Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I met Marne at her first store, a tiny home furnishings shop on Robertson Blvd. in Los Angeles that is now a nail salon. She boldly mixed vintage furniture with refurbished industrial wares adding a liberal dose of humor. Inside the old metal waste bins she had powder coated in bright primary colors, she'd place a hand sewn toy snake, or mix school chairs from the 1960's with a snazzy modernist dining table. I'd visit the store often and discover stuff I never knew about as well as ways of mixing old and new seamlessly.
I had to work while attending college but unlike other students making fast cash as bartenders and waiters, I painted homes. I was really good at it. I wasn't afraid of climbing scaffolds, or intimidated by extensive moulding. I liked seeing the transformation and enjoyed the quiet and the rhythm. I share this back-story because there's usually a reason for feeling an affinity or connection when you meet a person; when Marne mentioned she painted homes as a student, that was the Aha! moment for me.
After relocating to a larger space in a trendier neighborhood, her business thrived. She still wore sneakers and jeans, drove a pickup truck and worked constantly. Eventually she sold her store when she moved out of Los Angeles. I assumed she was working as a designer or consultant somewhere but just this week, I discovered she opened a store in Healdsburg (northern) California, named 14 feet. Check it out: There's old and new furniture, and fun, one-of-a-kind objects. On her website she wrote, "If you see a sold item you like, give us a call...we might be able to find something similar!" Believe it.