Los Angeles, CA and online
Vintage Furniture & Home Goods
($) Budget - ($$$) High-End
Ellen LeComte, Jeff Garbs, Sally Breer
Ellen LeComte is the founder of Amsterdam Modern, importer of Dutch Mid-Century Modern and Industrial design in Van Nuys. She also started a retail shop in Silver Lake with Mohawk General Store two years ago and just recently gave up the reigns to them, but still have a presence there. Sally Breer is a new young la interior designer. She grew up in Paris, has a well known avant garde artist father, and is addicted to oddities. Jeff Garbs is an Austin transplant who was one of the original vendors in Austin's Uncommon Objects, and is the back bone of the SHOPCLASS workshops. He has an insane ability to turn trash into treasure.
........together, they are SHOPCLASS
With a store concept that hopes to ensure something for everyone who walks through the door, Ellen, Sally and Jeff really couldn't of imagined a better spot. A mere two months ago, they opened their doors officially to York Blvd in the newly revived Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
"Highland Park has a really great community vibe. It felt like a safe place to take a risk, opening up a shop like ours. There's a lot of exciting energy in the neighborhood- new restaurants and shops seem to be popping up daily...we feel lucky to be a part of it. "
Welcome to Shopclass!
Shopclass is made of three parts magic: Ellen LeComte of Amsterdam Modern, Jeff Garbs and Sally Breer of Commingle Home. "It was organic- we all have diverse strengths that I think really compliment eachother. SHOPCLASS really couldn't have been born without each one of us. Is that too corny? Because I sincerely mean it."
Ellen started Amsterdam Modern 4 years ago, importing Mid Century Modern furniture by the container load. She says she got the bug when she was 4 years old and has been involved with design and the arts her whole life, eventually leading to education at RISD. Making several trips a year to scout out gorgeous Dutch pieces, she is able to bring back many new designs for her sales in the US.
Jeff blames Pee-Wee's playhouse for inspiring his initial interest in design, "he loves all things midcentury and has a secret passion for kitsch and pop." As a recent LA implant, having relocated from Texas, he uses his "junker" roots in helping merchandise and scout for Shopclass, as well as assisting Sally on her design projects. He was one of the first vendors at Uncommon Objects in Austin, Texas, which, in my opinion, Steve Wiman (owner/founder of Uncommon Objects) is a pioneer in curating vintage without feeling stuffy or pretentious.
Sally started young as well. She confesses that she's been drawing since she can remember. "I was drawing floor plans of weird/absurd houses - my mom was always looking at properties/land to buy growing up so I think I really picked up the idea of creating your own space from her. When I was in high school my parents' friends would hire me to stage their houses before they put them on the market - but I never really ever considered it a real profession because my Dad was an artist and both my parents are kind of hippy east coast intellectuals so the idea of being a 'designer' or a 'decorator' felt frivolous somehow (FYI: they're really proud of me and it was entirely my own complex)." One of her first projects was to search and decorate a blank slate of a home she once occupied in Austin. She says she had plenty of time to put into decorating it and it was during that process she really considered turning it into a profession. "A HUGE part of my aesthetic and how I design is with vintage pieces I hunt/hoard/collect (whatever). There's nothing more inspiring than scoring a piece that is entirely unique and has its own story for a client. I probably source 10% NEW for projects (a little crazy, I know). "
"We created SHOPCLASS because we wanted to create a place that would inspire people to challenge the way they live in their spaces- by making great design and one of a kind pieces with history affordable and attainable. I think we've taken away any excuse to have a boring dining table or a dudley sofa- our prices are competitive with the big box stores and you end up with something completely unique (and solid enough to have lasted this long!)"
Just a few weeks ago they hosted their opening party, in collaboration with Highland Park Art Walk. One special treat was a month long exhibition of photographs by Dabito, the artist/blogger behind Old Brand New. Every month they plan to curate new artists and will continue to participate in the the Art Walk festivities.
"We are gearing up for the 2nd Saturday HighlandPark Art Walk right now ... we are excited to announce that we'll be debuting and featuring for the month of March -Morgan Satterfield's (of The Brick House) brand new line CAMP. All handcrafted- repurposed pillows from vintage sarapes and military tents as well as super delicate and minimal metal jewelry (to name a few...) We're really jazzed to have her in the family! Her vibe is right on par with what we do here at SHOPCLASS."
Welcome to the neighborhood, guys!
5215 York Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 258-2500.
(Images: Bethany Nauert)