In advance of the WestEdge Design Fair (coming up October 18 – 21), we decided to ask a Santa Monica local and design maven for her top tips on what to see, do, buy, and eat in this idyllic area of Southern California. Australian-born and California style-obsessed, we knew Bronwyn Poole of Touch Interiors would be the perfect person to take us on a journey of the best that the area has to offer. See what she had to say about a perfect day in Santa Monica and make your plans to attend WestEdge.
1 / 19
Hi, I’m Bronwyn Poole from Touch Interiors. I run a boutique design firm in my seaside home city of Santa Monica. Four years ago, my family and I moved to California from Sydney, Australia, and ever since I have been reveling in the extensive and inspired design community of Los Angeles’s West Side. With the WestEdge Design Fair coming up at the Barker Hangar, October 18 – 21, Dering Hall has asked me to put together a list of my go-to places for design inspiration in my neighborhood. Make a day (or more likely a weekend!) of my favorites.
2 / 19
Start your day grabbing a morning refreshment from Cafe Luxxe on Montana Ave (and don’t forget to try one of their rhubarb or berry custard tarts, brought in fresh each morning from Huckleberry’s Cafe). While in this neck of the woods, I recommend strolling north and stopping at Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic, which opens at 10 AM Mon-Sat and at noon on Sundays. Here you will find one-of-a-kind distressed vintage pieces and heavenly linen and lace bedding.
3 / 19
Continue further up the street toward the local interior design boutique Rooms & Gardens, where you will see a rainbow of inspiration in the form of their color-coordinated textile library sold by the yard.
Rooms & Gardens
4 / 19
While at Rooms & Gardens, check to see if they have any Cynthia Eddings original paintings on their walls. She’s my favorite local artist——there’s simply no one who captures the light and energy of Santa Monica and the Malibu hills quite like Cynthia.
Cynthia Eddings's work
5 / 19
From Montana Avenue, I recommend you drive straight to Main Street and skip the 3rd Street Promenade tourist mecca altogether. Start at a favorite purveyor of all things simple and tasteful, Lost & Found. Here you will find a diverse selection of Belgian linens, glassware, flatware, handmade lights from France and other unique decor sourced from all around the world.
Lost & Found
6 / 19
Before you jump back in your car, head toward Venice Beach (sticking to the same side of the street) until you spot the row of three colorful striped deck chairs—this is renowned interior designer Tim Clarke’s Tower20. Tim has curated his emporium with decor he often uses in the homes of his A-list clientele, imbuing his unmistakable California coastal beach vibe. Catch them in their current location while you can; they're moving to 2630 Pico Boulevard in October.
7 / 19
I nearly forgot to mention my #1 place to visit! I simply can’t drive down Main Street without popping into Love & Adorned. Here you will be spoiled with the most remarkable artisan jewellery, candles, ceramics, textiles… you name it. Don’t forget to check out their cute courtyard and daily offering of fresh floating flowers in the reflection pool next to the cash register. Very Zen!
Love & Adorned
8 / 19
After checking out the boutique backstreets, get back in your car and head over to the always-happening Lincoln Boulevard. Start at Merchant Modern, where my adorable friend Denise will passionately and knowledgeably chat to you about all things vintage modern. Her gallery is full of Moroccan rugs, ceramics, architectural pottery and art from local talent and is a labyrinth of total design joy.
9 / 19
Continue your drive toward Venice, stopping in at my mate Dustin’s Venice Plants. It’s a worthwhile stop, especially if you’ve been trying to hunt down where all the designers get their trendy cacti and succulents from. His prices are excellent, and he is a sharp shooter offering an in and out service.
10 / 19
Whatever you do though, this next stop is essential and my #1 trade secret! Be warned you may be here for a while. The Mart Collective is where I source so many amazing things for my clients that allow me to layer their homes with depth and personality at a price any budget can accommodate. Made up of numerous gallery spaces featuring independent vintage and antique sellers, this mart is the ultimate sourcing location for things you never knew you needed. Please say hi to the lovely owners and operators, Robin and Anthony, when you pop in.
The Mart Collective
11 / 19
The next stop is one that I frequented so much when I arrived in L.A. that it practically became a place of worship for me. Through association, its uber-cool Cali vibe would acclimate me to being an instant local despite it being foreign to anything I had experienced before. Hail to The General Store. If this shop does not speak to the heart of Venice style, nothing does. It’s run by two local legends, Hannah and Serena, and has an impressive cult following for good reason. Their disciplined and honed eye is ethically inspired, and you feel this with remarkable energy when you enter their store.
The General Store
12 / 19
At the General Store, you won’t be able to miss Heather Levine’s wonderful ceramic pieces and light fixtures which still make my heart skip a beat to this day. If you’re a tad hungry by now, I recommend lunch at Superba across the road for mouth-watering artisan breads and fragrant dishes. So good!
Heather Levine's work
13 / 19
After lunch, I’d be doing you an injustice if I didn’t tell you about the charming scarves and apparel inside Late Sunday Afternoon, which is just a stone’s throw away.
Late Sunday Afternoon
14 / 19
If you have any energy left, Abbot Kinney Boulevard is just down the road. First, you need to venture the road less travelled, straight into the doors of Jeffery’s Stahl & Band. I literally want to buy his whole shop. The highly accomplished designers he represents are truly mind-blowing. His space features refined, thoughtful, cutting-edge pieces (including his own) that may set you back a pretty penny but are worthy every design investment cent.
Stahl & Band
15 / 19
For something a bit more affordable, venture next door to Venice Vintage Paradise, where you’ll find the best and hippest vintage bargains. My own home is overflowing with wonderful things I’ve bought from these boys, including my one-of-a-kind vintage rattan-wrapped bike.
Venice Vintage Paradise
16 / 19
Next, walk across Lincoln Boulevard to the main drag. My top tips are The Piece Collective for a great selection of homewares, jewellery, and clothes, and then Burro for books, cards, gifts, and an array of what I just call “cutestuff.” I also love Chariots of Fire on Abbott Kinney. They are the U.S. stockists for Makoto Kagoshima’s incredible on-of-a-kind ceramics, which are pure bliss from the color to the texture to the various shapes. He recently sold out his latest exhibition, held at Chariots of Fire, on the opening night.
The Piece Collective
17 / 19
If you didn’t already grab food yet, here is your second chance, at either Plant Food & Wine or Gjusta Bakery. My pick would be Gjusta simply because of Gjusta Goods, which is their homewares store located next to their bakery. The colorful linen napkins found here are the best I have ever seen.
18 / 19
If it’s pushing 5 PM and you’re still looking for more, you have one more hour before Shoppe by Amber Interiors closes at 6 PM Mon-Sat, (5 PM Sundays). Located in the Pacific Palisades, it’s a decent 15-minute drive away, but well worth it. Run by Instagram superstar Amber Lewis, her shop is filled to the brim with all her amazing pillows, art, furniture, rugs and decor.
Shoppe by Amber Interiors
19 / 19
If you’re planning to hang local to enjoy the sunset, head back into Santa Monica on 2nd Street to the newly opened Elephante Beach Club, operated by Australian Nick Mathers (with a helpful parking structure just across the road). Enjoy a cocktail overlooking the water and some seriously delicious food. It’s a perfect end to your design-inspired day.
Elephante Beach Club