The first thing you notice when entering the Los Angeles showroom of Gracie Studios, is the seemingly endless amount of gorgeous, hand painted wallpaper that frames the Chinese and Japanese antiques. The second thing is the friendly staff, Sarah and Taylor, and the impressive breadth of their knowledge on all things Gracie Studios, Chinese Antiques, and hand painted wallpaper. I wish I knew about anything as much as those two know about wallpaper.
Gracie Studios started back in 1898, and immediately made a name for themselves providing custom lamps and soon, Asian antiques. However, it wasn’t until the 1930s that Gracie became the first studio in the United States to import hand painted wallpapers created by Chinese artisans. Today, they continue their history of craftsmanship, skilled in painting murals, restoration, and creating custom furniture.
We live in the era of mass produced, and disposable goods. But is that really what we want? While shooting the store, Sarah and I had a discussion about the patina that develops on an antique, or any piece with a long history, including wallpaper. It’s something that lends an obvious personality to the piece, grounding it as something with a history, that gives a certain comfort and familiarity that can’t be found in just another pre-fab, mass produced piece. And after-all, isn’t comfort what it’s all about when it comes to our homes?
There are a lot of design studios on the famous Melrose Avenue, but not many can match the history and tradition of Gracie Studios. A tradition that continues to this day with Jennifer and Michael Gracie, the fourth generation of the Gracie family, piloting their studio into the 21st Century. The pictures speak for themselves regarding the high-quality and attention to detail. You don’t have to be part of the “industry” to show up, just drive down to Melrose, (or one of their other showrooms in Dallas, or New York), walk in and take a look around – if you get a chance, don’t forget to ask Sarah what the most whimsical thing is that someone asked to be painted on their wallpaper.
Written & Photographed by