Sunday, February 25, 2007


It's a radiator, it's a light, it's chair, it's a file's the new new thing. Glorious radiator by Marco Dessi; acrylic light by Brave Design; chair by Vitra (no doubt inspired by Danish designer Verner Panton's Panton Chair); and "spinny cabinet" by Hive.

When I happen upon a pile of money (a very big pile), these are the objects de'Art that would be first on my shopping list. I would even move somewhere cold just to put that white radiator a la double helix on my wall.

Truly original, I had to post these for fear I'd lose track of these objects of my desire.

The Radiator: who would have thought this creature would be the subject of design? No sooner had I pondered this, but I came across the Bisque Radiator Awards proving once again, the limitations of my imagination.

I really have to stop reading MoCo Loco; lest I live in a perpetual state of longing.


When I saw the pictures on Craigslist, I knew this was THE place for me. Although the photos that captured me were professional shots (taken for Architectural Digest I believe), art lived up to life and I moved in 30 days later. But since that day, my friends have said that they couldn't really visualize the space I live in from said photos.
Since then I've come to really appreciate those first photos as I've struggled to catch some sort of my own. My father gave it a "shot" as well. His best captured the hallway art and entrance way (published previously in another post).

Can one live in a work of art? But of course darling! And no, I did not get the cat to match the loft.

The most interesting part has been co-existing with illusion. I, after all, being pretty much real (the fact that my Mom says "you're unreal" notwithstanding).

"Warming the place up" seems antithetical to the design. Likewise covering its flaws (the remains of the original 1800's fireplace for example) takes away the charm.

The part I resisted so much on moving in, is the constant striving towards simplicity within the constrains of "real life".

If you want to know how many colors clash with orange/red and primary blue just ask. I've come to love red as an accent only; I've come to love chartreuse; I've come to love throwing things away;

If I could just excel at this last then storage would become a non-issue.

Friday, February 23, 2007


If this isn't love...
then winter is summer
If this isn't love...
my heart needs a plumber
-- Finian's Rainbow

I've had an email subscription to Daily Candy for years now, and I have to admit I mostly just trash them. When I do peak it's a size zero fashion store or some ten-million dollar face cream. Why don't I just unsubscribe? Maybe it's because I held out hope that I'd have an email like the one I received today. I know the email probably went out to a hundred thousand Angelinos, yet I feel like I have made the most amazing discovery.

For years I've been lusting over Mies van der Rohe, Eileen Gray, Le Corbusier, Charles Eames, George Nelson, and Marcel Breuer and have often wondered who would join their company; and the answer is: Tanya Aguíñiga. From her shadow chair, to her modular lounge, to her low rider stools to her embrace chaise... she's made the modern furniture home run.

My loft-ment offers some daunting furnishing challenges. The white walls are painted with geometric shapes in primary colors (red and blue) and non-colors (black). The shapes form interesting optical illusions, forming a single object when viewed from the proper vantage point. Fabulous as they are, what is a girl to do to furnish, without clashing, a place that is essentially pre-designed?

Lucky for me, I love the pre-existing design (it's in the structure, the interior architecture, the colors). It's tempting to reside in an empty space (with maybe a single tall white floor light) and a simple white bed sans frame. In point of fact that is all it requires, but not all I require.

This is why "discovering" Aguíñiga made my heart skip a beat. In particular, the QB table seems MADE for my abode. I wonder if there was a secret collaboration (Giovannini (the lofty designer of the place I call home) and Aguíñiga)???? In any case, I feel an affinity a la great-minds-think alike.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Tonight there are two new LA blogs in town:

Blogger "Trucha" who lives and works within the urban core, shares his musings (and amusings) on city life; not the ordinary fare of LA blogettes (martini reviews, star sightings, etc. etc.), Trucha gives us the antidote with a unique perspective on the City of Angels. Read Truch's musings at: l.a. (a)musings

Then there is Dorothy, writing about The Emerald City A sparkling voice in the blogosphere, this Oz-like site is worth your perusal. If it just happens to be penned by yours truly, then I plead guilty as charged. I never tried plugging myself before, and I have to say, "hey, it's better than writing your own obituary!" I've opted for a Loft Living spin-off to keep this one "on topic". Viva la loft!

Sadly with the two newcomers, there comes a la loft "funeral": LoftLust blogger Brittany takes an "intermission" with these words:
"After much time away from this sweet blog and considerable consideration, I’ve decided that I no longer have the time or the gusto necessary to continue this site in its original and/or recent format. I’m open to suggestion for where to take LoftLust from here, though its fate is regrettably quite precarious. So consider this post a suspension of sorts, of all things familiar from this soapbox. Perhaps another day LoftLust will return to some sort of publishing schedule, with a different look, or a different purpose completely. My love for design and great products will always be there, but that affection regularly reinvents itself and what to do with it yields perpetual bemusement. So continue to have fun with what you are doing."
It's just my luck to find her blog after it's gone, but I hold out hope she leaves her site up, because it's full of delicious design tips!

So, two blog births, one funeral, and there's still time left for a wedding:

Yes, it's another pam-i-licious blog: Midnight Musings wedding thoughts that keep me up at night. Come along as I obsess on the mythological implications of overcoming fear of marriage!

Saturday, February 17, 2007


More Modern Love: The Frank Gehry Story
observations by pam ashlund, film by sydney pollack, genius by Frank Gehry

I may always be a day late and a dollar short, but today I'm reacting to Sydney Pollack's documentary Sketches of Frank Gehry by Sydney Pollack released back in May, 2006.
“Decoration is sin, that’s the mantra of modernism” Frank Gehry
"Simplicity requires a continuous shedding" Pam Ashlund
Is it cheating to quote yourself? After all if I can be presumptuous, how about Sony calling it a "Sony Classic?" Who gets to self-proclaim themselves a classic before the film is released? "Sure to be a Classic" sure, but come on... Read my last modern post to find my quote (or is that "post-modern?" Or see the flick to hear a few of Gehry's "classic" quotes.

But seriously folks, I loved this documentary "sketch". I love its message although I don't have a pithy quote for it. The message, as best I can put it, is "dare to follow your dream" "take a risk" or "jump off a cliff" and see what happens. Maybe that's a truism, maybe that only works if you have a super talent, but then again how many people have such a sense of self that they even know there's a cliff?

Want to read more of Pam's endless musings on Modernity?

Modern Love: Part I

or checkout my favorite "illusionist" architect's (Joseph Gionvannini) review by the same name:

Modern Love (October 25, 2004 Architecture Review, New York Magazine)
At the Cooper-Hewitt and Cooper Union, two exhibits highlight Modernism’s legacy

Thursday, February 15, 2007


and in NorthEast LA...What the past has to tell us about ourselves

Preface: This is going to be a long introduction folks, but I invite you to come with me as I wind my way to the lofts of downtown LA by way of Washington, D.C.

On a visit to the nations capital, I found myself in the embrace of a snowstorm, or as those of us from snowy regions know, more of a "sleet" storm. Sleet is Snow's ugly cousin, like mud is to water and earth. Then there is sleet and its byproduct: slush.

Slush regardless, I ventured out and found refuge in the 2nd Story bookstore; which was, incidentally, perfect. Complete with the smell of pipe tobacco smoke (and of course no pipe in view). Inside were rows of used books, punctuated by beautiful glass encased antique offerings (oh if only I could afford a vintage copy of Alice in Wonderland).

I was momentarily overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a browsing topic. Cardboard signs handwritten in black marker offered categories such as "the Kennedy's!", the other signs (Civil War, Ancient Greece, etc. were not appointed with exclamation points; as if the writer was unable to contain his passion for the Kennedy section.

My own exclamation points would have been for "Pop Culture!", "Modern Furniture!" or "the Sixties!" Eventually, I ended up somewhere between "Sociology" and "Art History" and picked out a copy of "SoHo: The Rise & Fall of An Artists' Colony".

Inside I found a snippet from a 1977 article that could have been written about downtown LA in 2007. Thirty years and things are really the same (only the names have been changed...)
" is a SoHo heresy: Space, open space, is the whole thing: the reason people suffer the broken boilers and pour vast amounts of money into leaky roofs, and rotting lintels; the reason to put up with the tourists who displace locals in the old neighborhood haunts. Space. And the atmosphere created by people who needed it to work and who rescued a neighborhood only to find that they're beginning to need even more space to breathe." Ellen Bilgore, Town & Country, 1977 (from Richard Kostelanetz's recent effort "SoHo: The Rise & Fall of an Artists' Colony"
Although this is not a review of Kostelanetz's book, I have to say that reading about SoHo gave me pause. He painted a picture. To live in a building zoned only for manufacturing, to live without heat, to live without garbage pickup, to live having to hide your bed from an occasional inspector...took heart. No casual poseur would go through that much actual suffering. He made me believe there was real artistic integrity there, not just a romantic nod.

I know I wouldn't have the courage. I know that once I saw the rats or once I had to live somewhere that the elevator didn't run at night or once I had to go discretely disperse my garbage among many bins so as not to call attention to living in a place not zoned for living...that I wouldn't or couldn't go through with it.

Although it IS true that some of my friends won't visit me in my neighborhood, that I have NO elevator, that it is sometimes noisy or cold, it just isn't suffering to park my Porsche in my gated parking space and drive off to a job every morning and do my writing on a laptop over an espresso.

The other distinctive difference was that the SoHo artists weren't displacing anyone and thus didn't have to contend with the ugliness of gentrification. Even drug dealers and homeless did not live where the artists ventured.

It's true that all changed and that in a decade or two SoHo had become SoHo and it was never the same. A moment to be retroactively romanticized. But even a romantic such as me has to acknowledge there was something special there; and I know that something isn't what's happening in the gigantic developed lofts selling for $500K. That even amidst a backdrop of skid row and drug deals, that these seem to only add the impression of grit. That these buildings have doormen should be a tip off.

I know that poverty is not all it takes to be noble, but that no amount of money can buy it either.

Monday, February 12, 2007


I'm so excited (okay so I'm easily excited). Lofty Thoughts was named the "Lincoln Heights Nerd" by the LA City Nerd blog.

Back in January, the LA City Nerd blog, following the lead of "Blog Downtown" post How Would You Summarize Downtown LA. issued a couple of challenges:

  1. Craft a One Sentence Description of LA and then narrowing the scope;
  2. How Would You Describe Your Neighborhood in One Sentence?
I don't have my own just yet, but here's one that resonated (from my friend Hector):

"LA isn't a city, it's a moment"

And a '92 snippet from an anonymous friends poetry:

"Summer came to Spring Street
as something came crashing out of a third story window.
The curious few stop to wonder at its meaning,
And then move on, as if in disappointed agreement:
“It was only a chair.”

Sunday, February 11, 2007


How LA defies description, every street I turn down reveals another world. I still lose my breath occasionally, sometimes at the beauty, sometimes at the devastation and chaos, and sometimes at the unintentional wit. There is always something.

One thing I've had to come to grips with: I do not define the city, the city defines me.

The fact that I drive back and forth between Hollywood and my neck of the woods (Lincoln Heights), is a reflection on the town. Some sort of oceanic gravitational field pulls me in, and then spits me out.

Some nights I see ghosts as I drive into the darkness. Some nights, leaving the neon behind, I see the night closing in on me under the crushing reality of economic class.

But this night, (once again heading for Lincoln Heights from Hollywood via Hancock Park), I am struck by the universal sense of humor of our town.

My last glimpse of Hollywood is the decrepit piano store "Stein on Vine" (still hanging on in the run-down area where Vine literally fades away as it transforms into Rossmore).

At Larchmont the grimy Hollywood ends, the streets seem to take a breath and expand.
A row of apartments guard the perimeter of the prestigious Hancock Park area. There the 1930's art deco apartment the Mauretania, winks at me. The Mauretania...JFK's former pied 'a 'terre and alleged love nest where Marilyn and he might tryst.

Just a few blocks west sits a large Hasidic community, with Shuls on every corner. There are Persian Shuls, Russian Shuls and the “classic” eastern European variety. But could LA ever be content to allow this phenomena to occur without adding a touch of irony? On the corner stands a Honeybaked Ham store (do you think they offer a Kosher one?)

Leaving the Hasidic world and heading down La Brea, I check in on my favorite combination breakfast joint and flower store “Rita Flora”, which features the appropriately named “well stacked pancakes”.

But I digress...back to Hancock park. The wide avenues are bordered by trees that form an arch of green. The trees are punctuated by the occasional majestic African palm. As I travel further, leaving the homes of the affluent behind... the trees thin, their tops no longer touching, and finally grow increasingly sickly. The needles on the pines grow brown and the trees themselves come further and further apart until you are suddenly dumped into Koreatown. There the grim skyline of downtown L.A. appears in the distance.

These streets can no longer be aided by a tree or two, they give a fresh meaning to what used to be called the mean streets. Mean, but somehow intoxicating. Here mingle Mexican Panaderias (bakeries), Salvadorian Pupuserias (places that sell “pupusas”), Korean Barbecue, tiny mercados (markets) and Vietnamese Boba shops.

Here I sail through the outskirts of Echo Park, over the river to Lincoln Heights. My roller coaster ride through town comes to a jolting stop. The adrenaline fades, I am home.

Want another taste of Art Deco LA? Try one of the Art Deco Society's events:
February 23rd, 6:00 to 8:00 pm
Cocktails in Historic Places

Broadway Bar
830 S Broadway, Los Angeles 90014

Based on Jack Dempsey's New York bar of the same name, Broadway Bar brings 40s-style glamor downtown's burgeoning nightlife scene with antique touches and a lounge fit for a kingpin. Located right next to the Orpheum Theater, the 50-foot circle bar, the chandeliers, the upstairs lounge bar make this a particularly appealing and successful example of "creative reuse."

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Oh LA River/Fishless concrete channel
--p. ashlund

First there is a river
then there is no river

From alligator attacks in Florida, Coyotes in Beverly Hills, to Mountain Lions and Bears in backyards, the story of mans infringement on the native habitats of animals continues to play out.

In the case of the LA River, man finally beat the habitat into submission in the '50's and '60' paving it! To an environmentalist, the whole concept of flood control has no meaning. If housing wasn't built in a flood plain (even a 100 year flood plain) there would be no threat. It seems so simple, and yet...

Seemingly dead, does our River still have any hope? The LA River Master Plan proposes "yes". It seems to be a very savvy plan, to couch an environmentalist agenda in terms of "revitalizing the economy". After all, how can we build more housing on the River, if it is so darn ugly?

Bottom line? I'm for anything that removes some of that concrete. I've never known such a painful image.

Want to participate? It's not too late. Attend the final series of workshops on the draft Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan (February 24th, 27th and 28th).

Come to the meetings and learn about the five "Opportunity Areas where revitalization efforts will be focused. Public input is a critical component of the process.

Want a copy of the draft LARRMP? The Plan may be viewed online at the LARRMP website

Friday, February 02, 2007


Lookin' for love in all the wrong places...

Bought a little book on the Feng Shui of love:  Feng Shui Do's and Taboos for Love.  I can only assume it's over-simplified for pop consumption..but that I am the target audience. A once-again single, middle-class anglo girl with time on her hands (and who has $8.95 to spare for an impulse purchase).

The book offers do's and don'ts to help optimize your home for love. Intent on applying the advice as soon as possible, I poured over the text as if it might hold the answers to the universe.
My home is (as you know by now or could assume by the blog's title) a Loft. I soon found out I would have my work cut out for me!

Here are some of the do's and don'ts Angi Ma Wong offers:

  • Don't place your bed at the short wall of a pitched ceiling.

  • Do avoid geometric shapes, especially triangles in your bedroom...decor.

  • Don't make a room with irregularly angled walls your bedroom.

  • Don't choose a bedroom with high or cathedral ceilings.

  • Don't choose a home in which the master bedroom is in the front of the house facing the street. It should be protected in the rear.

    To appreciate the relevance of this to my abode check out pics of the loft in question in these earlier posts:



  • Angi goes on to warn:

    Don't adorn your home with morbid or depressing ...images

    Hmmm, do you think the skeleton wedding couple counts? Let's just say I have put away my Dia del los Muertos objects just in case.

    A side note: Back in the early 90's I took a Feng Shui course of the discipline known as the Black Hat school. The teachers (two Berkeley-esque white guys) were a little defensive about their right to teach this traditionally secret material. After a disturbing experience after chanting the "Kundalini rising" prayer to raise energy, and the "heart opening" prayer to open to the pain of the universe, I decided the objectors might have a point.

    I do recommend the following book (as opposed to the pop version above) for those interested in a less superficial pursuit of the art of Feng Shui. At first glace this book appears to be an interior decoration/feng shui text, but instead is filled with the rituals, chants and intents almost never addressed in the Feng Shui Fad Books.

    Thursday, February 01, 2007


    Originally, I met her at at a Christmas Crafts Fair. I came to buy gifts for friends, but all that went out the window when I saw the jewelry.

    At the table by the door sat a beautiful young lady, Lisa Rocha, the owner/jewelry maker of Ilaments.

    She was charming and her work was stunning. I went straight for a pair of drop earrings. She told me that they symbolized balance. She had me at "balance". They must have been one of kind because they aren't featured on the website (those pictured to the left are the same stone, but not the style mentioned).

    The stone was Carnelian, which is said to have the capacity to calm a troubled spirit and bring about inner peace.

    I was also drawn to a silver link bracelet, with a carved red wooden heart charm. Part of her Day of the Dead “Cempazuchitl” Collection.

    As I picked it up to admire, she smiled and said "A kind of Latina Tiffanys yes?".

    “Cempazuchit -Nahuatl word meaning “the flower with four hundred lives” referring to it’s seeds. Marigolds are a significant symbol for Day of the Dead and are known as the “flower of the dead”. Their scent is believed to attract the souls and draw them back home.

    It's not too late to own a limited edition piece, and on sale too!

    For more info call: 323.257.2512 or
    Go to