PILGRIMAGE TO LA CIENEGA

I just returned from Los Angeles with two very heavy suitcases, a sunburn, and plenty of inspiration. I had the pleasure of attending the 10th annual Legends of La Cienega, and as per usual, it did not disappoint.

 

 Timothy Corrigan for Harbinger. Photo: Grey Crawford

Timothy Corrigan for Harbinger. Photo: Grey Crawford

For those readers who have yet experienced Legends, it is a two-day event packed with educational and entertaining designer panels, networking lunches, and most importantly...parties! The event host is made up of the member showrooms within the La Cienega Design Quarter, greater Los Angeles's premier design destination for all things high-end and beautiful. In addition to the line up of events, Legends is also famous for its window designs.

 

 My window for Jamal's Rug Collection several years ago. Photo: Grey Crawford

My window for Jamal's Rug Collection several years ago. Photo: Grey Crawford

Every year, designers from all over the country are invited to design a window display at one of the Quarter's 53 showrooms based on a theme set by the Legend's council. This year the theme was "today's vision, tomorrow's home." I had the honor of designing a window for Jamal's Rug Collection for Legends 2015, and I know first hand the hard work and dedication that goes into a window design - they may seem deceptively easy due to the typically small scale the designer is working with, but they are still challenging and logistically time-consuming, especially for those designers who do not reside in the LA area.

 The opening reception at Fig and Olive. Photo: Chris + Jenn Photography

The opening reception at Fig and Olive. Photo: Chris + Jenn Photography

Legends always begins with a star-studded opening gala the evening prior to the first day of scheduled events. The past several years the gala has been hosted by Fig and Olive at their sublime location on Melrose Place. The gala, as with all of the Legends social events, is the perfect opportunity to mingle and connect with many of the industry's most illustrious design talents and editors.

 

 The Love it or Hate It event. Photo: Chris + Jenn Photography.

The Love it or Hate It event. Photo: Chris + Jenn Photography.

At this year’s Legends, there were over 50 keynotes, social events, discussions, and open houses from which registrants could choose to attend. I always find it hard to tighten down my two-day schedule because there are so many events that I would like to attend, but at the end of the day, you can only squeeze so many in! This year, one of the more entertaining panels I attended was titled "Love It Or Hate It" with actress Sophia Bush at Marc Phillips Decorative Rugs. Sophia and Chairish co-founder Anna Brockway enlisted the help of design-giants Nathan Turner, Mary McDonald, Nate Berkus, Jeremiah Brent, Mat Sanders, Betsy Burnham, Georgia Tapert Howe, and Sarah Sherman Samuel to decide what popular products/trends/colors, etc. they loved or hated. The audience was invited to chime in as well, and needless to say, there was no shortage of differing opinions...for example:

BUTCHER BLOCK COUNTERTOP: 6 LOVE, 2 HATE

“I like that the more messed up it gets, the better. I’d even like an old, rotten block. That’s probably unsanitary, but it’s fine.“— Nathan Turner

WHITE SUBWAY TILE: 6 LOVE, 2 HATE

“I would like it to take a break and come back at another time.” – Jeremiah Brent

“It’s like vanilla sorbet…There are better options that are more interesting at the same price now.”— Nate Berkus

HANGING POT RACKS: 4 LOVE, 4 HATE

“It’s literally hanging clutter! Clutter on your floor or your table is bad enough, but you’re going to hang it from your ceiling?!“— Sophia Bush

On the use of vintage runners in the bathroom and colored cabinetry in the kitchen, they were all in agreement and flashed the LOVE side of their paddles.

 "Tried & True" hosted by Dessin Fournir. Photo: Chris + Jenn Photography

"Tried & True" hosted by Dessin Fournir. Photo: Chris + Jenn Photography

In a similar vein, Traditional Home editor-in-chief Jill Waage moderated a panel at Dessin Fournir with Kerry Joyce, Thomas Stringer and Kendall Wilkinson on their picks for what design elements will become eternal classics well into the future - they did not always agree with one another! On acrylic furniture, it was deemed a classic by one designer yet Joyce said, “I just don’t get it.” Everyone agreed the use of blue and white was a classic and Wilkinson said that white rooms are always right.

 Stephen with (right to left) Tammy Randall Wood, Katherine Lavictoire, and actress Jessica Shannon.

Stephen with (right to left) Tammy Randall Wood, Katherine Lavictoire, and actress Jessica Shannon.

Also worth noting, this year's "Legendary Lunch" at Marge Carson hosted by Luxe Magazine was very enjoyable, as my good friend and fellow designer Tammy Randall Wood's own home is featured in the current Los Angeles edition of Luxe. And new to the Legends roster of events, thanks to a partnership with Coldwell Banker, was the opportunity to tour three premier residential properties currently on the market. As an interior designer, what a treat it was to tour some of these incredible estates in some of the most desirable neighborhoods around LA.

 Dorothy Willetts' window for Woven. Photo: Grey Crawford

Dorothy Willetts' window for Woven. Photo: Grey Crawford

To sum it up, if you are in the interior design industry and have yet to venture out to LA for Legends of La Cienega, I would strongly encourage you to consider penciling it in on your agenda for next May, I am sure you will not be disappointed. Unlike most other large-scale design events around the country, Legends feels intimate and grand at the same time, and its venue makes doing business feel like a summer vacation with friends who just happen to share your passion for design. I'll drink to that!

Hope to see you at Legends 2019!

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Find out more about interior designer and Designers Today contributor Stephen Shutts here.

From an early age, Stephen Shutts has had a passion for design. It's this very passion that has compelled and led him to where he is today. Formal study in interior design, as well as multi-disciplinary design in both the United States and Europe, has also contributed to enriching Stephen's appreciation for all things design. Both a classicist and a modernist, Stephen has already forged a signature style grounded in the timeless stylistic elements of the past, contrasted and brought forward with a contemporary sensibility required for today's dynamic lifestyle. An avid traveler, Stephen appreciates experiencing new locales through the lens of design, while gaining new inspiration.