La Brea Finds

My past shopping trips to Los Angeles have mainly focused on La Cienga's antique stores.  This week I ventured to La Brea where many of the design stores have relocated due to the more affordable rent.  While I still feel La Cienga overall has better quality pieces, I was able to find a few good stores with some nice pieces pictured below.

Coppertone

In the months ahead, we'll be breaking out our Coppertone, but when we are talking about metals, Cu is my new favorite metallic- the sophisticated pink!! It's stylish, warm and feminine. First inspired by Gabriel Scott's Harlow chandelier, I am now obsessed with everything copper and it's cousin, rose gold. I  am even contemplating dying my hair a pinkish copper. Look at all the beautiful things to be had in this hue.

The List

Friends and clients are always asking where I like to shop for interiors. I have compiled a list of my favorite stores highlighting some of their best pieces.

Pintura Studio

Pintura Studio has been one of my favorite fabric lines for the last fifteen years.  Owners, Ed & Chris, are true artists and a pleasure to work with. They started their company eighteen years ago doing custom hand-printed fabrics. Since then they have expanded their business and created a ready-made line of fabrics and wallpapers represented at Studio Four in NYC and Harbinger in Los Angeles.

Last week I went to their studio on East 4th Street to find inspiration and see some of their latest creations. I was excited to hear they are venturing into the hospitality sector and company's like The Soho House will be lining their walls in the soon to open Chicago location.

While their ready-made fabrics are beautiful, I am biased to their custom work which offers one the ability to be creative and do something unique. You can print on a variety of different fabrics from silk, linen and velvet with your color of choice paint. Ed & Chris are happy to work with clients on new patterns & designs or work at modifying any of their existing patterns. For me that's a win win. 

Below are some of my favorites from their current collection and archives.

Throw Pillows

When custom pillows are not an affordable option, there is an endless array of ready-made pillows to select from. If you like your pillows super soft as I do, don't buy the suggested filler usually comprised of poor quality down and too many feathers. Instead upgrade to a 100% or 80/20% down feather insert. Downright has a great selection for down inserts that will instantly elevate the overall softness and quality of the pillow. To fill out the pillow cover properly, the insert should be 2" larger than the outside case which is measured from ear to ear (point to point). Here are a few of my favorite readily available pillows. 
 

Let There Be Light

When I am decorating a client's home, I try to use a combination of antiques and new pieces.  Combining the two helps balance the budget while creating a diversity of lighting.  Reproduction lighting in bathrooms, kitchens, hallways or less important rooms is best due to quantity, durability, wattage and cost.  I try to incorporate antique lighting in dining rooms, master bedrooms and more formal rooms for added uniqueness.  Mixing both old and new creates a nice balance throughout. Each room varies so these rules are not written in stone.

What matters most is the function of the light- which breaks down to the number of bulbs and wattage.  Far too often you have a bathroom with no natural light and a single 60 watt bulb isn't going to do the trick. However, the opposite is true in a restaurant or bar, where the intention is to emit 25 watts for that smokey look. In all cases, it is important to be mindful of the space, function and how the light you are interested in will perform.

Scale is also a huge factor. Too small looks dinky, and too large can overpower a room, so the right dimension is key.  If you need, make a foam board template and hold it up, or if it's an antique, try it on in the home before purchasing.  If you purchase a fixture that does not give off a lot of light or has a metal shade, be mindful- maybe you need to add some recessed lights in the area or balance it with lighter colored walls.

My former boss, Ellie Cullman, used to always say you want to have layered lighting in each room- meaning lighting from different sources at varying heights- table lamps, wall sconces and ceiling lights.  Layering your lighting creates an equal distribution and balance of light throughout the room.  It is key to be mindful of this when you are designing your home.

Helpful pointers

  • Sconces generally are at 66" above finished floor (aff), unless you have 10' ceilings or greater, then you may want to raise the electrical box higher. And 66" aff also depends on where the backplate or wires are located on the sconces, so you may need to go up or down depending.
  • Sconces above mantles are set higher than 66' aff, centered on the legs of the mantle.
  • Chandeliers and ceiling lights centered on the ceiling plain, unless over a table.                                      
  • Hanging lights to hang no less than 6'10" aff, be mindful of door swings.  
  • Dining room chandeliers to hang 66" aff to the bottom or higher
  • Rewire table lamps for a 3-way switch and harp which will give you more flexibility with shade selection.                                           

Here are a number of my favorite lights, both new and old to decorate your ceilings, walls, tables and floors.  
 

Silver Lining

While my first blog post focused on all things touched in gold, I am following suite highlighting another precious metal- silver. 1. Judith Lieber's Large Airstream Jet Multi Camouflage Clutch would dress up any pair of jeans. 2. I have used Jean Pelle's fabulous Large Bubble Chandelier for several clients ranging from a Hamptons beach house to a child's bedroom. With a choice of plain glass, 12K white gold (as shown) or 24K gilded globes, one could use it in a variety of places. 3. Loeffler Randall Blaise Suede Moccasins are perfect for spring & summer. 4. The chrome backplate on these Antique Glass Sconces Attributed to Kalmar transforms the staggered clear glass columns with shades of silver. 5. When shopping in London last June, I spotted these stunning Quartz Tables at Dale Rogers Ammonite. 6. William Jackson's round disk 216 Andirons in polished pewter accent any small fireplace with a touch of modernity. 7. And last but certainly not least, adorn your toes with Butter London Nail Lacquer in Diamond Geezer- my tried & true staple for the last two years.

Rimmed in Silver

Casa Magna, Tulum

I ventured back to Tulum, Mexico in late January with some friends and stumbled upon this little hotel while walking on the beach. Back in the day it was Pablo Escobar's villa.  Casa Magna is the prefect get-away hotel, fabulous to host a party with friends or even an intimate wedding. The new owners have done an amazing job sprucing up the place with their bohemian yet sophisticated decor.  They do not have a website up yet, but check them out here. The photos don't do it justice.  Note: Amasala's Melissa Perlman had originally renovated the villa so don't be fooled by the old website which is still up on Google.  

Casa Magna Tulum
Casa Magna
Casa Magna, Tulum Mexico

While I was content to sit on the beach reading, my friends Sarah & Taylor were venturing about Tulum.  Thanks to their curiosity, they showed me the best of Tulum.

  DINING OUT

  • Pre-dinner drinks at Casa Jaguar- try their house mezcal served with an orange wedge, or their tamarind margaritas which have a perfect tangy sweetness. 
  • Dine at Hartwoodowned by former chef from Vinegar Hill in Brooklyn, who recently opened a new restaurant in the meatpacking, Heartwood
  • For a refreshing fresh pressed green juice served in a glass milk bottle head to Pousada Margarita.  While their food is overpriced their antipasto of pickled cauliflower, olives, almonds and focaccia is a nice accompaniment.
  • For great local cuisine, head into town to Loncheria el Aguacate a few blocks off the main drag in Tulum.  If you have any dietary restrictions, the owner/chef will make you anything you want.  He's friendly and boisterous and looks like he should be in one of Fernando Botero's paintings.  
  • For late night cheap, tacos at Antojitos La Chiapaneca.
  • If you can't get to Tulum anytime soon, head to Narcissa for their awesome tequila cocktail appropriately named Fly Me To Tulum.

 RETAIL THERAPY

 MOVING ABOUT

  • Work up a sweat Sunday nights at Le Zebra with salsa dancing on the beach.  
  • Rent bikes and head down the dirt road marred with potholes toward the biosphere.  After a few miles there will be a parking lot on the right- follow the walking path which will lead you to the most tranquil thatched roof pergola overlooking the bayside of the biosphere (see below).  A little heaven on earth.  If you're hungry or thirsty there is a restaurant not far on the ocean side that has great tuna ceviche and hummus.  
  • If you want to venture off the Tulum peninsula, go snorkeling at one of the local cenotes. The dripping limestone formations make for a surreal & enchanting underworld. I would advise to avoid swallowing any water while in the bat cave...guano!! 
tulum
tulum 2