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HOMES: FACES OF 2006 | TRENDSPOTTING

His own store? An intriguing idea

January 05, 2006

An orange silhouette of a horse obscures most of the display window on the 1920s Spanish storefront -- the first indication that things are not always what they seem at Zelen. "I wanted to create intrigue," says owner Dan Zelen, director of visual merchandising for such global clients as Cassina and Nautica, as well as local businesses including Inner Gardens, Sonrisa and Joan's on Third. His store gives a nod to the whimsical (ceramic Chairman Mao statuettes, silk and velvet Alice in Wonderland pillows) and to the natural (polished gemstone bowls and hand-hammered silver cutlery by the L.A. family firm of Allan Adler) along with unusual vintage housewares and objects. "Hearing the word 'no' made me crazy," says Zelen, explaining why he opened his own store while still designing the interiors of others. "I want to speak in my own voice and always change things to give people a sense of the past and a sense of tomorrow." This year Zelen will expand his line of custom furnishings, which include cube armchairs in pickled oak ($1,650), marble-topped tables (from $395 with an iron base, $2,000 with brass), lanterns and column lamps of selenite crystal ($225 to $650) and sterling silver martini picks decorated with vintage dice and sprigs of coral (from $120 for a set of four). 8055 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 658-6756.

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