Neighborhood Spotlight: Ralf’s Antiques
Much has changed over the past 35 years since Inge Helmig first opened the doors to Ralf’s Antiques, but what has remained consistent is the store’s high-profile clientele, their commitment to offering the finest European antiques, and an emphasis on keeping Ralf’s a family-run business.
The showroom’s enduring presence in the La Cienega Design Quarter has commanded the attention of a diverse clientele, from high-profile celebrities to highly influential interior designers with both traditional and contemporary aesthetics. Most recently, Jennifer Aniston purchased an 18th century walnut wine tasting table and Tyler Perry bought several Spanish and Italian pieces for his Los Angeles home. Shawn Helmig, the showroom manager and Inge’s son, has sold one-of-a-kind pieces to Philip Nimmo, James Radin, Tucker & Marks of San Francisco, Kathleen Clements, Schuyler Samperton, Timothy Corrigan, Cliff Wong, Frank Pennino, Michael Smith and other renowned designers.
A fixture in the West Hollywood design community, Ralf’s offers an inventory of 17th through 19th century Italian, Spanish, French and English refined country and formal furniture, mirrors, chandeliers, paintings, and books as well as unusual decorative accessories. This includes a selection of Italian and Spanish, Georgian, Regency, Louis XV, and Empire period antiques.
Every year, the Helmig family frequents art fairs and warehouse suppliers in England, France, Spain, and Italy, keeping their inventory freshly stocked with unique decorative antiques. Annual treks to the south of France, Paris, and London help them maintain relationships with established dealers and create relationships with new ones.
Shawn Helmig says keeping the showroom in the family has definitely contributed to their success. Being raised around antiques and fine art gave him an invaluable education and insight that he wouldn’t have been exposed to had he not grown up in the business. “I feel lucky to have been introduced to art at an early age. I am surrounded by historically rich antiques every day. The more you’re around it, the more your appreciation grows.”