Interiors: Silver Lake

The first floor is a poured-in-place concrete and terrazzo box with a steel frame that allows for an open floorplan. A shiny white ceiling plays off a raw concrete floor while pops of red lead you through the space. “I wanted to give the clients a building that was both cinematic and a celebration of surfaces,” says Bestor.

Upstairs there’s a huge opening in one corner that “makes you feel like you’re seeing the world in Panavision,” says the architect. With the large sliding glass doors open, the second floor has the open airy feeling of a treehouse, and the homeowners can enjoy unobstructed views of Silver Lake Reservoir.

At the rear of the house, large windows and doors help blur the lines between the built and natural world, especially in how the kitchen and garden combine into one large and welcoming space. A pop of yellow around pool says “Barbara Bestor was here” to fans of this talented architect’s work.

Bestor grew up on the East Coast but was attracted to the low-key experimental modernism of Los Angeles. One of her first West Coast projects was the renovation of an abandoned cabin, which she transformed into a home for her family. This led to her book Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake, which she describes as “a love letter to the other side of modernism” and to the place where Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra did some of their best work.

“Since the early twentieth century, this area has been populated by nonconformists,” says Bestor, who, along with her team, has been exploring architectural form through experimentation, research and graphics since 1995. “We design atmospheres,” she says. Increasingly, what they learn in L.A. is applied to residential, retail and commercial projects throughout the country, which is great news for those of us who long for a splash of Silver Lake in our lives.


Bestor Architecture is based in Los Angeles and was founded by Barbara Bestor, FAIA in 1995. The firm has designed a number of award-winning projects including headquarters for Beats by Dre and Nasty Gal, Blackbirds, a groundbreaking new typology for dense housing in Echo Park, and a variety of experimental residences and commercial establishments. The varied, creative and aesthetically progressive body of work expands the territory of architecture into atmospheric urbanism.

Recent projects include Beats By Dre Headquarters, Jamba Juice Innovation Bar, Trina Turk showrooms, and Silverlake Conservatory of Music. She also led the restoration of Silvertop, the spectacular Silver Lake home designed by John Lautner in the 1950s.

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