Written by Lizzie Garrett + Edited by Design*Sponge
When I was talking to Grace about the idea of an L.A. design guide I was moaning about how hard it is to compartmentalize this sprawling city into neat little neighborhoods, and while some, like Silver Lake, are easy to defineâ€” the one I live in has no distinct name (it’s between Hollywood and West Hollywood, usually I just say my street.) No distinct name is a fair trade, however, for the best design shopping in town. What follows is a guide to the must-visit design stores in Los Angeles, including four great streets from my “Los Angeles” neighborhood and the best of Silver Lake. Enjoy. [This list will be updated frequently so please feel free to comment below or email d*s your suggestions]
Getting There: For public transportation options, check out mta.net.
W. 3rd Street: If you have to pick one street for walking, eating, and shopping, the strip of 3rd between Crescent Heights and La Cienega is a no-brainer. It’s colorful, sunny, and has a great energy about it. Here are the must-see design shops on 3rd:
- OK Store: OK, quite rightly, has the reputation of being the mecca of LA design storesâ€” maybe because the owner, Larry Schaffer, seems to be known by everyone in town. The store has a little bit of everything good, and a wide range of blown glass, rare design books, japanese tea sets, and Tair Mercier placemats.
- Zipper: An excellent place to go for gifts, Zipper mixes elegant with whimsy.
- New Stone Age: From its edited selection of John Derian trays to the antique bird cagesâ€”it makes you feel like you’re in a 19th Century science labâ€”I love it. [Photo above from New Stone Age]
- Plastica: All plastic, all the time (bento boxes, woven plastic rugs, Marimekko trays)â€”this shop shows the world not all plastic in L.A. comes from Dr. 90210.
- Flight 001: Anything you need to travel comfortably and stylishly under one fuselageâ€”and the best selection of luggage tags around.
- Room Service: Located way east on 3rd is Room Service; a Poppy/funky home goods store heavy on the loft style.
[Nosh: One of the most popular places to eat on 3rd is Toast, especially for brunch because it has plenty of outdoor seatingâ€”but hardly the best food. Try the new Little Next Door Marketâ€”a French deli with excellent baguettes and soups or Joan’s On Third, the local’s favorite.]
Beverly Blvd: Parallel to 3rd, and just one block north, Beverly is not only the new restaurant rowâ€”it boasts a sprinkling of design shops, including two of my favorites: Zelen Home and Ige Designs. Here are the shops to visit when you’re cruising on Beverly:
Ige: Helene Ige, famous for her pillows and mobiles, has a store that I could spend hours in. Last time I was
there I bought a tiny plastic lobster with bobbleing pinchers that sits on my stovetop.
- Zelen Home: Zelen is a little shop full of beautiful curiosities, most with an emphasis on the natural world. Here is where you find the things everyone will comment on, and no one will have.
- Modernica: I think of it as DWR’s arch enemy! I love Modernica because you can custom build an Eames fiberglass chair in any color, base or height you want. Herman Miller stamp? We don’t need no stinking stamp.
- REHAB Vintage Interiors: Fantastic office furniture with a selection of vintage (Steel Case) and modern metal.
- Emmerson Troop & Orange: These two stores (right next door from each other) both offer a selection of vintage goods, mostly furniture, that will knock your socks off, unfortunately the prices won’t.
- Shelter: Inspired by mid-century design, they call their furniture and accessories “high-end basics” and I agree.
- Twentieth: The closest thing to a Moss in Los Angeles, Twentieth focuses soley on high-end design.
[Nosh: BLD has a blueberry ricotta pancake that will bring you one step closer to heaven as well as an out-of-this-world fried egg sandwich.]
Melrose Ave: Just one more block north from Beverly lies perhaps one of the most well-known streets in the city. East of Fairfax, Melrose is full of clothing stores, head shops, costume stores, sneaker stores (read: Von Dutch, Johnny Rockets, and that place that sells herbal ecstasy); but West of Fairfax caters to a more sophisticated palateâ€”(read: Stella McCartney, Diane Von Furstenberg, Fred Segal and Marc Jacobs). Most of these stores are not unique to L.A., so I wont go into too much detail. Oh, and rumor has it Murray Moss is opening a West Coast Moss sometime in 2007 on Melrose Place.
- The Rug Company: Designer rugs at designer prices.
- Paul Smith: I love going into the Paul Smith store to check out their coffee table books, Deadly Squire merch, Aalto vases, and other designy items.
- Jonathan Adler: Where would we be these past ten years with out JA?
- TableArt: Just over a year old now, Tart has become synonymous with hip tableware (think Bodo Sperelin and Ted Mueling) in L.A.
- Zero Minus Plus at Fred Segal (8100 Melrose Avenue): If you can handle it, Fred Segal has home store that has a great selection of picture
frames, coffee table books, and home office goods.
Marc Jacobs Home: His first shipment flew out of the store faster than most people could even get a glimpse. Perhaps
his collaboration with Waterford will stick around a little longer.
- Soolip Paperie & Press: Excellent selection of stationary and cards.
Fitzsu Society: Carlo Alessi, Marcel Wanders, Kaj Franck, Phillipe Starck, Marc Newson, and Michael Graves all living in
harmony under one roof. I love this store because it melds together several decades and still maintains a current-as-ever vibe.
[Nosh: Urth CaffÃ©: is a casual lunch spot with excellent organic coffee, tamales, and salads. M-CafÃ© de Chaya boasts an all macrobiotic menuâ€” order the organic French fries, trust me.]
La Brea Ave: Most of the action on La Brea is on the East side of the street, you’ll find some great little stores to pop into, an artsy
movie theatre, a vintage sunglass store that is unrealâ€”no really: the have mirrored white Rossignol aviators from the 1980s, and a general youthful edginess to the atmosphere.
- Maison Midi: A must for Francophiles, the imports like Perrier glassware and Lagiole knives are top notch. Conveniently a connecting doorway will lead you right into American Rag for some designer denim.
Volcom: Occasionally the Volcom store, which blends artistic expression and retail seamlessly throughout their clothing
opens it’s back room as a gallery to surfer/skater/snowboarder artists like Oska Wright and Kenton Parker, and those bros can paint, man!
- Homework: Homework balances whimsical design with modern staples and just as importantâ€” no pretense anywhere.
- Landon Cole Furniture: Along with Landon’s custom furniture (much of it rich dark woods) he sells original photography and paintings in the store.
Diamond and Foam Fabrics: Interior designers swear by this place and I have to say it’s more fabric than the eye can seeâ€”so go with something in mind or you’ll be there for
- Pulp: Off beat office supplies, beautiful wrapping paper and the best greeting cards are why I am there before every holiday and birthday.
[Nosh: Pop into Cube, for an artisinal cheese plate
or charcuterie assortment, some pasta, a pizza, or a just a great salad. It is one of the best bangs for the buck I know of in this city (besides the Taco truck next to the car wash). Or, for an almost guaranteed celeb citing check out CafÃ© Midi, which is connected to the home store Maison Midi, and has a killer croque madame. For a great drink and some goat cheese fondue keep walking South down to Luna Park]
Silver Lake: For a more hipster (L.A.’s version of Williamsburg) experience head east about 15 minutes to Silver Lake, home to rockers
like Beck, Rooney, Karen O, Pavement and a few design stores you don’t want to miss.
- A+R: Hands down my favorite design store on the East side. It’s one of those places where you say, “I like everything in here.”
- Yolk: The place to find unusual gifts, items that are only carried by independent contractors. An indie design store in Silver Lake? No way!
- Reform School: Opened last Fall to rave reviews not only because their products are great finds, but most of them are environmentally-friendly.
[Nosh: Gingergrass: Fresh Vietnamese food with a modern interiorâ€”their imperial rolls are reason enough to make the
drive, or even rent an apartment in Silver Lake.]
This article was written by Lizzie Garrett and Edited by Design*Sponge. Lizzie Garrett is an L.A.-based freelance writer who has written for Los Angeles Magazine, Bon AppÃ©tit, and edits a design blog called DESIGNwatcher.com