Sep 15

Essential LA: Local Designers’ Picks

As we draw closer to the opening of Harbinger by Hand and our new boutique space within, we asked a few influential Southern California designers and tastemakers to recommend a favorite place that is uniquely LA. From spectacular outdoor escapes to a classic Hollywood bar and restaurant, their suggestions have us eager to explore.

“If you were to recommend a favorite place that is uniquely LA, what would it be?”

Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe – Nickey Kehoe

“Griffith Park seems to perfectly encapsulate the spirit of Los Angeles — the entertainment of the Greek Theater, the drama of an up-lit observatory at night, expansive views of our sprawling city, and active open-air hiking all within the rustic, natural California environment.”


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Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe merged their design backgrounds in early 2004 forming the partnership of Nickey · Kehoe, Inc. This duo splits their time and energy between running a design firm focused on residential and commercial projects and the retail shop which houses their vintage finds, private label products and a selection of handpicked goods from around the world.

Nickey’s background is steeped in retail design, while Kehoe stems from the hospitality design world. Together they have completed numerous residential projects from coast to coast as well as major hotel projects in Southern California. Their unique blend of old-world patina and modern simplicity keeps their aesthetic fresh and timeless.


Natasha Baradaran – Natasha Baradaran Interior Design

“One of my favorite places in LA are the trails of Franklin Canyon in Beverly Hills. Walking the trails is a Saturday morning ritual with my husband Bob.  Be it summer or winter, I am inspired by the colors and love seeing the view of the city and the ocean when reaching the top on a clear day.  It is my Zen place.”


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Natasha Baradaran is the founder and creative visionary behind Natasha Baradaran Interior Design. Informed by the richness of her diverse cultural background, from Southern California to Italy as well as her Persian lineage, Baradaran’s point of view fuses classical, European design traditions with the exoticism of Middle Eastern arts, seasoned with the laid back luxury of Los Angeles. In 2014, Baradaran forayed into product design, with her namesake furniture collection. Inspired by a lifelong passion for the craft of jewelry making, Baradaran creates forms that take cues from the vocabulary of fine jewelry, complementing her brand’s vision for artistic, stylish and integrally made designs with this debut. Baradaran’s second furniture collection will be released in Fall 2015.


Chris Barrett – Chris Barrett Design


“Growing up in Los Angeles I have always been drawn to Venice Beach. Venice Beach is, for me, a unique LA experience. It has great quirky shops, wonderful restaurants and the ocean. I love wandering around Venice on the weekends. It is so colorful in so many ways! It has greatly influenced my interior design and the look and feel of my textile collection.”


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Heidi Bonesteel and Michelle Trout – Bonesteel, Trout, Hall Interiors


“Our recommendation is to enjoy the outdoors around LA. You could take a ride along the bike path in Santa Monica from the Pacific Palisades down to Venice. Or, if you want to get out of the city, take a hike in the Santa Monica mountains. The views from the Pacific Ocean are breathtaking and trails are a wonderful escape from the noise and traffic of the city.”


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Heidi Bonesteel, Michele Trout and Jill Hall founded their interior design studio over 20 years ago, and ever since have been recognized as one of America’s most successful residential design teams. Bonesteel Trout Hall is a boutique design firm with a range of capabilities, dedicated to creating beauty for clients. Based in Pacific Palisades, the principals offer the local Southern California flair of laid-back glamour to their work, no matter where the client resides, or the project is located, across the United States.


Joe Lucas – Lucas Studio, Inc.


“One of my favorite things to do that is very LA is to go have a drink or dinner at the Tower Bar, the chic old school bar and restaurant inside the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.  It screams Old Hollywood from the wood paneled walls and velvet banquettes to the stiff martinis and incredibly attentive Maître’D, Dimitri.”



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Sep 15

Q&A: Joe Lucas dishes on expanding the Harbinger family

As the energy builds for the opening of our first boutique in Harbinger’s new Harbinger by Hand space, we caught up with Joe Lucas to get his thoughts on curating his showroom and mixing his East coast roots with his West coast lifestyle. Having started his design firm in 2005 and opening Harbinger three years later, Joe has a wealth of experience, fresh style, and an appreciation for quality and craftsmanship that make Harbinger one of the hottest shops in LA. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with Joe and to be a part of Harbinger by Hand.

How do you mix East and West Coast style in your aesthetic?

I try to balance my East Coast roots with my West Coast influence in each project as well as with the look of my showroom, Harbinger. I tend to mix more traditional shapes with modern textiles and carpets. The size of homes in California allows us to play with scale and gives you more freedom to get creative.

Harbinger showroom.

Harbinger showroom.

What is the role of social media in your business?

I am hooked on Instagram for sure. Both my personal account @Joeyluke, which I use for fun and for my design work, and my @HarbingerLA account that is focused on the products and style of the showroom. Instagram is not only fun but gives me a great outlet to share what is inspiring me or just my favorite things and my travel with people. And it’s a great way to show clients what’s new and exciting.

How do you discover new lines to carry at Harbinger?

I’ve found new lines so many different ways. I have discovered a few small boutique collections via Instagram, from fabric and wallpaper to smaller decorative pieces like Concrete Cat and Cody Hoyt Pottery. There are certain vendors that I know aren’t represented in LA and I go and beg them to come with me because I love their product so much.  Some fabric designers come to me because they have heard great things about Harbinger. It’s such a treat when someone calls and says “Harbinger is the only showroom I want to be with in LA.”  Who could ask for anything better?

Concrete Cat.

What lead to the creation of Harbinger by Hand?

When the small space next door became available I knew I had to jump on it. I was running out of space and really wanted to add a space that focused on a more curated collection of hand made product to highlight the craftsmanship and talent of the vendors we see everyday. I wanted a major player to be the anchor of the new venture and Merida was at the top of the list because of the company’s innovation, creativity and focus on product handmade in America.

A Merida loom in Fall River, MA.

Hand painted silk from Fromental.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

I am always inspired by the craftsmanship of small product designers. I think that is what made me want to open Harbinger By Hand. Seeing want can be done at the Merida mill in Fall River was amazing when I toured the facility.  The more I learn about the endless possibilities with my other new partners like Lance Wovens, Moore & Giles and Fromental, the more I am inspired to be more creative in my design projects.

French painting with Jennifer Shorto Textiles wallpaper.

A sneak peek of Merida's latest collection, Tissage.

Joe Lucas and Merida's Creative Director Roxanne Hanna in Merida's Fall River Facility.

What is one thing you cannot live without?

It would be hard to make it through the day without coffee, I’m not going to lie. But I think I would take my dogs Fred and Harry over coffee any day.

Fred and Harry

20 years ago if someone had told you this is what you would be doing, what would you have said?

I wasn’t born yet twenty years ago!  Oh wait you said twenty…ok fine. I would probably say “Really?  Ok I can deal with that.  As long as I can be creative and have fun everyday then I am good with it!”


Follow @Harbinger LA on Instagram and @MeridaStudio on Instagram and Facebook for the latest on Harbinger by Hand and Merida’s newest collection, Tissage.


Aug 15

Q&A: Bradley Stephens designs a Hamptons oasis

As long-time fans of Bradley Stephens of Stephens Design Group, we were thrilled that he recently chose to use several of our latest rugs for a new project in the Hamptons. Born in Texas and living in New York City, Bradley’s personal style is quintessentially all American. He has a keen appreciation for artisan finishes and high-end craftsmanship, and is not afraid to mix high and low. Because of a personal, collaborative approach to working with each client he is well versed in a variety of design aesthetics and time periods. Bradley’s talent, versatility, and energetic personality have lead to rave reviews and high profile clients.

The perfect summertime getaway with the style of a Manhattan townhouse, the Harbor’s Edge penthouse is an eclectic blend of refined and relaxed. Bradley gave us the scoop on his daily inspirations and how he translated his experience to this Hamptons getaway.

Where did you start when designing for Harbor’s Edge?

My process typically starts with an extensive dialogue with the client. Floor plans are put aside so they don’t instinctively start making assumptions about what’s possible. With open minds, we talk through their requirements and goals room-by-room, cataloging the client’s history, lifestyle and preferences along the way. The resulting trove of information forms the foundation of our design for the client, and allows us to tailor the project to their personality and aspirations. This level of engagement allows my clients to co-author the design, and inevitably leads to a successful, rewarding collaborative working experience.

At Harbor’s Edge, we decorated the Penthouse as if someone truly lived there, and curated the space with a mixture of furniture and accessories that could have been collected through years of travel.  We based the design on the standards set by many of our Manhattan-based clients.  The Hamptons homes that I design are a clear reflection of my clients’ personas. They are elegant, sophisticated and meticulously planned.  But I get to translate their taste for urban refinement into a beach-chic vocabulary.


Describe the type of client you could see falling in love with this space.

I’m guessing the sweeping water views and gorgeous sunsets at Harbor’s Edge have a broad demographic. But I also like to think that attention to details and an invitingly eclectic design approach to the Penthouse will have a strong universal appeal. It has the potential of being the perfect fit for a client that is looking for a home with urban sophistication, but nestled into the relaxed atmosphere of Sag Harbor.


Master bedroom, featuring a Coil tufted wool rug in Marshmallow.

Entry, featuring Avant sisal rugs woven with UltraFiber, in Straw.

Bedroom, featuring a Slater wool flatweave in Colonial Blue, from the Tailormade collection.

What kind of a role did our rugs play in your design process?

The crucial quality for a successful Hamptons home is a feeling of effortlessness. The best design deftly balances curated furnishings and blue-chip artwork with the easy comfort of flip-flops and ice cream. Merida is a natural fit because the refinement of their rugs adds an unmistakable foundation of quality and craftsmanship to my designs. I indulge my clients with rustic-luxe textiles paired with French-polished Deco furniture and sculptural modern lighting usually reserved for Park Avenue duplexes. I love pairing these elegant pieces with easy-going counterpoints like natural fiber rugs, sumptuous tufted wool, and tailored flat weaves. Timelessness is a cornerstone of my design approach, and Merida’s exquisite collections deftly transcend eras, styles, and locales.


featuring a Pinstripe tufted wool rug in Ice Fog.

Was there a particular vignette that you felt was especially effective?

The material palette of the living room fireplace and custom built-in cabinetry is one of my favorite moments in the Penthouse. The bookshelves and paneling create a backdrop of cerused European oak and recessed panels of natural willow-screen, framing a sleek, modern fireplace bordered by a slab of marble. The shelves are curated from my accessories collection, Evermore Shop, to echo the color and texture of jewel-toned sunsets, blossoming flowers, and shimmering water. All of this was inspired by the unique location and mesmerizing views over the harbor.


What is your first creative design memory?

My childhood was spent creating. I was obsessed with building structures and interiors to the last detail with whatever I could find in the house or garage. If I imagined a five-star restaurant, every pot and dish had to be in place – care of my Mother’s kitchen. My poor parents! I have always been fanatical about planning and executing what I set my mind to. I’m lucky to have a career devoted to dreaming and building on an epic scale.


Who or what is inspiring you right now?

I’m fortunate to have an international clientele, and relish the opportunity to shop European auction houses and flea markets. I am inspired by romantic, historic cities that buzz with modernity. There is nothing I love more than exploring the endless design resources of Paris and London, and discovering unique furniture, artwork and accessories for my new online home furnishings collection,


What is one thing you can’t live without?

While I love the excitement of New York City and the allure of the Hamptons, I simply cannot live without weekend escapes with my partner and our English Bulldog to Rockwater, our country home in rural Litchfield County, CT.

Photos: Stephens Design Group and @Bradley__Stephens on Instagram

Shop Tailormade flat-woven wool rugs

Shop Avant sisal woven with UltraFiber

Shop tufted wool rugs

Aug 15

Introducing Service and Installation Director Bob Margies

When it comes to complex installations and attention to detail, you want a master craftsman like Bob Margies on your team. Bob recently joined us after nearly three decades developing his talents and running a successful business as an accomplished installer for top designers. He brings incredible expertise and energy to lead our new Service and Installation practice after many years of working with us on his own:

When were you first introduced to the craft of installation?

My dad started installing carpet in 1972, he would bring his tools home and take on side jobs for friends. Probably my earliest memory was at 5 or 6 watching him make a seam the old fashioned way without seam tape. As I grew, I would go to work with him on weekends.


How did that hold your interest?

My dad was different from all of the other dads. Some of my friends’ dads farmed, some were policemen, and some carried briefcases. My dad carried a giant box of tools. When you’re a young boy, a box of tools is pretty intriguing.

At one point, he was working on the restoration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s house on the Hudson. I remember watching my father recreate this staircase masterpiece.  At that point I knew he did pretty special work, but to see that, in high school, really piqued my interest more. When I graduated high school I wasn’t quite sure what to do. My father offered,  “You can work with me if you want.” I never looked back.

How did you get to know the company?

I’ve known of Merida for years. When Broadway sisal was introduced, I installed it in a beach house, and it was unlike any other sisal product I’ve ever installed. That’s when Merida landed on my radar. I started to see more of their product being installed. Merida was responsible for bringing sisal into the home. Before this, it was known as a commercial product and too rough for residential projects. Merida sisal was incredibly soft and had pattern and texture. It was different. When I started my own company Merida was one of my first relationships. And, one of the first acts of purchasing my new home was to buy a piece of Bali jute and make a big living room rug with a cotton border.

Four years ago I was invited to tour the Fall River, MA mill and that coupled with social media brought us together in a consistent way. Quality installers have always been important to Merida and I was now on their radar.


Why do you have such passion for your work?

There are different levels of carpet obviously, and there are different levels of installation. My dad really had an amazing work ethic. The more complicated the installation for him the more excited he was to just work, and that was passed on to me. Anybody could put in 50 yards of builder basic carpet. But if you take 20 yards and put it on a circular flight of stairs, with a border, the challenge is different. Lots of installers do not like that type of work because it’s so demanding, mentally and somewhat physically. I love the more complicated installation projects, and working with cutting edge product. It’s a passion. Now I’m glad I can take that 28 years of experience and bring it to my current position with Merida.

What excites you about working with Merida specifically?

Seeing product development happen before my eyes with our design team, weavers and craftsmen all under one roof is incredible. It’s exciting to be a part of it and making a contribution. We’re developing strategies for our work force we’ve never had before. I’m teaching our Project Managers skills they didn’t know they needed to possess for their position. That’s exciting to me because it’s productive, it’s valuable and it’s relevant. I couldn’t be any happier to do it every single day.

I’ve been here two months. A lot has happened in 60 days, and a lot more will happen in another two months. It’s a thrill to me.


What do you hope to accomplish overall at Merida?

The end goal for me is to help the company be as efficient and successful as it can be, and to ensure after all the hard work that goes in to producing each order, it’s handed off to an installer that we have 100% confidence in.

Are you scoping a demanding project? Whether or not you’re considering an installation, count on our expertise to help you think through options and manage a project smoothly.