written by:
January 11, 2011

One highlight of my recent visit to Los Angeles was a whirlwind tour of Silver Lake with the great architect Barbara Bestor, who has lived there since 1988. She drove me around, pointing out architectural (and culinary) highlights, and offering insight into the neighborhood's unique creative culture (she should know—she wrote a book about the place a few years ago, called Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake). Here's the scoop.

I met Bestor on a Friday morning in her architecture office, a cool triangular space on Fountain Avenue in Silver Lake.
I met Bestor on a Friday morning in her architecture office, a cool triangular space on Fountain Avenue in Silver Lake.
1 / 19
Here's Bestor, ready to gather up some blueprints and chart out our driving tour.
Here's Bestor, ready to gather up some blueprints and chart out our driving tour.
2 / 19
We started at Sunset Junction, one of the neighborhood's key intersections, where Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica cross. In the immediate vicinity are a handful of cool shops, cafes, and storefronts—several of them designed by Bestor herself (including
We started at Sunset Junction, one of the neighborhood's key intersections, where Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica cross. In the immediate vicinity are a handful of cool shops, cafes, and storefronts—several of them designed by Bestor herself (including the cool Dangerbird Records).
3 / 19
Also at that intersection is the Silver Lake branch of Intelligentsia Coffee, LA's leading cult coffee brand. Bestor's firm designed this space as well.
Also at that intersection is the Silver Lake branch of Intelligentsia Coffee, LA's leading cult coffee brand. Bestor's firm designed this space as well.
4 / 19
Says Bestor: "It's my favorite local project as so many people use it regularly!" Here's a view of the tiled outdoor patio.
Says Bestor: "It's my favorite local project as so many people use it regularly!" Here's a view of the tiled outdoor patio.
5 / 19
The wood-and-tile interior was "inspired by the tile environments of Istanbul, mashed up with minimalist plywood wood boxes," says Bestor. The coffee is very, very good.
The wood-and-tile interior was "inspired by the tile environments of Istanbul, mashed up with minimalist plywood wood boxes," says Bestor. The coffee is very, very good.
6 / 19
We continued up the hill to Bestor's latest project: a house for her and her two daughters. Here's a view on the way—to me, this view just screams LA.
We continued up the hill to Bestor's latest project: a house for her and her two daughters. Here's a view on the way—to me, this view just screams LA.
7 / 19
Bestor was eager to show me her house—a massive renovation project, still in the early demolition phase. She bought the house in part for its heart-shaped swimming pool, a quadrant of which is pictured here.
Bestor was eager to show me her house—a massive renovation project, still in the early demolition phase. She bought the house in part for its heart-shaped swimming pool, a quadrant of which is pictured here.
8 / 19
Bestor consulting with her demolition crew, in her kitchen-to-be. I'm hoping to get Bestor blogging about her renovation on Dwell.com—so stay tuned for that!
Bestor consulting with her demolition crew, in her kitchen-to-be. I'm hoping to get Bestor blogging about her renovation on Dwell.com—so stay tuned for that!
9 / 19
Next up: a cruise down Silverlake Boulevard, where Bestor pointed out, behind a screen of trees, a pair of houses Richard Neutra developed speculatively in the early 1960s.
Next up: a cruise down Silverlake Boulevard, where Bestor pointed out, behind a screen of trees, a pair of houses Richard Neutra developed speculatively in the early 1960s.
10 / 19
Neutra Place is a dead-end street that's home to a slew of Neutra-designed houses—as well as a few by his son Dion Neutra, who actually lives on the street.
Neutra Place is a dead-end street that's home to a slew of Neutra-designed houses—as well as a few by his son Dion Neutra, who actually lives on the street.
11 / 19
Here's the Neutra VDL house, a great experimental house that's available for public viewing. For tours, <a href="http://www.neutra-vdl.org">see here</a>.
Here's the Neutra VDL house, a great experimental house that's available for public viewing. For tours, see here.
12 / 19
Bestor also pointed out the Rudolf Schindler-designed Bubeshko Apartments on Griffith Park Boulevard, which were recently renovated by the local DSH Architects.
Bestor also pointed out the Rudolf Schindler-designed Bubeshko Apartments on Griffith Park Boulevard, which were recently renovated by the local DSH Architects.
13 / 19
Unfortunately Speranza restaurant was closed when we drove by, but I stole a shot through the fence. The place is owned and run by Jens Hommert, an Austrian architect formerly with Rem Koohass/OMA, and his wife/partner Hu. Bestor says it's a major hangout
Unfortunately Speranza restaurant was closed when we drove by, but I stole a shot through the fence. The place is owned and run by Jens Hommert, an Austrian architect formerly with Rem Koohass/OMA, and his wife/partner Hu. Bestor says it's a major hangout for local architects and artists. It also has a pavilion done by the artist Jorge Pardo and modern furniture from the local shop Amsterdam Modern.
14 / 19
I especially loved this classic art deco structure on Hyperion Avenue, known as "the Boat." It's owned and used as a recording studio by the Dust Brothers.
I especially loved this classic art deco structure on Hyperion Avenue, known as "the Boat." It's owned and used as a recording studio by the Dust Brothers.
15 / 19
Further down the road is this creative fence in front of Oyler Wu Collective’s home office.
Further down the road is this creative fence in front of Oyler Wu Collective’s home office.
16 / 19
Bestor was especially excited to show off the Avenel Apartments on Avenel Street, a so-called "socialist housing project" by Gregory Ain.
Bestor was especially excited to show off the Avenel Apartments on Avenel Street, a so-called "socialist housing project" by Gregory Ain.
17 / 19
The front gate was closed but we entered anyway. Bestor is a big fan of the plant wall along the main walkway, which ties the various front entrances together and lends some visual detail to an otherwise simple form.
The front gate was closed but we entered anyway. Bestor is a big fan of the plant wall along the main walkway, which ties the various front entrances together and lends some visual detail to an otherwise simple form.
18 / 19
We ended our tour with lunch at <a href="http://foragela.com">Forage</a>, a lovely cafe with super-local food, sourced from backyards and local producers. Delish! Thanks for the tour, Barbara!
We ended our tour with lunch at Forage, a lovely cafe with super-local food, sourced from backyards and local producers. Delish! Thanks for the tour, Barbara!
19 / 19
I met Bestor on a Friday morning in her architecture office, a cool triangular space on Fountain Avenue in Silver Lake.
I met Bestor on a Friday morning in her architecture office, a cool triangular space on Fountain Avenue in Silver Lake.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Concrete floor, white walls, Bend sectional sofa, Metropolitan chair by B&B Italia, and Arper pouf in living room of Rhode Island family vacation home by Bernheimer Architecture.
Create comfortable areas to lounge, sit, eat, and entertain with these designs.
February 12, 2016
São Paulo apartment dining room with local wood floors and HAY chairs
From concrete to wood, these South American homes enjoy nature inside and out.
February 12, 2016
Custom cabinetry and trim in Chicago apartment renovation.
The Second City is second to none when it comes to inventive modern architecture, from Louis Sullivan to the present day.
February 12, 2016
Kitchen of 1956 midcentury modern Palm Springs home.
Celebrate Palm Springs Modernism Week, which runs from February 11–21, with a look at some of our favorite modern desert oases.
February 12, 2016
Gustav bicycle by Coh&Co
Designmuseum Danmark unveils a permanent collection highlighting new developments in Danish design.
February 12, 2016
A Seattle studio's courtyard
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 12, 2016
Chalet in the French alps
An innovative glass addition adds contrast to a timber mountain lodge in France.
February 11, 2016
Aumas' assorted collectables.
Bright colors and vintage furniture are abound in these French homes.
February 11, 2016
Kogan designed a number of the built-in furnishings, including the headboard and cupboard in the master bedroom.The cupboard is deliberately reminiscent of a mid-century stereo speaker. The vintage lounge chairs are by Percival Lafer.
Need to relax? Make your bedroom an oasis from the rest of the house.
February 11, 2016
Modern Florida seaside home with corian island, dornbracht faucet, cees braakman combex chairs and marble knoll table in the kitchen
Read more about Knoll's impressive career here, but in the meantime, explore just a few of her works in these contemporary homes.
February 11, 2016
Modern small box home in Mexico
Letting the warm climate indoors is a common thread through these diverse dwellings.
February 11, 2016
Modern white cabinets under the stairs with skylight above
What could be better than a modest-sized house in a quaintly historic city?
February 11, 2016
dining room lighting
These renovations connect rustic, classic, and modern design in Italy.
February 10, 2016
12362509 211441865858796 1743381178 n1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 10, 2016
modern outdoor garden room plastic polycarbonate
From colorful living rooms to a backyard retreat, Belgian designers reimagine vernacular forms and materials for the modern world.
February 10, 2016
Tel Aviv kitchen with custom dining table and Smeg fridge
Would you go for an out-of-the-box palette for your major appliances? See how these kitchens tackle the trend.
February 10, 2016
Exhibition view, of Klaus Wittkugel works at P! gallery, New York
On view through February 21 at New York's P! gallery, a new show explores the politics of Cold War-era graphic design with a presentation of works by Klaus Wittkugel—East Germany's most prolific graphic designer. Curator Prem Krishnamurthy walks us through the highlights.
February 10, 2016
Reclaimed cedar and gray-stucco home outside San Francisco.
The new kid on the block in a predominantly Eichler neighborhood, this Menlo Park home breaks the mold and divides into three pavilions connected by breezeways.
February 10, 2016
A third floor addition and whole-house renovation modernized a funky cottage on an unusual, triple-wide lot in San Francisco.
From modern interiors hidden within historic structures to unabashedly modern dwellings, these seven renovations take totally different approaches to San Francisco's historic building stock.
February 10, 2016
Delphi sofa from Erik Jørgensen and gyrofocus fireplace in living room of Villa Le Trident in the French Riviera, renovated by 4a Architekten.
The Aegean's all-white architecture famously helped inspire Le Corbusier; these five dwellings continue in that proud modern tradition (though not all are as minimalist).
February 10, 2016
San Francisco dining room with chandelier and Eames shell chairs
Brooklyn-based RBW's work—from diminutive sconces to large floor lamps—shape these five interiors.
February 09, 2016
Glass-fronted converted garage in Washington
These garages go behind parking cars and storing your drum sets.
February 09, 2016
Modern Texas home office with sliding walls, behr black chalkboard paint, concrete walls, and white oak flooring
From appropriated nooks to glass-encased rooms, each of these modern offices works a unique angle.
February 09, 2016
picnic-style table in renovated San Francisco house
From chandeliers to pendants, these designs make the dining room the most entertaining space in the house.
February 09, 2016
Midcentury house in Portland with iron colored facade and gold front door
From preserved masterworks to carefully updated time capsules, these homes have one thing in common (other than a healthy appreciation for everything Eames): the conviction that the '40s, '50s, and '60s were the most outstanding moments in American architecture.
February 09, 2016
Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016