Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

9/09/2014

A little push on the edges

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

I'm always partial to homes that are in the neighborhood. This one in North Hollywood showed that small homes don't always mean small ambitions. 

~*C
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Alice Short
Published: 30 August 2014, Los Angeles Times

Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times
Even before Peter and Janet Shurkin moved into their 1950s Valley Village home, the couple knew they needed to make some renovations. "We liked it," Janet says, "but the tiles would fall off and none of the cabinets were working properly."

Peter had owned the 975-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom property in the San Fernando Valley for three years but had not been able to renovate the cramped, compartmentalized space. In fact, no major work had ever been done on the home. [read more]


Los Angeles is awash in hidden treasures, not least of which is this Schindler-designed church, the only one of its kind. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Susan Denley
Published: 29 August 2014, Los Angeles Times

Christina House / For The Times
When the Rev. Melvin Ashley Jr. saw the for sale/lease sign on the side of the dilapidated Bethlehem Baptist Church a year ago, he found the answer to his prayers. At the time, he was searching for a venue where he could house his congregation, Faith-Build International, and extend its social work from Watts to the distressed South Los Angeles neighborhood of Central-Alameda.

What he did not realize was that he had also stumbled on an endangered architectural gem that needed him as much as he needed it. Bethlehem Baptist Church, built in 1944, is the only church designed by Modernist architect Rudolph M. Schindler and one of the few intact Modernist structures in South L.A., according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. [read more]

8/22/2014

A network of handcrafted treasures

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Today's mechanized world leaves little room for artisan crafts, but this North Hollywood treasure has found that people sometimes want something lovingly wrought in their homes. 
~*C

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Anne Colby
Published: 16 August 2014, Los Angeles Times

Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times
A dead-end street in North Hollywood is an unlikely place to find a mecca of handcrafted design, but it exists. Arte de Mexico's North Hollywood showroom, open seven days a week, recently has expanded to about 250,000 square feet of space, up from 200,000. [read more]

8/09/2014

A Hint of Coco

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Julie Lasky
Published: 30 July 2014, New York Times


Last week, the renovated Georgian Restaurant opened at Harrods in London, with furnishings inspired by Coco Chanel. “With this collection, I asked myself, ‘How do I bring elegance into today’s world without looking dated?’ ” said Christopher Guy Harrison, a British furniture maker who designs under the name Christopher Guy, and who based the collection, called Mademoiselle, on pieces from Ms. Chanel’s suite at the Ritz Hotel in Paris [read more]

California has its share of Spanish Revival, but I really loved this family's double TV and couch set-up in their living room. It's a great idea for some quality family time without needing a ton of space. Read on....

~*C
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Anne Colby
Published: 12 July 2014, Los Angeles Times

Christina House / For the Los Angeles Times
Greg and Jerilyn Chun found their ideal home 20 years ago while still engaged. "I know we said we'd wait, but I think I found the one," Jerilyn recalls telling her soon-to-be husband. Her find was a 918-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom 1960 kit house in the hills of South Pasadena, just east of the Arroyo Seco. Its size was perfect for the young couple. Best of all, the home was on short sale, making it affordable. After they renovated the house themselves, upgrading the kitchen and pulling up carpet to expose hardwood floors, it was exactly what they needed. [read more]

7/16/2014

Where the Curtains Were Made of Iron

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Where and why people differ are of special interest to me. If we all have blood flowing through our veins and share the same biology, how then could such things as history and culture separate us so profoundly? I got a chance to explore a little bit of that in the context of design thanks to the New York Times. Here's my first story for them. 

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Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Julie Lasky
Published: 09 July 2014, New York Times

An exhibition of Cold War artifacts, from teacups to tables to chairs. Credit: Laure Joliet for The New York Times
Some 350 Cold War-era artifacts, including teacups, tables and surveillance equipment used by the East German secret police, have replaced most of the furnishings in the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences in Los Angeles for “Competing Utopias: An Experimental Installation of Cold War Modern Design From East and West in One Context,” opening to the public on Sunday. [read more]

I try to be good environmentally, but the one place where I have no control is in restaurants. Thankfully, there are those like Elizabeth, who make sure even our dining experience is as green as the business allows. With people like her, my conscience can rest a little more at ease on Friday night outs.

~*C

How Elizabeth Meltz is using technology to turn Batali hotspots like Babbo into some of the restaurant biz's most eco-friendly eateries

Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Rob Brunner
Published: 26 June 2014, Fast Company

When you eat at Babbo, Del Posto, or any of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s other celebrated restaurants, you can be sure that every aspect of the pasta and wine have been carefully considered. What you might not realize is that your meal’s environmental impact has been just as closely thought through.

That’s thanks to Elizabeth Meltz, director of food safety and sustainability for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group (B&BHG), who oversees green- and food-safety initiatives across more than two dozen restaurants in the United States. In the past five years, Meltz has guided all of B&BHG’s eateries through green restaurant certification. She’s also introduced a no-bottled-water policy, created full-scale recycling and composting programs, and started participating in Meatless Mondays with extra vegetable specials.

Meltz’s concerns can swing wildly from determining which Green Seal-certified chemical to use for cleaning grease-caked pots and pans to analyzing the feasibility of using new machines that rapidly decompose organic food waste into a liquid form. “Once you start peeling back the layers of the onion," she says, "you have no idea the details and the minutia that you get into.” [read more]



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