Dwell on Design Downtown Urban Living Home Tour

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The highlight of this week's Dwell on Design show here in LA was arguably the Downtown Urban Living Home Tour, with 6 different residences in or around the historical region of Downtown Los Angeles opened to the (paying) public. We spent almost all of Sunday walking the whole tour on Main Street, visiting the Santa Fe Lofts, the Elleven, the Hellman Building, the Bartlett Building and the Douglas Building (we unfortunately were worn out by day's end and didn't make it to the furthest Toy Factory Loft). Many more photos and our impression under the jump...

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[Photo top of post] The Douglas Building was personally our favourite space due to the saturation of light allowed by windows located almost 360 degrees around the unit. Large custom built rolling doors allowed for whole rooms to be partitioned off, while a skylight overhead bathed the loft with a luxuriant glow. We also appreciated the dark bathrooms, that played in obvious contrast to the rest of the residence.

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The Elleven was the newest, non-historical building on the tour and the first stop on our walking tour. The Elleven is the first certified LEED GOLD condominium building in California. This particular unit belonged to the building's interior designer, measured 1,500 square feet, and was located nearby the booming Staples Center complex.

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The six story Hellman Building on Main featured 104 loft units, with this particular asian-ethnic interior reputed to belong to a notable mover and shaker in Los Angeles who requested to remain anonymous. We found this unit to be the most well thought out use of space, with an inviting reading nook adjacent to their bed, mood lighting, and industrial details that blended in well with the rest of the darker decor.

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Just next door to our recent House Tour, this unit unfortunately suffered from what we call "empty loft syndrome": too much space with tight, floating groupings of furnishing that didn't tie in altogether. That being said, the owner had an impressive and beautiful selection of furnishings and decorations. This unit also had the largest bathroom we had ever seen, likely at one time a public restroom renovated for private use.

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The Bartlett Building unit had an unusual entrance, where guests had to wind through the kitchen. Once inside we were greeted by a friendly feline and an expansive living room, with 18 ft vaulted barrell exposed brick ceilings and huge industrial-style windows. But what really impressed us was the resident's jaw-dropping balcony deck view which convinced us we had somehow transported to New York.

Overall, we had a great time traversing across Downtown Los Angeles, not only enjoying the residences opened up on the Dwell on Design tour, but also talking with other tour participants, the cheerful staff (one who was a big AT fan!), and experiencing the myriad of other ornate buildings that line the historical core of Downtown LA. One note on our wish list for next year's tours is that Dwell provides shuttle service to farther located residences for us who decide to walk most of the route; we had to skip out on the last location near Little Tokyo due to time constraints (we were also just being plain beat). Parking specific to the tour attendees at a discount price would be nice too, since it's not cheap to park, drive, then park again (AT reader carpool group next year anyone?). Another wish list item is supplementing the tour with a recorded podcast to accompany you on your tour with historical and architectural information, strengthening what is the beginning of what we hope to be an annual event for all of us decor and architecture buffs out there. We can't wait till next year's line up...thanks Dwell!

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Special thanks to Michael Sylvester and Greg McElroy at Dwell.