WHAT IS STYLISH IN LA RIGHT NOW? CHECKING IN WITH THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST DESIGN STARS

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.


LESLIE LOGAN HUNT INTERIORS:

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

HILLARY THOMAS:

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:

MARY MCDONALD:

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

MARJORIE SKOURAS

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.

MADELINE STUART:

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!

WINDSOR SMITH:

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...

ROSE TARLOW MELROSE HOUSE


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.

ADD A TOUCH OF GRAY

by Marisa Marcantonio

A grey and red interior designed by Mary McDonald

Everything looks better with a hint of grey. As an accent or dominant color, all shades of gray are being used in unique and inspiring ways. From charcoal to dove, no grey is outre.

Oval platters painted with pewter botanical motifs from Caskata.

Photo courtesy of Julian Chichester
The Kelso Loveseat covered in grey velvet from Julian Chichester.

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Textiles
Chelsea Textiles new Lounge Chair in grey.

Photo courtesy of Lee Jofa
For Lee Jofa, Eric Cohler's Mille Fleur Animal Insect print.

Photo courtesy of West Elm
A grey Tall Drum Pendant Light from West Elm in Platinum

Photo courtesy of Schumacher
Ric Rac in dove from Studio Bon through Schumacher

Photo courtesy of CB2
Add a touch of haberdashery with a Bold Grey Stripe Pillow of wool flannel from CB2.


, Photo courtesy of Julia B
Need napkins? A rich charcoal linen with hemstitch border and two letter hemstitch from Julia B.

Photo courtesy of Juliska
The Pewter Square Baker from Juliska is a chic shape and goes from oven to table. Have you even started to think about your Thanksgiving table yet? This will get you there.

Photo courtesy of Dwell Studio
Dwell Studio's new Facet Rug in charcoal and cream

Photo courtesy of Dransfield and Ross
Hidcote Placemat from Dransfield and Ross

Photo courtesy of Tritter Feeder
Tritter Feefer's Madame X Desk

Photo courtesy of Made goods
Made Goods Cara Side Table with a faux shagreen surface.

Photo courtesy of Osborne and Little
New from Osborne and Little, the Maharani Collection's print Balyan channels MC Escher optical illusions.


A charming tufted chair from Zentique upholstered in grey linen.

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn
Add a warm glow with the Park Hill Lantern from Pottery Barn for the rustic, worn look.

A new pattern in cool greys from Ferran Bedding

GLAMOUR GIRL MARY MCDONALD'S ALLURE OF STYLE

by Marisa Marcantonio

Photos courtesy of Rizzoli
Ravishing! Orange and yellow taffeta curtains frame a grand entrance on the cover. Her work has a distinctly European sensibility

Bold, brave, and full of bravado are just a few ways to describe Mary McDonald's fashionable, theatrical interiors. The LA - based glam girl knows how to elevate a sumptuous interior to camera ready status by using broad strokes of color, Chinoiserie details, accessories en masse and powerful patterns. The impact of her rooms is enormous -- they make her clients feel like Hollywood stars bound for greatness.

In her just launched book, Mary McDonald Interiors: The Allure of Style with Rizzoli, over 250 lush photos draw us into her world of glamour, which she describes as "a je ne sais quoi that can only come from scale and placement." Unlike the usual layout of a design book, her whimsy comes through in the thematic sections, entitled Seduction, Curated, Glamour, Grand Tour, and Theatre. I had a chance to sit down with Mary at her recent book party hosted by Catherine Malandrino, and she shared her take on the tome.

A fantastical Chinoiserie tester and elaborate striped bed hangings make for a girly retreat.

Chocolate brown and hot pink converge in a sitting room. Pops of color are used with an exacting hand.

In her pale blue and white office, Mary filled the back wall with black and white photos over painted climbing vines. Closet doors with memo boards hold invitations and conceal her fabric samples. Blanc de Chine porcelains are grouped together on her large desk. You may remember this shot from Domino. Miguel Flores Vianna shot many of the projects that are published in the book for the first time.

Stark black and white make this vignette a strong statement. Mary's accessorizing talents really come across here -- every shelf is styled beautifully, mixing old and new accessories.

What does glamour mean to you?

Glamour is a level of style so perfectly combined with an extra sparkle, that you are drawn to visually want more. It is a carefully orchestrated sum of parts much more powerful as a whole, whether it regards a person, an outfit or a room.

Why is glamour elusive?

Glamour is elusive, because you cannot really put your finger on one exact element or cause. You are drawn to study the person, place or thing because it seduces you with its elan.

You have an incredible sense of style. How do fashion and interiors converge?

For one thing, most people usually have a similar crossover style in how they dress and the style of decor they like. Look at fashion designer's homes. Ralph lives as he dresses. Calvin, Donna and Oscar too. Style translates from one to the other in your choice of color schemes, modernity, layering, and patterns.

What inspired you to become a milliner?

I had gone to Parson's for clothing and this was just one of my artistic hobbies that took off rather unintentionally. I found myself in the Maxfield's and Bazaar's of the world, so I just kept going.


When did you know you just had to start doing interiors?

I always loved all forms of design from fashion to interiors and everything in between. I even decorated my half of my freshman college dorm room. Then, while living in New York, the PR woman from Robert Clergerie asked me to do her penthouse because she liked mine so much. I was still a milliner, but I gave it a whirl, which turned out to be my first actual "job" in decorating.

What is your favorite color combination right now?

I have a new love for grays and ivory right now. I am also sort of hot on eggplant, but having trouble with takers for now.

You seem so organized and neat. Is this really true?

For clients and what is in front of the camera lens, yes! For myself, not really. I am more of an artist -- collecting always. I find myself creating and living in a constant transition by choice.

How do you design a room, what comes first and what do you save till last?

If it is a truly blank canvas, then the floor plan and the color scheme come first. If I have to work with something existing such as a family rug, that might force me to address this area first but then move back to the furniture and floor plan.

What does every room need to be comfortable as well as have impact?

For comfort, good upholstered seating spatially placed makes sense in creating interactive groupings. Impact is another story. I personally like at least one major focal point. A piece of art, a great wall color, a fantastic pattern, a glamorous statement like a screen or chandelier can create at least one wow factor.

Where do you shop for design inspiration?

Everywhere-- on every street corner in every cafe and shop in any city. I own thousands of design books and shop everywhere. If I want shop names, I hop on the computer and shop a global network of dealers.

What is the chicest city you have been to?

There are so many beautiful, fascinating and sophisticated cities in the world from Fez and Buenos Aires, to Istanbul and Gstaad. All beautiful on their own, but the most consistently chic place per square foot is still Paris.

What are your fave, secret LA haunts for design/fashion/food?

I an not sure I have haunts that are secrets but I will never tire of JF Chen and the range of sophistication in his furniture choices. I still like to poke around the Silver Lake area for funky stores, like Rubbish and Lawson Fenning. Decades has the best vintage fashion and American Rag for funky stuff. I still love the Hari Krishna store, Govinda's for saris. My foodie haunt is the famous Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills which is no secret. But my new love is The Tasting Kitchen in Venice. The food is out of this world.

What is the most affordable item you love to add to a room that no one would ever guess is cheap and cheerful?

High gloss paint instead of lacquer. Second to that would be pre-made cashmere or embroidered pillows from Williams Sonoma Home.

What is the most glamorous thing you have ever designed?

Well first off, my Leopold Collection Sconces for Robert Abbey. It is beyond glamorous.
Then, there was an all black and oyster duchesse satin gown in the style of a Sargent painting I designed while I was at Parsons. It was very "Age of Innocence meets Galliano." Of course, I somehow lost the gown over the years. I also have some unbelievable coquillage pelmets and consoles reminiscent of Cecil Beaton that I customized for a client. I can never pick just one anything!

MARY MCDONALD DOES VEGAS

by Marisa Marcantonio

A few weeks ago, interior designers went to Las Vegas Market. They went to be on the Ahead of the Curve panel, that for the past few years has been moderated by author and all around in the know Susanna Salk. Darryl Carter, Kishani Perrera and Mary McDonald toured the show followed by a camera crew, and then spoke about trends they saw emerging at market. I asked the uber - chic Mary to be my tour guide, and pick a few favorites. Here is what she came up with:

"We had a blast together on a two day laugh fest during our shoot. We are all so different that it fueled our jokes with each other as well as opening up our perspectives on new things. The Vegas Market is so enormous that you really have to have a plan and a focus to see things you want to see or you would never get through it. I would have to say the biggest trend in it's height right now is the weathered reclaimed wood mixed with industrial materials such as old wood tables with beat zinc tops etc.. It is all very Axel Vervoordt for the mainstream. Ikat and Suzani patterns are big and going strong still as well as a bunch of glitzy glam over the top stuff that is not really my thing, but it looks like people still want it."

My favorite showroom was a line called Noir. Absolutely everything in the showroom was chic-- especially this exaggerated upholstered chair which is actually a copy of a regency antique chair.

They had the copper hanging fixture which was so authentically vintage looking it was perfect and the use of copper instead of the expected silver made it even more stand out.

Of course, I also love my own vintage inspired 40's brass lamp with the black shade I designed for Robert Abbey . Here, I am visiting another lighting resource.

The chest with pulls had a pretty cerused finish for a very reasonable price point. It is from Global Views.

Kishani and I both liked the pattern on the Global Views coral and ivory rug and could see it in other colors being pretty. We saw a lot of coral.