Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Exploring Silver Lake

Do you like to go exploring?

I'm not talking trekking through the jungle or the desert or across a mountain pass. I'm talking about exploring a new and different part of your own town.

It is illuminating. Fun. eye-opening. And it costs practically nothing--just some gas money (although these days that's more than chump change).

This past weekend the "Teapots and Polkadots" crowd piled into the car and we drove allllll over a part of the city we'd never visited before. It was fantastic.

We were looking for a place--apartment or house--that Lovely Daughters #1 and #2 could call home. Because in August one of them will be starting medical school, and the other will begin a teaching job in Los Angeles. (Yay!) And they want to live together in their own place.

I, The Mom, couldn't be more excited. Both Lovely Daughters come home to roost in the same city as The Hubby and me? And both of them living together as housemates? They've dreamed of doing this since they were little bitty things.

So, off we went to explore potential properties.

The area they're interested in is Silver Lake. It's near downtown Los Angeles, near the schools where they'll be studying/working. It's a hipster part of town, where Rundown meets Gentrified. Where The 'Hood jostles shoulders with The Scene. Where twentysomethings, retirees, young professionals, babies, and dogs all come together in a vibrant mix.

Here are some of the things we saw.

This sign marks the locus, the center, of Practically Everything in Silver Lake:

Silver Lake apartments and houses list themselves as "x minutes from Sunset Junction," or "x blocks from Sunset Triangle." Everything is measured in terms of how close they are to this intersection.

And at the center of the Sunset Triangle lies the Temple of Ultimate Hipsterdom:

Intelligentsia Coffee: It's a coffee house. It's a label. It's a religion.

They make very pretty lattes, I must say:

And I love their china cups:

This is the floor at Intelligentsia:

So sweet! And this is just outside the shop, where you can buy fresh flowers:

or succulents in little pots:

Driving in circles around the Bellybutton of the Universe, a.k.a. the Sunset Triangle, we saw some pretty cool stuff...

...and some pretty cool people. I loved the outfit on this gal, who was rockin' teeny shorts, knee-high socks, and suede pumps:

We were close to downtown Los Angeles and saw some of its iconic buildings. This is a brand-new high school downtown. It's the High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. (I hope they come up with a shorter nickname, soon!)

The school is across a freeway from the Los Angeles Cathedral. The cathedral is nondescript from the outside, but absolutely beautiful on the inside, in a very spare, restrained way. (If you live in or near Los Angeles, go and see this amazing building, please!):

The building in the middle is called by most people the "Library Tower," and it's the tallest building in California:

This is Echo Park, not far from where the Lovely Daughters want to live:

I loved the silly incongruity of this sign:

Colorful facades and eye-catching shops abound in this area:

So, what of the properties? Well, some of them were Mexican in flavor:

And some were sweet little cottages from the turn of the last century. This house, below, featured a darling Dutch door. The floors were so slanted, however, I felt like I was on the deck of a sailboat:

There were lots of places that sported a mixture of old and new, like these glass knobs and door keys. They were new but were styled to look old:

One of the cottages even had a root cellar--very unusual for Los Angeles! Perfect for drying herbs and curing cheeses, we decided:

We saw an apartment designed by Rudolph Schindler, an important mid-20th-century architect in Los Angeles. The place was pretty cool, but what we really loved was the way the current tenants had decorated it:

And somebody living there liked pugs:

So, did we find a place? Naaah. It's too soon. We'll probably look for several more months before we find the right spot.

But meanwhile, we're having great fun looking.


  1. What a fun area--such character and personality! I'd never heard of it. I hope they find something there. (BTW, we have a place in SB called Ellers Donuts and Thai Food (maybe a new trend that started here--it's been that combo for many years now.)


  2. GREAT area...the coffee looks incredible!! Cute-cute-cute places!

  3. Enjoyed the colorful tour through this charming area! Looks like a perfect place for your Lovely Daughters/my Lovely Nieces. xoxo



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