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Architecture, locally grown

Bohemian Modern Living in Silver Lake Barbara Bestor Regan Books, $34.95

June 22, 2006|Craig Nakano

This worthy book is as difficult to define as the neighborhood it documents. Through short stories and photographs, architect Bestor takes us through the homes of artists, fashion designers and other creative people with a passion for modern architecture.

The result is something that is equal parts design study, social history and personal diary.

Even geographic boundaries are a bit fuzzy, with Echo Park, Atwater Village and Mt. Washington thrown in -- perhaps an argument that Silver Lake has evolved to become not just a place but a state of mind.

What's clear is that Bestor seeks to explore not only innovative homes but also the lives inside.

It's no accident that Joshua White's fine architectural photography is complemented by Jon Huck's portraits of homeowners.

Some projects featured here are the work of Bestor's firm; others are examples of architecture that she admires. A few classic Neutras and Schindlers are thrown in for good measure, as are neighborhood restaurants and shops.

Funky? Eclectic? Not even bohemian seems an apt descriptor for L.A.'s evolving Eastside. Then again, why would you want a short, easy label when you can spend 259 pages lost in this world?

-- Craig Nakano

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