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"A solid partnership between a real estate agent and an interior designer is primordial, especially in the luxury market, and is an aspect that sets top agents apart from the rest." - Michael Perez

los angeles luxury real estate agent michael perez the agencyAs an interior designer, I have close relationships with many real estate agents, as well as my clients. When some of my clients have decided to sell their homes, they have asked me to consult with them regarding what must be done in order to get their home ready to be put on the market. We make a plan and coordinate the work, so they can quickly get their home market ready.  Others have taken me with them when they had narrowed their search down to advise them on which home would be the better choice for their lifestyle. I can offer suggestions to them about how we can turn a house into their home - tailor-made for them.  Real estate and interior design go hand in hand. Whether a homeowner or developer is selling his or her property, the value of an interior designer can never be understated. The same can be said about someone who is looking to purchase a property as well.  Interior Designers can visualize the space in ways that clients don't typically have the ability on their own.  We can see the hidden potential in an existing home and provide ways to covert the space or enhance it within the given footprint.  With an interior designer as part of your real estate team, we can help you maximize the potential of a home and help real estate agents increase their sales.

We sat down with real estate expert, Michael Perez from The Agency in Beverly Hills to discuss the role that interior designers can facilitate in helping real estate agents sell more luxury homes and how to set yourself apart from the competion in this market.


A homeowner who has decided to sell their home will need to make it presentable, and could even go so far as to make it spectacular. Whether the property is a multi-million dollar estate or a modest home, a great real estate agent understands that the house should look its best. The house should be de-cluttered and then edited after having been lived in for so many years. An interior designer could be called upon to refresh the space, and have it stand out from the rest of the homes on the market.


Developers of a new construction house or remodel, after having spent so much time and effort on their creation, understand that they only has one chance to make a grand first impression and entrance on the open market stage. A savvy real estate agent would propose to call upon the services of a reputable interior designer. The designer could elevate the space by proposing how the house should be staged, which in turn would further raise to an impressive level the photographs and promotion of the property. The new project would achieve a level of bespoke design inside and out.


The involvement of an interior designer when one is buying their home has its own advantages, which cannot be denied. If a home buyer has narrowed his or her search down to two or three homes, including a designer in that process helps the homebuyer envision themselves living there. The designer would advise how each home could answer the homebuyer’s need and lifestyle. A designer could walk into a home that is a complete tragedy and re-imagine what it could be.

Remember, a collaborative partnership between a real estate agent and an interior designer is a key component, especially in the luxury market, and is an aspect that sets top agents apart from the rest.

AARON B DUKE specializes in new construction, remodeling, interior architecture, and design.  If you are looking to buy or sell your home, CONTACT AARON B DUKE today.

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An inspirational story of overcoming adversity and achieving success!

sharon_copeland_interior_designerLos Angeles based Interior Designer, AARON B DUKE recently caught up with his college classmate to find out how she has created her own niche in the interior design world.

My name is Sharon Copeland, I am an interior designer. I have always been creative. I have always had a passion for music, dance and yes, even interior design as a young girl. My interior design journey began about ten years ago while working as a floral manager and designer. I did floral designs for every occasion underneath the sun. I did baby showers, weddings, and proms - and yes funerals. I had been a floral designer for more than 20 years and after a life altering surgery decided to make a change that would still let me be creative.

I loved color, movement and working with God’s many creations. I was bit of a clotheshorse, and I was hooked on Style TV; but, my husband pointed out to me there was a new channel I should watch. I was hesitant at first but gave it a try. It was called HGTV, and I loved it. The first shows I got hooked on were Sarah 101, Divine Design, and Designers Challenge. I was also a fan of Kenneth Brown Design, as well. While I was in the process of healing from surgery I looked around my new house and decided I wanted to change my country kitchen. I picked out the paint colors and had my husband take off the doors of the cabinets and had him paint where I needed. I used broken plates, glass, and marbles to change the look of my cabinets and color to enhance the room. All the work was done on the floor. I was so proud of the finished product I showed the pictures to a local designer. She was so impressed. She told me go to a local design school to become a proper designer, but where would I find the time? I took design classes at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh Online. At the time it was frowned upon. Who designs a room online? (Who’s laughing now?) By the time I finished it was CIDA certified. So it was perfect. I worked really hard…forty-five hour weeks, staying up late at night. I graduated June 2007 with a residential planner’s degree. My very first internship at a kitchen and bath-remodeling place was a success - I even won an award. So things were looking up or so it seemed. I had a hard time people believing it was my work.

Because of Texas’ regulations I still wasn’t a designer, so I went to the Art Institute of Dallas to continue my education. I felt overwhelmed and even though I had the technical talent of a designer and architect, hands on I was a novice. My classes at the AID were fun and educational. I had great teachers and my skills flourished. The money on the other hand did not.
I didn’t have enough money to continue at AID.


I felt alone most of the time and my friends had the gift of their parents who paid for their tuition, room and books. They had the opportunity learn overseas in the U.K. and Paris. Plus it was hard at the time to find another internship at larger firm because I didn’t fit the “mold”.

So, I took another route, and I learned at furniture retail shops. I worked for Restoration Hardware for two years, and I learned hands on about color, texture, and how things are made. Not textbook made! REAL LIFE, in person made. I learned about lighting and drapery. I LOVED working there, and they saved my life it seems.


I will never forget that experience.

Being African American is another challenge as I began to finish out my degree at El Centro College. I didn’t see my face…ANYWHERE. There was no one I could talk to about my challenges as a designer. No one who really helped me; they’d criticize me sure. I had panic attacks thinking I’ll never make it. You think you are talented, but there are fifty people more talented. Sadly some of the teachers reach out to them more to cultivate their talents. Happily I had one teacher in particular who took me aside and actively encouraged me. You just need one person beside yourself to believe in you; just one. He told me what I did wrong of course, but also how I could improve and when I succeeded. He made me evolve into the designer I am.

I graduated in 2012 with my associates in design. I am the first person in my family to graduate from college. I am proud to say that.

I cannot emphasis how practicing your skills and reading every design magazine and book helps. I am a visualizer, I have to see it. I learned going to the design markets, show houses really trained my eyes made me a better designer.

Being told the word no helped me, too. No one puts baby in the corner. I had a few bad experiences on my way becoming a real designer. I interned for places that used the N word on a daily basis. I interned with firms with a couple of people who were on a power trip and hurt me on a daily basis. I had people who talked down to me because of who I was and called me stupid. I was told I would never do a home in Texas because I was black. I would never get through the door. You become brave, and you walk away from anyone who uses and abuses you. Close that door.


Every story has a happy ending. Through social media I discovered e-design as a way to get through the door. I worked with two e-design firms and not only did I do e-designs, I did interior design on the ground in client homes. Not only did every single design turn out great and the clients were happy, I made long life friends. After 20 turn key designs and more than 40 virtual projects, I opened Traditional Edge Designs I have so far this year done six turnkey projects and 12 virtual ones on my own. The road has not been an easy one; I am still growing and learning. I’ve also been learning about marketing, and that takes more than savvy social networking skills; it takes money. That’s the journey I’m on now. I am with a fantastic group of women, Black Female Interior Designers (BFID) group. I have also won my first design competition. I won outstanding upcoming designer held by Design Star winner Tiffany Brooks, and I went to my first convention, Black Interior Designers Conference in August.

Here is my advice for young designers especially who are struggling to fit in and find their voice…because I was once like you. Believe in your abilities, work extra hard and be brave. If anything be brave.


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When designing your life to be one of luxury we often include our homes and pets. What happens when you have to travel, who do we trust with our most valued (and treasured) possessions?

"Awesome Etiquette" with Lizzie and Daniel Post is a podcast dedicated to modern day etiquette.

In Episode 86 Lizzie Post explains what to expect from a pet/house sitter and conversely what considerations you should make when you've been asked to watch someone's home & pets. You can skip to 31:40 to hear her answer.

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15347 DuquetteTonyTony Award-winning American artist and designer Anthony “Tony” Michael Duquette (due-kett) (June 11, 1914 – September 9, 1999). (Photo:

Duquette was born in Los Angeles, California. He was raised in a musically talented artistic family, which included an uncle who was partners with London designer William Morris.  

He studied theatre at Yale and art on a scholarship at Chouinard Art Institute in Downtown Los Angeles, CA.  After graduating from Chouinard, he began working at Bullocks Department Store in promotional display and advertisment. His unique, fanciful spaces earned him apparent favor with long time client Elizabeth Arden for whom Duquette designed both homes and business salons. He also began to free-lance for the time’s top designers. His father drove Duquette, who worked as a store designer after graduation, to a meeting with Hollywood great William Haines. (LINK TO HAINES BLOG) Other designers in his name filled portfolio included James Pendleton, Dorris Duke and Adrian.

Design Destiny

Duquette was discovered in 1941 by designer and socialite Elsie de Wolfe at a dinner hosted by the well-known art dealer cum interior designer James Pendleton for which Duquette had designed the dinner table’s centerpiece.

It was their first conversation at this now infamous dinner, that thelong-timee patronage of de Wolfe and her husband Sir Charles Mendl began between Duquette and Elsie de Wolfe, during which de Wolfe commissioned a secretary. It was through this patronage and her lengthy and  a-list of social contacts by which Tony Duquette became firmly established among the top designers in Los Angeles.

His art was famed worldwide.

In 1951 Duquette became the first American to have a one-man show at the Pavilion de Marsan of the Louvre Museum, Paris. During this year in Europe, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor commissioned Duquette.  He was then honored with a one-man exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art upon his triumphant return to Los Angeles.

Duquette’s talent would seemingly not be contained to canvas and stone.  He’s noted for his interior designs for the likes of  Doris Duke, Norton Simon, and J. Paul Getty. There were exotic locals like a castle in Ireland for multi-project client Elizabeth Arden and a penthouse in the Hawaiian Islands. 

Dining Room Ducommun Residence designed by Tony Duquette c 1His residential designs style mirrored his art. His designs consistently displayed an eclectic, quixotic combination of material and styles in both his professional projects as well as his own home designs in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Pictured here is his 60’s Dining Room at the Ducommun Bel Air Residence.  Here we can see his famous Biomorphic Gold Leaf Console and Mirror on the back wall, in front of the window he placed one of his own designs a 3D costume pieces for the SF Ballet titled “Jest of Cards”, and a custom Duquette tiger stripe shag carpeting under a glass top bronze table surrounded by suede upholstered gilt metal chairs. (Photo:

He also stayed true to his commercial beginnings designing interiors for commercial and public spaces like the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sheraton Universal Hotel, Arden Salons and sculptures and tapestries for the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago as well as the Los Angeles Music Center including the Founders Room and Proscenium’s Curtain at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the University of California at Los Angeles.  

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Los Angeles based Interior designer AARON B DUKE is ecstatic to be selected as one of the designers of the Annual Charity Home and Garden Walk - Pasadena Showcase for the Arts House. Each year the committee selects a notable home, and after being completely renovated by prominent designers using the latest color trends, design concepts, environmental products, interior decor and the latest in household technology,  it is open for public tours April 23 through May 2.

Music Education Funding

All proceeds from the Pasadena Showcase House of Design provide funding for music programs, plus award gifts and grants to other 501c3 organizations who specialize in musical programming, including therapy, early music education, arts scholarships and the underwriting of philharmonic concerts. Research has found that learning the skills to play music facilitates skills that children use in many ways throughout their lives. Among many skills it is proven to improve math and language development; problem solving; increased IQ; special-temporal skills; and improved test scores.

Designed by Marston & Van Pelt of Pasadena

The Tudor-style mansion selected for renovation by the committee this year was built in 1916. Designed by Marston & Van Pelt of Pasadena, CA. The rare 2 acre estate was named for Hollywood actor Samuel S. Hinds, who is best known for playing Peter Bailey, James Stewart’s famed George Bailey’s father, in the Christmastime classic, It’s A Wonderful Life.   Sadly like so many at the time, Hinds lost the majority of his wealth, attained as an attorney, during the stock market crash of 1929. He was only able to keep his home by taking on boarders.  In need of a mid-life financial boosting, Hinds triumphed in a second career in Hollywood as an Actor, where he went on to be featured in well over 150 films before his death.

I couldn’t think of a better pairing actually.  Hinds was known as an actor,  but, like many who live in the well-to-do early Pasadena neighborhoods being renovated today, he was born into a respected and wealthy family. As such, he studied Law at Phillips-Exeter Academy, Harvard University to please his father. While at school he also studied music and theater; upon graduation though he took the BAR in New York State where he practiced for a few years before moving across the country and settling in Pasadena, CA.

It was here in Pasadena, in the mid-twentieth century teens that Hinds helped found The Pasadena Playhouse. Then in the 20’s he sat on it’s Board of Directors.  The Playhouse is credited with being one of the first philanthropical organizations to recognize the correlation between music and drama. This Tudor Estate is probably best known for its prominent feature in the Bette Midler / Barbra Hershey - Hollywood smash hit “Beaches”. Hinds’ 7500 sf, 8 bedroom Pasadena Estate was used as the home of Hillary Whitney Essex (Barbra Hershey’s character) in the 1988 feature film.  

Legendary "Hollywood" Home

It was reported by the LA Times that his home was to appear in his first film for MGM “The Amateur Gentleman”. The picturesque is still used as a backdrop for filming. The sprawling estate was used in Season 7 of Columbo, the 1985 two part special made for TV adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, The interior scenes from Who’s That Girl, it was featured in the hit series Madmen as the country club and Parks and Recreation Turnbill Mansion.

 See the full 2011 video Pasadena Showcase feature by Lentz Tolley Video on YouTube

Music education is a cause near and dear to me. Through lessons and participation in musical programming, I gained valuable skills, discipline, dedication, perseverance, and excellence. All have become essential parts of my character I uses as an entrepreneur and business owner.  

Music is the soundtrack of our lives.  If there is someone in your life whose life has been bettered by the benefits of music education or therapy, please, make a donation. At this time I am asking for monetary donations.  

PLEASE Contribute to my ShowCase Project now by donating at today

When you donate $250 or more you’ll not only be listed in every room, you will receive tickets to the showcase compliments of Aaron B Duke.

Please contact AARON B DUKE via phone 424 262.3853 or via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to confirm your donation today.

The Pasadena Showcase House of Design is one of the oldest, biggest and most successful home and garden tours in the country. The 2016 showcase featured the Dryborough Estate. (KABC)

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CAUTION: When cleaning leather upholstery of any kind always perform a sample test of the products performance on an inconspicuous area of the leather. DO NOT use these cleansers or conditioners on unfinished leather or suede.

Tanners Preserve leather creamTanner’s Preserve Leather Conditioning Cream is my favorite leather care product. I use it on all my leather furniture and recommend it to my client’s as well. It's extremely easy to use to safely cleans leather surfaces. Tanner's is made without harsh chemicals or ingredients that could harm and/or discolor many leather finishes. Tanner's Preserve contains emollients which feed and bring back supple leather surfaces, reviving their rich luster. Investing in leather furniture for your home can last a lifetime if cared for correctly. They can look beautiful and serve their intended purposes for well beyond the intended usefulness of furniture upholstered in other textiles. Authentic leather furnishings are designed to soften with age. With that

Investing in leather furniture for your home, is a practice in good finance. Leather surfaces can protect expensive desktops and leather upholstered seating can last a lifetime (and beyond) when cared for correctly. These furnishings look beautiful and serve their intended purposes for well beyond the intended usefulness of furniture covered in other cloth or natural fiber textiles. Authentic leather furnishings are designed to soften with age. With that age, these pieces become part of our most treasured moments. Still, many of my clients are hesitant to make fine leather furniture part of their spaces.

Leather is sometimes perceived as difficult to care for, delicate and almost always expensive. Potential owners of leather furnishings fear damage caused by children, pets or guests. These views are simply without cause or warrant. Caring for leather furniture is really no harder than caring for other types of upholstered furniture. The advice below will help keep your leather intact, fully functional and looking its best for years to come.

  1. Wipe the leather furniture down regularly with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth. This basic care routine for leather upholstery is simply wiping the furniture down with a dry cotton cloth. Regular dusting, just like vacuuming will keep excess dirt from drying and wearing the leather and seams.

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west hollywood patio designer 7It is a tale as old as time.  Boy meets boy.  Boys fall in love.  Boys buy a house. 

The next thing you know, they have hired AARON B DUKE and contractor, Michael Pereyra to create their dream home.  The climax of the story arises when we realize they each have two very different styles and aesthetics – one is very contemporary and the other one very traditional.  By collaborating with our clients, we were able to blend a new home design with old world treasures.

west hollywood interior designer 1From the moment you enter the home, you get a taste about what is in store for rest of the home.  Using three-dimensional wall panels and LED lighting, the design duo were able to create a sensational effect.  The larger than life Giacometti-inspired sculptures from Phillips Collection.  Hear no evil.  See no evil.  Speak no evil.


Our clients love to entertain their friends, so the open space floor plan of the second floor incorporated a kitchen, dining room, and living room. Everyone can be a part of the excitement. While the kitchen is most definitively contemporary in design with a mixture of textured wood cabinets below and white lacquer flat-front cabinets above.  We selected a natural stone backsplash that incorporated all the colors of the cabinets and compliments the Silestone countertops and island

west hollywood interior designer 2The playful Ring Stools from created additional island seating for guests while delicious meals are prepared.  Duke and Pereyra accessorized the kitchen with classic and timeless accessories to make sure both our clients were represented in their home.

It was important that our clients be able to seat eight guests for dinner parties they enjoy throwing from time-to-time.  Many meals have been shared around this table.  Giving a nod to the modernist, the chandelier is a sculptural delight for the eyes.

The bookcase to the left of the dining table was styled with the clients’ own treasures they have collected over the years and incorporated the traditional elements of the space.

west hollywood interior designer 3We made use of every bit of space to ensure there was enough seating groups to allow for entertaining during large parties.  The modern settee and wooden coffee table allow guests to cozy up to one another for delightful conversation during a party.  Our clients had found these unique metal sculptures.  We defined the sitting area by placing them on pedestals and highlighted them with sconces.

west hollywood interior designer 4The living room had to be about comfort.  They wanted a casual place to cuddle up on the sofa and a place where their friends felt comfortable.
The cream and grey graphic rug anchored the room and provided contrast against the dark colored furniture.  A sectional was selected with an attached chaise for those moments when you want to put you feet up and relax.  Additional barrel back swivel chairs allowed for guest to be apart of any conversation.  Contemporary custom built-ins were designed to showcase collectables, books, and treasure the two had separately collected over the years.  It is the perfect juxtaposition of contemporary and traditional flare.


west hollywood bathroom interior designer 6Every couple needs a shower built for two.  The walls were clad in teak slated porcelain tile from Porcelanosa and the floors with black river rock from Emser Tile & Natural Stone.  Each of the gentlemen have their own showerhead, hand shower, body sprays, and niche creating the simply superlative in-home spa experience.


Outdoor entertaining is a must for these West Hollywood men.  Having a rooftop space is a commodity. They had quite a wish list of functions they wanted this space to serve, and we were more than happy to accommodate their requests.  A special pebble floor bound with epoxy was laid as the backdrop for this rooftop oasis.  We added an outdoor kitchen complete with sink, grill, dishwasher, refrigerator, and storage – everything they would need for entertaining without having to go up and down the stairs.  The weather in Southern California is a treat year round.  Our clients wanted a special place they could enjoy alone or with a group of friends.

west hollywood patio designer 8We added an outdoor kitchen complete with sink, grill, dishwasher, refrigerator, and storage – everything they would need for entertaining without having to go up and down the stairs.  The weather in Southern California is a treat year round.  Our clients wanted a special place they could enjoy alone or with company.  They have an integrated audio and even a television to watch their favorite movies or catch up on the latest news.  Comfort was paramount.  Sofas, pillows, chaise longue (this is the correct French spelling) border the space and provide ample options for relaxing and reclining.  LED lighting was used to create a soft and ambient experience at night.  Guest are in for a treat as they can sit at the bar or the expandable dining table and enjoy meals with views of the Hollywood Hills. 

If you and your significant other suffer from a tale of two styles, contact AARON B DUKE so he can blend the best of both of you into your dream home.

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Winter Weddings can be fairy-tail-tastic!  More often than not tho, they require destination travel.  What to do when you have been invited to a pricey destination wedding...Woes of a wedding guest...

"Awesome Etiquette" with Lizzie and Daniel Post is a podcast dedicated to modern day etiquette.

In Episode 76 they explain what to do when a co-worker has been invited to a destination wedding that requires travel.  Dan fields the "anonymous co-workers" question (starts at 3:44) with a common sense answers regarding social obligation when it comes to invitations to spendy destination weddings.

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Wallace Neff Portrait Life MagazineWallace Neff (January 28, 1895 – June 8, 1982) was an architect based in Southern California and was largely responsible for developing the region's distinct architectural style referred to as "California" style. Neff was a student of architect Ralph Adams Cram and drew heavily from the architectural styles of both Spain and the Mediterranean as a whole, gaining extensive recognition from the number of celebrity commissions, notably Pickfair, the mansion belonging originally to Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. His interest in architecture saw him studying under the revered Ralph Adams Cram in Massachusetts.


balloon shell cabin design wallace neff

Eventually Neff returned to California and took up residence in Altadena. Where he became an architectural pioneer.   As Neff's style became more popular and demanded by the elite, the rich, and the famous, he moved to the exclusive Pasadena suburb of San Marino. His clients list among the powerful and elite of the mid-20th Century the Singer Mansion, King Gillette Ranch, the Gates Residence. Libby Ranch, and the Pickfair Estate. Other fine mansions line the streets of Chapman Woods, Hancock Park,[2] San Marino, Glendora, Beverly Hills, San Pascual Avenue, California Street and others in lower East Pasadena.

While he designed for the powerful, he also designed homes and cabins that took up the challenge of fusing natural shapes and useable straight lines. It is believed that Neff is the originator of the Concrete Balloon Forming method of construction.


In 2001, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston supposedly paid $13.5 million for a Neff house owned at different times by actor Fredric March and the philanthropist and USC trustee Wallis Annenberg. In 1998, actress Diane Keaton, an avid fan of Neff's work, purchased a low-slung Neff house in Beverly Hills – featured in Architectural Digest, July 1999 – with the front lawn covered in lavender, for $7.5 million. This home was later purchased by Madonna and Guy Ritchie and was still in their possession as of 2007.


Have a California Style Dream?  Let's make it happen! Call me at 424 262.3853 NOW!


Gillette Mansion



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Interior Designer Spotlight: William Haines - Hollywood, CA



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rose tarlow owner west hollywood melrose house“TASTE IS A MATTER OF OPINION, AND IS CONSTANTLY SEEKING TO DEFINE ITSELF”


One of my favorite showrooms is Rose Tarlow Melrose House located on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood.  I love her antiques and antique reproductions. Her furniture, textiles, and lighting transcend time.


R. Tarlow Antiques opened on the secluded and sun-dappled Melrose Place in Los Angeles in 1976. For those lucky enough to find it, the shop was a sanctuary of impeccable antiques and eclectic pieces chosen from the most exclusive sources. Each item had a charm and a textured story that seemed to flow from the proprietor herself.

Rose traveled the world to find the most exquisite antiques for her shop and her private clients, striving to find one piece in each shipment that would give character to the whole collection —one piece with such singular style that it could inspire a room. When she began designing her own furniture a few years later, she sought to create a collection where every piece was that special piece.

For over thirty years, Rose Tarlow Melrose House has stayed true to this vision to create timeless designs that possess a twist and character to make each chair, each table, each textile, each accessory - extraordinary. We embrace the integrity of generations of craftsmen and artisans and recognize the character that age and natural imperfections can bring. We take an idea and play with it, change the proportion, make it comfortable, add a feature that only those who truly know can see. We celebrate the enigmatic beauty of the unexpected - for us the magic is in the details that give each piece its own personality and taken as a whole, forms the heart of everything we create.




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Interior Design and Architectural Coordination | Aaron B Duke | Los Angeles 424.262.3853