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It first came onto the national radar back in 2012 when Forbes magazine named Silver Lake the hippest neighborhood in the country. “Silver Lake and Echo Park were the original Hollywood,” says renowned architect and Silver Lake resident Barbara Bestor, who coined the phrase “bohemian modern” years back to describe Eastside style. “Many of our industrial buildings and supermarkets are, in fact, old movie studios, and the neighborhood has always thrived on the combination of the entertainment industry and transgressive/progressive social groups.”
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that a slew of recent TV shows —Transparent, Casual, Togetherness, Love and You’re the Worst — have picked this Eastside enclave and its surrounding suburbs (think Echo Park, Highland Park and Los Feliz) as the location of choice when it comes to showcasing somewhat progressive-thinking characters and their upwardly mobile lives. All of that comes with a backdrop of serious style that’s personalized, eclectic and often with a generous helping of mid-century modern and industrial furniture.
You’re The Worst premiers season three this week, and it checks all the Eastside style boxes; no wonder since creator Stephen Falk is a longtime resident. “He lived on the Eastside for a long time so all the characters are very in-the-know,” says the show’s set decorator Michael Voelker, also rattling off hipster shooting spots such as The Brite Spot diner, the Hi Hat bar and Maximiliano’s restaurant. Lead character Jimmy (Chris Geere) lives in a hillside Rudolph Schindler house and for season three, FX gave the show a green light to build a permanent set off-site. “We were told that this was the most money that FX had ever spent on a comedy show permanent set,” he adds.
Many of the key furniture pieces in the first two seasons were borrowed from the current homeowners (Schindler houses are known for their meticulous built-ins), so the production design crew had the momentous task of replicating the house in a warehouse in Atwater. “Some pieces were easy to find because they were by such iconic designers as Mies van der Rohe and Eames, but other pieces I had to have custom made,” Voelker says. His favorite Eastside spots for scouring are Shopclass in Highland Park, Amsterdam Modern in Echo Park and, or course, the Rose Bowl and Out-of-the-Closet. A lot of the custom manufacturing was done in North Hollywood at Danish Modern Noho. “One of the hardest pieces for me to find was a lamp by a German company called Zeiss and the original is $4,000, so I found a similar-looking one and gave it to the art department to add a faux wood finish to it for a fraction of that price,” Voelker says.
When it comes to summing up Eastside style interior designer Amy Sklar, who is married to comedian Randy Sklar, and has decorated the Eastside homes of Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt and Kumail Nanjiani, says, “As far as who lives in these neighborhoods, it’s always been less executive and more of the writers and the artists. No one wants their house to look like it was decorated from one showroom,” she says, also adding Lawson Fenning to the list of Eastside design stores of note. “For example, for Kumail’s house I ended up hiring an art advisor to help us arrange the artwork since he has such an extensive collection of comic book figurines.” So, just like the TV shows, the real residents like it quirky, cool and just that little bit hard to find.
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