Inspired by Elements of Great Design - My Favorite LA resources
When you’re searching for design inspiration, you might look to magazines, Houzz or HGTV, but do you ever wonder where high-end designers get theirs? The answer is, of course, everywhere- nature, art, architecture- but in this article I would like to share with you some of the sources for the goods we use to create the wonderful rooms that make the world swoon.
As a native Californian, there is an aesthetic I am drawn to when I am hunting for inspiration that informs my projects no matter their locale. Unexpected scale, sculptural form, and natural textures are ingredients that can always be found in the spaces I create. They are key elements in achieving that California energy that is casual but at the same time so elegant and so dynamic. I search for resources that epitomize the best ingredients that help me create the look.
My treasure hunts often take me down new and interesting paths, but these are the handful of special places that I almost always visit as I begin to compose the furnishing selections for any project. In this article, I'll let you in on some of my ritual pilgrimages of inspiration. Here in Calabasas, we have some of the best high-end design resources in the world in close proximity, and I’ve listed just a few from my two favorite design districts nearby. A word of warning- the resources listed below are almost entirely to-the-trade. That means that to make any purchases you’ll have to enlist a designer, but absorbing the pure, cutting-edge design genius of these curated spaces is absolutely free.
La Cienega Design Quarter
The sister showrooms of Formations and Dennis & Leen are my go-to spots for furniture and lighting that embodies the California aesthetic. Founded by Richard Hallberg, Barbara Wiseley & Dan Cuevas, their pieces are used by top designers all over the world and are featured frequently in premier design magazines such as Veranda and Architectural Digest. For years when my company was based in Connecticut, I would make the pilgrimage back to LA to absorb their extraordinary furniture and lighting in person. One of my favorite perks of being based back in So Cal is that they are just a half hour down the road. If you stop in, you just might see me there!
A block or so down on Melrose is another of my favorite stomps –Rose Tarlow Melrose House. With some of the best finishes I’ve ever encountered and details that look all at oncemodern and historical, the furniture, upholstery, fabric and lighting that the venerated Ms. Tarlow has created for her collection are some of my favorite items on the market today. A trip to her lovely showroom is a master class in great design and craftsmanship.
Pacific Design Center
I have a penchant for hand-screened prints, and one of my favorite sources is Raoul Textiles. Their unique fabric designs are a throwback to a vintage, warm-weather look that is nostalgic and currently on trend. Also at the PDC is Lee Jofa, with collections like Aerin by Aerin Lauder,
Groundworks by Kelly Wearstler and Hunt Slonem’s new collection (which I just love). Another favored showroom for wonderful fabrics, great lighting and accessories is Thomas Lavin. With an eye for a look that is up to the minute, they are our source for fabrics such as Hodsoll McKenzie, Zimmer + Rohde, Travers, and Romo. With furniture by Altura and lighting by Cox London, a stop at Thomas Lavin is always on my list.
Another company that exemplifies my favorite aesthetic is Michael Taylor Designs. A master of scale with an affinity for inviting the outdoors in, Michael Taylor was an innovator of the “California Look.” In our Connecticut years, we would often use his pieces to bring unexpected scale and a breath of fresh air to a more traditional east coast design experience. I have a pair of enormous pole baskets in my office that once belonged to Michael, currently holding 10-foot tall fiddle leaf fig trees, which constantly remind me of the importance of scale. I will treasure them always as a nod to his influence upon my work.
The cherries atop our inspiration sundae are two showrooms I never miss on any to visit at the PDC: Jean De Merry and Kneedler/Fauchere. Jean De Merry carries not only their own exquisite line of upscale furniture, but also two lines that I’m smitten with – Fisher Weisman and Natasha Baradaran. If you’re looking for unique, these two lines break the mold. Kneedler/Fauchere carries Kerry Joyce’s handsome line of textiles and wallcoverings that I adore and also the imposing and wonderful iron lighting and hand fashioned furniture of Gegorius/Pineo. I can’t think of two lines that articulate that effortless but sublime California look any better.
So there you have it! Whether hunting inspiration or treasure, these amazing resources are the guiding lights of my favorite adventures in design and help me time and again to create the magic.
Until next time, here’s to your own design adventures, and to creating your own Noble Spaces!