We’ve all met people whose contagious energy mysteriously manages to pull you up out of the doldrums and into a great mood. Their smiles and obvious compassion serve as an elixir to whatever temporarily vexes you, allowing you to shrug off that cloying negativity and instead focus on more happy thoughts. So it was today when I went to see Joe and Esther Abouab of Immortal Treasures after dealing with like 4 different AT&T customer service representatives over a 5 hour span while the Internet was down. (I won’t elaborate for fear that I’ll end up right back in the corner beating my head against the wall while pulling my hair out and grinding my teeth.)
Joe and Esther enjoy themselves. Married for what I presume to be decades, they work together in a field that requires their creativity and resourcefulness – two traits they possess in spades. It is to Joe and Esther where many of LA’s most celebrated designers go when in need of just the right antique. Immortal Treasures is brimming over with exquisite pieces from the 17th through the 20th century – 99% of which come from their many trips to Europe. Yet it is their custom work, that makes Joe and Esther such a valuable resource.
Many people want furniture which is old…primarily because it looks old, which implies, not incorrectly, expensive, and LA is all about looking expensive. The problem is that it’s hard to find the right piece, let alone the perfect one, and even if you are lucky enough to find it, it might be staggeringly expensive. This is where the Abouabs come in. You’ll always be able to find a wood worker or an upholsterer to “distress” new materials, but how many of them do a flawless job, a job that would fool even an antiques dealer. “I’ve gone into stores, I won’t name any names, of course, and I’ve seen pieces that I made sitting on their showroom floors with a tag that says ’18th century’ on it,” Joe tells me.
When I was there I watched as they morphed an old suede chair into a leather one without undoing any of the upholstery. Joe took me around showing me piece after piece of artfully aged, new leather covering the frames of antique chairs, ottomans, etc. He uses the highest quality, free-range hides imported directly to him from Argentina, Italy, and elsewhere and then applies his self-taught techniques to translate the desired effect. Furthermore, the upholstery work is top-notch. There are few, if any, mismatches, and seams are scarce. Joe showed me a 15 foot long snake skin, a crazy zebra hide with a little bit of the tail remaining, an enormous crocodile skin; it was cool – not even the slightest thought towards the dear folks at AT&T.
I could go on and on, about the custom design work they’ve done for 150+ foot yachts, for example, but I’ll leave that for another posting or two. I think I’ll spread it out.
By the way, I googled “I hate AT&T” and got 807,000 results.
665 N La Cienega