L.A. at Home

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Category: Drive-By Design

Bestor Architecture's mural at Thomas Starr King


When the students at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Silver Lake go back to school Sept. 9, they will receive a warm welcome courtesy of their neighbors at Bestor Architecture. The firm designed a vibrant "welcome" mural at the entrance to the building.

“We wanted to do something that was bold and graphic and environmental,” says architect Barbara Bestor, who volunteered her firm's services pro bono. It all came together, she says, in a week's time: The firm designed the mural, a fine painter outlined the details -- "welcome" in 12 languages reflecting the diverse student body -- and volunteers at the annual Big Sunday community service event finished the painting. "We wanted to enliven the space and make it friendly and warm,” Bestor says.

Look for more positive changes along Fountain Avenue, as Bestor hopes to tackle the front of the school in the future. In the meantime, for a peek inside Bestor's own home, built across the street from Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark Ennis House, check out staff writer David A. Keeps' photo gallery, story and sidebar on her resources for lighting, fabrics, furniture and more.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credit: Selena Linkous

Only in L.A.: El Conquistador in Silver Lake dons Lakers' colors

Rancho, doors, conquistadorlakers,kreiss 041

Not long ago, we blogged about an enthusiastic Lakers fan who painted his house in purple and gold. Recently I spotted another building following suit: El Conquistador Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake.

The eye-popping color scheme is accented with imagery of a dancing señorita and a caballero with his horse for an only-in-L.A. drive-by experience.

The fountain in the tiny greenspace next door also got a coating. Do three sightings in two months make a trend? To see more (if you're up for it), click to the jump.

-- Barbara Thornburg

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Drive-By Design: Mona Lisa reinterpreted at Traction and Rose in L.A.

 Mellon linens, mona lisa 017

While driving around the Arts District in downtown L.A., I passed this wistful-looking Mona Lisa at Traction Avenue and Rose Street. She's definitely not the Renaissance painting by Leonardo da Vinci hanging at the Louvre in Paris, but a newly reinterpreted version complete with Salvador Dali mustache and goatee. She -- or should I say he? -- is still as mysterious as ever.  L.A.'s neighborhoods never fail to surprise. To see other views, click to the jump.

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Furnishings al fresco at Kreiss' 40th annual parking lot sale


At Kreiss' 40th annual parking lot sale, floor samples (sofas, chairs, lamps, mirrors, umbrellas, tables, desks, etc.) are slashed up to 70%. The store, known for its California contemporary look (sofas are often overscaled with comfy down upholstery), has been supplying furnishings for Southern California homes since it began in 1960. The cost is a bit on the pricey side -- this is no IKEA -- but the quality is excellent and all the furniture is made locally at the company's headquarters in San Diego. Should you decide you don't want to buy samples that have been occasionally sat on or laid upon -- ewww! -- Bob Kreiss will give 40% off on any new purchase. Now that's a bargain. To take a peek at a few items you'll see at the sale that runs until July 31, click to the jump. 

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Drive-By Design: walled garden near Elysian Park

Rancho4th; blog on astroturf; green wall; pelican hill 083Driving to Elysian Park in L.A., I passed by this charming garden planted above a retaining wall. The simple cinder block wall painted a bright kelly green had a wow factor as I drove up the hill, especially at the corner where a fuchsia-hued bougainvillea tumbled over the wall.

Chinese goddess Kwan Yin and a terra cotta angel preside over the little garden. They seem to be doing a terrific job.

For more views of the garden, including that bougainvillea beauty, check out the additional photos on the jump.

-- Barbara Thornburg


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Angeleno Heights neighbor tries something different for sidewalk grass

Rancho4th; blog on astroturf; green wall; pelican hill 077Temperatures are in the 90s again today, and taking a hit are the difficult-to-water strips of grass that lie between the curb and the sidewalk. My Angeleno Heights neighbor recently solved his brown-lawn-by-the-sidewalk problem by installing artificial turf. While everyone else's grass is the color of hay, his bright green, faux grass is absolute perfection with not a weed in sight. Before the artificial turf went in, my Great Dane, Cleo, used to single out that patch of grass (don't ask me why), but now Cleo avoids it entirely. Maybe that's another reason for putting it in -- that, and the fact that it requires no watering. More photos on the jump ...

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Drive-By Design: Pucci-inspired Salon Goo

Goo1It’s not just the pair of oversized lavender chandeliers that catches your eye as you drive by Salon Goo on Fairfax Avenue, but also those bright blue patterned walls. Here's the story behind the Pucci-inspired decor: 

When owner Molly Scargall and stylist Josh Kaplan went to decorate the space, they brought their vintage Pucci items to an artist friend who replicated the multicolored prints on the walls throughout the salon. Each wall features a different pattern.

"The back room is a scarf," Kaplan says, adding that another pattern was pulled from a skirt. The wild geometric artwork creates a vibrant and colorful environment that stands out among the other storefronts. It also serves as a reminder that, when it comes to design, you can simply look to the items you love for inspiration. It's at 459 1/2 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles.

-- Lisa Boone

Photo: Lisa Boone

Drive-By Design: 'Phantasma Gloria' is a frontyard sculpture in Echo Park


Not to sound like a bumper sticker, but I think unexpected art makes the world a better place. If you agree, check out this photo gallery by photographer Ann Summa of an elaborate frontyard sculpture in Echo Park. "Phantasma Gloria," which rises 24 feet high and 50 feet wide, is by Randlett Lawrence and it's a work in progress. Read more and see more here.

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo credit: Ann Summa

Drive-by Design: Bughouse's Neoclassical-with-a-twist display features Ikea-tweaked furniture


Known for their witty, rock 'n' roll embellishments of simple Ikea furniture (as demonstrated in this L.A. Times video), Jeff Klarin and Rebecca Johnson of Bughouse Art + Design have created a circle-the-block-to-see-it-again shop window for  Handmade Galleries in Sherman Oaks. As shown here, "Decadence" is an eye-catching collage of Neoclassical and Pop Art styles. It mixes large scale portrait engravings of aristocrats as backdrops for manipulated furniture including a chair turned into a throne (complete with crown), a tabletop imprinted with fine china and splattered food and a table lamp studded with dog collar-style spikes. See the transformations after the jump.

Handmade Galleries, 14556 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, (818) 382 3444

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Bughouse Art + Design

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Drive-By Design: Lakers house


While many Lakers fans are showing their support for their hometown team by attaching Lakers flags to their cars -- not surprisingly L.A. is the biggest market for car flags -- self-described sports enthusiast Tom Anderson felt compelled to take it up a notch. As a testament of his loyalty, Anderson painted the trim of his 1922 house in Echo Park in very Laker-ish shades of purple and gold. "It brightens up the neighborhood," he says. "People honk and give me a thumbs-up when they drive by." But will it help the Lakers win the NBA championship? At the risk of sounding superstitious, let’s hope Anderson doesn’t change his custom paint job until after the Finals. If ever.

--Lisa Boone

Photo: Lisa Boone / Los Angeles Times


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