Los Angeles: A design field trip


Did you have a wonderful Thanksgiving? I hope so!




And now, back to interior design…but first, a few ramblings.




While it’s nice to call Santa Barbara home (the beaches, the hiking, the shared zip code with Oprah) when it comes to finding furniture, it’s fairly fallow.  LA, on the other hand, may be sprawling and smoggy and traffic-y, but when it comes to furniture stores, its style cup runneth over.




So even though driving to LA from SB feels a lot like leaving a quiet little hamlet only to arrive in Gotham City–albeit with more daylight and no real-life comic book characters lurking about–my design partner and I were in need of a few wow factor pieces for a house we were finishing (spoiler alert: upcoming blog post!) so we sucked it up and headed out.





LA Mart chairOh the time it would take to polish that chair!







The first stop was the LA Mart.





Plant wallNifty succulent wall just outside the LA Mart.





The Mart offered some items of interest, such as this strangely shaggy chandelier. I think it falls into the Love it/Hate it category. Personally, I’m leaning towards loving it, but we knew our client wouldn’t so we left it for someone else with amazing taste to snatch up.






Sea Urchin ChandelierNote the snobby note.







Mongolian lamb pillows were here, there, and everywhere…







Lambskin pillowsSo far, the best prices I’ve found on Mongolian Lamb pillows have been not at a wholesale source, but at West Elm!







There were some bling-encrusted items that our clients could live without (as could most people, right?)…







Bling sofa





that had us wondering, “Who buys this stuff?”







Glitter bedFrill Fest 2014.





We decided not us and promptly headed to the Pacific Design Center. You know, the Blue Whale, or as its website so chest-thumpingly proclaims:  LA’s “elite design district.” This used to be the place, all 750,000 square feet of it, where you were likely to bump handbags with the designers who specialized in second homes, spot something you’d just seen in Architectural Digest, and experience selection saturation: they offered everything from frame-worthy fabric to appliances so advanced, even the Jetsons would be jonesing.






PDC outside





But that was then. Now it was, in fact, so deserted, I had no trouble taking this shot below without a single person walking by–on either floor. Note the vacant storefronts to the left and right. Or rather, don’t. It’s all quite sad to see how much the industry has changed with the boom of online shopping.










While the PDC was low on patrons and high on vacancy, it was not without interesting (interesting = euphemism for, “What is that an installation of spider snot!?”) installations of “art” in their, otherwise, echo-filled halls.





PDC ArtMucous themed “art”.






To be fair, there were a few remaining showrooms with some neat stuff…







PDC roomLike this hanging lamp. I am always saying you can’t go wrong when you merge the concepts of space, metal, and Swiss cheese.







And this Rorschach-esque wallpaper and the tables with the Flintstones feet? Adore is too weak a word.








Rorschach wallpaperNeat, cute!





But nothing really said, “Your client needs this!”






PDC room lightingDefinitely nothing here!






So we moseyed away wondering if the Big Blue Whale had actually become a dinosaur and headed to Beverly Blvd., hoping for something better.







Rifle floor lampsNot better.





Rifle lighting, while good for a guffaw, was not really our design aesthetic. Not this year, anyway.





Umbrella chandelierRihanna needs one of these, right?






The Birdie Chandelier by Ingo Maurer has been around for a while now, but it’s so silly, it still makes me smile.





Lightbulb chandelierUntil I see the $2,390.00 price tag.






The next stop, ddc, (too cool for caps), was filled with “If you have to ask….” items. I had to try not to sputter when I found out the glass waterfall coffee table we inquired about was over $4k!






Modern chairThis chair was eye-catching sure, but seems to say, “Go away,” more than it does, “Sit, stay, relax.”





This next chair scored no better on the relax-the-back scale, but we were fascinated with the glue-only construction.






Wood particle chairThe ultimate blogger craft project.






Hanging with Jane would be novel and all, (pun so intended), but we were unanimous in nixing this wallpaper.





Glass coffee tableBehold the $4,000 coffee table.





I loved this lamp. I really did. You could have a terrible house and terrible furniture, but if you owned this lamp, people would say, “But she has the coolest lamp.” Alas, it was something like three trillion dollars (give or take) so we high-tailed it out of there with out budget still firmly intact.





Gooseneck floor lamp





And headed back to the world of retail. You’ll know this one…Restoration Hardware!  Of course since this trip, this RH on Beverly Blvd., has been replaced by the one on Melrose Ave., which makes the next few shots like an RH time capsule.





RH BeverlyFancy, no? Seriously, it’s hard to imagine how the new one could be better, but I have heard great things, one of them being that it is 40,000 square feet compared to the 24,000 square feet of the one we were about to enter.






There was an olive garden entrance. (New one boasts a 10,000 square foot rooftop garden, also with olive trees and DG.)






RH Gardens 2






But does the new one have a crazy graffiti wall? So hip. So LA. So…(“Fearless and Hopeless”? What were they thinking? Suicidal thoughts, I suppose)…depressing!






Fearless and HopelessAll it needs is a soundtrack of sirens to accompany this mood-dulling maxim.





Instead they had tea–a tea atelier–just below the delightful display of birdcage chandeliers and a floral boutique. Does the new one? Yes to the tea. The floral boutique? I can only hope so.





RH Birdcage chandeliers




We liked a lot of things, but we were in a Godilocks sort of mood so nothing was quite right.





RH Chainmetal chandelier




So we tucked our memo sheets and price lists away, headed to the car and sped home, trying to beat all that traffic, and get back to our much tinier, smog-free town that we get to share with Oprah.



How about you, where do you like to shop in LA? Have you been to the new RH?



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2 Comments on Los Angeles: A design field trip

  1. PickyB
    December 2, 2014 at 1:08 PM (6 years ago)

    Maybe I’m not sophisticated enough to get it, but some of those “designer” things look downright unattractive to me! I wonder if people are really buying this stuff, especially at the sky-high prices. Very sad, though, to see the Design Center so deserted – that used to be such a vibrant and fun place. Perhaps they should turn it into something else now. My vote would be to create a giant art museum. Yes, another one. How could there be too many? 😉

    • Kisha Gianni
      December 2, 2014 at 8:59 PM (6 years ago)

      Now that’s a good idea!


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