Melrose, on a budget

Special to The Times

Synonymous with edgy fashion outlets and a Heather Locklear soap, Melrose has a place for home décor. On the avenue’s western edge, from Orlando Avenue to Doheny Drive, there have always been scores of high-end specialty stores, interior designer studios and antiques boutiques. Now, however, a stretch of Melrose Avenue between Highland and La Brea avenues is becoming a budget-conscious, trend-setting décor destination.

The design firm notNeutral (6824 Melrose, [800] 270-6511), for instance, is part of a new breed of businesses that cut costs, develop product lines and attract new clients by creating a showroom and retail storefront. Theirs is a clean, well-lighted space with a large, eye-catching display window, white fixtures and black frames painted on the walls that show off a rainbow of glass, ceramics, pillows and textiles printed with notNeutral’s punchy graphics. The store also carries a line of elegant candles that resemble balusters and pepper mills, and reissued mid-century vases by Blenko, one of America’s oldest hand-blown-glass companies.

Renovating a bathroom? Living Square (6913 Melrose, [323] 857-6731) carries basins and bowls in porcelain, glass and stainless steel. The company works with manufacturers to produce limited-edition vanities and with local craftsmen for custom pieces.

For equally modern waterworks, check out the hanging plexiglass aquariums at California Chair (7023½ Melrose, [323] 936-2001), a funky shop with fab fiberglass pendant lights, Herman Miller-styled seats and replacement hardware for Eames furniture.

Ethnic furniture, carved wood pieces and brilliantly colored fabrics can be found at Anglochine (7023 Melrose, [323] 931-7361), which stocks Asian antiques and early 20th century French fabrics, and Bohac (6808 Melrose, [323] 966-0096), a warehouse of Indian goods. These join such Melrose stalwarts as Pom Pom (6819 Melrose, [323] 938-6286), an atelier for crystal chandeliers and white country furnishings; the movie poster and pop-culture kitsch emporium Chic-A-Boom (6817 Melrose, [323] 931-7441); and Boo Radley (6825 Melrose, [323] 939-6909), purveyors of Deco furniture and mid-century pottery in a cavernous former Model T dealership.

Want to shop like a celeb? Look behind the frosted-glass windows of Particolare (6911 Melrose, [323] 939-9098) for pottery, hand-welded wire furniture, lamps made from silk, paper and shells, and pillows so sumptuous that you won’t be surprised if the person next to you admiring them turns out to be Cher.