Some places give off an energy that is decidedly of-the-moment: just a few steps inside these places, visitors sense a strong personality, pleasant atmosphere and unique character. In Hollywood, the discreet yet renowned Galerie Half ticks all these boxes and more.
Thanks to owners Cameron Smith and Cliff Fong, the design gallery first opened in 2006—a tiny space that inspired its name—then moved to its current location on Melrose Avenue in 2009. It has since become a de facto reference for design connoisseurs. Inspired by a vast array of influences from modern classics, to minimalist Belgian architecture, to hip-hop, the eclectic yet highly curated selection of furnishings and objects reflect Smith and Fong’s broad approach.
Combined with Western antiquities, architectural relics, African sculptures, 19th-century and primitive benches or tables are pieces by European masters such as Poul Henningsen, Le Corbusier, Børge Mogensen, Jean Royère, Greta Grossman, Poul Kjaerholm, Serge Mouille, and Arne Jacobsen, among many others.
Never afraid to mix items from different eras, as well as anonymous pieces with those created by famous designers, the Galerie Half duo work hand-in-hand to make the space both approachable and refined. While Smith travels several times a years to Europe to buy new pieces for the gallery, Fong is in charge of displays.
In Galerie Half, the sense of flow and limited number of objects and furnishings evoke the feeling of being in a home. All items are placed in carefully considered spots to receive the perfect amount of light (whether natural or artificial). Artworks (paintings and photographs) are also an important part of the backdrop, helping to personalize every corner. New arrivals constantly renew the space, where patina and original finishes shape a timeless, peaceful and exquisite environment. galeriehalf.com
In a fast-paced world dominated by technology, why launch a business that could be considered old-fashioned at first sight? Sugar Paper took just such a chance, focusing on stationary. In defying the odds, the L.A.-based brand found immediate success.
“In 2003, we started tinkering with a letterpress and helping our friends put beautiful paper in the mail,” say Sugar Paper cofounders Jamie Grobecker and Chelsea Shukov. “It’s hard to explain why we thought it was so important and why we felt such a connection to it. Maybe because our mothers always told us how important thank-you notes were or how much we loved her handwriting, and the fancy pens and paper they used.”
Going beyond simple words, every message conveys an emotion and is truly personal. “As each bespoke piece was sent, more and more people inquired,” say the founders. “So more and more stationary was made.” Today, the brand has a presence in thousands of stores across the United States and around the world, including an international shop-in-shop at Harrods in London. Its two Southern California boutiques—in Santa Monica and Newport Beach—invite passersby to discover brand’s unique, subtle aesthetic.
The white background of Sugar Paper spaces foster an overall feeling of airiness, despite the storefronts’ small size. Perfectly curated, products are harmoniously staged with a great sense of detail. Soft blues and pinks combine with touches of gold to create a cozy yet glamorous atmosphere, reminiscent of the pre-Internet age.
“We took a risk and stayed focused on building our business offline, making beautiful, tangible things by hand that would far outweigh anything in the digital space,” say Grobecker and Shukov. Quality, creativity and personalization are at the heart of the Sugar Paper concept.
“There is something special about personalized paper,” Shukov explains. “It’s a simple luxury that feels elegant.” With every card designed and hand-printed at the brand’s Los Angeles studio, Sugar Paper uses extra thick paper and subtle variations in ink, and every envelope is lined by hand. Candles are individually hand-poured and available in two scents: crisp white linen and pale pink petal, reflecting the beauty of the handcrafted.
“Good things take time,” say the cofounders. “We believe love is in the details.” The collections also comprises baby books, wedding planners, notebooks, pens, journals, calendars, phone cases, place cards and key fobs. “At Sugar Paper, we make practical things for busy people,” note Grobecker and Shukov. “When no one in the studio can live without something we’ve made, we know we’ve created something special.” Helping people get organized, connect with others and be inspired, Sugar Paper is also a way to go back to basics. It’s a breath of fresh air in an era when many people are rediscovering the beauty and value of small, well-made things. sugarpaper.com
PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF SUGAR PAPER
1 Crate & Barrel
Hayes Marble and Wood
Salt and Pepper Set
Large Lamp Table
3 House of Morrison
4 Modern Lake House, NYC
5 Teak Warehouse
Woodrock Teak Coffee Table
6 Restoration Hardware
Aspen French Oak Platform Bed
7 Restoration Hardware
Soren Leather Chair
PHOTOS: (IN ORDER) COURTESY OF CRATE & BARREL, AERIN, HOUSE OF MORRISON, DONNA DOTAN, TEAK WAREHOUSE, AND RESTORATION HARDWARE
Everybody needs a little Personal Space—and it’s near Manhattan Beach Pier. In the heart of downtown on Manhattan Avenue, a lifestyle home store offering unique designer furniture and home accessories presents something different from the norm.
Owner Laurie Wiluan, who recently relocated to Manhattan Beach after 25 years in Singapore, is the founder and curator for the shop, Personal Space MB. She has a sharp eye for original design and importing designer wares from around the world, infusing a freshness into typical Southern California decor.
“My desire with Personal Space is to bring meaningful pieces from Asian designers and craftsmen to the community,“ shares Wiluan.
With a commitment to sourcing excellent design and a quality product, the boutique offers products of comfort and function that will also cause a reaction.
Take the rattan collection. Though rattan is familiar to beach communities, the collection here is completely reimagined. The Malya Oversize Chair is an incredible round indoor-outdoor cocoon-like chair that seats three people. Its striking features and curvilinear lines are sexy and original.
The Sedan, a classic armchair of leather and rattan, was designed exclusively by Singgih Kartono and completely handcrafted in Indonesia, on the island of Java, where rattan furniture has been made for hundreds of years. The shape is fresh with an island-meets-mid-century vibe.
Wiluan also carries a few collections of beautiful avant-garde dinnerware. The incredibly designed Full Moon Tableware Collection by Chaehoon Moon has an etched rough surface with a shiny alloy serving side.
The unique dinnerware—an authentic Korean bronze called Yugee (known as “The Material of Life”)—is rich and can fit well with any style. Interestingly, the use of alloy in Korean dinnerware is traditional because it has a strong antibacterial ability. “I’m half Korean and it is very common in our culture to use alloy and certain metals in our tableware,” Wiluan explains.
Along with an extensive repertoire of beautiful, streamlined furniture, Personal Space MB also offers almost abstract-like shelving and eco-friendly recycled rugs and floor pillows. “I love working with designers and companies that are conscious of the raw materials they use,” explains Wiluan.
“For example, Ong Cen Kuang creates the most amazing lamps, some of his most famous ones are made out of zipper material.” Great gift items are available too, like cashmere throws, quirky products such as a bamboo rocking horse and beautiful jewelry by Simone Chen for both men and women, and created exclusively for Personal Space MB. With a collection of curated, consciously crafted items that one does not find everywhere, Personal Space MB is something truly special.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PERSONAL SPACE
The move to unify art, craft and industry is a notion not likely to raise many eyebrows today, not with entire enclaves of open-minded artistic types seemingly dedicated to this idea—Brooklyn, Portland, Silver Lake. But in 1919, when Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus, a modernist art school in Weimar, Germany with an interdisciplinary focus and workshops taught by major modernists of the era—architects Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, artists Kandinsky and Klee—this was radical thinking.
Mies van der Rohe characterized the Bauhaus more of an idea than an institution. In truth it was both, its principles highly influential among admirers like Hans Knoll, the son of a second-generation furniture manufacturer who launched a new furniture company in New York City, though a big part of its future was in Michigan at the time, that being Florence Knoll (née Schust), a trained architect who attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art, went on to study with Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe, and married Hans.
In 1941, Florence brought her multifarious talent and Bauhausian spirit of collaboration to Knoll, which would become synonymous for designs so iconic they needed but one-word descriptions: the Womb, the Wassily. Florence designed the Planning Unit—the interior arm of the renamed Knoll Associates—and helped bring her Cranbrook classmates Eero Saarinen and the aforementioned Harry Bertoia into the fold, along with her mentor Mies van der Rohe.
He, in turn, gave rights to many of his designs, including his famed Barcelona Collection (its chairs used in Phillip Johnson’s landmark Glass House), to Knoll. Florence was widely praised for her design of the company’s Madison Avenue showroom, which reframed modernism as not only functional, but aesthetically vibrant as well. Her gifts were such that she also designed Knoll’s first European showroom, in the annex of a Parisian cathedral, and the company’s Parallel Bar series. When Hans tragically died in a car accident, Florence assumed the presidency of Knoll, a role in which she flourished until retiring many years later.
Unchanged through Knoll’s many decades is its deep commitment to creative exchange with the top talent of every era; earlier on, George Nakashima (the N10 and N11 coffee tables and N19 chair) Andre Dupre (the Model 130 Stacking Chair), and Harry Bertoia (the Diamond Chair); later Cini Boeri, and recently, David Adjaye and David Rockwell. Environmentally sensitive production plays into the company’s sense of continuation—of form, function, and modern principles, and in responsiveness to cultural shifts and modern environments with rationally conceptualized work.
This year, marking its 80th anniversary, Knoll is nodding to the Bauhaus’s 2019 centennial, introducing a new palette of fabrics and finishes for some of its most legendary designs. With metallic finishes in antique bronze and gold frames for the Four Seasons Stool (1958) and Flat Bar Brno (1930), both by Mies van der Rohe, and the Wassily Chair (1925), by Marcel Breuer, what’s old is very much new again. knoll.com.
(this page, clockwise from top) Washington Skeleton Aluminum Side Chairs by David Adjaye; contemporary environments with Knoll furnishings; Hans and Florence Knoll.
Photographs: courtesy of Knoll
At the helm of his design firm (with two area showrooms, in Newport Beach and Corona del Mar, and another in Park City, Utah), Barclay Butera draws inspiration from Old Hollywood and West Palm Beach, as well as architecture, fashion and travel to design coastal-chic interiors. He also regularly works with different licensing partners to create furniture collections and home decor.
“I wanted to create a collection of furnishings that had all the glamour and sophistication of the Hollywood Regency period, but had a fresh, traditional twist”
At the end of 2017, Butera launched two collections with Lexington Home Brands, a company he has known for over two decades. “We had discussed doing a collection together for several years and finally the timing was right,” the designer says. “Lexington came to me for my ideas and to bring a fresh approach to a new traditional sensibility.”
For President and CEO of Lexington Home Brands Phil Haney, teaming with the tastemaker offers a modern direction. The brand launch, he notes, “represents a milestone because it’s the first time we have partnered with an interior designer to collaboratively reimagine a style category.”
In contrast to Butera’s more beach-casual, aptly named Newport Beach collection for Lexington Home Brands, his Brentwood collection pays tribute to the L.A. neighborhood of the same name near Beverly Hills, reflecting a sense of elegance and a refined aesthetic. “I wanted to create a collection of furnishings that had all the glamour and sophistication of the Hollywood Regency period, but had a fresh, traditional twist,” Butera says.
With a nod to the fashion and romance of this era, Brentwood strikes the perfect balance between formal and casual. “Working in tandem with the Lexington design team is a dream,” the designer adds. “We came to the table with our designs and ideas and they made them come to life. It was really exciting to see the first prototypes.”
The Wilshire gray finish (a warm graphite coloration, hand-waxed to enhance the depth and clarity of the wood), soft textured silvers and ebony inlays with a rich layering of chic textiles give the Brentwood pieces a subtly formal look and feel. “I am crazy over the infusion of black nickel hardware and the subtle Asian influences in this collection,” Butera says. “Classic shades of ivory, dove gray and soft celadon were the perfect mix to off set the dark wood and rich metal finishes.”
With its formal yet comfortable vibe, the Brentwood furniture collection offers “a luxury interpretation of today’s new traditional style,” according to Butera. Seeing his role as a therapist for the home, the designer expresses his creativity through new projects constantly.
Given the success of this collaboration between Butera and Lexington, a new collection is set to launch in spring of 2019 in Lexington’s main showroom at High Point Market in North Carolina. Locally, the Brentwood furniture collection and Barclay Butera’s products are available online at barclaybutera.com.
Photographs: courtesy of Barclay Butera
(clockwise from top left) Westwood writing desk; Naples cocktail ottoman; Sydney chairs with brass caster and Naples leather cocktail ottoman; Kathryn arm chair and side chair; and Sheffield cocktail ottomans.
Inspired by the unconventional, bohemian style embodies eclectic, free-spirited fun, reflected by a variety of textures and prints
Aerin Wicker Hurricane
Products similar to the home accessories at Casa Cook Kos.
in Greece, casacook.com
Sling Chair (in navy)
Grace Grey Pillow
Aerin Wicker Wall Mirror
Photographs: (in order) courtesy of Allmodern, Williams Sonoma, Casa Cook Kos, Serena & Lily, House of Morrison and Modshop
Katie Hodges became an interior designer by chance.
“While I was in college pursuing a career in the medical field (to appease my parents), I worked as a personal assistant to an incredible woman building her dream home,” she recalls.
“This was my first encounter with construction and interior design, and it enamored me! After working together for a few months, the owner noticed I had a good design eye, and before I knew it, I was her personal shopper and home organizer. She encouraged me to continue developing my skills and consider a career in design.”
This experience convinced Hodges to quit her master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and follow her passion for design, starting out as intern for a small firm.
During that time, she spent her nights learning all the techniques from AutoCAD drafting to Photoshop to InDesign until she was hired as a full-time assistant one year later.
A fast learner and creative thinker, Hodges launched her eponymous interior design firm in Los Angeles four years ago, offering a personalized approach to every project including residential design, construction (new build and remodels), custom furnishings and architectural consulting.
“My favorite part of the job is that it’s both creative and technical,” she says. “The drafting and construction process keeps the left side of my brain occupied, while selecting furnishings, tiles and colors fulfills my creative right brain.”
Earth tones and natural textures characterize Hodges’s warm aesthetic. Sage green, gray, beige and black evoke a sense of timelessness and help her create spaces that feel comfortable and cozy. “Right now, I am really into playing with a deep eggplant color and camel leather,” she adds.
Nestled in an Art Deco building from the 1930s, one of the Los Angeles apartments Hodges designed combines references to the Spanish architecture and laid-back California influences. In the living room adorned with arches, ceiling beams, a plaster fireplace and a Tiffany-glass window, Hodges focused on a neutral color palette while selecting textural elements and eclectic vintage pieces of furniture such as the black leather safari chairs (sourced online from Denmark), a wooden folk chair and a kilim rug, among others touches.
“My main source of inspiration comes from the city of Los Angeles. There is so much architectural diversity that’s globally influenced—Spanish, English, Moroccan, French… It’s all here,” says Hodges, who observes everything around her and likes to surround herself with design books.
She always keeps an eye on online resources including Pinterest and Instagram and, when asked about her dream project, gives a straightforward answer: “A beachside original Colonial or Spanish with large steel windows.”
Fascinated by the charm of historic properties, Hodges infuses warmth and personality into the spaces that she reinvents for today. katiehodgesdesign.com
Photographs: courtesy of Amy Bartlam
Flower Wall Decoration
Capri Beach Towel
Bombay Side Table
Designed by Link Outdoor
PUBLIC® C7 Bike
Endless Summer Collection
Trade only, zinctextile.com
Eastport Striped Umbrella
Linen Broken Appliqué Pillow
by Kelly Hoppen (Square)
Grand Maison 3 Wick
Coleman 54 QT.
Photographs: (in order) courtesy of Boconcept, Serena & Lily, Thomas Lavin, Zinc Textile (lifestyle), Restoration Hardware, Voluspa and Crate&Barrel
Malibu Up Chandelier
Pacific Outdoor Pendant
$218 (small), serenaandlily.com
Banana Leaf Salad Plate Set
$115 (set of 4), and
Pineapple Reversible Placemat
Harrison Swivel Cube (Palm)
Riviera Original 10.5-Foot
Peacock Lounge, Pad & Pillow, $1,040 (lounge) and $240 (pad and pillow), bendgoods.com
Curated by Karine Monié
Photographs: (in order) courtesy of Tuvalu Home, New Moon, Made Goods (lifestyle), Serena & Lily, Tommy Bahama and Bend
L.A.-based interior designer Schuyler Samperton never had a master plan, but always followed her instincts.
“When I was little,” says Schuyler Samperton, the lilt in her voice as lovely as the story she tells, “I would play decorator with samples that my father, an architect, brought home from his office.” Design has always been part of my life.”
Cut from the same cloth as her father, Samperton studied art history with thoughts of a career at Christie’s or Sotheby’s before segueing into the music business and working as a publicist for Fox. Then she met designer Michael S. Smith and he offered her a job.
Two weeks later, she inherited design projects; four years after that, Schuyler Samperton (by then a design manager at the firm) left to start her own company with a co-worker. In 2007, she went solo, and her work has been splashed in the pages of Vogue Living, Elle Décor, Architectural Digest and more.
Celebrated for the elegant, easy aesthetic she employs to transform high-end residential and commercial spaces from coast to coast, Samperton’s comfort zone exists somewhere between these geographies.
Originally from Washington DC, she maintains a house on an island in Maine, a tiny apartment in Miami, and heads her firm in Los Angeles; she designs in all vernaculars and brings a heightened sense of multidimensionality to her work, allowing a project’s specific environment to dictate its character.
Samperton has never fully shed her East Coast side; in fact she rather flaunts it, a Sister Parish for the modern day, with the grand dame’s sensibility for curated flourish.
“I love wallpaper. I love worn rugs. I love pattern on pattern and creating a mood with beautiful lighting—that’s what really feeds my soul,” says Schuyler Samperton.
“I love spaces like that,” particularly if the space is a cozy library. “Oh, that’s sort of my favorite little spot,” she adds, drawing a picture in words. “Wallpaper, a nice fireplace, a pretty rug, tons of art on the walls, a bunch of pillows—that to me is like heaven.”
A version of heaven is exactly what Samperton creates for her sophisticated clientele. “I went through a point where I had a lot of single men as clients,” she laughs. “It was quite an adventurous bunch for a while, which was really fun because they sort of let me do whatever I wanted. I remember saying to one, ‘I’m just feeling a total Big Sur moment, and he said, ‘I love it, just do it.’”
In 2017, the designer launched Schuyler Samperton Textiles with eight patterns in rapturous colorways. Her mother’s scarves inspired some motifs; one is named for the street of her childhood home. Not one to be in a holding pattern, Samperton is currently at work on a 1920’s remodel in Los Feliz, a place for a prominent TV show actress, an apartment for the screenwriters of American Graffiti and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and a jewelry store showroom. It’s a lot, she concedes, but like the spaces she designs, “always something different.” samperton.com
On a Tudor Revival estate in Pasadena, Bee’s Bliss Tea Cottage looks like it popped out of a book by Beatrix Potter but has its own story to tell. Built as a brick shed in 1916, the badly neglected structure was a caretaker’s workshop when Trevor and Justina Freel, the husband-and-wife collaborators of Rose Thicket, transformed it into a thing of natural beauty for the 2017 Pasadena Home Showcase House of Design.
“Our vision was to create an exterior landscape of an English cottage-style forest garden of California native plants and an interior with a structure of traditional Tudor architecture filled with furniture and objects of contemporary Shaker minimalism meets the free spirit of California,” say the Freels. A beautiful, environmentally sensitive space regenerative to both earth and soul.
In not interfering with the building’s historical exterior brick, the Freels maintained its integrity. They did, however, replace the rotted front doors with counterparts of brass leaded glass and a honeycomb-like motif referencing an ever-present theme—bees. Bees to pollinate the California native plants, bees to populate the apiary. “Mother nature is considered in everything that we do,” the duo explain. “We always seek to be with nature, not against nature.”
This harmony plays out inside cottage, which is small but with entry and sitting areas, a swinging bed and kitchen space. “Behind every object in our design is a craftsman who makes [it] with their hands,” say Trevor (who designed furnishings made with traditional wood joinery) and Justina (who contributed fine-art pieces). The faux timber frame structure is meant to evoke the look of a traditional Tudor building, while natural lime plaster colored with mineral pigments helps to passively regulate humidity and temperature. Electrical lighting is the only trace of technology—by design.
“Many times modern design is removed from nature and therefore can feel cold and sterile,” say the Freels. “With our storybook cottage, we wanted to bring you back to a place you have forgotten.” But will not soon forget.
Photography Courtesy of Allison Maginn | rosethicket.com