Happy Valentine’s Day



Downtown Los Angeles Architectural Walking Tour

On April 25, 2013, with other members from Conejo Association of Professional Interior Designers (CAPID), we went on this Downtown Los Angeles Architectural Tour led by Eleanor Schrader Schapa, award-winning architectural and interior design historian and consultant. In order to not forget this wonderful day, I decided to document my experience here.

Biltmore Hotel (1924)

We started our tour from the Rendezvous Court of Millenium Bilmore Hotel. Like many of the building we would see on the tour, the hotel is an example of the Beaux-Arts architecture.

Rendezvous Court of Millenium Biltmore Hotel

Rendezvous Court of Millenium Biltmore Hotel

Inside Millenium Biltmore Hotel

Millenium Biltmore Hotel

Buildings from the time didn’t have air conditioning. The bays on the building encourages air circulation.

Pershing Square

Pershing Square

Pershing SquarePershing Square

Pershing Square

The walkway represents an earthquake fault line.

Pacific Mutual Building (Pacific Center) (1927)

523 W. 6th Street

Pacific Mutual Building

Pacific Mutual Building

Oviatt Building (1928)

617 S. Olive Street

This was originally a department store. Now the first floor is occupied by Cicada Restaurant. James Oviatt got the inspiration of the style of this building after attending the 1925 Paris Exposition. Lalique glass panels can be seen throughout the lobby.

Oviatt Building

Oviatt Building

We were unable to go up to see the penthouse. Watch the video from TvBride below to get the feel of the space.

Hilton Checkers Hotel (1927)

Originally Mayflower Hotel. It was the tallest building in the area when it was built.

Hilton Checkers Hotel

Los Angeles Central Library (1926)

630 W. 5th Street

L.A. Central Library

Southern California Edison Company Building (1931)

Southern California Edison Company Building

Southern California Edison Company Building

Southern California Edison Company Building

Angels Flight

Angels Flight

Grand Central Market (1917)Grand Central Market

Grand Central Market

Million Dollar Theater


Million Dollar Theatre

If you would like to experience watching classic films in historic theaters, check out Last Remaining Seats, an event organized by Los Angeles Conservancy.

Bradbury Building (1893)

304 S. Broadway


Bradbury Building

Bradbury Building

Bradbury Building

Bradbury Building

Biddy Mason Park

The story of Biddy Mason was amazing and moved every one of us on the tour.

WikipediaBiddy Mason Park

Biddy Mason Park

It was such a great tour! I learned so much and I want to learn more! It reminded me why I wanted to work in the architecture and interior design field. There is so much to explore in Los Angeles. This city is always ahead of its time. I have listed some resources below if you are interested to find out more. My favorite way of transportation is taking Metro. Check out my other article: Exploring Los Angeles.


Los Angeles Conservancy: http://www.laconservancy.org

Historic Downtown Tour Description (Los Angeles Conservancy)

Angels Walk L.A.: http://www.ci.la.ca.us/angelswalk

USC Dornsife Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour: http://dornsife.usc.edu/la-walking-tour/la-tour/

Downtown LA: www.DowntownLA.com

Wikipedia – List of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monuments in Downtown Los Angeles

A Bit of Downtown History: Tour of the Subway Terminal Area

P.S. I am so proud of myself for taking 10 designers on Metro and bringing them back safely!


As a design professional, I feel it is important to market my own style.  There are tons of people with the same design and drafting skills I have, and many are more advanced and experienced than me, but nobody has the exact same style as mine.

My style reflects on all aspects of my life: the food I eat, the clothes I wear, the TV program I watch, the things I collect, the music I listen to, the places I visit, …etc.  Marketing my own style is what I call ‘branding’.

Like many designers, my business is simply an extension of myself and my individual ‘brand’.  My style dictates how I operate my business.  I believe when designers ‘brand’ themselves, they will attract the clientele that is suited for them.  As my business expand, a clearly defined brand image will attract the right talent to work with me.

I am not there yet.  But I look forward to the day people in the industry see ‘MICHELLE CHIANG‘ and immediately think hardworkingdedicated, honest, ethical, and intelligent. I also don’t mind to be known as ‘the woman with killer hair‘. 😉

‘Switch Rooms’ at Shibuya Hikarie

I happened to watch ‘Tokyo Eye‘ this morning, and the restrooms at Shibuya Hikarie just blew me away.

Shibuya Hikarie is a new shopping and entertainment complex. It caters to women in their 20s to 40s. The ladies’ rooms here are called ‘Switch Rooms’. According to the official Shibuya Hikarie directory guide, a switch room is is “a multi-purpose room that is much more than than the standard restroom“. Those rooms allow women to ‘switch’ their moods. The Switch Rooms on each floor has a unique concept. All the switch rooms have WiFi access and surround sound music.


Shibuya Hikarie - 5F Switch Room

4F – Accent STAGE

Shibuya Hikarie - 4F Switch Room

3F – Style Up Stage

Shibuya Hikarie - 3F Switch Room

B1F – Beauty Presentation STAGE

Shibuya Hikarie - B1F Switch Room

B2F – Mammy’s STAGE

Shibuya Hikarie - B2F Switch Room

B3F – Open STAGE

Shibuya Hikarie - B3F Switch Room

You can take a virtual tour of the Switch Rooms on Shibuya Hikarie’s website.

You can see more photos and read more about the Switch Rooms on Rocket News 24.