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Old and young get along famously at Big Daddy’s Antiques

Big Daddy’s
The stores’ owners hope customers walk in and say, “Oh, my God. I want to live here.”
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Forget teacups and doilies — Big Daddy’s Antiques has been redefining what’s cool, collectible and vintage for 15 years.

Even though the Culver City store sells old stuff, it appeals to a high-profile young clientele: Bruno Mars, Harry Styles and Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian are customers, as well as Taylor Swift — who found out about it on Yelp.

“You never know who is going to walk in,” founder Shane Brown says.

Brown launched the store 15 years ago, specializing in moderate-to-pricey, one-of-a-kind repurposed merchandise including midcentury bent wood chairs, vintage Louis Vuitton trunks and French reproduction birdcages. There are also offbeat items like a creepy wax-museum head.

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“We really try to be cutting-edge, but it has to have a feeling that is comfortable,” co-owner Kristine Brown said of the retail experience she and her husband have created.

Big Daddy’s
Owners Kristine and Shane Brown of Big Daddy’s in Culver City on a 1948 Norton bike.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

“Our biggest goal is for somebody to walk into our warehouse and say, ‘Oh, my God. I want to live here.’”

The store’s popularity led to a spring 2016 capsule collection for Pottery Barn, Big Daddy’s first collaboration.

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The debut includes a rustic bed ($1,599-$1,799) and side table ($549) designed from metal and reclaimed wood pallets, and an indoor-outdoor dining set with all-weather wicker chairs made from metal and teak ($3,593).

“It’s the Big Daddy look,” Shane said of the mixed use of materials and eclectic design — he doesn’t like things to be too matchy-matchy.

“It’s antique with modern and a twist of vintage.”

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As the brand has grown, so has Big Daddy’s retail footprint: The company now has locations in San Francisco, Houston, Seattle and Aspen.

Meanwhile, the original Culver City store has become a favorite among Hollywood location scouts and event planners, who have used the space for filming, an Apple iTunes launch and even weddings.

“It beats a hotel ballroom,” Kristine said.

The airy, loft-like warehouse decorated with unique home furnishings, live foliage and thoughtful touches of feng shui was recently used as a location for “The Bachelorette” — and previously starred on episodes of “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.”

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Given Big Daddy’s popularity with the reality-TV set, perhaps it’s no surprise that Shane’s start in home decor started with a jealous girlfriend with bad taste.

After redecorating her apartment with cool, secondhand finds, the style-crossed couple broke up, and the gifted furnishings were tossed onto the lawn.

Since the castoffs wouldn’t fit in his apartment, Shane rented a small space in an antique mall. The items quickly sold, and he was hooked.

Big Daddy’s
A crocodile skull with gold teeth, one of the offbeat items at Big Daddy’s, sells for $525.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
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The stint at the antique mall led to renting a storefront, then a formative period selling found items and vintage treasure at flea markets.

It was at the Alameda Point Antiques Faire in Oakland 15 years ago where Shane met members of Pottery Barn’s product development team as they scouted for inspiration.

A friendship developed, and for more than a decade the team routinely hunted through Big Daddy’s cache of curated finds for style ideas.

Like his customers, Shane loves the hunt for a special item. To this day, when he spots something at a flea market that he knows will sell at his stores, “my endorphins go off.”

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“But then you have to be calm,” he said, “because if you get too excited they’ll jack up the price.”

hotproperty@latimes.com


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