Two weeks ago I took a little jaunt to Los Angeles for some serious design education. The annual Dwell on Design Conference was going down and I was thrilled to take part. Hosted by Dwell Magazine {one of the first decor magazines I ever subscribed to!}, the conference brings together leaders in modern design from around the world for a fantastic trade show and discussions about design trends.

But my favorite part of Dwell on Design is getting to tour real modern homes! Last year we toured ah-mazing homes in Silicon Valley, so I was really excited to get to peek into the lives lived in places as iconic as the Hollywood Hills this go round. I was not disappointed. The L.A. show also had the added bonus of featuring the latest and greatest in electric cars {which I’ve actually been considering for awhile now – they are the hot thing in SF after all}. I got to start my day off by test-driving the brand spankin’ new Cadillac ELR, which was pretty dang fabulous. It’s a rough job, I know.


The car was seriously cool. Of course I was impressed by things such as the ability to drive up to 340 miles on one charge, the fact that you can plug in almost anywhere, that there are cool bonuses like in-dash navigation, back-up cameras, OnStar and the like. I was also really impressed by the amazing tax credits you can get with an electric car right now – I had no clue! But of course what caught my attention most were the aesthetics {duh}. Sitting in the car felt like sitting in a luxury jetliner. I was floored to learn that the dash was made with real wood inlay and the seats feature hand-sewn leather. The interior also comes in customizable colors. You know, the important stuff!

After the test drive we hit the streets of Los Angeles to do one of my ultimate favorite things – see how other people live! We zipped from downtown to the hills above Sunset Blvd and then all the way out to Silverlake and Los Feliz. Thankfully photographer extraordinaire Bonnie Tsang was my guide!!


Every home was the epitome of modern chic. Obvious modern design tenets were used across each one. Clean, minimalist lines. A lot of white. A lot of Herman Miller and Eames. But I was also pleased to see some really cool unexpected details like brightly colored geometric tile used in bathrooms, really smart, sleek hidden storage in kitchens and lots of mixed materials with raw woods, ceramics and even mixed metals {brass is the new stainless steel!}. You can see even more sneak peeks into the homes on my Instagram feed!

We ended the day with a particularly special treat – a dinner hosted in the beautiful Gary Johns House, high up in the hills overlooking pretty much everything in L.A.. We were there to celebrate the ingenuity of great design. We were certainly standing in it {swoon!}. While there, I had the privilege of meeting Dwell Magazine founder Lara Deam and the entire Dwell Magazine team. I also got to meet Jeff Nield, Cadillac Strategic Design Manager and a leader on the Cadillac ELR! It was fascinating to hear him talk about the process of designing the car {they still start with hand-drawn sketches!}. No attention to detail is spared. I was super interested to learn how the car’s designers try to incorporate specific lines and shapes to infuse the car with human-like characteristics.


Though a whirlwind, I was certainly infused with tons of inspiration from my 24 hours in modern Lala-land. I gathered a boatload of new design ideas to dig through and the timing couldn’t be better…because I have a new GIANT project on my hands. Sadly, I can’t spill the beans about all that just yet, but trust me, you’re going to want to stick around for this one!


photography for apartment 34 by bonnie tsang // additional images courtesy of dwell on design. This post is presented by Cadillac. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting posts that keep Apartment 34’s doors open!


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