There are so many things to love about Venice. The walkability of the neighborhood, the beach, the bungalows lining the walk streets, the colorful personalities, the incredible design and architecture. Venice has been an enclave of artists and dreamers for much of its life and though the cultural landscape has changed over the last decade it is still an incredible spot to find new design and a concentration of people interested in it. It's a great place to spend the day since so many of its attractions are densely packed along Abbot Kinney or are just a short walk away (including the beach). So here it is, my ode to Venice:
• A plus R: is run by Andy and Rose, 2 of the hippest people I have ever met that are still nice as hell. They have impeccable taste and stock some amazing design in their abbot kinney location. It's a small store but it's full of modern glasses, pottery, jewelry, lighting and other accessories.
• Big Red Sun: Probably my favorite garden store on the westside. Big Red Sun serves up nursery plants, interior design, cool plantings, soy candles, vintage furniture and artwork. They've got a great attitude and a fun aesthetic. Plus they often have parties and events for the community.
• Firefly: is my go-to place for grabbing a birthday present for someone. The shop carries art books about local venice design adn architecture, they sell pretty soaps and accessories and even have a clothing section. Their displays always inspire me to go home and rearrange.
• The Rose Cafe has been around for decades and is a great place to hang out and grab a little something sweet while taking in their awesome industrial interior and the best little (modern) gift shop around.
• French 50's and 60's: Might be a little out of my price range, but the selection is incredible and Michele Sommerlath, the owner, knows everything there is to know about mid century furniture. Worth a stop in to see an amazing collection of furniture.
• The Venice Gardens: This isn't really a destination, but one of my favorite parts about living in venice was walking around my neighborhood and checking out all the great little gardens people have put a lot of time and energy into. There aren't huge lots in venice so people have to get creative and there are some beauties. If you wander off of abbott kinney into the neighborhoods around it you'll be sure to spot something inspiring: be it a house color, a container planting or a great planted parkway.
• Intelligentsia Venice: the latest in the hipper than hip places on Abbot Kinney. Intelligentsia is a scene. But with a nice little outdoor vertical garden, great coffee and lots of people around to talk design and all things local, it's a nice spot to take a break before moving on to the next destination.
• Urbanic: The only shop around selling such an impressive amount of letterpress and stationery. Audrey, the owner, is a doll and does custom work for brides to be and other special occasions and eventhought the shop is tiny, I've found myself in there for over an hour just taking it all in.
• Tortoise: And there are two of these so make sure to go to both of them. There's a general store and a furniture store and they're on the same side of the street about 3 blocks apart. Tortoise is full of minimal Japanese design: smaller stuff at the 'general store' and furniture at the furniture store. If you're a fan of Dwell or of minimal, no clutter spaces then this place is for you. Each object they sell is sublimely simple without any unnecessary adornment, but in a beautiful wood, a thin thin glass, a punchy print. More like sculpture than things, this is one of my favorite places.
• Prefabs Modern architecture abounds in Venice so you can just walk around and find it, but if you need a specific destination, check out the Marmol Radziner Prefab on Palms. It was assembled in a couple of days (see the video of it by following the link) and now sits comfortably in place, as though it was always there.
And if anyone needs restaurant recommendations, just ask, that could be a whole other post!