Dilly-dally. The word I detest most in the world.
I’m more impatient than a Seacrest-taunted American Idol finalist suffering a commercial break. (I prefer decisions to be made immediately, before the devil on my right shoulder opens his pessimistic mouth.) Plus, I find wishy-washy thinking a major waste of time.
Both reasons considered, I’m not exactly the best person to go shopping with. It’s truly a gift to be so focused a shopper that you can find exactly what you want, whip out the wallet, strap your new-found treasure to the roof of your car then schlep it right through the front door — like a single Hitchcockian take.
For many of us, shopping is more punishment than pleasure. I find it’s not the actual looking/feeling/pricing that’s torturous; it’s the driving/parking/walking. In an attempt to ditch dilly-dallying from Seattle to Savannah, I’ve asked design bloggers across the country to curate the best boutiques in their hometown.
To kick off the series, I decided to start with the Richter-scale-rad City of Angels. The shopper? The genetically-blessed, DIY- and decor-savvy Decorista, Ashlina Kaposta.
BPF: First up Ashlina, since we’re talking L.A., let’s talk Hollywood.
Stepping through the doors of Empiric is like taking a step back in time. The most outrageous vintage finds are hidden in this magical little showroom. Only L.A. decor enthusiasts know that the owners, uber-sweet duo Annie and husband Michael, custom make furniture to your taste. Their team has exquisite craftsmanship and a wildly gifted eye for the rare. Your Empiric custom furniture piece will be one-of-a-kind, which everyone in L.A. craves.
Then there’s Mogul. People in L.A. want to live the life like a rock star, and this store delivers that look. Over-the-top and completely over-sized, Mogul has the high square footage required for its pieces. Interior designers Dodd Mitchell and Tracy Butler are frequenters of this high-fashion decor boutique, as Mogul caters to those in Hollywood glamor hotel and restaurant design. My favorite find from this store was a pair of cockatoo lamps in white lacquer, and I got them for a steal. The best time to go is on Tuesdays when you can frequently score a sale from whatever was not scooped up on the weekend.
J.F. Chen is practically an L.A. landmark. The most sought-after furniture in the world finds a home in this showroom, thanks to the Chen family, who purchase finds from travels around the globe. J.F. Chen is known to only the most high-end interior designers, like Kelly Wearstler. Tuesdays are the best day to shop there.
BPF: What about L.A., proper?
AK: Room Service in West L.A. is my personal antidote to a gloomy day. This place has so many unique and happy things, I am always immensely delighted. Room Service was created with celebrities in mind, and they pair modern spins on truly unique vintage items. A huge, gold pig cocktail table; a lamp with a machine gun for the base; an oversized Marilyn/Warhol print. I love to go here for my headboard selections; they have the best-shaped headboards in the city.
BPF: What areas would you go to if you wanted to knock out shopping for the home and hit the beach on the same day?
AK: Venice and Santa Monica, for sure. A must-see in Venice is Plantation. Overall, it’s the best shop on the west side.
AK: Plantation is filled to the brim with the latest interior design trends, displayed in stunning vignettes. You’ll find that chair with custom studded trim that just blows your mind or a shocking, over-sized elephant art print that leaves you thinking you desperately have a need for it. Plan to spend your Saturday at Plantation; they’ve got a hair salon upstairs. Sip tea with the super-energetic and fun crew while gazing at the most gorgeous home decor you have ever seen. And don’t forget to bring your four-legged friend. Doggies are always more than welcome.
AK: One of my Santa Monica faves is Tower 20. Totally beach; totally L.A. This coastal-chic showroom is both sophisticated and relaxed. Owned by interior designer Tim Clarke, Tower 20 is like visiting to your most favorite vacation home, ever.
BPF: What about any mega boutiques? Like the Big Mommas of home decor?
AK: Definitely H.D. Buttercup. This is the store to go to for that item you’ve been eying in your latest shelter magazine. They carry everything you can possibly imagine that is fresh and in style. With so much square footage, you’ll feel like you’re at a Disneyland for decorators. I always take camera with me so I can remember all that I’ve seen. Getting on their email list is a must, because every few months H.D. Buttercup hosts a furniture line launch party or a book signing with celebrity-studded bashes…and the best free swag in the city. Another tip: Visit H.D. Buttercup right when they open. You’ll get to experience the showroom while they put out the best pieces, and the sale items have yet to be rummaged through.
BPF: And last but not least, the most ritzy?
AK: In Brentwood! Definitely head over to Porta Bella, my favorite local shop in the heart of Brentwood. Upstairs is a full-service design firm, and downstairs you can delight yourself with fabulous soaps, yummy candles, delicious linens and throw blankets. This is hands-down the most luxurious place for home accessories in the city. Go is on Saturdays when their wildly popular high-end linens just might be on sale.