The Juliette Interviews: Megan Dodds

JH: Can you briefly describe how you set the table? Is there a main centerpiece or several smaller pieces? Are there any items you should always include besides dishware and silverware?

MD: For a lunch I did for you, knowing that you love ceramics, I put together a collection of handmade, vintage stoneware vessels and plates. I found these at various thrift stores around town. Random pieces are all ok, and tend to look more artful than matching ones, as long as you stick to your theme.

Then I took a little trip to the flower market and gathered up some gorgeous flowers, bought summer fruit at Trader Joe’s, and combined everything. If you are new to flower arranging, I recommend printing a couple of inspo pages from Pinterest for what you’d like your flowers to look like and taking those with you. The vendors at the market are always happy to help pull your look together.

Our color story was blush and rose gold, so I tried to incorporate that into our glasses, silverware, menus etc. Then I had some fun with finding the complimentary colors in the stoneware to give it a painterly vibe. Quick tip: pick up a pocket color wheel at your local art supply store to if you need help with the palette.

JH: Are there any specific types of flowers to avoid?

MD: I tend to avoid using lilies, just because the pollen tends to rub off on everything and can be hard to get out!

JH: What’s your favorite go-to flower or combo?

MD: I love peonies, and this was the right time of year for them, so we lucked out! But I love using Queen Anne’s lace, sweet peas, anything reminiscent of a rambling English garden. I prefer things to look a little wild and loose – don’t be afraid to let something spill over the side!


JH: Do you have any tips on creating a menu/ do’s and don’t’s?

MD: Think about the time of year and use it to your advantage – eat what’s in season and make sure there’s at least one great salad.

JH: If someone doesn’t have a large outdoor table, can they rent furniture?

MD: I would recommend buying a folding table – I have two at home that I keep in the garage and haul out for parties. It’s more cost-effective than renting and they take up very little space.

JH: Are you seeing any interesting trends this Summer? Whether it’s color schemes, patterns, cool specialty drinks, furniture, décor etc.

MD: This is a huge one for me, MAKE AN EFFORT!! if you’ve invited people over, throw on a great summer outfit, clean those baseboards! Introduce everyone and hand them a drink in a fancy glass!

JH: Are there any faux pas you’ve seen or experienced while hosting a lunch party?

MD: I think it’s a tragedy to make a huge effort with food, preparations, etc. and then use paper plates. Always use real, washable ones – they don’t have to match! mix it up! you’ll find no one cares, and everyone would rather have a real plate – even for picnics, you can get great melamine versions. Same goes for silverware. Zero-waste!

JH: What kind of music or playlist is your go-to for a lunch party?

MD: Try listening to some Charles Trenet – especially while you’re cooking and setting the table – he will get you and your guests into an optimistic mood!


West Adams: L.A.’s Next Hot Spot

West Adams is a historic neighborhood in the South Los Angeles region of Los Angeles, California. This area, known for its large number of historic buildings and notable houses and mansions, is considered a popular spot to invest in. Below are some reasons why you should consider looking to purchase in the West Adams neighborhood.

This is currently my favorite area to invest in LA. The areas is unusual in that it’s central and affordable. It reminds me of Venice decades ago in that many artists are moving there living side by side with families who have lived there for decades. The average housing prices are under $1 million and it is fast becoming one of the hottest real estate markets. Houses tend to sell quickly there, with days on market averaging 33 days (where as other areas in LA are 90 -120 days), and most homes sell for over the asking price. Gentrification is well underway in West Adams with many people priced out from other areas that have increased in price (like Venice) moving there. House flippers and developers have already started improving some of the housing stock, and it’s not uncommon to see the same house sell for $200-300k more than it did a year earlier. There are, also, lots of people moving to West Adams who want to redo a house for themselves and make a home in the neighborhood. There’s still a mix of long-time residents and folks new to the neighborhood, making it a diverse and exciting place to live. A sure sign that the area will continue to attract buyers attention is the fact that Whole Foods, Erewhon and Gjelina are all opening there. The fact that you can buy a $13 dollar sandwich from hipster cafes like Highly Likely shows there is already a pool of what the French call BOBO’s (bourgeois Bohemians).

West Adams Vineyard

According to Trulia, as of June 26, 2019, the median sales price for a single family home in the West Adams neighborhood is $826,500 (6.1% increase over the previous year). The average rent is $3100 (up 22% over the past year). Most real estate experts are predicting that prices will continue to rise in West Adams over the next few years. I know a lot about the area and so if you are thinking of investing money in real estate I can help you nab one of the fab houses in the area!


West Adams is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, with many of the homes were built between 1880 and 1925. Before the Depression, it was one of the wealthiest neighborhoods, and city leaders such as Lawrence Doheny and Isadore Dockweiller, whose names you still see on street signs, built mansions here. As wealthy white homeowners began to move west into Beverly Hills and other newer west side neighborhoods, affluent black people began moving into West Adams, a trend that was further accelerated by the prohibition of segregationist covenants that had previously barred homeowners from selling to minorities. Many wealthy black celebrities such as Gone with the Wind actress Hattie McDaniel and architect Paul Williams called West Adams home. Today, West Adams is known for its concentration of historical homes in many architectural styles of the late 19th and early 20th centuries including, Queen Anne, Gothic Revival, Craftsman, Beaux-Arts, Spanish Colonial Revival and more.


West Adams vs Historic West Adams District
Historic West Adams District is a large central area of Los Angeles that runs from the 110 Freeway on the east to Crenshaw Blvd on the west, and north to Pico Blvd south to Jefferson Blvd. Historic West Adams is comprised of smaller neighborhoods each with their own local personality; these neighborhoods include University Park (around USC), Adams-Normandie, Jefferson Park (all south of the 10 Freeway) and Pico-Union, Harvard Heights and Arlington Heights (all north of the 10).


Just to make things extra confusing, the neighborhood directly to the west of the Historic West Adams District is called West Adams. This area was built in the 1920s and has more modest housing stock. For the West Adams neighborhood, Crenshaw Blvd is the eastern border, Fairfax Ave is the western border, the 10 Freeway is the northern border, and the Expo Line is the southern border. With its central location and close proximity to the 10 and the Expo Line, West Adams is convenient for people working in Culver City, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood Downtown LA, and Santa Monica.

There are great dining options in West Adams, from iconic favorites such as Mel’s Fish Shack and Honey Bee’s House of Breakfast, to newer hotspots like Mizlala and Alta Adams. Plus some of LA’s top restaurant talents are opening up new restaurants in West Adams. Travis Lett of Gjelina and Gjusta fame will be opening a 24-hour spot called Gjohnny Pastrami with a small brewery in the former Johnny’s Pastrami space on W Adams Blvd. Party Beer Co is also going to be opening up a craft brewery and bar on Jefferson Blvd.


  • Relatively affordable neighborhood with housing prices expected to continue to rise.
  • Easy to get around town with its central location, 10 Freeway, and the Expo metro line.
  • Lots of cool dining, bars and shopping options have opened and even more is in the works.
  • Tons of history and examples of classic architecture styles all around.

If you are considering renting or owning a home in West Adams, visit my property portfolio here to see what is available or feel free to email me to find out if I have any upcoming properties to offer.

Gregory Phillips The Juliette Letters

The Juliette Interviews: Gregory Phillips of Gregory Phillips Architects

JH: How did you get started in architecture?

GP: As a boy I remember drawing houses from my imagination. At school I studied the sciences but always painted from my imagination in my spare time. I was a talented student in mathematics and could have carried on studying mathematics at university. Instead I opted for architecture. It was not an obvious decision and if I had pursued the mathematics I could have gone into finance or technology. Then after a while I appreciated the depths of spatial creativity involved in architecture and the complexity of each project and knew I had made the right decision.

JH: You have a beautiful aesthetic and a contemporary style. What architect inspired you the most?

GP: As a student I was fascinated by the early modern movement architects in Europe. Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto. I also greatly admired Frank Lloyd Wright and the more contemporary architects Scarlo Scarpa and Tado Ando. However I aim to bring the contemporary and luxury and comfort all together. I aim to make the architecture, the interior design and the landscape all part of a holistic solution. Really taking care of the creative design and client requirements individually to make unique solutions.


JH: What is your process, in the simplest way you can share it with us?

GP: Architecture is in part like a jigsaw puzzle. One needs to understand the components, the brief, the site, the context, the culture, the building traditions, the available technology, the local skills. I take a holistic approach, looking at the bigger picture and then aiming to exceed expectations of my clients. Each project is unique and bespoke for the client. I hope my clients love what I have already done, knowing that their project will have the ambition of being even more special and extraordinary.

We were one of the first to pioneer a full service residential design and over decades we have accrued unparalleled knowledge of the sector, as well as a reputation for open, light-filled spaces, rich materiality, precise detailing, incredible craftsmanship and a strong connection between inside and outside living. Commanding the respect and trust of many high profile clients who want not only the very best but unique too.

JH: You are established in the UK, but how often do you design homes in other countries and what are some of those countries?

GP: Most of our work is in the UK. We have worked on projects in Ireland and France as well as the UK. At present we are working on projects in Malibu and the Hollywood Hills. I am fascinated to build in different landscapes, by the ocean on the beach, on a cliff, on a mountain, by a lake, in a desert, in the countryside, in a suburban lot, in city locations. I enjoy that LA can offer so many of these opportunities


JH: Have you won any awards you’d like to tell us about?

GP: We have designed homes that have won awards including Royal Institute of British Architects Awards and “Best House in Europe’ awards. As well as several other awards. It is always gratifying when your piers give you an award and also very reassuring with the awards we have won when the public have voted for us.

JH: Who is your typical client?

GP: We design mainly for individuals but also for developers. The typical individual is highly successful, often an entrepreneur, we have also worked for city financiers, technology clients, sports people, entertainment industry clients and designers.

JH: What is your philosophy behind each home you design?

GP: Each home is special. Each client should have all their needs met and exceeded. A home is many things, a sanctuary, a place for family, a place to entertain. We make our houses fully work. My clients should enjoy the best life they can and their house is part of that story.


JH: You clearly love this work, but, if you had to quit architecture today, what would be the next thing you would love to do?

GP: I guess it is inspired by my many trips to LA. I am fascinated by the creativity of recent tv series. I would enjoy being involved. If I had started earlier, being a director would have been a dream career. Now my skill set is very particular and I am an expert in designing homes and curating the entire process. Putting the team together to create an amazing result, maybe that makes me more an ideas person or producer in an alternative life.

JH: What advice would you give to anyone starting out in this field?

GP: My advise is to always associate yourself with the best of the best. Do whatever it takes and work hard to study with the best and work with the best. In the early years sacrifice money for experience if you have too. It’s a marathon not a sprint. It takes a while to become a good architect and designer. I am now just beginning to create what I hope will be my best projects. I am always optimistic and aim that the current work is our best.

If you would like to lean more about Gregory Phillips Architects you can find his work at
You can also email Gregory at or visit his Instagram: @gregoryphillipsarchitects


Juliette’s Top Vacation Destinations

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a contrarian, a total workaholic who loves to travel. There is no place too far, too exotic, or too expensive not to be on my travel itinerary.

Now that summer is here and you may be planning your vacations (unless you’re shopping for or selling a home of course) -  here are some of the places I’ve been to and highly recommend:

Cheval Blanc, St Barth – An elegant beachfront luxury resort on the northern coast of Saint-Barthélemy with some amazing bungalows.

Goldeneye, Jamaica – My holiday getaway last year! A collection of private villas, cottages and beach huts. Each is set amid tropical gardens, private beaches and secluded coves.


Jumby Bay Resort, Antigua – West Indies – Set on a private Caribbean island, this luxe beachfront resort features wraparound terraces and is only accessible by boat.

La Pinède Plage, La Croix-Valmer – In close proximity to downtown Saint-Tropez , this bright hotel is surrounded by pine trees and overlooks Gigaro Beach.

Park Hyatt, Tokyo – Views of Mount Fuji through the surrounding Tokyo skyscrapers is all that you need to know.

Babylonstoren, South Africa – This elegant hotel is surrounded by a fruit and vegetable garden on a farm dating back to 1692.

La Mamounia, Marrakech – Set on a former royal estate dating from the 12th century, this lavish hotel features plush Moroccan rooms, patios and private pools.


Thorntree River Lodge, Zambia – A luxury lodge that sits right on the banks of the Zambezi River in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, only 30 minutes from Victoria Falls.

Babington House, United Kingdom – A country house, hotel and members’ club on 18 acres of land in the heart of Somerset.

The JK Place, Capri – This chic hotel overlooks the Gulf of Naples on the island of Capri.

The Whitby Hotel, New York – This ultra-chic hotel sits just south of Central Park in NYC, and features hip rooms with a true English-country vibe.


La Bastide de Gordes, France – This plush, seasonal spa hotel offers views of the valley and mountains of Parc naturel régional du Lubero.

Tavarua Island Resort, Fiji – Surrounded by pristine natural beauty and world class reef breaks, this iconic and intimate resort is a surfers dream.

Ett hem, Stockholm – This hotel has an ultra-stylish townhouse feel that makes you forget you are actually staying in a hotel at all.


The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls, Zambia – Next to the Zambezi River, this posh, Colonial-style hotel in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park offers views of Victoria Falls

The Norman, Tel Aviv – A pair of 1920s-inspired buildings, this luxury hotel sits in the heart of Tel Aviv.

Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos – 1,000 acres of private island featuring a high-end beach resort with a total of 61 rooms.

The Harmony Hotel, Costa Rica – Casual, airy rooms close to the surfing beach of Playa Guiones.

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai – This luxury hotel is set on an island in a striking sail-shaped building.


Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Waimea – Set on Mauna Kea Beach, this modern, upmarket resort with a tropical vibe features colorful, contemporary rooms with private balconies.

Singita Boulders Lodge, South Africa – A rustic-chic all-inclusive lodge, set in woodlands alongside the Sand River.

Sand Hotel, Reykjavík, Iceland – A simple, very clean boutique hotel in the heart of Reykjavík.

Hotel Fairmont Mara Safari Club, Kenya – A luxury resort hotel in Kenya surrounded by the breathtaking Mara River.

Four Seasons Resort, Bora Bora – A collection of thatched-roof bungalows on the Bora Bora lagoon.

The Raj Palace, Jaipur – Set in an 18th-century Maharajan palace, this opulent hotel has a beautifully designed restaurant that is a must-see.

Six Senses Laamu, Maldives – Amid lush tropical forest on a coral atoll, this remote luxury resort is reached by plane, then boat, from Malé Island.

The Brando, French Polynesia – A unique luxury resort on French Polynesia’s breathtakingly beautiful atoll of Tetiaro.

Hotel de Russie, Rome – This one of Rome’s most prestigious luxury hotels, also called “paradise on earth” by French poet Jean Cocteau.


Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Peru – This tranquil mountain hotels is only a 10 minute walk from Machu Picchu’s Temple of the Three Windows.

Hotel Fasano, Rio de Janiero – This posh Brazilian hotel is just across the street from the iconic Ipanema beach.

Insólito Boutique Hotel & Spa, Búzios Brazil – This artsy boutique hotel overlooks a sheltered bay on the Búzios Peninsula.


Serenissima Boutique Hotel, Greece – This posh boutique hotel is set in a 16th-century Venetian manor.

The NoMad Hotel, DTLA – This premium hotel is set in an ornate 1920s neoclassical bank building in downtown Los Angeles.

Hotel Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena – This upscale hotel is located in a converted 17th-century convent near the Caribbean Sea.


Juliette’s Top 6 Sushi Spots in Los Angeles

According to the late Anthony Bourdain, never eat sushi on a Monday. He claimed that unless he knew the chef and the restaurant well, you’re likely eating 4 to 5 day old raw fish. So, since today is Tuesday, I’m celebrating and having sushi at one of my favorite spots in L.A.

Here lies the problem – I have a lot of favorite sushi spots – so many that if it wasn’t for the Bourdain’s advice and the fact I would have mercury flowing through my veins – I’d be able to eat it every day at a new spot worth raving on Yelp about.

In honor of the cities plethora of excellent sushi spots, I will share with you my top 6 favorites – just don’t ever go on a Monday:

1. Little Itzikaya – Sherman Oaks

2. Shu – Beverly Glen

3. Mtn – Venice

4. Shima – Venice

5. Nobu – Malibu

6. Asanebo – Studio City