Home & Garden

Shopping Melrose Avenue's thriving design district

House and HomePaul SmithGucci Group NV
Melrose Avenue shopping: $18,500 Goat hair souffle chairs, $14 glass tumblers and everything in between

Few stretches along Melrose Avenue offer such an abundant mix of home decor options as the diverse shopping district between Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard.

Here, national retailers such as Jonathan Adler, the Rug Co. and Blu Dot are set amid independent stores specializing in Danish Modern and Art Deco furnishings, boutiques with vintage and designer clothing, Avi Brosh's chic Palihotel and even a nail salon exclusively for men (equipped with big-screen TVs, of course).

Many of the storefronts have been here for years. Los Angeles-based artist David Weidman opened the Weidman Gallery and custom frame shop in 1963. And Fred Segal, an iconic vine-covered landmark, opened in 1965. The giant pink-hued Paul Smith is across the street.

Among the newer vendors: Pasadena-based Cisco Home moved to Melrose from La Brea Avenue two years ago, offering its brand of sustainable furnishings and inventive repurposed goods in a warm and earthy showroom. The newly opened Chic Design specializes in mid- to high-end contemporary furnishings by European designers. A few blocks down, Kelly Wearstler has established an ultra-glamorous flagship as only she can, stocked with clothing, jewelry and over-the-top home furnishings. Can't afford a pair of goat hair souffle chairs for $18,500? It's beside the point. When it comes to visual delights, this neighborhood can be more about the experience than practical shopping.

Along those lines, the soundstage-inspired interiors of Paul Smith serve as a whimsical backdrop for vintage Gucci glasses, Hans J. Wegner chairs and colorful Paul Smith textiles. And like Kelly Wearstler's, the showroom features a carefully curated selection of books ranging from vintage Avedon photography tomes to a collector's edition of Annie Leibovitz's "Big Book," which rests on a tripod.

Jonathan Adler expanded by a third last year, enabling the store to offer even more irrepressibly cheerful needlepoint pillows, boldly modern accessories and midcentury-influenced furnishings. At TableArt, shoppers are encouraged to mix and match china, linens and silverware on top of a broad marble island for an individualized look. Summing up the diverse design mood of the street, the store stocks everything you need for entertaining, from $14 glass tumblers to $300 handmade bowls by Italian ceramist Rina Menardi.

It's a mood that appears to have influenced the street's newest tenants.

Recently, interior designer Jessica Marx won an American Institute of Architects award for the elegant black-and-white interiors she designed for the Bo Nuage pastry shop. "We really wanted a Parisian feel," said owner Audrey Achcar. "We wanted the store to feel like a jewelry box." By contrast, the handsome interiors of L.A. Juice feature black plaster walls and floors, copper upright panels and an island covered in recycled brown belts courtesy of interior designer Kari Whitman.

lisa.boone@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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