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The Best of L.A. Home & Design for 2019

By The Editors

Casa Perfect photo by Pia Riverola | Kitchen photo by Laura Hull | Meridith Baer staging photo by Jason Horrell

12.14.18

When it comes to home design and decor, we’ve sussed out L.A.’s elite movers and shakers, specialty designers and landscapers, bespoke furnishings, private showrooms and gold-standard services.

MOST INNOVATIVE SHOWROOM EXPERIENCE 
Casa Perfect (Beverly Hills) Filled with cutting-edge furniture, art and accessories, David Alhadeff’s appointment-only showroom features covetable, collectible contemporary designs displayed within a fully functioning home. Each room is a gallery, everything is for sale and most items can be customized. And what other showroom might invite you to have a dip in the backyard’s mirrorlike pool? While the goods are high-end, the vibe is low-key. A visit is akin to wandering into a friend’s home—that is, a friend with exquisite taste in design who just happens to live in a space formerly occupied by Elvis Presley. How perfect.

BEST SHOWROOM FOR TRANSITIONAL FURNITURE 
Grace Home Furnishings (Brentwood Village.) With some of the city’s most stylish furnishings that tastefully toe the line between contemporary and traditional, plus personalized decorating advice and design services all under one refined roof, Grace Home Furnishings is a West Side staple. And the brand continues to innovate: This year’s Palm Springs Modernism Week includes a “House of Grace” design project (the company’s second) created by co-founder Michael Ostrow. Grace Home maintains a showroom in Palm Springs’ Uptown Design District as well. 

BEST NURSERY AND GARDEN DESIGN DESTINATION
Inner Gardens (Culver City and Malibu) This high-end nursery carries rare sculptural garden art, furnishings and accessories, including a huge array of vintage and new planters, plus offers full-service garden design, installation and maintenance. And while the Culver City location remains a long-beloved institution, IG’s new Malibu location bumps the brand up yet another level with a whopping 20,000 square feet of elegantly adorned greenhouses.

A modern study staged by MBH.

BEST HOME STAGING FIRM
Meridith Baer Home (South Gate) No one has perfected the art of transforming a house into a home with quite the first-rate level of finesse as Meridith Baer. Long the go-to stager for L.A.’s most prestigious properties—including the homes of such notables like Scarlett Johansson, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts—Baer and her premier firm, Meridith Baer Home, are celebrating a major milestone: 20 years in business. During the past two decades, MBH has grown into the largest home staging company in the world, putting an alluring spin on around 2,000 homes annually between L.A., San Francisco, New York City, the Hamptons and Miami. And while Baer is best known for her staging work, the company also offers interior design services, luxury furniture leasing and even “Instant Home” consultations for clients who want a fully finished, elegantly designed home superfast.   

TOP WOOD SPECIALISTS
Studio E&R (Venice) Founder Ryan Silverman is the master wood craftsman behind the bespoke furniture, floors, staircases, doors and cabinetry in the homes of luminaries like Paul McCartney, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and dozens of others. He and his chef-turned-woodworking wife, Eileen O’Dea, run the studio alongside their artsitic kitchen accessory line, The Wooden Palate, sold by posh retailers like Barneys and Waterworks, and utilized by renowned chef Thomas Keller.

BEST LIGHTING DESIGNER 
Brendan Ravenhill Studio (Glassell Park) Founder Brendan Ravenhill’s signature statement lighting avoids ornamentation and excess, instead highlighting each design’s geometry, materials and craftsmanship. The handmade results thoughtfully integrate even the utilitarian cords in clever, artful ways. The Studio counts Warby Parker among its latest collaborations, and recently designed the lighting for new Sacramento-based restaurant Osteria Moto.

TOP PAINT DESTINATION 
Portola Paints & Glazes (Beverly Grove) This family-run, made-in-L.A. luxury paint company consistently sets trends with its unique tones and specialty finishes. Operated by brothers Casey and Jamie Davis, Portola is known for never glossing over the details. Custom palettes are handblended on-site to ensure color depth and accuracy, and the line’s signature Lime Wash coating—a product that took the duo nearly a decade to develop—pays homage to an ancient technique updated for the modern world.

Studio William Hefner designed this airy, inviting Hancock Park kitchen and dining room to make the most of the natural light and outdoor sightlines.

BEST ARCHITECTURAL FIRM FOR HISTORICAL RESTORATIONS 
Studio William Hefner (Miracle Mile) The delicate task of bringing historic homes back to life in a way that feels fresh and new is an area in which Studio William Hefner excels. To date, the firm has renovated more than 20 homes in the Hancock Park and Windsor Square areas. 

BEST CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE FIRM 
Montalba Architects (Santa Monica) From Nobu Ryoken and The Little Beach House in Malibu to Melrose Place’s award-winning modernist-inspired boutique The Row—not to mention countless contemporary residences—Montalba’s sleek designs always feel 100 percent California and 1,000 percent striking.

BEST RISING STAR BUILDER-DESIGNER 
Kim Gordon Designs (Marina del Rey) Kim Gordon has been quickly developing a cult following for her meticulous end-to-end work as a developer and designer. Her stylish residences overflow with custom details and her “handtouched luxury” approach has made her a new favorite among a discerning client base of A-listers like Sam Smith and Laura Dern—who recently tapped Gordon to create her dream dwelling.

BEST INTERIOR DESIGNER 
Studio Hus (Silver Lake) Led by interior designer Tatum Kendrick, award-winning Studio Hus carefully curates homes that serve up some serious soul. Kendrick infuses natural materials and vintage pieces with contemporary finds, draws inspiration from fashion, art and historical architecture, and then effortlessly blends the lot into comfortable modern interiors chock-full of character.

BEST LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT 
Pamela Burton (Santa Monica) Famed SoCal landscape designer Pamela Burton literally wrote the book on the subject back in 2002 (Private Landscape: Modernist Gardens in Southern California), and her eponymous firm, Pamela Burton & Company, continues to thrive with a portfolio of projects that shine.