Kelly Wearstler designs are among exclusive offerings at the new Interior Illusions showroom on El Paseo.
Story by Lisa Marie Hart
Photography courtesy Interior Illusions/Vivien Best
For 16 years, designer and business owner Mike Valles has happily divided his time between his Interior Illusions showrooms in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. But in June, he doubled down on the desert, opening a third location on El Paseo.
Three distinctly different showrooms allow Valles to offer a variation of product lines and unique finds at each one. The El Paseo location blends a bit from its forerunners. The glitz of Hollywood and the modern fun of Palm Springs settle into the relaxed glamour of desert style where luxe finishes and subtle tones meet comfortable, contemporary design.
"With the Palm Springs showroom, we found ourselves working in The Vintage and Thunderbird, in Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, and Indian Wells but more on the staging side," Valles says. "This was a chance for us to give our clients at the other end of the valley their own showroom. We're already seeing a crossover of people who have been to both stores. Developers have come in from all over too, from The Madison Club to some of the new builds in Joshua Tree."
Like the new baby in the house who gets all the attention, this location has been pampered since the planning stages. At 6,000 square feet with vaulted ceilings, it's bigger, loftier, and unafraid to flaunt its exclusivity. "We’re a multi-brand showroom and sometimes there are restrictions on zones, so this location enables us to introduce lines that were tied up in the Palm Springs market, collections we could only show in West Hollywood. Other lines are exclusive to us and also new for the desert. Overall, it's a high-end experience with a gallery feel."
Kelly Wearstler lighting and wallcoverings have been an immediate draw, as have the lifelike photo wall murals, convincing the eye that it's seeing slabs of agate and marble stretching 10 feet high and 20 feet across. A hip Canadian company produces eco-friendly décor made from recycled plastic bottles, adding to what Valles calls "a curated collection from artisans and factories around the world."
From first step off the street, this is one very sexy showroom. Under the high industrial ceilings painted pewter gray, vignettes envelop with black glass and Lucite, smoked mercury-glass mirrors, and Italian leather furnishings. Sultry lounge music drifts up from the pieced-hide rugs to the gargantuan chandeliers and hanging light sculptures.
A Valles trademark is his selection of luxurious furniture that's also a pleasure to live with, "not like something just made for a museum," he says. "What we offer is modern but also very livable; nothing cold. Our clients find furniture that feels comfortable to sit down and relax in." That must be why groups of girlfriends hop off a golf cart to make an afternoon of camping out in the showroom and drafting their wish lists.
Whether clients bring their designer, send their designer, or just pop in for a look around, Valles has created a destination for those who appreciate the "touch-feel-sit" experience as a critical part of their decision making. The Interior Illusions design team places customer service at the forefront. All made-to-order pieces maintain a best-price guarantee.
"We're here to help you stage your current home but also to design your next," says this 20-year veteran of the home industry, "no matter what style the exterior."
73930 El Paseo, Palm Desert