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william haines hollywood Interior DesignerCharles William "Billy" Haines (January 2, 1900 – December 26, 1973), known professionally as William Haines, was an American film actor and interior designer.

Haines was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout and signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1922. His career gained momentum when he was loaned out to Columbia Pictures, now Sony where he received favorable reviews for his role in The Midnight Express. Haines returned to MGM and was cast in the 1926 film Brown of Harvard. The role solidified his screen persona as a wisecracking, arrogant leading man. By the end of the 1920s, Haines had appeared in a string of successful films and was a popular box office draw.

His film career was cut short by the 1930s due to his refusal to deny his homosexuality. Haines quit acting in 1935 and started a successful interior design business with his life partner Jimmie Shields, and was supported by friends in Hollywood. Haines died of lung cancer in December 1973 at the age of 73.




Haines and Shields began a successful dual career as interior designers and antique dealers. Among their early clients were friends and Hollywood great's such as Joan Crawford, Gloria Swanson, Carole Lombard, Marion Davies and George Cukor.



Their lives were disrupted in June 1936 when approximately 100 members of a white supremacist group dragged the two men from their El Porto, Manhattan Beach home and beat them, because a neighbor had accused the two of propositioning his son. The incident was widely reported at the time, but Manhattan Beach police never brought charges against the couple's attackers. The child molestation accusations against Haines and Shields were unfounded and the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

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When I design a home's interior, I select fragrances that compliment the aesthetic of the space, as well as the client. In my opinion, every home should have a signature fragrance. Home fragrances can be achieved in many ways, but my top three are:

Candles          Room Diffusers         &          Room Sprays

buy joe malone diffuser“An understated style. Defined by an unconventional sense of sophistication. With a classical taste that is rarified, yet just a touch audacious. Timeless and elegant…but always infused with a charming dash of wit and whimsy.

My personal choice for my home and office is from Jo Malone of London.

It is exactly these distinctly British qualities that are the heritage, and heart, of Jo Malone London. Since its inception in 1994 - when our founder created a handful of scents revolutionary in their discerning simplicity - Jo Malone London has become a name internationally synonymous with all that is most coveted in British style.

The Jo Malone™ Studio orchestrates a world of bespoke luxury that is inspired by, and immersed in, modern British culture, curating collaborations between world-renowned master perfumers and London’s leading creative talent, from Savile Row to Sloane Street. In working with the most forward-thinking style mavens, Jo Malone London is enduringly at the forefront of perfumery.Lime Basil and Mandarin is my fragrance of choice. It is the luxury brand’s signature fragrance. Peppery basil and aromatic white thyme bring an unexpected twist to the scent of limes on a Caribbean breeze. A modern classic. To uplift, to wind down, or simply to add an air of luxury.

You too can have your own candles, diffusers,and sprays from Jo Malone.

Lime Basil and Mandarin is my fragrance of choice. It is the luxury brand’s signature fragrance. Peppery basil and aromatic white thyme bring an unexpected twist to the scent of limes on a Caribbean breeze. A modern classic. To uplift, to wind down, or simply to add an air of luxury. Transform the atmosphere with luxury and opulence.

 If you would like AARON B DUKE to personally select a home fragrance just for you, consider booking one of our

Luxury Design Concierge Services.

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designer ellen mirojnickAs an interior designer, I find inspiration in Hollywood; especially a great film's costumes and scenic design. For me, I am attracted to period pieces in particular. It gives me insight into color, design, fashion, architecture, and lifestyle of bygone eras. I am very fortunate to be surrounded here in Los Angeles by other creative types, like Ellen Mirojnick, an award-winning costume designer.

Ellen Mirojnick’s creative roots run deep. Born and raised in New York City, her early interests in fine art, photography and fashion led to the prestigious High School of Music and Art. After graduation, she further pursued her study of design at The School of Visual Arts and Parsons School of Design in New York.

Ellen entered the world of fashion after Parsons School of Design. Her fashion-forward instincts quickly propelled her to become one of the most sought -after designers in the field. Her talent for creating youthful, au courant style reverberated throughout the industry.

hollywood design

It wasn’t long before Mirojnick set her sights on Hollywood, beginning a career that has spanned three decades. As a pre-eminent Hollywood Costume Designer, Ellen’s passion for contemporary design has had an impact on motion picture style. Mirojnick’s film work has exhibited a sophisticated, timeless approach to modern storytelling and has yielded iconic characters that have become cultural references.

Twice BAFTA, Emmy, and CDG awards have nominated this genius of Hollywood design. In 1998 she received a Saturn Award for her work in Starship Troopers and was honored with the Cutty Sark Menswear Award for her sartorial statement in Wall Street.

Mirojnick was awarded the prestigious CDG Career Achievement Award in February 2016. Her work with Steven Soderbergh's Season 2 of “The Knick” was awarded the 2016 CDG’s Outstanding Period Costumes. She has also won an Emmy Award and CDG Award for “Behind the Candelabra” Ellen is currently working with Steven Soderbergh on Logan Lucky his return to feature films. In the last year, she has traveled around the world for Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father A Cambodian Daughter remembers and traveling to Spain for Shonda Rhimes’ Still Star Crossed.

The list of prominent filmmakers Ellen has designed for is extensive: Steven Soderbergh, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Paul Verhoven, both Tony and Ridley Scott and J.J.Abrams.

In 2010 she collaborated with actor James Franco to create images that were included in "Visionaire 59: Fairytales". Subsequently, Ellen joined forces with artist Richard Phillips to create videos, which were exhibited at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Thanks to this partnership, Ellen continues as an innovator at the crossroads of fashion, art and film.


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Sherwin-Williams doesn’t usually like to play color favorites, but in this case we can’t resist. The color we anticipate defining 2017 is Poised Taupe. Here’s why: This timeless neutral is modern, classic and a beautiful balance of warm and cool.

If you've read any of my other blogs you know I adore timeless design, especially when it comes to color choices.  Trends are great for accessories, but interior design that uses wall and furnishing colors wisely is a financial decision that will serve your pocketbook for years (decades?) to come.

Whether your home is classic or modern, poised taupe can add that definitive distinction you are looking for in a warm and inviting way. This color would be great on cabinets paired with a light marble slab.  What an rich color this would be for the exterior of your home, as well.  Any room in the house would instantly be transformed into classic and timeless space that you will enjoy for years to come.

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Do you have a room that just doesn't "feel right" but can't figure out why? Have you ever bought the "perfect" paint color, only to be disappointed at how it actually looks on your wall?


Color is the single most important visible element of any design. It's no wonder that people agonize over it. Choosing the right color can be a daunting task; choosing the wrong one can prove to be frustrating. Good or bad, color is one of the easiest ways to change a space immediately. Selecting the correct colors can be difficult for most people. Natural lighting and artificial lighting, furnishings, art, flooring and many other elements can affect the way a color looks in a space.

The color you love can look one way in one space, but completely different (and awful) in another. It can raise or lower ceilings and color can make a room feel larger or smaller. Color intensity and color value can play a big role in the selection of correct colors, too. Trends and traditions are important to be aware of, but can’t be the only driving force in the selection of a proper color for a particular space. The selection of color is important to coordinate with existing elements or adjacent areas.

Color promotes emotional responses and has a profound effect on the way a person lives, thinks and feels. It has a biological and psychological influence on mood and more. For example, it is known that people feel calmer and more focused in softer blue and green rooms. Soft yellows and oranges are cheerful and comforting. Brown can relieve irritability and fatigue. Many other colors can have subconscious affects too. Also, some people have adversities to colors from their past and we help determine that in our initial consultation. We want our clients to feel good and enjoy their surroundings.

We work with most major paint lines, such as Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, Dunn Edwards or with our exclusive line Rocky Rochon Paint. Along with using the paint decks, we have larger professional swatches that help in selecting the proper colors for your home or place of business. Also, we can order large 8 x 11 paper samples from most major paint vendors if needed.

As your color consultant, AARON B DUKE makes sure the right colors welcome you home, grab attention with curb appeal, entice shoppers to stop in and just make you feel good. From multi- and single-family developments, retail, and commercial projects to residences, we, as color advisors, create environments that connect with people.

Make the right choice! Contact designer AARON B DUKE before it's too late!

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Some of our readers love liquor, and they also love to spread the love. But do they have to donate an expensive bottle to the party every time they BYOB? Or can they take it back at the end of the evening?

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

In Episode 83 they explain what to do when a party is BYOB and you bring a braggadocious bottle to the bar to share with your loved ones. You can skip to 11:51 to hear their answer.

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john wolf

John Wolf – Art Advisory and Private Brokerage

John Wolf is a global art advisor based in Los Angeles. He founded John Wolf Art Advisory & Brokerage in 2009 to assist private collectors, institutions, and corporations in creating outstanding collections of contemporary art. He specializes in taking the extra time to demystify and educate clients about all aspects of the art market. Outside of traditional art advisory & brokerage, Wolf consults the interior design trade and curates exhibitions. He has spoken on panels at Art Miami, Art Silicon Valley, produced exhibitions at 4619 in Los Angeles, and is on the council at LACMA. He received his BBA in International Business and Art History from Baylor University.

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Human Condition

presented by John Wolf

October 1–November 30, 2016
2231 S Western Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Opening Reception:  
Saturday, October 1, 2016 from 6:00–9:00 p.m.

Public Hours:  Friday–Sunday from 11:00 a.m.–6 p.m.
Press Preview:  Thursday, September 29, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LOS ANGELES—September 12, 2016—Human Condition is an immersive, site-specific exhibition that features the work of sixty emerging and established artists in a uniquely challenging space: a former hospital in West Adams, previously known as the Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center. Curated and produced by the Los Angeles-based art advisor John Wolf, Human Condition invites artists to re-contextualize the hospital’s functional history—over 40,000 square feet of it—as a venue to explore what it means to be human. The exhibition opens to the public on October 1, 2016 and runs through November 30, 2016.

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Since our founding in 1955, we have been true to our dedication to create heirloom quality furniture. Through the 1950s and 1960s, we imported all of our furniture from Italy. The Amalfi story is one of artisan craftsmen dedicated to a by-gone era when it meant something to be a “Master Craftsman.” By the 1970s, our local craftsman’s work mirrored that of their European counterparts, so we began making the furniture stateside to have more input in the design process. Today, many of our craftsmen are now second generation Amalfi Master Craftsmen, still making each piece by hand; one at a time.

Amalfi Master Craftsmen 1Robert Howard is Amalfi Living’s Owner and Chief Furniture Designer. Bringing not only his business knowledge and acumen to Amalfi, he also leads with a visionary eye, developed over years of managing the design process of an award-winning retail interior design and manufacturing company. His design philosophy emphasizes form and function, comfort and timeless style.

The handsome pooch you see throughout our website is Shakespeare, Robert’s Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon. Reporting to work every day, Shakespeare’s main responsibility is plant security, but he is currently on probation having often been caught napping on our stylish and very comfortable furniture!


Since our founding, we have been true to our dedication to creating heirloom quality furniture. Our craftsmen are 2nd generation Amalfi Master Craftsmen, making each piece by hand.


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This is the million-dollar question. Many clients come with a budget in mind for how much they would like to spend on high-end interior design projects. On the other hand, some are new to the process or simply don’t know where to begin. I wanted to provide a guide to our clients, so when they are preparing for their next kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, new construction, home remodel, or decorating they would have a tool to help them estimate and budget.


$150.00 per square foot for new furniture (it can be much more if antiques are involved)

high end furniture



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When I discovered Gracie, I fell in love.  In fact, I used it in the dining room of the Pasadena Penthouse.

pasadena penthouse interior design


I have always had an affinity for utilizing Chinoiserie in my designs, as well as anything hand painted by artisans.

Gracie was established in New York City in 1898 by Charles R. Gracie and continues to be a family-run business to this day. Mr. Gracie began his business in providing custom lamps, often using unusual accessories and vases and adapting them for use as lamps. His business expanded into Asian antiques in the 20's and 30's, focusing on collecting and dealing in antique Chinese and Japanese furniture, screens and porcelains.

Elle Decor November 2015 SY 600 Sky Shimmer for Kelly Behun


During the 1930's, a friend of Mr. Gracie's, a textile trader, returned from a visit to China with a roll of exquisite hand painted wallpapers that he had discovered in Beijing. Mr. Gracie was immediately enthusiastic and felt that he had a market for this product. A relationship was established with the studio that produced the wallpaper and continued until the Chinese revolution in 1949 when the studio was relocated to Taiwan under new management. Decades later, the studio was returned to Mainland China, Gracie's studio in the orient have been managed by the same Chinese family for fifty years. Hand painted wallpapers are Gracie's signature product line.



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