Last week I had the privilege of touring the offices and factory of third-generation upholstery manufacturer CR Laine in Hickory, North Carolina. From start to finish, a dedicated and crew of seasoned professionals hand-craft each piece of furniture the old-fashion way. All frames are made of locally harvested, sustainably grown, kiln-dried hardwood with standard 8-Way Hand-Tied suspension crafted for a lifetime of use. All fabrics are hand-cut and hand-sewn to ensure the highest level of quality. The multi-step upholstery process is broken into different levels of expertise starting with the inside upholstery and seating area, followed by outside upholstery, and finishing and trim. Once that is complete, each piece goes through strict quality control where any issues are addressed before the piece is wrapped and packaged for delivery. Along the way, each craftsman involved signs the hang-tag that is included with the finished piece. CR Laine builds a custom product with heirloom quality at a price and speed that makes it accessible. And, Sustainable by Design, as a Certified Sustainable company by the AHFA, CR Laine not only makes sense to your wallet, but also to the Earth.
Community & Co. is celebrating their grand opening this coming Thursday, October 6th, 2011 from 6:00 PM-9:00 PM at their new 8259 Melrose Avenue headquarters.
I met Community & Co. founder Jennifer Ridel about 3 years ago when she was working her magic as creative director for a showroom here in Los Angeles. Over the course of a few years, I watched this diamond in the rough, outdated fabric store emerge from the flames as a chic new super-boutique for the latest designs in fabric, upholstery, drapery, bedding, and home goods; with her business model, a second location has opened. After completing her mission there, Jennifer has now set her sights on a creative project that hits just a little closer to home with her new endeavor Community & Co. in the trendy fashion and home goods area on Melrose surrounded by names like Kelly Wearstler, Marc Jacobs, Fred Segal, Paul Smith, Diane von Furstenberg, Jean de Merry, the list is endless. Let’s see what new and fresh with Jennifer Ridel and Community & Co.
Joel Dessaules: Jennifer, your new showroom Community & Co. has come a long way since I first looked at the space with you a few months back, tell us all about your changes to get this space ready to showcase your new looks?
Jennifer Ridel: What didn’t I change is more like it. Everyone told me to stay away from this space, but there was just something about it. There was simply this really good energy. I knew in the first 10 minutes what my plan was. The biggest way I wanted to make an impact was with the facade. I thought it would be really wonderful to open up the front of the building, literally. A big part of the front has these windows that stack back, encouraging an easy flow into the space and it’s also pretty tempting to hop on the swings we hung as your legs dangle out on to Melrose! The second part of the impact was these now seemingly iconic green doors. The color is one thing, but the scale and design of these doors is not very common in Los Angeles. I have a small obsession with good doors, especially those in Amsterdam, Paris and more recently, London. They give good door over there! I have already remade them for other clients!
JD: There is always something new and exciting happening in this part of town. What other new showrooms in the area do you think will add that much more synergy to the new Community & Co. experience?
JR: I think it’s really great to have neighbors like Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith; but Kelly Wearstler opening should be fun, even though I did hear it’s apparel. Also, Ink., this new restaurant from Michael Voltaggio just opened down the street; the ink.sack lunch counter from the same chef opened and it’s been pandemonium over there! This end of Melrose is buzzing with energy.
JD: Well, tell us more about what you will be showcasing in this great new space?
JR: It’s a curious hybrid of a space. It’s a retail showroom, as well as part gallery, part salon (of the french sort!). It really is divided, physically, under one roof. It’s an eclectic mix of new and vintage furnishings, lighting and textiles, and really, a cool place to hang out. We have emerging and established painters showing their work. We have a bar and espresso machine and we are prepared to use it. People stop in all of the time. We have creative jam-sessions with the most interesting people—designers and non-designers, clients and artists included. We want to add to culture that is across L.A.
I have curated a cool mix of new, hand-crafted, heirloom quality furniture, super-chic textiles, vintage furniture & lighting and have added archival and new pieces from Charles Hollis Jones and Stan Bitters, and several other craftsmen and artists.
It is high-end design and art, but there’s such a bohemian, eclectic vibe going on. Pretty opposite to the traditional places people think of for top design. We are just getting started. There are so many awesome things on the horizon. This is just the beginning.
It’s hard to believe that summer is officially over and the Fall season is upon us. As we nudge closer to the holidays, it seems that everyone goes into full force creating welcoming environments to entertain family and friends at home. Fall colors are often thought of as drab and maybe even tired, but that does not have to be the case.
I was referred to Nancy & Alan by a friend of theirs Kimberly, whose home I had recently completed a dramatic and fresh interior makeover. Nancy & Alan bought their condominium as an interim home until they were able to complete the renovation of another property in Manhattan Beach. The designers challenge was to create new pieces that were unique for them and also removable so they can be re-purposed in the new home. Nancy is also an avid art and sculpture collector, so the key was to highlight her collection and not allow the decor take attention from it. With an understanding of the real estate market, we knew that it would be best to finish out the unit simply for resale purposes. Check out the Apartment Therapy Home Tour by Bethany Nauert and see what the happy homeowners have to say!
Animals shapes, designs, prints, and motifs make an interior space feel warm. Whether it be a sculpture, painting, or a haired leather hide throw rug there are lots of great ways to integrate some favorite animals into your life. Owls have always been one of my favorite animals. Like a bird, they have the gift of flight, but these stealthy nocturnal creatures have a very different appeal.
A few of my favorite owls in my personal collection are the A. Santini sculpture that I found on Ebay and the new Hoot Pillow from my LDC Home collection. The Snowy Owl painting was a showroom favorite, but was sold to a client.
As I continue to hit the home furnishings markets and comb through my favorite catalogs and magazines, the trend is consistently ”Vintage Chic”. I noticed a few years back that I was suddenly drawn to the clean lines and rustic je ne sais quais of the Timothy Oulton collection and the reclaimed oak barrel chandeliers from BoBo Intriguing Objects. Now, fast forward about 3 years later to present day and boom, all of these things are the new rage at stores like Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. Regardless, “Vintage Chic” is here to stay for a little while anyway. As my personal style and tastes have evolved from very modern, to a bit more transitional, you will see this reflected in the layout pages and products of LDChome.com. As a New Englander, I am drawn to anything with a sense of heritage and quality, so stay tuned as the site and the story unfolds.
On May 26th, Joel hosted an event featuring an art sale and silent auction to benefit the Human Rights Campaign with co-hosts John Saint-Denis and Ron Woodson. Three main vignettes were designed by John Saint-Denis, Adam Bram Straus, and Joel himself. There was a wide collection of art and gifted packages to the event which help to raise money for a great cause, which Joel is more than happy to have been a successful support of. Various works included artists John Wolf, John Arsenault, Christopher Guy, Reza Pazooki, Mike Regan, Brandon Herman, while donations were provided by Catherine Malandrino, Gary Gibson and Kelly Osterholt.
I was recently invited to Brandon Herman’s opening by two new friends, John Saint-Denis and John Wolf, hosting an event for Brandon at Creato Finito Home, while at Adam Strauss’ debut collection at his LA studio. Creato Finito owner, David McCallen and creative director, John Saint-Denis elegantly made their way through a very crowded room of influential people only to ensure that their guests were thoroughly entertained. The evening was highlighted with the amazing new works of Brandon Herman, the great wine, and I must mention the valet parking and restaurant benefits of The Tar Pit restaurant a few doors north, best neighbor ever! I met with Brandon after the event to see what was really going on and this is what Brandon has to say.
Joel Dessaules: Brandon, it was such a pleasure meeting you at your opening Thursday April 28th at Creato Finito Home by John Saint-Denis. Please tell me the back story of the collection that you shared with us?
Brandon Herman: This selection is about the effect of editing on storytelling. I’m really interested in how with a grouping of photographs, decisions to include or exclude certain images completely changes the narrative. So we looked at every body of work I’ve ever made, focusing on just the photographic works, and pulled specific pieces, stripping them of the context of the project in which they were originally created, and strung them together to create a new narrative. It was kind of like taking scenes from a bunch of different movies and piecing them together as a new film.
JD: Who are these people in your images?
BH: Most of the subjects in the photographs are close friends. My process requires a lot of trust from the subject, so oftentimes the more intimate my relationship with the person, the further we are able to transcend into our imaginations and lose our inhibitions. I’m really inspired by method acting and when I’m creating work all of the participants are assigned characters to develop and inhabit. We enact role-playing exercises together, sometimes for days on end.
While hanging some new art at home, I realized that there was a light switch where one of the new pieces was going to hang. With the understanding that I need to access the switch on a daily basis, I dug through my toolbox and created some custom hinges. In retrospect, there was likely an easier remedy but in life when you have the creative urge, it is important to let the energy flow. In this video, you will see that just about everything that could go wrong did, yet despite the numerous obstacles, I was able to complete the task as I saw it in my mind. Enjoy!