Friday, August 30, 2013

Where do Interior Designers shop?

Where do we shop?  What secret place do we go to get the perfect furniture, fabric, rug, accessory, etc.?  The answer is anywhere and everywhere. As an Interior Designer one of the most important aspects of my job is to find just the right resource, to find just the right thing for my clients' homes.   Each project and client is unique and they deserve to have a home that truly expresses their own style and personality. 

On my recent trip to California I had the good fortune to go to some of the fantastic showrooms I have heard so much about.  Last year I visited a few other showrooms and everywhere I went people would say, oh, you must go here or you must go there.  So this trip I did!  Although I went to three amazing places, I want to devote this post to
 J.F. Chen.  There was so much to see it will fill the whole post.

J.F. Chen is located in West Hollywood California.
 Having heard so much about J.F. Chen , I couldn't wait to get there.  I assumed it was filled with Asian antiques and lots of exotic things.  So, ok, I should not assume anything.  Yes there were Asisan antiques but so so much more. 

This is a small corner of one of three large warehouses!

This shell adorned table would be perfect here in Florida.

This Murano glass chandelier is just one of many unique lighting fixtures.

What I found was the largest collection of museum quality mid century and vintage antiques.  From chairs, sofas, dining tables, coffee tables, etc. to lighting, sculpture, art and accessories.  It was overwhelming. 

As odd as this table may look, I have actually seen a few modern day interpretations of it in today's market.

I can imagine a Hollywood diva making her next movie deal from this curved leather and wood desk. 

This one of a kind desk is made from the outside of an airplane! And dig that crazy silver leather desk chair.

Sitting on the desk was this amazing little Jetsons looking TV.  I think we need to bring that style back, don't you?

I was fascinated with the incredible assortment of chairs.  Everywhere I looked there was one more interesting than the next.

There was a whole set of these little chairs.

This one looks hand made.

It may not be the most beautiful but it is very interesting. It almost has an "Early American" vibe but maybe from a source in Europe or South America.

I have seen patio furniture like this but these were probably the original design that inspired the reproductions.  What a great look.

I call this a butterfly chair. These were some of the first many years ago bu I have seen them in furniture stores right now.
 The interesting thing I found was how many of these original styles have endured.  You can find chairs in very similar styles in local stores or design showrooms.

Traditional wing chair meets contemporary styling.

These woven chairs are wonderful. I have seen some very much like these in a catalogue I got last week! And for a lot less money of course.

Chairs like this are also available in a similar style and in painted finishes.

This desk is so simple and beautiful. The chair is a great compliment to it. 

The clean lines and smooth finish of these chairs is perfect with the open woven seat. They are in amazing shape for being so old.
If you like this style, check out Room and Board for similar designs available today.

Here is another wonderful dining table and set of chairs. It is unusual to find a complete set still in good condition.

If I was a designer of modern furniture I would find a way to recreate this look.

This collection is from all over the world.  Many of the pieces are one of a kind or from limited editon, created by a well known furniture designer for a single manufacturer for a short period of time.

What fun.  The style and color are show stoppers.

This is the price tag for the chair above. It was designed by Marcel Wanders. Priced at $4,500, it was one of the least expensive chairs I saw.  Wanders is a Dutch product and furniture designer. He is known all over the world. You can even find products he design in Target!

The prices reflected the rarity of these pieces. Each was labeled with the designer, date and other important information.

This tag belongs to the next chair by Arne Jacobsen who also designed the iconic Egg Chair.  As you can see this is quite a valuable piece and not all that old.

This chair by Arne Jacobsen is called the OX chair. He designed it over a five year period and introduced it in 1966.
I did a bit of research and found an interesting article written on June 10th 2009 on Jacobsen in .  He is Danish. He trained and practiced as an architect but became a furniture designer so the furniture would be a perfect compliment to his interiors. Interestingly I found another furniture collection at J.F. Chen also by an architect.

This house was designed by Rudolf Schindler, a Vienna born architect. He was known as a Modernist and designed many homes in the L.A. area.  He lived from 1887 -1953.

The photo from the same book as above, shows the interior of that house.

The furniture above was also designed by Schindler for the same house.  Schindler also wanted to maintain the design inside and out.
It was fascinating to learn that architects were so passionate about their designs that they designed furniture to compliment the style of the architecture too.  This was an impressive collection. It was like being in a museum.

I wish I knew more about this chair. It was most likely one of a kind.

Another set of matching table and chairs.  The delicate style and color along with the open woven seat and back is beautiful.
Once again I venture to say this chair is one of a kind or was part of a very limited editon.   It is really a piece of art.
 The condition of all these pieces is extraordinary. 
It was wonderful to see so many incredible examples of well designed furniture. We toured all three warehouses (34,000 square feet !) but I could never take it all in.  It was inspiring and educational. 
I will never go to a thrift shop or garage sale without remembering what I saw.  You just never know where the next iconic chair will appear.  Even in todays furniture lines many of the styles I saw have been recreated. 
"What is old is new", they say.

Next time I have a client who loves the Mid Century or Retro style I will know just where to find the perfect thing, J.F. Chen!

Maybe this post has taken you down memory lane or has enlightened you about the origins of furniture design in Mid Century.  Have you ever found an old piece of furniture in the basement or attic that turned out to be something valuable?  Won't you share your story with us?

Or, maybe that chair or table you find at Ikea could be a good stand in for some iconic design.  You never know.
 Do you love the look of the Mid Century style? Do you watch Mad Men and find you are studying the interiors of the set in the background?

As always I welcome your ideas, thoughts and questions in the comment box below.  You can always email me at .

                               Happy Decorating!


  1. nice post on interior designs the designs are beautiful it is helpful for the people who love the interior designs.
    interior designers in hyderabad

  2. Thank you Krish. I am so happy you enjoyed the post and thank you for commenting. Hope you will continue to follow my blog and share your thoughts and ideas with everyone. It was great hearing from you.