THE WEST HOLLYWOOD WALK OF INTERIOR DESIGN
For anyone with four walls–or a walled estate–ready to be decorated, redecorated or simply face-lifted, West Hollywood is the Promised Land. The Design District will roll out the red carpet, or a room-size faux zebra for that matter, and you can take it from there. The shops, studios and ateliers listed here are all near the Pacific Design Center, home to another 130 interior-design showrooms. In some cases, the floor samples are available with a snap of your credit card. Usually the welcome mat is out to anyone, but if “to the trade” is store policy, there will be an introduction to a top-tier professional designer to help guide your choices.
Going from the sublime to the more sublime, some of West Hollywood’s finest home furnishings havens are in this roundup. The District, officially organized in 1996, is a premier Los Angeles shopping destination within a walkable area. The radius of Melrose Avenue and Beverly and Robertson Boulevards is home to countless interior-design muses, so this is necessarily a partial inventory. Explore today, find it here tomorrow and with any luck, it will arrive at your place within a few weeks.
VALUE CONTEMPORARYCamerich L.A.
461 North Robertson Boulevard
This spanking new (June, 2013) corporate flagship store carries only its own Camerich brand of furniture, made by a high-standard Chinese manufacturer. Married partners Michael Lin and Stephen Bianchi describe the collection as “softened contemporary” and stress its high-end look at comparably affordable prices. Here’s where young professionals can head to furnish an entire 800 square foot apartment, “in keeping with that economic sensibility–in the roughly $10,000 range,” according to Lin. The showroom is set up in a living room, bedroom and dining area configuration to emulate a well-designed modern living space. The lines of the furniture are clean and modern, and limited customization in sofa sizes is possible. Included in the settings are European accessories, like side tables, book cases, and charismatic light fixtures, (like the one created from paperclips) that add pizzazz. Find lacquer, oak and walnut veneers here, and some “micro-fibre leather,” a euphemism for very durable vinyl, that Lin describes as “more to the beat.” The sofas are solid oak or birch with pillows down-wrapped in the European style. There is a five-working-days delivery if pieces are in stock.
Hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to p.m. Sat: 11 a.m . to 6 p.m.
8738 Melrose Avenue
Walking into this showroom is like stepping into a timeless European drawing room. It is filled with elegant, carefully chosen pieces, arranged in graceful groupings to accentuate their provenance: Jean Dunand, famous for his lacquered vases, and Jacques Emile Ruhlman, renowned French Art Deco designer, are represented here. Originally, Hauck dealt exclusively with authentic imports, now with her “New Collection,” she’s enlarged her stock with meticulously crafted reproductions. In business for thirty years she maintains that only European craftsmen–German and French–are able to perfectly create the armoires, tables and chairs she sells. There is elaborate marquetry work and interesting woods like macassar, zebrano, palisander, in different shades and striations, brought to lustrous, gleaming finishes “to last a lifetime.” You may also spot a glimmer of gold leaf here and there, as well as ivory real and faux, old glassware and collectors’ clocks. The original Art Deco pieces were created between 1920 and 1940 and the emphasis is French, but some of the torchieres and chandeliers are 1960’s Deco modern. Prices vary but a side table on view had a price of $15,000.
Hours: Mon to Fri 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment
8540 Melrose Avenue
This shop, in its cottage-y white house, is “to the trade only” but Jobi, the store manager, will fix you up with a local design guru. Although everything under this roof is made in one of a few small factories in Southern California, the overall impression of the furnishings is urbane and international. In fact, Rose Tarlow, who opened the store in 1976, is in France half the year and as creative director is still researching products. She describes her vision as “clean traditional” and intends her pieces to be timeless, not identified with a particular age or style. Her chosen pieces are reproduced and ship anywhere in the world–including David Geffen’s yacht. The finishes are the big thing here and so are the “soft-spoken” colors. A new line of outdoor furniture was introduced last year featuring weather-resistant materials. Tarlow is known for her wood grains, organic fabrics and her attention to detail. The Le Mer side table, decorated in the Chinoiserie style with a school of swimming fish in silver and gold leaf, is the star of the showroom floor, its quality “unprecedented.” It goes for $15,000.
Hours: Mon-Fri 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
ASIAN INFLUENCE Robert Kuo
8688 Melrose Avenue
This showroom is not about shoji screens or flower wall plaques; it is about sophistication, subtlety and art, and the space looks more like a museum than a shop. “World class” comes to mind when talking about Kuo’s furniture, decorative objects or dramatic sculpture. These original and exceptional pieces are not likely seen anywhere else–except in five-star hotels around the world and in the private collections of famous fashion designers, notably Geoffrey Beene and James Galanos. (Maybe yours, too, if you can pay $5000 or so for a pair of Kuo’s red cherries.) Born in Beijing, he arrived in Los Angeles in the seventies and opened this showroom in 1984. Inspired by organic forms in nature, colors found in semi-precious stones, Western Deco period antiques and Ming dynasty designs, his finishes vary from smooth–at least sixty coats of lacquer–to silver-leaf or wood grain or repoussé. This is a painstaking process that creates a striking wavy, swirl or peony pattern, a distinctive texture he applies to vases, table bases, floor screens. There’s hand-blown glass here too. Defined as “an aesthetic inspiration” in its biographical description, Kuo’s place is just exactly that.
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm Sat: 12pm-4pm
Martyn Lawrence Bullard
8111 Melrose Avenue
Born in the UK, his accent still a bit Brit, Bullard moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. He met Cheryl Tiegs on the set of a movie and when he invited her to visit his cottage, she liked what she saw and hired him to decorate her house. Word of his design talent hit the circuit and the die was cast. Nowadays his images on a TV screen are that of a hot, hip interior designer and his audacious, brash, totally original interiors. He has become a Bravo TV star without benefit of a formal interior-design education. His work, which is different for each client and can’t be classified as one particular style, has included restaurants, hotels, offices and the homes of the rich and very rich, including Sir Elton John, Cher, Tommy Hilfiger, Kid Rock. A roll of his wallpaper begins at $80 and products on his website sell for anywhere from $20 to $20,000. He’s an award winner, author, and these days, takes on clients only if they have $500,000 or more to spend. He does all his clients’ designing himself and also “gives back,” directing work on housing projects.
Hours: Any time at Info@martynlawrencebullard.com or
OVER THE TOP
655 North Robertson Boulevard
You’ll think, “Liberace!” when you walk into this Rococo superstore. Designer Phyllis Morris opened it in 1953 and her daughter, Jamie Adler, has enlarged the space and incorporated into it her own modernized, but equally razzle-dazzle vision. This showroom is not for shrinking violets; it is the mother lode for supplying the estates of potentates and Hollywood rock stars. Even the embellishments have embellishments. A posh Chesterfield sofa with a tufted back has Swarovksi crystals instead of buttons, here is lucite and shiny lacquer and a hand-carved chaise with 22 karat gold leaf legs, $26,000. Put on sunglasses to view the chandeliers and take in the $14,850 red, snake-embossed leather chair with a back imprint inspired by a motorcycle jacket. Try not to let your eyes pop at the sight of the custom, swagged, $60,000 bed that’s eight feet by eight feet, with its four-posters and everything else silver-leaf burnished. The quieter “Cosmopolitan Room” is a display that is a paean to black and white Hollywood movies, the space all milky, silky and gleaming, ready for Fred Astaire to dance up the wall. Dubbed Hollywood Regency, ostentation is the theme here, and yes, Liberace was a customer.
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:30-5:30 and weekends by appointment
8900 Melrose Avenue
This family business was started in 1955 by Louis Sugarman, passed on to his son and now his granddaughter Sara is the showroom presence, dealing with the many celebrities who will walk on the rugs shown here. Wool, sisal, silk, nylon, raffia, the you-name-it floor coverings are imported from Thailand, China, India. Pick any size, shape or color, and have it made to order here. Price range: $25-1000 per square yard.
Hours: Mon-Friday 9 am to 5 pm
8844 Beverly Boulevard
Open for seven years, Mayfair House calls itself an “all-in-one” shop and was the first store in West Hollywood to have a bridal registry for gay couples. The bed linens, a store specialty, range from 240 to 1020 threads per inch, can be size customized. Up to $2,000 per sheet if embroidered (not a misprint). This store also sells purses, watches and the sorts of high quality gifts bought by, or presented to, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.
Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-6pm
634 1/2 North Robertson Boulevard
Time to choose a comfy bed for your best friend. This small boutique has the goods, whether Spotty prefers mid-century simplicity or is the privileged, spoiled type of puppy who demands to shed on a “White Antoinette Doggie coach” with its Majestic red welt white faux fur cushion. There are usually eight or ten beds in stock, prices range from $300 to $1300. Ten percent of every dog bed purchase goes to a local animal rescue organization.
Hours: Mon-Sat: 11 am to 7pm, Sun 11 am to 5 pm
Sunset Marquis, Andaz, The Moment
These two luxury hotels are both famous for their rock-and-roll sensibility and cutting-edge decor. Both have swimming pools, glamour and are in the Design District.
The Moment is brand new, on the Strip, and offers a fresh and smart sensibility at lower room rates. It has a roof terrace but no swimming pool.
3752 West Sunset Boulevard
Great back patio and tapas dishes
8479 Melrose Avenue
A touch French and much candlelight
616 North Robertson Boulevard
Budget friendly Mexican Grill