Furnishing showrooms and artisan-centric gift boutiques deliver eye candy in spades.
Story by Emily Chavous Foster
Photography by Brandon Harman
There’s a reason fashion brands and magazines from around the world descend on the desert to source ideas for collections and to shoot sartorial stories. This landscape, and the perpetually sunny lifestyle that thrives within it, inspires ensembles that are at once effortless and elegant. In a place that encourages everyone to be true to themselves, styles spanning the spectrum from music festivals to philanthropic galas fit right in, and it’s all available on El Paseo.
Fig+Nash (photograph by Lance Gerber)
While El Paseo got its start as a luxury shopping and dining destination, it has turned a new leaf in recent years with a growing number of furnishing, décor, and interior design showrooms popping up along the street.
Contemporary furniture, art, and lighting prevails at Interior Illusions, a SoCal darling headquartered in West Hollywood with locations on El Paseo and in Palm Springs. One visit to the sleek El Paseo showroom, and you’ll quickly realize why they’ve racked up an impressive list of celebrity clients, including Zac Efron, Adam Lambert, Justin Bieber, and Charlize Theron.
Crushing on Scandinavian minimalism? The decorating philosophy at Danish retail giant BoConcept is all about living simply with great design. Modern furnishings and art also prevail at Fig+Nash, along with cheekier accessories that will infuse your spaces with personality.
Speaking of personality, pop art and playful pieces that aim to make viewers smile find residence at Goldfield Home & Art, while globally sourced décor strives to inspire thoughtful curiosity at Desert Wolff, and a dusty desert palette takes shape at Lolo Interiors, the design-focused branch of apparel boutique House of Lolo.
When it comes to vintage collections, few curate a better selection than Dragonette Limited, a Los Angeles transplant that relocated to El Paseo in 2019. At Dragonette, antique and midcentury furnishings reign (from William Haines sofas to monster sculptures by the Haas Brothers), although you’ll also happen upon new pieces designed in house under the moniker Dragonette Private Label. For histories that stretch back even further, Maison Felice focuses on furniture and objects from the 18th century to the art deco period.
Don’t show up empty-handed. From gourmet goodies and softly scented candles to decorative objects designed by local artisans, El Paseo retailers excel in the fine art of giving. Whether you’re planning ahead or dashing to the store a little last-minute, you’re sure to stumble upon something for everyone on your list (and maybe even yourself, while you’re at it).
Seeking a hostess gift? Forgo the usual wine bottle and bouquet and bring a selection of edible items instead. Savory Spice Shop vends premium spice blends, sauces, and specialty foods that come highly recommended by local restaurateurs and chefs. If you plan to splurge, look no further than the fine crystal at Baccarat or the sculptural cast-aluminum serveware from The Upper Crust.
Wedding registries are all the rage at Williams Sonoma, Anthropologie, and Pottery Barn. Store attendants will help you look up the happy couple’s wish list to see which items are in stock. Of course, if you’re going rogue or seeking a stylish option for a housewarming gift, these familiar brands present plenty to choose from.
Newly opened at The Gardens on El Paseo, locally owned Rancho Relaxo spotlights independent makers. Accessories emblazoned with the shop’s roadrunner logo are just right for desert-inspired gift bags, while snazzy home goods and apothecary items will satisfy sustainability-minded recipients. Earth Spirits stocks a variety of fun favors created by artisans, as well.
Take a Tip
The pros share a few basic ideas to help you tackle your next decorating project.
Embrace simplicity: “In your home, if you have the right element and the right feeling — a good vibe — you’re going to be happier,” says Stephanie Duval, co-owner of BoConcept. “Your environment and your home affect your everyday … and modern design brings this peace to your home.”
Add a touch of whimsy: “When you’re in the desert, broadly speaking, the biggest appeal is fun art — color, desert retreat, resort, vacation kind of art that makes you smile and makes you happy and makes you feel relaxed,” says Goldfield Home & Art co-owner Randy Roy. “We’ve really tried to focus on that and stay away from super serious pieces.”
Ignite curiosity: “I don’t do strict midcentury because I find it actually a little boring,” Desert Wolff owner Lucien Wolff says. “You need to go, ‘Wow, what am I looking at? Is this thrilling me? Does it excite me? Am I interested in finding more?’ There’s a sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness, hopefully, with what I do, and the reaction of people looking at it. A sense of inspiration, a sense of joy.”
Don’t forget plants: “Declutter, and really let the pieces that you have breathe,” says Mick Fox, co-owner of Fig+Nash. “Having a few actual, live plants is always nice. I know it’s higher maintenance, but it changes the vibration, the oxygen in the room. And just have a few personal things out that evoke a fun, happy memory for you.”