STYLE SPY: Martha Mulholland
On the hunt for L.A.’s off-the-beaten-path design finds
Martha Mulholland (marthamulholland.com) knows a thing or two about what makes an eye-catching store. After all, she was tapped to design the L.A. outpost of The Line. When shopping herself, she’s drawn to individualism. “I love places with a unique visual identity,” she says. “I respond to a store that feels like you’ve stepped into another era or dimension.” Known for storytelling through objects, she shares her favorite places around town for fascinating finds.
Stahl + Band
On a surprisingly quiet section of Abbot Kinney in Venice, this studio is a must for local, modern organic design. “Stahl + Band does everything right—it’s my go-to for most of the contemporary furniture I use in my projects. They also carry Drikolor paint, a brand that has a stunning selection of Le Corbusier’s Polychromie Architecturale colors,” Mulholland says. 2308 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 424-228-4134; stahlandband.com.
The brainchild of a few of Mulholland’s favorite dealers in L.A., the Arts District auction house showcases modern furniture, pottery and art. “Every auction at Billings is full of well-priced, unusual pieces that are expertly curated,” she says. Recent items on the block include an Aldo Tura cocktail table and a pair of Adrian Pearsall swivel chairs. 1919 Bay St., L.A., 213-947-3784; billingsauction.com.
Lawrence of La Brea
It’s hardly a designer’s secret, but there’s a reason everyone shops at Lawrence of La Brea, according to Mulholland. “David [the owner] has something special for every taste, every style and every specification, without fail,” she says. Known for their impeccable selection of refined and unique floor coverings, the designer loves browsing Turkish Oushak and antique Malayer styles. 8104 Beverly Blvd., L.A., 323-935-1100; lawrenceoflabrea.com.
At this nondescript nursery in West Hollywood, Mulholland browses bodhi trees, Natal mahoganies and fig tree varieties. “The Tropics on Santa Monica is an unexpected oasis, the best place for plants and unusual trees,” she says. “I hear Ellen DeGeneres gets her trees from Ryan [the co-owner], so that should tell you enough right there.” 7056 Santa Monica Blvd., L.A., 323-469-1682; thetropicsinc.com.
Mulholland loves the surprises inside this matchbox of a store in Silver Lake. “Their slogan is ‘T-shirts and chairs,’” she says. “I love that I can find a rare Gerrit Rietveld chair sandwiched between early California ceramics and beautiful Japanese housewares.” County Ltd. also carries lighting, artwork and minimalist apothecary goods, as well as clothing and accessories. 1837 Hyperion Ave., L.A., 323-741-8337; countyltd.com.
Like everyone else in L.A., Mulholland can’t resist the charms of The Line (formerly The Apartment by The Line) in West Hollywood. Set up like a serene, chic home, it’s filled with storied objects she loves. “Maybe I’m biased because I designed the store,” she says, “but if I’m looking for styling smalls, for gifts or for that special something to complete a space, this is my first stop.” 8463 Melrose Place, 2nd Floor, L.A., 323-746-5056; theline.com.
Written by KERSTIN CZARRA.
Photography by NICOLE LaMOTTE.