by Marisa Marcantonio

Checking in with the LA design tastemakers and influencers Mary McDonald, Martyn Lawrence-Bullard, Leslie Hunt, Hillary Thomas, Windsor Smith, Madeline Stuart, Brooke Gianetti, Katie Leede, Rose Tarlow and Marjorie Skouras, I wanted to get their take on what is hot in LA now. From their favorite coffee spots to antique shopping, I knew I would get a cross section of the best places to go and wanted to share them with you.

Photo courtesy Martyn Lawrence-Bullard
Byzantine candle makes a great holiday present-- get yours at his website here.

Here are a few of his favorite things:
-The Anthropology store in Santa Monica is the best and has wonderful home department as does the brand new flag ship that's opened on Beverly drive in Beverly Hills.
-Richard Shapiro's chic gift department within his antique store includes beautiful books , jewels and Armand Diradourian cashmere throws.
-The new Kathryn Ireland showroom in Almont Yard is fab and Nathan Turner's pop up shop in Brentwood is brilliant-- complete with my candles.
-Fave restaurant is Mozza for the best pizza in town and for Sunday lunch, a traditional British style gathering at the Soho house along with the entire Osbourne clan.


Whatever Leslie does, she does with style. From setting a holiday table to getting designing a whimsical window treatment, her verve comes through. She began her career at Mark Hampton and Scott Snyder, and works with classical design elements creating beautiful rooms. She too has a decorator mom, so she grew up around the business, going to showhouses and antique shops.

Photos by Miguel Flores- Vianna
In a relaxing yet elegant living room, Leslie was creative with the layout, and created an L-shaped banquette for maximum seating, complete with an upholstered ottoman. Whenever I visit her in LA, she fills me in on her favorite haunts since she is a born and raised local.

- Favorite lunch spot with friends is the Thyme Cafe and Market in Santa Monica and Maison Midi on La Brea

- For coffee, Luxxe Cafe in Brentwood is amazing

- My home shopping faves include Big Daddy's Antiques, Almont Yard, JF Chen and everything on La Cienega Blvd.

- For fashion, I love Market in Brentwood and Aura Boutique in Santa Monica

- When I want a night of glam drinks, Tavern Bar in Brentwood fits the bill

- To enjoy the gorgeous California setting I visit The Getty Center gardens

- Growing up here I have places I adore like The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Abbot Kinney anytime, catching summer concert at The Hollywood Bowl, the flea market at the Rose Bowl and hiking Paseo Miramar in Pacific Palisades


Photos courtesy of Hillary Thomas
Designer and lifestyle gal Hillary Thomas has a great new design idea she has just launched on her site called Hillary@home. It is a service for those with a do-it-yourself can do spirit that may not need a soup to nuts renovation or full design services. They put together the color, furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories schemes and then the client does the leg work, making the purchases and playing and active role in the design installation at their desired pace.

Above, a schematic comes together. This is a great way to access Hillary’s experience and eye, without the issues of time, distance or budget. It is a digital design dream come true.

We grew up in the same town and used to ice skate together, so I knew she was a style maven and a go - to for some good scoop!

Here are her favorite things in LA:
- For lunch with the girls, Soho House. Sitting outside on the roof deck around a Koi pond surrounded by Olive trees is simply heaven!

- For Coffee, it's the Fountain Coffee Shop downstairs at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The BEST!

- For dinner and drinks, I love the Chateau Marmot for the old school feel of the hotel. Very LA! Then there is The Roger Room on La Cienega, a speak easy with a mixologist.

- I get a fashion fix at small boutiques like Church, Curve, and Elyse Walker.

Photo by Lisa Romerein
With a gorgeous globally tinged collection of printed fabrics and a busy design practice, Katie Leede finds her inspiration her travels to far flung places. She uses ethnic pieces, ancient relics and fine antiques in a varied way, creating truly unique and beautiful interiors.

Here are Katie's favorites:
- My morning: I walk Noodles my Schnoodle to Café Luxxe on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica for a coffee the most scrumptious almond croissant EVER.

-Shopping at L Frank, Liseanne Frankfurt’s jewelry shop

-Casual, cafeteria style lunch at Lemonade or hip Gjelina’s in the garden and If I get really lucky and the stars align with our schedules, I meet the decorator gals Mary McDonald, Lizzie Dinkel, Kim Alexandruick and Molly Isaakson for lunch at the eponymous Polo Lounge

- dinner at a local hideaway for simple Italian fare, Locanda Portofino

- Shopping with clients, I head straight for La Cienega Design Quarter-the stretch of La Cienega between Santa Monica Blvd, and Melrose. You can practically decorate a house in an afternoon by hitting Todd Romano, where I just picked up a zebra rug lined in lime green felt, Hollyhock, Mecox Gardens, Jean de Merry, Paul Marra, Downtown, Lee Stanton for all things English, Hollywood at Home for groovy fabrics,Therien for surprising mid century finds, George Smith, Christopher Farr for contemporary collector carpets, Lucca Antiques, and Pat McGann

Photos courtesy of Giannetti Home
Brooke Giannetti writes the fantastic blog Velvet and Linen, shops for and runs a store, Giannetti Home at 11980 San Vicente Blvd.with her architect husband, Steve and does interior design. How does she do it?

A rustic mix of weathered pieces and re-purposed materials fill Giannetti Home.

Swedish furniture with light finishes and Parisian finds are displayed amidst a great selection of the latest greatest design books.

Some of Brooke and Steve's favorites:
- Dinner at R&D for great burgers and martinis, Blue Plate for yummy American casual dinners

-If we're in the mood for Gnocchi or Ciopino, Spumoni on Montana or San Vicente is the place!

- We also love Babalu for Cuban food with a California twist

- Luxxe Cafe has the best coffee drinks in town!

- For a fashion dose, Rita's Rags on Montana has comfortable classics. I live in their cashmere wraps.

- My favorite place to shop for vintage and great finds are the Rose Bowl, Long Beach Stadium, and Santa Monica Airport flea markets

In product news, there are great designs coming out of LA:


Photos courtesy of Robert Abbey
These LA gals are busy-- Mary McDonald has a hot new design tome and a new lighting collection with Robert Abbey , where she re-imagined the glamorous lighting looks from the past and interpreted them for today. The Annika Lamp in a red hot and gold finish.

The Ondine Sconce with crystal ball detail

The statuesque Ondine Floor Lamp with circle detail and ball feet


Photos courtesy of Marjorie Skouras
Designer and product creator Marjorie Skouras embraces color in everything she does. This San Francisco native spent an inspired year on the island of Corfu, where luxe materials made their mark on her design. In addition to her interior design, she became an editorial darling with her inventive lighting line. The coral chandelier and white sea urchin sconce put her on the map and she continues to amaze with her beautiful pieces in unique materials.
A Malachite Stone Topped Table with skinny hammered gilt legs is like jewelery in a room.
Working with semi precious stone beads, black coral, turquoise, pin jade and red coral has been worked into a single tassel tieback.


Photos courtesy of Madeline Stuart
A lively library Madeline Stuart designed in a Bel Air Georgian home. Since 1998, she has been doing collection of furniture in classic forms with a modern sensibility, handmade in Los Angeles. The line has grown to include over 70 pieces.
The Fielding Chest of Mahogany is a classic piece, available with brass or nickel banded drawers and hardware.
A cozy sofa, the Burlingame, is worthy of a long Football game watching session.

These are a few of her favorite things:
- Interiors: La Cienega Blvd. and adjacent Melrose Place for great antique shops and fabulous fashion boutiques.

- Breakfast: I’ve been going to Nate ‘n Al’s delicatessen-- it’s still my number one spot for Sunday breakfast. Not hip, not chic and sadly Fred Astaire and Groucho Marx are no longer regulars, but it remains a classic spot for LA locals.

- Drinks: The Roger Room on La Cienega for drinks. The décor is fabulous and the drinks are impeccably made. A very old-fashioned, new fangled place, perfectly realized.

- Dinner: I love Jeff Klein’s Sunset Tower Hotel for dinner. It’s one of the most urbane spots in town and the lighting is incredibly flattering!

- Shopping: This girl can’t help it—I’m still a huge fan of Neiman Marcus for all the right reasons it's gracious and glamorous, with exemplary service and fabulous stuff! But lest I offend my friends at Barney’s, I must quickly add that I divide my loyalties between these two great temples to consumerism on Wilshire Blvd! I adore Mameg for their highly intelligent, exquisitely curated collection of clothes.

- Vintage: The Way We Wore is a haven for those seeking impeccable vintage

- LA stuff: Will Rogers house museum and polo field in Pacific Palisades for a sense of what LA was like in the 20’s. The newly opened Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica for great architecture, Hollywood history and inspiring philanthropy. The beach! Because being 20 minutes away from the ocean is what’s really fantastic about living in LA!


Photo courtesy of Michael Wells
With her successful fabric collection for Kravet and other cool stuff in the works, the bubbly designer Windsor Smith has recently added new classic designs with a twist to her Windsor Smith Home Collection.

Photos courtesy of Windsor Smith
This amazing tufted headboard makes a luxe Marie Antoinette statement in girly pink.

The Colony Breakfront with fretwork detail and mercury glass doors brings the allure of early American antiques into today with a sharp white finish.
Her De'Wolf Double Chaise adds a dose of glamour and the desire to languor.

And honoring those that helped pave the way...


Photo courtesy of Rose Tarlow Melrose House
Over the past 35 years, Rose Tarlow has come to represent true California style in her interiors through a combination of furniture with mellow finishes, soft textures and tonal settings. Her new showrooms in LA and the D and D Building signal a renewed interest in her beautiful sense of style and design genius with its mix of art, objects and handmade furnishings and fabrics.
This year, she is being honored by The Los Angeles County Museum of Art's decorative arts and design council with their 3rd annual Design Leadership Award from for her achievements in design. Rose has changed design in LA, raised the bar and followed her passion along the way.


by Marisa Marcantonio

I have a soft spot for adorable dogs and how their personalities come across when a camera is present. Here is a round up of designer's dogs, showing how they love to sit on gorgeous upholstery and live the good life.

They love the ottoman, my mom's darling Westie's Lilly and Daisy, even with plenty of dog beds to choose from. Still, they prefer the ottoman.

Matthew White's new book, Italy of my Dreams, shows Holden sitting on his favorite 18th century Venetian chair. Thank you for the darling photo Frank.

Photo by Tim Street Porter
Peter Dunham's brood

Lucy, Bunny Williams canine cutie

Bunny LOVES her dogs and tries to select fabrics that are dog proof. She puts pretty quilts and throws over her sofas so the dogs are always welcome.

Noodles, Katie Leede's dog, sits daydreaming in a chair covered in Katie's bird fabric

Beth Greene from Kravet's Wheaton terrier Murphy ignoring the alarm clock

Patricia Shackelford aka Mrs. Blandings Rosie naps on the window seat

Tricky, approving the new rugs at Schuyler Samperton's. Her neighbor found him in the bushes of a Ralph's grocery store in the valley in LA, and she has had him since he was 4 months old.

Martyn Lawrence- Bullard's Diva on a custom bed in Madeline Weinrib fabric

Rufus, a mini labradoodle belonging to food writer Carolynn Carreño

Oakley a Norwich napping with his master James Anderson

Oakley and Dash, Steven Gambrel's Labradoodle, sharing the duvet

Grant Gibson's Westie's, Campbell and Wallace

Wallace snuggling on a Fortuny pillow

If your dog loves to do this too, send me snaps!


by Marisa Marcantonio

LA- based interior and fabric designer Katie Leede is one busy gal. With her compamy Digs By Katie, she designs interiors. With Katie Leede and Company, she develops fabrics. Her debut Ra Collection was inspired by ancient Egyptian motifs and the natural world. The palette is earthy and rich; the patterns a mix of block printed soft geometrics and beautiful plants and birds. What fun inspiration, it takes me back to my Art History days! The fabrics are available through Holland and Sherry in New York and Chicago, Holly Hunt in LA, and through her website. As a true Texan, her design aesthetic is bold. Her use of color and embroidered fabrics with a diverse mix of antiques and art create memorable settings. Her projects look lived in, and evoke the feeling that their is a history of accumulating great finds. She was recently named one of Traditional Home's Young Traditional designers. I spoke with her recently, and look forward to meeting her when she next visits to New York. Her latest trip found her running around town, visiting her fabrics at Holland and Sherry, and designing a table for the NY Botanical Gardens Orchid Dinner.

Where did you learn the trade?

I have no formal training. My parents had several wonderful homes (Texas, Colorado, NYC, and Maine) and collected contemporary art, so I was exposed to good design and to beautiful physical environments from an early age. I just fell into the business because friends liked what I did with my own apartments and house. I learned by doing. And making lots of expensive mistakes! I have had angels along the way like veteran Lizzie Dinkel help me by giving me access to tremendous sources like the best curtain maker ever/ greatest finisher/ uphosterers/ ,etc, which are the most important thing to have in this business.

When did you know this was your calling in life?

I have always had my finger in the air, wondering “what’s the next thing?” After my acting “career” went basically nowhere because I had no talent for my talent, I decided to start walking through doors that WERE opening for me. Doing design work just comes naturally to me. I even like the social bit—interfacing with demanding clients, etc. It’s all part of the daily challenge that keeps me interested and gives me an opportunity to grow in unexpected ways as a creative person and as a business woman and as a human being. Thinking back, I did play endlessly in my dollhouse, rearranging furniture /painting the walls/ putting up different curtains.And, yes, I have massive numbers of drawings from when I was a child as my mother always made sure art supplies were abundant and readily available.

What other designer and or architect do you most admire (living or not) and wish to meet or collaborate with?

Gosh! Where would I begin? I am the biggest thief ever when it comes to appropriating their ideas , too! For starters, I’m a huge fan of the work of Axel Vervoordt- his exceptional taste in antiques and materials and his flair for using color to create moody, dramatic spaces is extraordinary. Jacques Granges ‘ wit and exceptional juxtaposition of cool fabrics and unusual stuff is an ongoing source of delight and inspiration.I also really admire the work Alberto Pinto has done in Morocco. I bet all of them would be fun to share supper with.

What is your favorite go to fabric house/collection or singular fabric?

Hmm.That’s a tough one. Peter Dunham in LA and John Rosselli in NYC carry lots of wonderful, bohemian lines such as Peter Dunham, Carolina Irving and Martyn Lawrence Ballard .I am obsessed with the sheers and linens from C&C Milano.Manuel Canovas’ Rouge de Chien cotton velvet is a favorite. Rose Tarlow has some real classics and Holly Hunt Great Plains and Christian Liagre’s line for Holly Hunt are great for the basics. Of course, my absolute number one favorite fabric line is my own at the moment! I just love it! And my one woven in the collection called Thatch, which is based on an early 19th century homespun, is terrific for everything: upholstery, curtains, you name it.

What materials do you frequently use?

Linen, linen velvet and hemp.

What is your favorite antique you own and reproduction collection you constantly use as a resource?

The big, baroque Portuguese bed in my master bedroom. It’s made from two oversized twin beds pushed together. It’s fabulous. I do mostly custom reproductions using my own carpenters and finishers but I do order things from Gregorius Pineo and I always am watching what Rose Tarlow is up to. Both those lines have a keen sense of line and finish. They don’t look faux the way most lines do.

What trade or retail store inspires you most?

There are so many! To name a few: Amy Perlin and Wyeth in NYC and I like to hit all the stores on the 600 block of Almont in LA:Richard Shapiro/Inner Gardens/Waldo/Peter Dunham/Nathan Turner/Harbinger/and Lief..I always find lots of good things there.

What is your favorite new and old interior book?

My favorite new-ish design books at the moment are the Beta-Plus series of Belgium Interiors. My most prized old book is “Les Decorateurs des annees 40” by Bruno Foucart and Jean-Louis Gaillemin. My head spins when I contemplate the kind of break out creativity of that time period.

Is there a project or iconic room by another interior design living or not that you love?

I could have gotten very cozy and comfortable and played a mean game of cards in Nancy Lancaster’s yellow room in London.

If you were not doing this what would you do?

If I could carry a tune, I would be a singer. But I can’t so..painting would be a good way to learn to really see and enjoy everything more in depth.

What city do you visit to inspire you?

I like going to new and exotic places like Istanbul or Ubud whenever possible but nothing beats New York City when it comes to packing multiple punches. You’ve got Central Park, the museums, dance and theater and restaurants and fascinating people, great shops and I am lucky to have wonderful friends who continually push me into being brave and adventurous.


Isis Bluebird in Plum

Isis in Carob

Isis in Persimmon

Hathor full length

Hathor in Grasses

Hathor in Cinnabar

Thebes full length

Thebes in Agate

Thebes in Currant

Osiris in full length

Osiris in Medjool

Osiris in Pepper

Papyrus in Clay

Papyrus in Amulet

Lux in Algae

Lux in Lichen

Lux in Riverbed

Lux in Red Sea

Sos in Clove

Sos in Lazuli

Sos in Saffron

Menna in Pharros Pond

Menna in Rush of Rose

Menna in Shells Belly

Amun Border in Charcoal

Amun Stripe in Charcoal

Amun Border in Juniper

Amun Stripe in Juniper

Amun Border in Root

Amun Stripe in Root

Cairo Stripe in Delta

Cairo Stripe in Palm

Cairo Stripe in Rames Red