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Elena Howell’s L.A. Mid-Century Tour
Her jewelry line and The Big Lebowski have more in common than you’d guess.
Before Elena Coleman Howell started making clean-lined jewelry under the name TOMTOM, she was all about creating buildings, working as an architect for the firm Marmol Radziner and Associates. “They were the architects famous for restoring such mid-century gems as Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House in Palm Springs and another Neutra home in the Hollywood Hills belonging to this guy Tom Ford,” she notes. Her own affection for the mid-century look came from her hometown—and a movie you probably didn’t pay money to see. “Although I grew up in Los Angeles, the epicenter of mid-century modern architecture, my obsession with the style didn’t begin until 2001 when I saw the film The Anniversary Party. The movie is about actors playing actors, on ecstasy, with Jennifer Jason Leigh crying a lot,” the (straight-up hilarious) designer explains. “But what really captured my attention was this beautiful, light-filled home in the Hollywood Hills where all of the drama unfolded—a mid-century modern home by Neutra.” Here, the local places she suggests you hit up for inspiration and era-appropriate furnishings.
Check Out These Homes:
Schindler House and Eames House: “Most of the mid-century homes in L.A. are lived-in, making them impossible to tour. These two are open to the public and worth checking out.”
Sheats-Goldstein Residence: “In grad school, a few friends and I somehow finagled a private tour of John Lautner’s property, which has made appearances in such films as The Big Lebowski. This house is amazing. I try to make my jewelry look like it. If you can’t get a tour, this video is a close second.”
Dinnerware by Heath
Shop at These Spots:
Heath Ceramics: “My husband and I registered for their dishware for our wedding. I will never regret forgoing china for this.”
The Rose Bowl Flea Market: “The second Sunday of every month, score mid-century furniture gems on the cheap.”
Danish Modern: “It’s not inexpensive, but you can find gorgeously restored mid-century furnishings—and you don’t have to wake up early on a Sunday to get the best pieces.”