We just took a quick trip to the Northeast and it began with a tour of architect Walter Gropius’ house in Lincoln, Massachusetts. I marveled at every detail and it’s like a mini museum with Marcel Breuer, Knoll, and custom furniture, and art and objects from myriad other Weimar and modern masters. I learned about “Bauhaus pink,” the perfect color that graces several ceilings and walls and delighted me considerably. Seeing his innovative philosophy, economy of materials and style, and exquisite collections on display was so inspiring. The Gropius House is super close to Walden Pond so we stopped there too, and I expected an earnest backcountry situation but it’s now a public beach that would be nice to spend a day at. We hit the road for Portland, Maine, stopping at the cute shop Folk in Kittery along the way.
After checking into the Mercury Inn we headed straight to More & Co., one of my favorite shops to follow from afar. We met up with a friend for dinner at the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club, and had an amazing smörgåsbord and cocktails. Then we walked to the concert venue + the main reason for this trip — Brian Wilson playing Pet Sounds. After regretfully missing the Stones last time they were in MN I vowed to go see more of my favorites, so when Brian Wilson announced a couple dates we thought about going to Austin’s Levitation festival with a detour to Marfa, but decided on a visit to ME and I was able to get seats in the orchestra section. Of course now he’s playing all over the country but it was extremely special to catch this show.
Bon Appetit’s recent city guide turned me on to several new places I hadn’t come across, and we spent a day doing a beer and snack crawl across town. There are a LOT of breweries and distilleries here, and we sampled quite a few. Oxbow’s beer was the best of the bunch, and other highlights include kombucha from Urban Farm Fermentory and seafood at Eventide (we intended to take a ferry ride but missed the boat because we were too busy getting drunk and eating oysters there). Bought wine at Drifters Wife (extremely well curated selection + their cafe looked like a perfect date spot), didn’t make it to Bunker Brewing but I wanna try their Salad Daze. And there are so many restaurants doing creative takes on Maine ingredients.
We crashed with our friends and one of their beautiful kids asked me in the morning, “Did you hear the stars twinkling last night?” We hiked Bradbury Mountain, and quintessentially ate a lobster roll next to a lighthouse on the way out of town. I really really wanted to go see Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings at MASS MoCA but couldn’t get there this time so we’ll just have to go back...
"I love oysters. It's like kissing the sea on the lips." —Léon-Paul Fargue / 1 : the Gropiuses shared an office and their house is dreamy / 2 : More & Co. sweetest / 3 : Hunt & Alpine Club / 4 : cool condiments at Eventide (kimchi ice!) + grapefruit twist please / 5 : Rising Tide, Maine Craft Distilling, Oxbow, a flight at the Fermentory / 6 : Liquid Riot, Maine & Loire / 7 : bleu at Scales, Terlingua, and the promenade / 8 : sight from the summit and a picnic on Cape Elizabeth
Paul and I just had an extremely nice time in and around LA. We headed straight to Topanga and climbed a mountain. Hiking the Eagle Rock Trail as the gray morning burned off revealed dazzling views for miles beyond chaparral ridges and meadows that looked like an impressionist painting. We passed through humming corridors of pollinating bees and a layer of cool clouds, got a sunburn, and descended to have lunch at the Inn of the Seventh Ray (hippie dippy CA cuisine, the perfect prelude to the trip). Heading north on the Pacific Coast Highway, we stopped at Point Dume to listen to Zuma, drink beers on the beach and see dolphins offshore. Continuing on, we checked into the Garden Cottage at the Ojai Rancho Inn, the hip and inviting motel. We lit palo santo and listened to scratched records in the room, took a dip with drinks from their charming poolside bar Chief’s Peak, then ventured to Bart’s (an open–air bookstore with an awesome art collection), Hi-Ho for a bite, and Meditation Mount for a silent sunset surrounded by spectacular gardens and vistas.
Day two began with a hike on Shelf Road, a trail sandwiched between scrubby peaks and hilly orange groves. I look forward to returning to canyon country, it’s a perfect counterpart to the energy of LA. On the drive back towards the city I marveled at the coastal architecture along the PCH, and then a longtime dream came true with a visit to the Eames House in Pacific Palisades. Ray and Charles are among my design idols so peeking inside their home and studio and walking the grounds felt very special. From there we went to the Hammer Museum to catch Leap Before You Look. It's good, but kind of understated; Bucky Fuller, Anni and Josef Albers, and other luminaries at Black Mountain College are also some of my heroes, and I wanted even more from the show! But I really love the indoor/outdoor nature of the museum, their well–curated shop, and am obsessed with the furniture by Chris Johanson and Johanna Jackson on the terrace. We hightailed it to Los Feliz to check in at Hotel Covell (found via DLF!) where the service was personal and the story and aesthetic of their just 5 suites is impeccable. It’s a true boutique hotel with each room representing a time and place in the life of fictional personage George Covell. We stayed in the smallest, Chapter 2, the 1950’s NYC flat, with its pops of cobalt blue and door opening to the rooftop deck where we drank wine and caught up with work stuff before visiting Otherwild’s new location, walking the neighborhood, then heading to Night + Market Song for the bombest Thai food. We tried to go to El Condor for a mezcal flight but it was Cinco de Mayo and slammed, so we made our way to the Cha Cha Lounge and partied hard. The next day we saw art: bless the gallerists at Gavlak for saying I was dressed like a Lily Stockman painting (I love her work so much), and Lawrence Weiner at Regen Projects. After that I ate tacos with my girls from ban.do and toured their new office, pretty wonderful. I love working with them.
Since this trip was so brief I sort of said frugality be damned and booked my dream rooms. On our third and final night I got a Hollywood Hills view room at the Line, and unexpectedly got upgraded to an upper floor so the views were just incredible. It’s a straight shot to the Observatory, and looking out as the day progressed from clouds to sun to night, the view changed with my wonderment. I guess I’m never in skyscrapers or on misty mountaintops in MN so the saturated panoramas were impressive over and over. Had a fruitful meeting in the lobby bar with Bri about a fun collaboration, then Paul and I decided to go to a Korean bathhouse where we could hang out together on the "Jimjilbang" level. We did sequential mineral saunas lined with salt, clay, jade, wood, and ice and it was really therapeutic. We ate at Pot that night, and expected bolder flavors!
Got room service for breakfast on our last day which was fine, I give the room an A+ but would try other Koreatown eateries next time I think. We cannonballed into the pool before leaving for a popup at Individual Medley where Jacqueline Suskin would be with Poem Store. I’ve been a fan of hers and it was such a treat to receive a poem. My topic was “red,” a color I identify with, and having the resulting poem read out loud to me was really moving. From there we went to the Echo Park Craft Fair, which is overwhelming but so cool to meet the makers of all the good stuff. Also dropped by major favorites Dream Collective and Clare V., where I looked up and saw Clare Vivier and was like, “you’re Clare Vivier!” and got to chat and it was great. In our final hours we sought a sandwich at Gjusta (straight up beautiful food) and tracked down one of Roy Choi’s food trucks in Venice, which was conveniently parked next to a bar that was showing the Kentucky Derby, which I was hoping to watch. We drank beers on the windswept beach before the flight, and all was well.
This trip felt somehow concise in how much we did, but also romantic and lucky. A good mix of business trip and vacation (just wish we could have connected with a few more friends who’ve migrated there). And I contemplate moving to California constantly after our long winter but for now I feel so fortunate for these short and sweet travels.
title à la Ed Ruscha / 1 : boulder outcropping at Eagle Rock / 2 : the Rancho / 3 : the Hammer / 4 : Otherwild et al got it going on / 5 : Clare V. + Dream Collective tableaus / 6 : gallery vibes + cool new Diakoff x Paper Chase stuff / 7 : Jen’s office at the ban.do penthouse / 8 : The Line accoutrements incl. Bri’s astonishing phone case, a Pisco Sour in the elevator, and thoughtful decor / 9 : Yasmine Floral Design popup at Individual Medley / fancy souvenirs include the ACB earrings I’ve had my heart set on, a neroli candle from Le Feu de L’eau’s sample sale, Valerie x Commune’s Super Choc-o-Food (it’s worth it), easy linen pieces from Me & Arrow, ephemera from EPCF faves like Milena Silvano and Plant Planet, and when CV tells you the Discothèque shirt fits, that seals the deal
All the best babes, Anonymous Choir, have put together a shoppable bazaar of food, drinks, and goods, plus a day of music culminating in one of their final shows for a while. I’ve had the privilege of designing album art for their records of Neil Young and Leonard Cohen covers, and they’ll be performing poignant renditions of so many more good tunes. It’s taking place April 16th at our friend Marlo’s beautiful new event space, Paikka + you can find the details here.