The Melrose Project gives antiques a modern home

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The Melrose Project is an ambitious attempt to present fine antiques, vintage industrial pieces and contemporary furniture as works of art -- with prices to match. The store opened last month in a 9,000-square-foot loft-style building by architect Bruno Bondanelli across the street from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Mother-son founders Kathleen and Tommy Clements designed the Melrose Project as an alternative to traditional antiques collectives. It’s stocked with inventively displayed pieces cherry-picked from Los Angeles antique stores including Lee Stanton, which provided the 18th century oak Belgian convent armoire ($45,000) and 1920s French chairs ($7,500 for a set of six), above. The 24-light Italian neo-Gothic gilt bronze chandelier ($39,100) is from Robuck & Co. of Atlanta.


‘A lot of dealers don’t have the room for grand-scale pieces,’ Tommy Clements said. ‘We want to allow each piece to breathe so they can be fully appreciated.’

The cost of some pieces may indeed take one’s breath away. ‘I have seen some people blanch, definitely,’ Tommy Clements added. ‘The prices befit the quality, and we may not be the place to fill up your entire home, but if you want important statement pieces, that’s where we come in.’

The Santa Monica store Obsolete provides the Melrose Project with artwork and newly configured lighting made from vintage industrial parts. The Melrose Project recently landed an L.A. exclusive on Olatz bedding, a luxury line designed by the wife of artist Julian Schnabel. Antique carpets and contemporary rugs come from Woven Accents, including the Clements-designed Gypsy Maturin line.

Working as an interior designer for ‘more years than I want to talk about,’ Kathleen Clements added that she has also developed a line of furniture including the made-to-order Hudson sofa, above right, which has one continuous down-and-feather seat cushion and starts at about $5,000.

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Kathleen and Tommy Clements at the opening of the Melrose Project, above. Her white laquer Directoire style dining table, above right, has polished nickel casters and costs (gulp) $16,500. It’s next to a Gustavian bench perched on cinder blocks.

A sculpture by Ron Pippin, above right, is illuminated by fixtures from Obsolete in Santa Monica, which sells work at the Melrose Project. Harris Diamant’s 2002 ‘Alexander Hamilton’ is made from graphite and metal leaf. It measures 2 by 3 feet and sells for $2,800.

The Pacific Design Center shines through the front windows of the Melrose Project.

8674 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 862 2327

[Corrected at 1:40 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said Robuck was in New Orleans.]

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: The Melrose Project, Jeromy Robert Photography