Mid-Century Living at Lawson-Fenning
Lawson-Fenning is one of my all time favorite home furnishing shops. Their newest showroom is located inside an amazing two-story mid-century building on Melrose, which perfectly represents all of the vintage and classic modern home goodness going on inside. Let’s just get real — I love everything they carry. This is dangerous because, while they’ve got some affordable accessories, for the most part their pieces are in the high-end price range (and for very good reason). If you’re looking for a place to spend that wad of cash in your design splurge fund, I highly recommend you do it here. No design splurge fund? Well, one lap around this showroom is sure to fill your pockets with wads of design inspiration, so don’t wear your skinny jeans when you come here to window shop (your metaphorical, tiny-pocketed skinny jeans, of course).
Lawson-Fenning, West Hollywood
Glenn Lawson and Grant Fenning, owners
Interview below with Glenn Lawson
1. How long have you been in business and how did you get started?
Grant Fenning and I met in art school. We started the store out of our studio space in Pasadena while we were still in school.
That was 1998. So this year marks 17 years in business.
2. Why did you choose this location to open your business?
We’ve been eyeing this building for many years. To get a mid-century International Style building in such a prime location has been really exciting for us. It’s such a perfect fit for our style.
3. How would you describe your store’s style/aesthetic?
Our style has always been organic modern with traditional detailing. We are a squarely American company. And specifically, we really credit the history and aesthetic of Southern California as being a huge influence on us. We work with California woods – oak, walnut, redwood. We strive to make pieces that are more classic than trendy.
4. Where did you get your name from and what other names did you consider?
Our name is our last names. We used to have a vintage business (rm.107) that had a much trickier name. We thought with this iteration we would keep it as simple as possible.
5. What types of items are your best sellers?
Our lawson-fenning seating and case pieces are our bestsellers.
We also have been doing really well with ceramic artists lately including many local ceramicists.
6. What item do you have in the store now that you would want to have in your home?
We have a 1960s abstract painting by Adja Yunkers. It’s part of a collection of his work that we were lucky enough to get. They have such a great scale and palette.
7. What have you been inspired by lately?
The local Los Angeles design community has really inspired us lately. They are working in a very cohesive palette that we are super inspired by. Lots of ceramic, marble and California woods (oak, walnut, redwood).
There is such a great history of design here, and there is a whole new group of designers working in that vein.
8. Is there something you thought would sell really well but didn’t?
Not really. Luckily, we have gotten really good at buying/making the right mix.
9. Where do you mainly source your items from?
We make our line here in Los Angeles. Most of our other lines are sourced locally.
The exception being A few accessory lines from Europe that we are in love with – Carl Aubock, Skultuna, Fermliving
10. What was the first big lesson you learned from opening your store?
That clients respond to a cohesive point of view. Instead of watering down our vision, sticking to what we love has been our best course.
11. What would your one piece of advice you would give to small businesses?
You have to be committed and really love it. It’s an all-encompassing lifestyle. We are open seven days a week. There’s not really any downtime.
12. What stores do you shop at?
The Window, Object, Reform and Galerie Half. All the stores on our street! It’s why we moved to this block. It’s got the best mix of stores in LA.
But every weekend, we shop at Sunset Nursery in Silver Lake. We love plants.
13. Do you have any plans to expand your inventory?
Yes we were just in Paris for design week. We picked up some great French designers that are doing beautiful objects and furniture
14. What trends, if any, are you tired of?
I’m starting to tire of exposed lightbulbs. I like the way they look but it’s nicer on the eyes to have indirect lighting.
Glenn and Grant looking super cool and casual in front of this original Adja Yunkers mid-century piece (above).
Well, there you have it. Lawson-Fenning is in West Hollywood at 6824 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038. Fancy yourself an “eastsider”? Their second location is in Silver Lake at 1618 Silverlake Blvd..
Now look at these things below from Lawson-Fenning that I want/need/MUST HAVE…
1. White Lines Kilim Pillow | 2. Hexagonal Bottle Opener | 3. Nantucket Armchair | 4. Michelle Quan Ceramic Bells 5. Macrame Work Lamp | 6. Thin Frame Lounge Chair | 7. Brass Hex Table/Stool | 8. Vintage Abstract Painting
Think your shop would be a great fit for our next tour? Contact us for info on pricing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*all shop photos by Jessica Isaac for EHD