While waiting with a growing sense of desperation for spring to arrive on the East Coast, I escaped for a whirlwind few days in Los Angeles to participate in “Legends of La Cienega,” a three-day celebration of the city’s design talent and resources. Now in its ninth year, “Legends” is organized by the many shops and showrooms clustered on La Cienega Boulevard in an area known as La Cienega Design Quarter (or LCDQ) in West Hollywood. With the support of many sponsors, including 1stdibs and the Hearst Design Group, Legends included a wide range of fascinating panel discussions, tours of the finest of LA’s extraordinary range of design houses, along with lively receptions and cocktail parties. There was something for everyone! The week kicked off with a gala cocktail reception at Fig and Olive, one of my favorite eateries. It was nice to see friends and colleagues and meet some California-based members of our design community.
At the Fig and Olive reception with LA designer Missy Calvert and NY designer Kati Curtis
Day two had us off and running. The jam-packed schedule left us exhausted but exhilarated. Most of the day was spent visiting design shops and showrooms — some of my favorites include:
Hollyhock—owned by designer Suzanne Rheinstein, this beautiful shop features a wonderfully curated collection of quality antiques, lighting and accessories as well as Suzanne’s custom line of upholstery, furniture and lighting. Behind the shop is a lovely garden space for special events.
Harbinger—one of my favorite showrooms in the country! An outstanding collection of wallpaper, furniture, lighting, carpets and decorative arts including some of my favorite lines—Amanda Nisbet, Moore & Giles, Coleen and Company, and Sister Parish.
A beautiful vignette in the Harbinger showroom
Hollywood at Home — an exceptional and wide-ranging collection of textiles, furniture, accessories and lighting. Everything to create a chic and comfortable home.
I love the combination of pattern and textiles in this bedroom design by Hollywood at Home
Jasper—This chic showroom offers a stunning array of furniture, fabrics and accessories. I fell in love with this gorgeous floral and need to find a way to use it!
Exploring Jasper textiles with my west coast design partner Missy Calvert
The Windows of La Cienega — One of the wonderful traditions of this design celebration are all the shop windows, each styled by a different designer. Seeing each designer’s use of color, texture and staging inspired us all! Some of my favorites are shown below.
The window at Downtown designed by Angel Sanchez and Christopher Coleman. I am always a sucker for a bit of femininity!
The window at Hollyhock by Meredith Ellis—This “Explorer’s Journal” was a wonderful celebration of the colors, textures and materials from around the world.
There were also plenty of opportunities to learn from some of the true legends in our field. Each day featured a series of panel discussions with an extraordinary array of design talent. Some of the highlights included:
- The Power of Paint: Achieving your Vision with a Stroke of the Brush, led by Veranda Editor in Chief Clint Smith, with panelists Alexa Hampton, Alessandra Branca and Ellen O’Neill, creative director at Benjamin Moore paints. Everyone agreed that, with paint, one can get the most bang for the buck and really transform the feeling of a space. And the beauty of it is that it is easily fixed if you don’t like it!
- Demons and Disasters in Design, led by LA designer Madeline Stuart with panelists Nate Berkus, Philip Gorrivan and William Peace. A lively and humorous discussion. There is some comfort in knowing that everyone has made a few mistakes on the road to success. The important take away is to admit your mistakes (and fix them to your client’s satisfaction), learn from them, and then move on.
- Standing Proud: Preserving Architectural Heritage in LA, led by Luxe Editor in Chief Pamela Jaccarino with panelists Brett Parsons, Jaime Rummerfield and Tim Barber. As a New Yorker, it is always fascinating to learn about other cities and I enjoyed learning about the active movement to preserve LA’s many architectural and historical treasures.
- Say it Loud: Bold and Bright, led by House Beautiful Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson with panelists Anne Hepher, Nick Olsen and Ron Woodson. A lively, funny and inspiring exploration of the creative process and dialogue with clients when selecting color palettes.
As always, I love my visits to LA, seeing friends and colleagues and meeting new ones. Although travel takes time away from our day to day work and responsibilities, going away and experiencing another place is always a source of inspiration. Legends of La Cienega also allowed me to meet some people whose work I have admired, such as Marisa Marcantonio, the founder of Stylebeat, a must-read blog for anyone interested in the latest trends and emerging talent in the design world.
With Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat blog
Being surrounded by sun, towering palms, and the stunning jacaranda trees that line the streets of LA this time of year made me yearn for spring to finally arrive at home. The picture below is definitely not something we see in New York! Until next time, LA!