Part Two: L.A. Shopping
My second stop on my retail tour of L.A. home furnishings stores was H.D. Buttercup. (Wednesday, I wrote about visiting Grace Home Furnishings on my recent trip to L.A. for the Design Bloggers Conference.) I had read about H.D. Buttercup when it had originally opened in 2005. The concept was novel: a "design center" where consumers could buy brands previously offered only through trade showrooms. Another attraction: the location was a historic commercial bakery building from the 1930's. And the final factor that made this store a must-see was that it was created by Evan Cole whose family created ABC Carpet & Home, a store that I witnessed morph from a no-frills carpet merchant to a home furnishings phenomenon during the almost 15 years that I lived in New York City. If H.D. Buttercup was anything like ABC Carpet & Home, I had to see it.
I have to say that the store did not exactly meet my expectations. Perhaps because I'm a designer and familiar with design centers and their offerings. Some interesting brands are featured at H.D. Buttercup. Cisco Brothers, a California-based line of upholstery and case-goods was on display up front. I've known about Cisco Brothers for a while. Their furniture is well constructed of natural and sustainable materials. I flipped for their kantha cloth upholstery. I love Kantha cloth quilts and their simple embroidery. Seeing settees, chairs and ottomans upholstered in Kantha cloth set my heart racing. I immediately texted pictures to Sarah, my oldest daughter, with the phrase,"for your apartment when you have your own" (she now shares a one-bedroom in New York City with her best friend from college).
Kantha Cloth Chair (left) and ottoman (right) by Cisco Brothers
Other brands at H.D. Buttercup included furniture by Lillian August, Andrew Martin, and Timothy Oulton; Stark Carpet; vintage goods from Style de Vie; Sferra linens and mattresses by E.S. Kluft and Co. Lillian August runs the gamut from very traditional to transitional, and H.D. Buttercup's offerings aligned with a transitional L.A. feel. Andrew Martin's furnishings seemed targeted to men: lots of upholstery in leather, greys and blacks. I was really surprised by the lack of color in so many of the displays and wondered if this was deliberate--to keep things neutral as a way to showcase the furniture forms rather than the fabrics.
Trends were very evident. Union Jacks on everything from pillows to framed posters to upholstery. Steamer trunk tables stacked to the ceiling . . . literally. Riveted metal furniture which I kinda liked for the novelty.
Union Jack Ottoman Steamer Trunk Tables Riveted Credenza
My favorite displays were at Style de Vie. This vintage 1960's lamp caught my eye, and I easily would have bought it if I lived locally.
I also loved these chairs: the color, the material. If only I had the right project.
If the store lacked some of the panache I had expected to see, one thing I saw there didn't. Guess who happened to be in town for the Oscars?
me (left), Nate Berkus (right)