A slab of monkeypod wood with a bronze heart embedded in its surface hangs from the ceiling by two lengths of white-and-pale-gold marine rope at Creative Registry. Festooned from the rope are frothy tassels and braided Mylar — all the components artistically fused to make a fetching decorative garden swing.
The handmade piece is a collaboration between Honolulu-based woodworker Kristen Brown and Susan Manrao, Los Angeles interior designer and founder of the new West Hollywood home decor showroom. And it is indicative of the nature of the store.
"I want people to feel delight when they come in, to have a sense of discovery," Manrao said. "Because of the level of detail, it takes an intimate setting to appreciate how special everything in here is."
Creative Registry, which opens Sunday, is a thoughtfully curated 500-square-foot space annexed off Manrao's design studio. Here she works on her residential and hospitality projects, which have included the W and St. Regis hotels.
While crisscrossing the globe seeking custom works for her clients, she encountered craftspeople from whom she acquired pieces for her personal collection. She eventually realized she could create a forum — her own store — to bring these emerging designers to light and shepherd them toward greater exposure.
"It's a space where everything in it is something I love and want to share," she said.
Creative Registry has an air of exclusivity — although not necessarily because of the prices, which range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
"It's exclusive because these are pieces that are hard to find," she said. "To me, that is what luxury means."
Some of the offerings — like an admiral's hat, encased in perspex, that dates to the 1920s — are one-offs. Manrao chanced upon the item at an antiques fest in Brimfield, Mass.
Others, such as cushions made from Paul Smith fabrics that are sewn by a seamstress specializing in cushions and pillows, can be custom-ordered. Also available for custom order are tiles by British designer Daniel Heath, who uses screen-printing techniques to etch birds onto gray Welsh slate.
Manrao likes to incorporate into her interiors the brilliantly colored powders that are part of the traditional Hindu holi festival and are bought in bulk from Udaipur, India. She has used them to decorate a glass-topped coffee table, and Sunday she will have them displayed in 16-inch glass vessels lined up in a row.
"I love anything that has a bespoke, handcrafted feel," she said.