Brian Murphy: One old chandelier is a pitiful light. Twenty of them--painted screaming red--is a statement. He’ll drape a vanity chair in theatrical cement cloth (a special-effects fabric that when dried looks like cement) and use sailcloth for walls. “A can of spray paint will bleed new life into anything. All of a sudden you have something people look at differently. All of a sudden it will have merit,” says Murphy, who insists, “If you have the strength of conviction to stand by it, it will fly.”
* Michael Smith: He plays with the classics, combining Directoire chairs, large Georgian pieces and Norman Rockwell-like mahogany dining-room sets to infuse his clients’ Brentwood homes with a sense of New England countryside. He told the upscale publication W that Brentwood, not Beverly Hills or Bel-Air, is the place to live. “Brentwood is still a village and you can still get old houses there with a lot of charm--and land. In the ‘90s, it’s not about having a big house, it’s about land. Art collecting is out. Gardening is in.”
* Julia Winston: A permanent fixture at the Long Beach and Rose Bowl flea markets, Winston carries home truckloads of finds each week and squirrels them away in one of her many filled-to-bursting warehouses. Her regular customers groan when they hear her say, “I believe I may have the kind of piece you’re looking for . . . in one of the warehouses.” They know it will mean hours of furniture moving to find the piece they’re seeking.
* Ron Meyers: A firm believer that style needn’t cost a fortune, Meyers has constructed cabinets out of roadside trash wood and monogrammed dining chairs with letterman sweater appliques. He scavenges and scrounges, and what he can’t find he makes. His own line of furniture is sold at Timeless Furniture on La Brea Avenue.