Get to Know…Suzanne Rheinstein, Hollyhock You’ll be glad you stepped inside the wonderful, surprising store of this Southern design doyenne.
Known as a gracious, chic designer, shop-owner and hostess, you’re immediately transported into Suzanne Rheinstein’s world when you enter Hollyhock, her iconic store on La Cienega.
“I prefer one-of-a-kind things, whether they be antiques or new,” says Rheinstein. “We have a lot of antiques, and I like anything neoclassical, but I also love quirky.” The elegant, effortless mix is on full display at every turn in the sunny, well-appointed shop. In this corner, William Yeoward crystal and perfectly faded Lee Jofa rugs. Over there? A batch of hand marbled Christopher Spitzmiller dinnerware and vases. And mixed in, a gorgeous curated array of French and Italian antique furniture, lighting and accents.
Browsing through the rooms at Hollyhock, there’s a surprise around each corner. In addition to Yeoward, Jofa and Spitzmiller designs, the store also features Frances Palmer pottery, Scanlon Apparati decoupage accessories, Mark Shaw photography, and Rita Konig’s colorful trays and tables for the Lacquer Company. Whimsical Kate Shelter watercolors and delicate paper flowers by Livia Cetti bring the outside in. The mix reflects Rheinstein’s personal and professional style. “I’d never do an all 18th-century room,” she says. “Just like I wouldn't do a completely contemporary room. I like mixing it so that it really reflects the people who live there.” But don’t use the “e” word please. “Well, I wouldn't call myself eclectic,” says Rheinstein sitting in her office steps away from her dreamy courtyard where most shoppers and guests never want to leave. “I love the search for the unusual or a wonderful thing of its kind, and then I try to put them together.”
She comes by her talent for welcoming, polished spaces naturally. Growing up in New Orleans, her mother and grandmother adored well-kept houses and gardens. (Her mother owned an antique shop there.) “I sort of grew up with people really caring about their houses and doing things with them,” says Rheinstein. She also cites Gerrie Bremermann, a legendary interior NOLA designer and shop as an inspiration. “Her antiques and contemporary pieces are extraordinary,” says Rheinstein. “She’s 90 and fabulous.”
Though her first career was as a journalist for CBS News in Washington D.C., she always had a passion for décor. When meeting with her book group early on, she could speak to what the houses looked like in the pages of a Jane Austen novel they were discussing. “I was so interested in it,” says Rheinstein. “And I was very influenced by the array of architecture in New Orleans from the neoclassical to the quirky.”
After moving to Los Angeles and decorating her own family home, she decided to set up shop herself, first on Larchmont Boulevard. “My [late] husband and I were traveling a lot to England and France,” she says. “I was inspired by those little small shops where you could go in and buy an antique or have something reupholstered or just pick up something unique.” She realized she could create a space to sell all the things she loved for the home but could not find easily in Los Angeles. Because the only space available was larger then she wanted, Rheinstein says the “tail immediately started wagging the dog.” So it was in 1988 that Hollyhock was born.
In 2010, she moved the shop into the charming cottage on La Cienega where it has become a favorite of designers, decorators, and tastemakers from across the country and around the world. It’s been nicknamed “the city’s liveliest salon.” Rheinstein also continues to design the Hollyhock Home Collection—a line of custom upholstery, furniture and lighting. And she’s penned two stunning books, At Home and Rooms for Living that showcase her work as a sought-after interior designer.
Despite her incredible career and design accolades, Rheinstein remains ever convivial and modest. “I suppose I’m like a jack of all trades, master of none,” she says. “I'm very much interested in the history of decorative arts and I think having taste that's informed is a good thing. Though some people are good at putting things together, I like to know why and I like to know the outcome. It adds depth to the final product.”
Suzanne Rheinstein on…
Balance & Details…
“I prefer a certain harmony with a little bit of contrast. I don't do ‘wow’ rooms where you come in and see everything at once. Rather, you feel it’s attractive and then start to notice the details. Simple details but well done.”
“I like to see a little something welcoming. Maybe it’s a candle or a pool of light rather than something overwhelming. My daughter (a designer as well) had a quote, ‘Turn up those overhead lights so I can have some more harsh shadows on my face, said no women ever.’”
You have to have comfort. It just wouldn't be a good room without it. I really feel like you should make your house look the way you want it to look but always have the sense of ease.”
“I create scale with different things. It can be a tall mirror or elongated piece of art. It doesn’t mean you have to do it with furniture. I like a certain sense of calm to a space. I am not interested in putting something exaggerated to shock.”
“I don't bring a thousand things in, hold them up and say ‘no’ or ‘yes’. I want it to come organically, not out of my own personal interests. I will make changes throughout but it is always part of the natural process with a client.”
“I don't like rules because unless all your clients are the same, it doesn’t work. And it would make life boring for me.”
927 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
T (310) 777-0100