Secret Stair Walk #13: Laveta Terrace (Echo Park)

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

I haven’t posted a Secret Stair walk in a while mainly because I don’t want them to end, so I’ve been savoring them. The Laveta Terrace walk #13 takes us through Echo Park. I parked up Echo Park Ave, which added a little bit to my trek.



There’s nothing like walking along Sunset on a Sunday. The textures, colors, and fonts are fun to explore.



This is where the stair walk begins. Up, up, up!





The next set of stairs was really fun and with a line of palms at the top, it felt like a scene in a movie.


Don’t mess with this guy.


Hills. Up, up, up.


Gates are just a suggestion, right?


From across the valley I saw this guy. I wonder what it is? A fancy jungle gym? Someones house?


This was my favorite part of this hike. It was hidden amongst the trees, but by exploring I got to see this awesome religious space in the Echo Park hills.


Look at how nice this space is?! And with the views… it feels so European.



What a pretty dumpster. Love the color.


Steep steps.


Flamingos on parade.


These steps lead to a little oasis above Sunset. What a nice surprise to take you out of the hustle and bustle of Echo Park.


On the way back to the car Siquica Sara guides you.

DIY: Herringbone Pattern Painting

When my roommates moved out, they left some rather large (36″X36″) prefab art canvases. I decided it was about time to revamp them because now they don’t match much in the house. After browsing around pinterest, I came across some great art pieces where a white herringbone pattern was painted over brightly colored designs and I thought- easy-peasy!


Here’s what I started with. Since canvases are expensive, it’s nice to start by recycling something else to use as the base. Check out Goodwill for old canvases, and you can find something that’ll work for you, for cheap.


I went to the fashion district recently, where I picked up fabric for several projects. Knowing this has been on my to-do list, I made it a point to find bright, colorful fabric, in a linear direction. I then wrapped the canvas with this fabric.


Since I don’t have a ton of pinks around the house, I decided to paint and add in colors from my left over paint. I added lots of blues and oranges.


After 5 minutes in the hot LA sun, it dried up quick.


I was dreading this next step, because I thought it would take a long time. The next step was taping off the herringbone pattern. This past Saturday I was up early drinking coffee in bed while TBS was on. A movie had just started and I decided to use the time efficiently, and I just started taping it off while watching the movie.


It was actually very easy, as I wasn’t being fussy with it. It was kind of nice repeating the steps over and over while watching the movie.


Time flew by and before I knew, I finished!


That’s a lot of herringbone! For visual interest I pulled a few pieces off to reveal…


This! Keep in mind, where the tape is, is where the colorful pattern will be showing on the final product. It’s challenging to think reversely like this.


Time to paint before the masking tape peels off! My white spray paint was acting up, and I was still in pjs (not about to run to the hardware store) so I decided to use a roller and my left over Dove Valspar paint from Lowe’s.


I was careful to not un-stick the tape while rolling the white paint. Three coats of paint and a short drying time later…


It’s time for the big reveal.


It came out excellent! It adds just the right amount of texture and color to the room. I just can’t get over how easy it was.

Garage Makeover: Pegboard Pollock

Sometimes when something feels off, you impulsively do what you can to solve it. In my case it’s paint, paint, paint! To catch up to speed, check out this post from yesterday.


I mean, you can see above the pegboard looks fine. It’s just not right. It’s too much like a todlers-bedroom and not exactly a fun inspiring space that I want to hangout in. It’s Dullsville, population: pegboard.


So, impulsively one rare rainy LA night, I came home from work, mixed my own paint color and rolled it on to the pegboard. Right there while it was still mounted on the wall. I didn’t even take down the board. How’s that for on the fly!


Oh, crap. The color was too bright and just not me. Well, third times the charm right? Wrong.


I decided to wait a day, and then I went over it a mature gray purple color. While I do really like this color, it’s also just not me.


It’s just so… uninspiring. Then it hit me. I love white. On pinterest, I’m always pinning all white interiors that have small splashes of bright color. It’s what I like, and I need to accept it and stop trying to convince myself I need to paint everything a solid bright color. That’s the ticket! I decided to paint the bookcase, table and stools Dove White (Valspar at Lowe’s). And then my pegboard would be a Jackson Pollock inspired abstract bright colorful painting within the golden frame around my art-piece/pegboard. As soon as I connected the dots, I knew this was the answer to all my pegboard angst. Plus, for the painting I could use all my left over colors from other projects and save $$$.


It’s funny that I bought all these colors at different times for different projects and had no clue that I was buying a rainbow of colors that all work really well together. I guess I was just drawn to this type of color palette. It was truly unintentional.


Now is the fun part. Just go with it!I just played and played and played. Layering the paint, until you couldn’t even tell that this board was purple when I started. Even as I was making this, it felt so “me”. Especially compared to the solid colors I started with.



Once I laid it out in the sun to dry, it was time to reinstall it. I’m really so happy with the results.


You can see above, the all white furniture draws your eye to the pegboard, where the colors really jump (I like to think of it as my own Bill Cosby sweater, which truly was my inspiration). The frame makes it feel like art and less like a place to hang tools.


But alas, it is for tools, so up they go. You can see I still need several coats on the stools, but there’s no rush on that project. I just feel relieved to have the garage makeover crossed off my list. Now on to my long list of things to make in my new completed workspace!

Garage Makeover: Framed Pegboard

There have been MANY ongoing projects around the Life Absorbed household, so my goal for Memorial Day weekend was to finally cross several projects off my list. First on the list was finalizing my garage, and a big part of that was finishing my pegboard and color choices. To catch up to speed check out these other garage projects: Garage Makeover, Garage Makeover Update, and Garage Makeover: Lighting.


There’s nothing like starting off the day by drinking coffee out in my studio/garage. With the garage door open, it’s like sitting out on a patio. Also, RISD represent!


Time to tackle my pegboard! It came in white sheets that I cut to fit my work space. I also had to cut a spot for the electrical outlet (as it’s the only one in the garage and the source of all my power).


I decided to go with a a paint I already own (saving moola), Valspar Tranquility in a satin finish (Lowes), see below. You can see above, the color looks nice.




Look at my awesome lighting fixture next to my painted pegboard! Now I just need want a frame around my pegboard… to keep it fun and girly.


I picked out this chair rail moulding from Home Depot. It has detail without getting too big and costly (the more detail the pricier).



Thanks to my miter saw I was able to cut it exactly.


Now it’s time to paint it gold! That’s my mantra. At work when I tell people about my projects, it’s often followed by “let me guess… you painted it gold!”


Since my pegboard is in two pieces, first I needed to mount the pegboard and then mount the moulding.



Doesn’t it look nice? Especially with my fancy (but super cheap and easy to make) light fixtures!


Here’s the thing… I’m not satisfied with my color choices. While the pale blue is a nice color, it’s just not me. If you follow me on instgram or facebook, then you know what I ended up doing. But sometimes you need to make some mistakes to learn a lesson about yourself.

Up next: How did I change my pegboard? What did I decide to do with it? Find out tomorrow!

Garage Make-Over


You probably can tell by now, I love to build things and work with my hands. Part of purchasing my miter saw is that I want to turn my tiny shared garage into a functioning workspace for weekends and unemployment (and who knows- maybe more!).

I’m a renter living in a town house with two other roommates, so I’m tight on space, forced to make everything removable, and need to be mindful of my roommates needs. Despite all of these challenges, I’m excited to turn the above space into a functioning workshop. Not just user friendly, but girlie and fun. I want this to be a space that I look forward to spending time in, so that I have no excuses not to get to work.

Since Im very tight on space, I’m going to have to make the table for the saw myself. This is a nice first project for the saw and totally doable. The storage shelving unit (above) I recently bought for $30 at Ikea and plan to paint in the coral and gold colors below.


The stools in the top photo are going to become this fun pink color in the rendering. The peg board I need to purchase will eventually be painted mint green. I also want to buy hanging light sockets (paint the cords pink to match the stools) and then attach a gold cage to them. It’s got a steam -punk vibe to keep this space girlie and fun as well as industrial.

I’m excited to share this transformation with you, as well as all the inevitable DIY projects to come from this. Stay tuned.

Secret Stair Walk #16: Allesandro Loop

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

My most resect secret stair walk was in Echo Park, #16: Allesandro Loop. I did it in conjunction with walk #17 to really make an afternoon of it.


In quiet sunny Echo Park, you really get a great view of the city.




The road might end, but the path continues. I got to meet several nice people along this trek.


Down, down, down.


Graffiti fun. Local flavor.


Echo Park is colorful creative hillside. You never know what you’ll find.


The dogs above were adorable. When I stumbled upon them the little dog was curled laying on the larger dogs arms… dog spooning. It was the cutest thing. Of course when I paused to take a photo, they jumped up and ran to the fence barking. Their friendship is really sweet.


This was in the window above someones front door. Like a guard dinosaur.


More roaming through the hills.


The above home (and below, mailbox) are Paul Landacre‘s. He was a famous artist/printmaker/woodworker. It’s unfortunate this property is boarded up. I’m so curious to know what’s inside (signs everywhere say “do not trespass”).



Above is a fun/tacky gardenscape that’s taken over an Echo Park property. The gnomes and their castle.



I finished this walk passing by this home with a cat staring me down. Only after a few snap shots did I see there was another cat further back watching me, and then another cat on the stairs. They blended in so well, that before I knew it I was in front of MANY cats… all quietly watching me.

Secret Stair Walk# 3: Glassell Park North- York and Beyond

—  In 2012 I had the goal to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. I was 10 walks shy of meeting my goal, but thats means I get to enjoy the Secret Stair walks in 2013! These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

I love these secret stair walks. Just love them. This walk led me to Glassell Park North. This walk I actually met a young hipster couple also climbing the secret stairs at the same time! They were doing the loop in reverse, so we crossed paths twice. They warned me of large dogs up ahead “You’ll know it when you see it” and they were VERY right. I spent the walk wondering when I would stumble on them. Sure enough it was a narrow stretch of walkway between two houses and I saw the three dogs. One of them looked like the size of a pony. Thankfully they didn’t jump the fence and instead barked loudly at me as I ran (very fast) by.



You know how I love finding unique trash treasures along the way.


I did this walk on a free weekend with a mix of clouds and sun in the sky. So the photos really range in contrast.



(Above) Winner for most artistic mailbox on this walk!


Other than that couple (and scary dogs) it was a very quiet walk. Not many neighborhood sounds which made the walk very contemplative.


(Above) Rooster in jail.


Plenty of beautiful views from the hilltops.


Above is a driveway that leads off the cliff. This made me laugh when I stumbled upon it. It’s like the house just vanished and left the driveway.


I don’t quite understand why hanging knitted blankets outside is a good idea… but I’m no green thumb.


Steep rickety steps lead me up the next hillside. It looks like one of those old wooden roller coasters where you have to take your life into your own hands.



I really love the orange retaining wall overflowing with greenery.


Don’t be fooled! These steps are not public stairs and also seem to cut short in the middle of the hill.


Watchful guardians.

Secret Stair Walk #19: Silver Lake Circles

It’s time to share another secret stair walk! This is one of my favorite neighborhoods, Silver Lake. In case you didn’t know…

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

One of my favorite things around Silver Lake is the graffiti/murals. I love the guy in the green shorts on the left side of the painting. He seems… a little out of place. And yet in Silver Lake, nothing is out of the ordinary.

Graffiti-sticker fun. I love the texture above.

Oh, Silver Lake.

So much graffiti. A photographers paradise.

As all my stair walks take me high into the hills, this was no exception.

I love the lime greens, corals, and blue-purples of the photo above. And the mix of textures and some sunlight, and you have yourself a delightful afternoon.

Higher, lower, higher, lower.

Los Angeles’ shortest public staircase. It deserved to be photographed.

“United We Stand” and Dorothy’s slippers.

This home used to be owned by Lily Tomlin is called Elevado de Castillo.

Just around the corner I found this golden shoe resting on a homes front stairway. I think I found my next pair of running shoes.

Adorable. If anyone finds Gigi, let me know!

This last photo is for my friend and past co-worker Bob. He told me to check out the public space Bloom provided by Materials & Applications, and it’s an experience. Bring a book, grab a coffee at LaMill, and come sit in this little oasis.

Secret Stair Walk#20: Sunset Junction Loop

It seems like I’ve been talking a lot about the Secret Stair Walks with friends lately, so I figure it’s about time I share another walk with you. This is Secret Stair Walk #20: Sunset Junction Loop.

—  In 2012 I have to do all 42 walks from my book, “Secret Stairs, A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of LA” by Charles Flemming. These posts are to (hopefully) convince you to buy the book and get out there to explore the secret stairs around LA. Enjoy!  —

Oh, Sunset Blvd. You are a fun fun street.

The street art along Sunset is truly original. I love looking for these small creative details. Who takes the time to make this art? Who does it for creativity/humanity (because LA certainly didn’t commission these artists)?

The colors and texture of Sunset (above). When you do this walk, be sure to park far away, so you can add a Sunset walk to the loop.

Mascots of Silver Lake.

This neighborhood has excellent brunch spots/cafes to visit, so plan the walk around a meal.

A fresh bloom.

Like all of these walks, after a stint on a busy road the stairs take you to a quiet landing overlooking Los Angeles. The hustle+bustle becomes so tranquil.

Even high up in the hills, there is still creativity to observe.

The above photo was taken on a landing many flights of stairs above the road. This is the path these 5-10 home owners have to walk every time they arrive/leave in order to reach their cars. You wouldn’t want to lug groceries up here.

Then I came across the freakiest “free” sale. Yes, you are seeing a bong and 5 identical doll heads. So weird, but an awesome find for a Secret Stair Walk.

I heart doors. The bright color is so daring for this traditional colonial. It’s a great contrast compared to the bright white trim and green of the nature surrounding it.

Doors <3.

Then I came across a teepee. This is the second one I’ve seen in Silver Lake.


Color, color, color!

This last photo was taken on the car ride home from the walk (and not actually on the walk). I just had to share this large mural. This is located across from the Lyric Cafe. Keep an eye out for it!