L.A. at Home

Design, Architecture, Gardens,
Southern California Living

Category: Entertaining

Instant ambience: Outdoor candlelight and bonfire log

Mood makers for your patio, deck or balcony

Mood makers for your patio, deck or balcony, clockwise from center: The Light ’n Go Bonfire Log is kiln-dried birch with an internal wick that promises to deliver a big flame for at least two hours. (Fire alarms in our photo studio persuaded us to keep ours unlighted, so it's pictured with a tea light on top.) The log is $12.98 at Home Depot, where it can be found with the firewood. A spokeswoman for the company that makes the Light 'n Go said it's also sold at some Albertsons stores, among other places.

Stuck into the log are three cast-iron Pipe candle holders by Menu, $35 apiece from A+R. The gray, patterned Orla hurricane ($19.95) and votive ($9.95) candle holders are from Crate & Barrel. The bottle-shaped mercury glass candle holder is $34.95 at the Juicy Leaf. The beeswax candles shaped like apothecary bottles are $11.25 and $15.75 at Firefly, which carries larger sizes too.

The large oval oil lamp looks like terrazzo but is lightweight resin; it's $19.95 at CB2. A small candle wrapped in birch bark was $10 at Colcha, which has the candles in a larger size.


Long Beach Pixie ToysLong Beach's hot spot: Bixby Knolls

Highland Park's emerging shopping scene

South Coast Collection: cool in Costa Mesa

Uptown Design District, Palm Springs' shop central

-- L.A. at Home staff writers

Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times


Coming soon to California: the prefab G-Pod


The world of prefab has a new entrant with G-Pod, a prefab sphere designed as a living or entertainment space for backyard gardens. The G-Pod is designed and produced by Farmers Cottage Lamps in Birmingham, England, and it premiered at the Chelsea Flower Show in Britain last year. For the U.S. market, the G-Pod will be transported by the UK firm Leisure Shelters and distributed through Mars Lab in Redondo Beach beginning in late May.

IMG_3653There are four types of G-Pod. The $14,000 Lounger and Seater models are 7.5 feet in diameter. They rotate, so the entrance can be shifted to capture sun, shade or wind. The waterproof interior contains seating for at least six and a height-adjustable table. The furniture can be flattened into a full circle and covered with the cushions to make a bed. A snap-on cover closes the entrance.

The $30,000 Diner and Summer House models are 10 feet in diameter and stationary. They can be wired for electricity and equipped with solar panels. The Diner and Summer House seats up to 14 people and is made in custom colors.

All four models are made from laminated pine with UV-protected, polycarbonate tinted windows. Assembly is required and is not included in the price.


LivingHomes C6 prefab houseLivingHomes C6 prefab house

Modern living in 495 square feet

Architect Wallace Neff's bubble houses

Small-space furniture for shoppers with bigger budgets

-- Susan Carpenter

Photos, from top: G-Pod Seater and G-Pod Summer House. Credit: Leisure Shelters

TableArt to hold sale before store moves

Nuove Forme bottlesTableArt, the Bentley of the dinnerware and cutlery world, is parking itself in a larger L.A. space later this month. One upshot for shoppers: a moving sale from Thursday to March 23, when select stock will be discounted up to 80%. Sale items include the Nuove Forme ceramic bottles, shown above, originally $95, now $38 apiece; NasonMoretti mouth-blown Murano crystal vases, originally $70, now $35; handmade glasses from the British manufacturer LSA, originally $10 to $17, now $4 to $6.80; and French manufacturer Joelle Fevre’s vessels with the silhouette of bamboo rendered in bisque porcelain, originally $245 to $845, now $122.50 to $422.50.

TableArt’s new location, at 8024 Melrose Ave., will be 1,000 square feet larger, with expanded product lines and some West Coast exclusives. The sale will be held in the existing location, 7977 Melrose Ave., and not on its website. (323) 653-8278.


6Lladró gets hip with Hayon, Biskup

Iconic LC1 sling chair moves outside

Bolefloor curved-plank flooring comes to U.S.

Design store Garde opens on Beverly Boulevard

At Cucina Enoteca in Irvine, the furniture is on the menu

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credit: TableArt

The Garbage Maven's goal: A kids' party with no trash

Zero-waste kids' party
I used to be the sort of mom who strung Mylar balloons with ribbon strings for my son's birthday parties. For each of his eight years, I handed out goody bags stuffed with candy and 99 Cents Only Store toys. I bought cakes topped with plastic decorations. I served junk food and Capri Suns. I was oblivious to the mounds of waste I was generating. I just wanted to throw the perfect party.

This year, I decided on something different. For my son's ninth, trash was the enemy. The goal: a party that generates zero garbage. There would be no Slinkies or wax candy mustaches. And Mylar? That was definitely out.

Throwing a zero-waste party was a challenge. I'm not going to lie. Certain items just weren't possible to eliminate, and the party needed to seem just as fun and “normal” as any of the previous birthday blowouts I've thrown. It's one thing to live environmentally conscious myself. It's another thing to ask parents I didn't know well to be part of the experiment, or to include my son, who splits his time between my house and his dad's, where recycling isn't as big a priority.

Continue reading »

Super Bowl party prep with new picks from ... Anthropologie?

Maggie chair
What is it about Anthropologie that makes some men so uncomfortable? Could it be the Capri Blue Jar scented candles that seemingly burn endlessly? The pretty, poppy-printed armchairs? The multicolored bowls and elegant settees with names such as Abigail and Astrid? 

Anthropologie Jack chairFor me, watching men try to lose themselves in their smartphones while curled up on a sweetly tufted settee has become part of the fun of shopping there.

So it's ironic that several pieces from Anthropologie's new spring line jumped out as wonderful Super Bowl party pieces for guys and girls alike.

The new Jack club chair, for instance, is a comfy and masculine seat for the Super Bowl and beyond. Made of leather and crafted with small spaces in mind, right, the chair ($2,698) is just 35 inches wide and 35 inches deep. It has a feminine counterpart, the Maggie club chair, shown above. (What, no Jill?)

There's more. Comfy folding chairs in bold ikat patterns, colorful bar ware and patterned melamine plates all create a nice balance between the feminine and masculine on game day.

To see more additions, keep reading …

Continue reading »

Palm fronds recycled as do-it-yourself succulent centerpiece

The fallen palm fronds left from recent winds haven't been a nuisance for master gardener Jill McArthur. Armed with a pruning saw, the Glendale garden designer has been recycling the fronds as arresting table centerpieces using succulent cuttings.

Palms DSCN1940McArthur likens the fronds to fallen fruit: "They are all over the place," she said. "I find them when I walk my dog. I try to find different things to do with them."

To create a centerpiece, McArthur first looks for a nice line. If a frond is too large, she puts it in her car and cuts it down at home. She then sprays the hollow surface with a low-VOC clear sealant so water won't leak through to the table. Next she adds cactus soil mix and succulent cuttings to make a low-maintenance, low-water arrangement.

The palm fronds, which can be as long as 12 feet, form "fabulous boats" that look great on a long table or a mantel. She also likes to pair two boats, as shown at the top of the post.

"The plants seem to be very happy," McArthur said. "You can trade succulents in and out. They are strong and not heavy, so they are easy to transport. The natural tone of them is so beautiful -- the brown is fantastic. I personally like the ragged edges of the smaller ones. The whole point is for them to look like found objects."


Crafty little cupcake pots  

Do-it-yourself floral luminarias  

Live succulents as Christmas tree ornaments

How to prevent toppled trees, dispose of palm fronds

Should palm fronds go in the green waste bin or the trash?

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credit, top and bottom: Deidra Walpole

Photo, middle: Windstorm-blown palm fronds on a Pasadena street earlier this  month. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times


Candy cane-colored straws for your holiday cocktails

Should we be worried that our annual holiday gift picks keep veering toward cocktail shakers? And ice buckets? And coasters painted with recipes for Cosmos and White Russians?

Paper strawsHmmm. Among the picks in our first round of home and garden gift picks were these bits of holiday cheer. For those who need to down their drinks with festive party straws and a clear conscience, the witty crew at Kikkerland came up with biodegradable paper sippers whose candy-cane coloring comes courtesy of food-safe soy ink. We picked up a box (144 straws) at the Paper Source for $6.95. We're not sure what vodka residue does to a compost pile (happier kale?), but try it and tell us how it goes.


Design by the homeless and formerly homeless

Beyond the mall: holiday shopping alternatives

Skirball pop-up shop benefits women's groups

What's new on Sunset Boulevard

What's new in Santa Monica

What's new in Venice

-- The L.A. at Home crew


Paola Navone's Taste vs. West Elm's NeoBaroque

Paola Navone's Taste, West Elm's NeoBaroque
The Look for Less -- Paola Navone's Taste vs. West Elm's NeoBaroque: Designers have taken the florid, ornately carved patterns of Baroque and Rococo furniture designs and flattened them to stark silhouettes. Here the trend is translated into tableware: Italian design superstar Paola Navone's 2009 Taste collection, and design-democratizer West Elm's subsequent NeoBaroque dishes.

One of the pictures above is Navone's Taste dinner plate, which she designed for Reichenbach, a prestigious porcelain manufacturer in Germany. It costs almost $80. Per plate. The other is West Elm's NeoBaroque dish made of stoneware in Portugal; a set of four costs $32. 

Which is which, and why does one cost nearly 10 times more than the other? Keep reading ...

Continue reading »

No menu? No guest list? No worries. At Lisa Napoli's potlucks, the plan is not to plan too much


The soup's on. The shoes are off. Lisa Napoli, a name many might know from her days as a "Marketplace" reporter on public radio, has perfected the art of no-fret entertaining. "Some people come here and I can tell that they're thinking, 'Oh, my God. I'm invited to her place and all she's got is a pot of chili, and she's wearing yoga pants,' " Napoli says. But as Alexandria Abramian Mott writes, the casual evening of conversation is exactly what brings friends back, week after week. Tag along to Napoli's latest gathering and read how the evening unfolds.

Photos: Stefano Paltera / For The Times


Kimba Hills and the art of the party

R.J. Cutler's alfresco feast

Retro reigns in a Gregory Ain house

An only-in-Hollywood movie night


Pottery Barn's Recipe Cocktail Shaker: $39 gift or party pleaser with a twist

Recipe Cocktail Shaker 1

The cocktail recipe shaker -- the 1950s glass vessel imprinted with directions on how to make drinks, plus cartoons and the occasional pink elephant -- is a staple of vintage barware, seemingly as common as a hangover on New Year's Day. The design above, the standout in Pottery Barn's Antique Bar product line, looks like a twist on the idea but actually has an older, more sophisticated Machine Age pedigree.

Img44lThe Pottery Barn Recipe Cocktail Shaker is based on a simple operating principle: To fix the perfect old fashioned or 14 other cocktails, a budding bartender need only turn the lid to dial in the drink of choice. The ingredients appear in windows on the side of the 33.5-ounce stainless steel shaker.

According to Mark Bigler, collector, dealer and the steward of the Cocktail Shakers website, the Pottery Barn product is based on a 1930s design by Napier, a silversmith company also known for its modern costume jewelry.

Bigler, who said his 700-shaker collection is one of the world's largest, declared the design an enduring classic.

"I do have some of the Napier originals and they sell for around $250 to $300 depending on condition," he said.

Though Bigler doesn't believe that this newly mass-produced version will become a future collectible, the 10.5-inch tall Pottery Barn Recipe Cocktail Shaker is nicely priced for a personal bar tool or a holiday hostess gift. It's $39 in stores and at last check offered with free shipping for online purchasers

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Pottery Barn


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