by Marisa Marcantonio

Photo by Edward Duarte
It's open! Todd Alexander Romano brings his wonderful preppy old school style with lacquered walls, effusive prints and bold accessories to his new shop in West Hollywood. This distinctly New York design sensibility that I like to call neo traditional, is found at his showroom in The Fine Arts Building at 232 East 59th Street, and is newly available to West Coasters. Just think, no more jet lag when you need a little "Todd Time"!

The 930 N. La Cienega Boulevard location is perfect, as the neighborhood has long been a destination for great design. The shiny black door, grey scalloped awning and red lettering fit right in with the design scene.

Todd outside the shop with his adorable dachshund, Bunny.

A selection of juicy Christopher Spitzmiller Lamps and hand picked antiques are displayed in the shop. In addition, he is carrying unique Frederick Victoria reproduction pieces.

A bay window backs onto a garden space, perfect for parties in the sun!

Todd stands in front of a Marilyn series of photographs taken by the legendary Bert Stern, and casual furniture well suited to the LA lifestyle.

Langham and Fine Rugs add a colorful punch over the ebony floors.

A mid century modern lamp sit next to a chesterfield sofa-- with Todd the mix is always surprising and fresh.

I caught up with Todd between bi-coastal flights and he filled me in on the new shop, his fantastic color sense and LA life.

Why LA for your next showroom?

I love California! My father was born and raised in Santa Barbara and we always spent a great deal of time there so it’s really always been my 3rd home (after New York and San Antonio!) Also, I love the people, the atmosphere and my god, how can you beat the climate!!!

What are you carrying that is unique to your California location?

In addition to the wonderful eclectic mix of antique furnishings and decorations, we are well known for carrying a selection of reproductions from F.P. Victoria & Son, the wonderful wool dhurrie rugs by Langham and Fine. Some new lamps I designed with Christopher Spitzmiller, our wonderful Italian pottery and great fabrics from Dek Tillet.

What do people love most about your selection and how you show it all together?

I think people appreciate the uncommon mix, they come to me and know that they are going to see very pretty and unusual things, stylish and unique- and most importantly, organized and shown in a complete and decorative way- in other words they can see furniture and objects in a setting similar to that of a home.

How would you describe your work?

Thoughtful (so much of what is being done these days is anything but!), appropriate, tasteful, elegant, young, personal, whimsical, and sometimes very colorful!

How do you get clients to embrace color? Do they come to you primed, or do you take them down that path?

I love color and I am well known for my use of it… so a lot of my clients are already on board as it were. There are so many ways to use color and there are a million ways to introduce color slowly to those that are “color shy”, the easiest way is through art and flowers- but to get people to really embrace color you have to show them and they have
to trust you.

How did you find the most perfect location?

Literally stumbled upon it while walking up and down La Cienega Blvd. It wasn’t even on the market!

What is the best part of being in LA?

Really the people, the sunshine, it’s a very relaxed and upbeat place to
be! I know it’s a cliché, but it really is all of those things to me.


by Marisa Marcantonio

The Hilldale location

Hollyhock features a beautifully edited mix, displayed in vignettes around the store

Great finishes and textures make the interior of the shop feel move in ready

In West Hollywood, interior designer Suzanne Reinstein created a modern- day salon for the traditional design set in California with her shop, Hollyhock. The original location, opened 20 years ago, was in Larchmont village. She moved into her Hilldale Avenue space in 2000, an old post office that was once Tony Duquette's studio. The mix of antiques, china, books, her upholstery line, and the latest finds were artfully displayed throughout the open layout. Book signings, product launches, and parties galore have been thrown in this fantastic space with a soaring ceiling. Suzanne created a modern day salon in her midst. With her design studio upstairs, she could greet the design community and throw parties on site. By bringing Robert Kime fabrics and William Yeoward Crystal from England, John Rosselli furniture and New York's Christopher Spitzmiller lamps to an LA, she set the tone with a mix of 18th and 19th century antiques and objects finding the audience craved it. She would paint feature walls the brightest red and mango yellow, showcasing her array in catchy vignettes. Out front, she always had an array of antique garden furniture, plant stands and two flowering trees in Belgian planters welcomed visitors. The setting was glorious. Well, times change, and more and more designers with shops are heading over to La Cienega, the design corridor. The street is lined with design cognoscenti, from Therien, newly relocated Hollywood at Home, Lee Stanton, Downtown LA and more. The group of dealers support each other through their organization, La Cienega Design Quarter, where they have parties and design walks to engage the community. Hollyhock will now be in on the action, amidst friends. I can't wait to see the environment she creates there. The new address is 927 North La Cienega Boulevard. The local cantina, Comme Ca, will now be even more packed!

Some great finds are for sale...

The White Tufted Chair

The Chinoiserie Lacquer Etagere with Pagoda Roof and Gold Painted Fish
with Bell Tassels

The Mandarin Coffee Table with circles and squares for a garden setting.

The Faux Coral Plaster Sconce

The Beebe Chaise is a piece I am very fond of.After numerous visits to Hollyhock, I still find myself drawn to the charming welted pleating. It's all in the details.

The Flip Top Regulation Game Table in Tobacco Lacquer with Classical Geometric Motif in Inlaid Horn with Sueded Reverse Top


by Marisa Marcantonio

Kips Bay is taking shape, so spring is not far off! I decided to get the scoop from master colorist Katie Ridder, who is doing a hallway this year. She generously shared her color scheme and inspiration with me. Katie is sitting in one of her color-filled interiors, surrounded by vibrant pillows that match her sweater's trim. Her fashion sense and interiors often go hand in hand, as she tends towards brights in her wardrobe as well. Her new collection of wallpapers and fabrics capture a certain joie de vivre, and will grace her space in the showhouse.

The Scheme- A sophisticated color palette used in unexpected ways
She explains her design process-- "I have an affinity for things Moorish. My wallpaper, Moonflower, I hope is not identifiable in terms of Turkish, Moroccan, Japanese but it has an exotic bent to it. I've always been drawn to crescent moons - I have one in almost all of my wallpapers and fabrics.The colors are coral and mole gray on a natural linen. I wanted my little hallway to stand out so I am painting the trim a deep gray/brown and the ceiling coral. I’m going to paint all the trim very dark and then use my Moonflower fabric upholstered on the walls placing mirrors over the 3 doors.The gold chip is the finish on the pair of lamps and the trim will be a lampshade detail. I wanted fancy, sparkly light fixtures to accentuate the space. I am using a pair of console tables with gold Spitzmiller lamps and pagoda-like shades trimmed in coral rick rack with coral lining, with the corners turned up to see the lining. I was going for elegance and a little drama."

The goods-

A pair of tables on which the spitzmiller lamps will sit. The George III mahogany side tables are from Michael Pashby Antiques.

A set of 3 circa 1940s Beaded Crystal Light Fixtures from Carlos de la Puente


by Marisa Marcantonio

designed by Anderson Campanella Architects of Rumson, NJ.

New Jersey often gets a bad rap. It is not all Soprano-land; there are beautiful areas.
Rumson is one of the areas that is worth the trip, especially to see the latest showhouse, Stately Homes by the Sea. The 1915 brick house was built to resemble an English country estate by McKim Mead and White alum Harrie T. Lindeberg. The house across the street, also owned by the same family was used for the first Stately Homes showhouse and the owners decided to share their home again. Renovation work was done with them in mind, as they move in after the showhouse closes. New construction and a pool, pool house, potting shed were added in under 8 months. Proceeds go to The Visiting Nurses Association of Central New Jersey, and the show runs from April 28- May 31st. The honorary design chair this year is Charlotte Moss.

Los Angeles- based, Jersey raised Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat of Lucas Studio do a lot of work in New Jersey and decorated a living room and nursery in the home. In addition to interior design, Joe and his partner have recently opened Harbinger, an antique - filled home store in the ever charming Almont Yard, located next door to their West Hollywood office.
The photography was done by New Jersey resident, the talented John Bessler.

Lucas Studio got an area that was new construction. They worked with the homeowners on the scheme, creating elegant, comfortable areas with plenty of cozy seating. Jonas Upholstery did all the upholstery and window treatments, and a majority of the fabric is from Cowtan and Tout. Custom cabinetry and built in bookshelves make for a cozy library meets living room. Filled with soft colors and easy shapes, this is a room that is hard to leave.

Farrow and Ball Octagon Yellow brightens the walls. In keeping with the location, nautical antique brass and cargo lights from Ann Morris Antiques were chosen to illuminate the space.

Another angle gives a better view of the pendant lights.

A game table with Jonas's Brighton dining chairs and an antique writing table from Ann Morris make good use of the area and it's charming eave ceilings. Kate Duffy Barnard of Katie Did in Redbank, NJ filled metal urns with sublime flowering Cherry branches and moss, adding a stunning display set against a natural jute wall covering from Philip Jeffries.

The home is close to the water, so a shell and sea fan add to the nautical appeal.

A window seat with a garden stool makes for a nice reading area. Most of the fabrics in the nook are from Cowtan and Tout.

A sofa is upholstered in a family friendly stain - resistant cotton velvet from Pindler and Pindler and a jute bullion fringe that adds a dressy touch.

An enveloping wing chair with a fun printed pillow is another nice perch. The wool rug is Stark's (sadly) discontinued Bilhuber Basics. Specially made automatic blackout roman shades are ideal for movie watching.


The framed alphabet on the wall, crib and rocking horse give away the fact that this room is a nursery. This means the room can transition easily to a bedroom with twin beds as the little one grows. Lucas Studio created a space that feels city and country. Bed hanging fabrics from Brian Ferrick's brand new Ferrick Mason collection complement the adorable puzzle piece valance. Martyn Lawrence Bullard's new fabrics are at the windows and on the glider, lending a sunny feel to the space. Lacquer side tables are from Mecox Gardens and bright yellow Christopher Spitzmiller handmade lamps bring sophistication.

A detail of the daybed pillows show a blend of pattern and color--just what a newbie needs to be happy.

Another view. The bird print comes from Mecox Gardens.

A sleek changing table and trunk from new resource Kalon Studios are offset by Starburst Mirrors from Mecox-- an "adult" touch.

Kalon Studio's geometric patterned bamboo crib with some charming Sferra bedding and sheep pillow add some sweetness.

An Urban Electric Company Anson pendant light with metal scroll work add a touch of whimsy. The piece is available in any Benjamin Moore color, and here it is painted a sunny yellow. Framed Alphabet prints available through Harbinger set the tone.

A closet filled with drawers means a place for everything. Linda Laymon of All Dolled Up styled the nursery to the hilt with baby clothes and cutie pie things. The fun little papier mache animals around the room are from Stray Dog Designs.

The Ann Morris Antique dollhouse provides a smile and a bit of history. This baby might end up an architect with such good proportions in it's midst!