Saturday 22 January 2011


Arrived in LA about a week ago and have been documenting things that take my fancy as I go. Only now finding the time to get it all down on virtual paper. It's a mad old place but that's fine by me.

It would be impossible to pinpoint a specific architectural style that represents the LA look. Like the city itself, it's anything and everything you want it to be. A kaleidoscopic mishmash of Hollywood movie star gargantuan palaces, ground breaking Modernist structures, mad 1920s amusement park style diners, Spanish Colonial houses, mock Tudor mansions, the list goes on.

Sweetzer Avenue is an interesting street that runs north to south, leading up to the infamous Sunset Boulevard. The eclectic mix of design styles is rather intriguing to a British eye. Just a small snapshot of what I found on my journey up the hill....

Love this - I'd happily live here. Looks like the house has been covered in wedding cake icing and shipped in from Morocco.

This is the Charlie Hotel - originally the home of Charlie Chaplin and regularly frequented by the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Clark Gable et al, it's now a great little luxury hotel off the beaten track. All mock Tudor beams and suburban England coloring make it seem so at odds with it's 'glamorous' surroundings - but then that's what makes it so interesting.

This one caught my eye due to it's clean 1950s(?) lines and beautifully clipped grass verges and hedges. Kind of Stepford Wives meets Man Men. Love the steel grey walls with crisp white detail. Making a mental note: steel grey, pure white and grass green. Good mix.

You can't really ignore this one as you climb up the hill. It towers over you like an over fussy wedding cake. The El Mirador was named for its incredible views of the Los Angeles basin - designed by S. Charles Lee in 1929. It's seven stories high in a mix of Spanish Colonial Revival and Churrigueresque styles and you can't help but imagine the kind of Hollywoood goings on that must have occured in the apartments back in the day....

The final apartment block you reach before you hit Sunset is this mid-century modern mid-rise by renowned designer Frank P Schneider. Built in 1962, it's a real modernist gem, inside and out, looking as good today as it surely did back in the 60s. Would be great to be able to slip back in time and sit on one of the balconies watching the world go by in a decade that would become one of the most socially conscious and stylistically innovative in Hollywood's history.

Saturday 15 January 2011


Couldn't resist adding these.....


Wandering around the hotel, it's clear that the brilliantly chic GIO PONTI has been a big influence on the decorative finishing of the building. Touches appear everywhere; tiles, paint colours, coloured glass. Super elegant....


As I prepare to pack my bag and head east to LA, the best way to sum up my stay here is COLOUR COLOUR and more COLOUR!! Fruity, zesty, punchy, zingy, tangy! Mexico is like a packet of Spangles.

Friday 14 January 2011


A running and rather odd fascination with front doors and gates which can't really be explained has meant that I can't resist documenting them wherever I go.
Here in Tulum, if you're lucky to be living next to the beach, your front gate (roadside) is often a fortified barrier of wood or bamboo, decorative but able to withstand intruders. Meanwhile the 'back gate' leads on to the fine white sand and the turquoise sea below. I love the washed out, bleached effect the wood takes on as it soaks up the heat, sun and sea spray. Simple in design, the gates seem to beckon you in with their design. Welcoming and friendly - completely indicative of the Mexican people themselves.

Thursday 13 January 2011


As I seem to have spent a large percentage of time sitting or lying down over the last couple of weeks I thought I should at least pay the humble Mexican seat some respect and post some designs that I like.

It is of course really all about outdoor seating in hotter climes. Wood, bamboo and metal seem to be the order of the day. Light yet sturdy, colour plays a less important role. Slatted and woven designs work well here, taking into account the need for the chair to 'breath' in the sun.

Wednesday 12 January 2011


As is always the case in the Caribbean, the weather can change with a moments notice. I suppose you don't get such fabulously brightly coloured flowers unless you throw some rain into the mix.

Sitting watching the storm rage outside, I thought I might as well cheer things up a bit with some flora and fauna noted on my travels. A pot of mixed popping colour blooms on a Mexican tiled table top. Nice.

Monday 10 January 2011


Beach combing is a luxury only possible to those living by or visiting the sea. While I have the chance, each day is started with eyes down, padding along the white sandy shore, looking for washed up treasure.

Texture plays a large part in what attracts my attention. Ideas for wall surfaces, flooring, fabric and decorative finishes will no doubt come from some of my finds.....

Sunday 9 January 2011


Amazing how things change colour when you turn up the heat. Left behind are the cold harsh colours of winter, replaced by hot, vibrant, zingy punches of mouth watering colour that make you want to reach for a thirst quenching mojito. Just a few things that have caught my eye so far...