Maison 140. When I arrived I was expecting valet service and bellhops to take my car and help me with my luggage. But when I pulled up front and no one came to greet my car I was confused. Then I realized the hotel had a self-park lot. At first I thought to myself, “Free parking! Great! Totally makes up for having to schlep my bags inside all by myself.” But nope, $24 per night to self park. Sort of annoying but I rationalized it against the fact that I was saving money in valet tips.
Once inside I forgot all about the parking, because all I could focus on was the lovely lobby. It was dark, moody and very chic. It felt intimate and the staff that greeted me inside couldn’t have been nicer.
While I waited to check in, I was offered a complimentary glass of champagne, which I graciously accepted;-) Definitely my kind of place!
Now on to my room…
My expectations for the decor were especially high since they were designed by Kelly Wearstler. This was my room. Not terrible, but there’s something about the color orange that makes me uneasy.
In the bathroom I noticed a weird windy sound coming from the vent and when I looked up I saw this. A dust bunny covered vent. Eeew. Right then I decided to switch rooms.
I put on a smile and my sweetest voice and kindly asked the woman at the front desk if I could switch rooms. She was extremely nice about it and quickly moved me to one of the property’s “Mandarin” rooms which looked sort of like the one above. (Sorry, I didn’t take a photo!) My new room was small-ish, but perfect! And despite those few minor issues, all in all I had a great stay at Maison 140. I also loved the super cute, quiet location and especially the friendly staff. I’d definitely give the place a second chance.
On Friday night I met up with interior designer Kishani Perera
, who I was introduced to by a mutual friend. (She’s amazing, by the way-Look for a profile plus Kishani’s tips for decorating on a budget coming soon!) We dined at XIV
which is located right on the Sunset strip. XIV is owned by LA nightlife impresario Brent Bolthouse who also owns a number of other trendy eateries and nightclubs in LA.
The eclectic menu was created by Michelin rated chef Michael Mina.The food was A-Mazing. I had lobster corn dogs as an appetizer and halibut as my entree plus a yummy nutty banana thingy off their vegan menu for dessert. I loved that they offered different menus and also various options for ordering. They did offer tradtional appetizer, entree dessert but they recommend their selection of small plates so you can design your own tasting menu and try a number of items. The service was also top notch.
As much as I loved the food and impeccable service, I loved the decor ten times more. Designed by Philippe Starck, XIV’s opulent interior spaces are meant to evoke the feeling of a 17th century chateau.
There are cozy fireplaces, built in bookshelves filled with beautifully bound books, rich chocloate brown velvet draperies, furnishings from France and Italy, gorgeaous crystal chandeliers and an incredible collection of original oil paintings and other works of art.
An interesting juxtaposition against the restaraunt’s traditional European furnishings is its open, stainless steel kitchen which adds an element of modernity to the space.
The restaurant also features a chic covered patio which is where we were seated.
The space is beautiful and filled with whymsical touches like vine covered trellises and wheelbarrow shaped chairs. The patio takes advantage of LA’s beautiful weather by allowing patrons to feel the city’s cool breeze as they dine. XIV gets an A+ in my grade book so if you haven’t checked it out, it should be on your must-visit list!
Saturday I checked out a few vintage furniture shops in and around Silverlake/Echo Park. a few I really thought were great were Living Room
, Casa Victoria
and Sunset Bazaar
. Living room, pictured above contains a mix of new and vintage and is a bit more high-end. The beds were covered in Dwell Studio and John Robshaw linens and most of the vintage furnishings the sell are refurbished and re-covered in updated fabrics. Another shop i Liked was Sunset Bazaar which was small but I saw a few great quality pieces that were very reasonably priced. Sunset Bazaar was much larger and had two floors. The top floor was set up more like a showroom and the pieces were much nicer than the selection on the lower level. The lower level was actually two separate garage like spaces filled to the brim with furniture that all needed a bit of TLC but were solid pieces at amazing prices. I spotted a pair of black lacuqer asian insipred armchairs for $25 each! Casa Victoria was also great…reasonable prices and amongst the sea of the furniture there were definitely a few diamonds in the rough. All in all it was a great trip. I used to have a love/hate relationship with LA but now I just love it! I love the constant sunshine and palm trees all around you! I’m going back again next week and I can’t wait!!
The Chamberlain Hotel’s Exterior
I’m heading to LA tomorrow for work and am psyched to be staying at another one of my favorite hotels…The Chamberlain in West Hollywood. You must know that I’m admittedly a bit of a hotel snob. I love to stay in hotels with gorgeous interiors, a great restaurant and, if it’s in a warm weather locale, it has to have an amazing pool. I also really appreciate a quiet, low-key ambiance. I hate to stay in a hotel that’s so hip and cool you feel like you’re in a nightclub. Fortunately, The Chamberlain encompasses everything I could ever want in a hotel. Aside from its stylish decor, it’s tucked away on an quiet, inconspicuous residential block and the vibe is so tranquil you’d never know you were right around the corner from some of LA’s busiest streets. It’s the perfect place for the busy business traveler, the paparazzi shy celeb seeking a quiet refuge, or the stylish vacationer looking for chic and relaxing retreat.
Top, the hotel’s reception area. Below, a sitting area in the lobby.
The Chamberlain’s interiors were designed by David McCauley, a Kelly Wearstler protégé. The fact that McCauley is KWID alum is not surprising as The Chamberlain’s decor is very Wearstler-esque with it’s Hollywood Regency meets Asia feel. McCauley worked with Wearstler on the Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica among other projects, and interestingly, The Chamberlain and The Viceroy are both owned by Wearstler’s husband, hotelier Brad Korzen. Many of the interiors in Korzen’s other Kor Hotel Group properties were done by Wearstler including Maison 140 in Beverly Hills, The Avalon in Beverly Hills, the Viceroy in Palm Springs and the Tides South Beach among others.
A guest room
The Chamberlain’s 112 rooms feature a very serene blue and gray color scheme. Another feature I love is that every room has a fireplace…not that you ever need one in LA but it’s such a luxury and makes the rooms feel extra cozy. The only drawback is that the views from the rooms aren’t that great. I’ve stayed there several times and each time my room had a horrible view. But in the hotel’s defense, it is only a four story hotel so I doubt any of the rooms have truly spectacular views. Since we’re on the subject of views let’s discuss the hotel’s pool.
The uber chic rooftop pool
The INCREDIBLE 360 degree view from the hotel’s rooftop pool more than makes up for the bad views from the rooms. From the pool area you can see Beverly Hills, Downtown LA as well as the Hollywood Hills. The pool is on the small side but it’s oh-so-stylish, surrounded by chic cabanas and lounge chairs as well as a large lounging cabana off to the side which you can’t see in the photo. Even if you’re not up for a swim it’s the perfect place to lounge and have lunch in the daytime or chill out with a bottle of wine and some friends in the evening. I’m kind of bummed because the weather won’t be quite warm enough for laying out during my visit:-(
The Chamberlain’s intimate restaurant bistro is equally as chic as the rest of the hotel and has amazing food as well. I love the green tufted leather banquettes. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio that’s surrounded by palm trees. I love dining al fresco…especially in beautiful, sunny places. I’m so looking forward to getting out of cold New York and can’t wait to check in to The Chamberlain!
So after reading this blog entry my mom called me immediately to tell me that in the early 70′s she used to LIVE in the building that is now the Chamberlain! At the time it was just a rental apartment building. How ironic?! She lived there for 2 years in her early 20′s and just after she moved they turned it in to a hotel called Le Dufe, then it was the Summerfield Suites and now it’s the Chamberlain. She also said that when she lived there she and her then boyfriend once found a dead man on the rooftop sitting in a lounge chair by the jacuzzi. They called the police and afterward learned that the man had suffered a heart attack and had been dead for several hours. Creepy. Anyway…just thought I’d share!