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For Wong's mansion, it's made-to-order opulence

October 12, 2006|Valli Herman | Times Staff Writer

SOME fashion designers launch home decor collections with a few pillows and bedspreads. Sue Wong filled a sprawling mansion with dozens of her exotic, vintage-inspired designs and in the process, demonstrated how well her fashion design sensibilities translate into home furnishings.

Had she more time, Wong would have designed every item of furniture or fabric inside her palatial Los Feliz estate. Instead, she swept local and foreign showrooms, antique dealers and galleries for elegant French portraits and Art Deco consoles, 19th century New Guinea carvings, late Renaissance chests and majestic 500-year-old Spanish chairs.

"If anything is one idiom, it doesn't have enough tension. I like to bring a mix to it," says Wong, who even placed a plump couch and fine oil paintings in her downstairs gym.

To balance the opulence, Wong had Beverly Home & Hotel Manufacturing build nearly two dozen of her furniture designs, including streamlined garnet velvet barrel chairs; a tufted, round banquette; a ziggurat-back couch; and a chaise, a desk and swooping tables in the style of Art Deco master Emil Ruhlman.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday October 14, 2006 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Los Feliz mansion: An article in Thursday's Home section about Sue Wong's furnishings identified Jeri McPhie as the owner of Moda Dora Gift & Home. Dino Hillas is the owner; McPhie is the manager. Also, McPhie's name was misspelled as McPhee.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday October 19, 2006 Home Edition Home Part F Page 4 Features Desk 1 inches; 43 words Type of Material: Correction
Los Feliz mansion: An article in last week's Home section about Sue Wong's furnishings identified Jeri McPhie as the owner of Moda Dora Gift & Home. Dino Hillas is the owner; McPhie is the manager. The story also misspelled McPhie's name as McPhee.

Wong spotted her next find in Silver Lake: designer Charles Marder, who made lamps appropriate for a grand estate.

Marder, who recently moved downtown, wasn't quite prepared for how grand. "When I walked in there, my mouth just fell open," says Marder, who crafted half a dozen lampshades and bases according to Wong's request for "something over the top." Embroidered fabrics stretch across curvy frames that have layers of fringe or beaded tassels around their rims.

One of her most significant suppliers was the Moda Dora Gift & Home showroom in the L.A. Mart (which now represents Marder). Wong purchased furniture, lamps and bedding, including linens from the vintage-inspired Sweet Dreams line and from English Home, the opulent collection Queen Elizabeth commissioned to decorate her royal residences, says showroom owner Jeri McPhee. The same company outfitted Nicole Kidman's bedroom in "Moulin Rouge."

Each pillow in the English Home collection costs $150 to $200 wholesale, and Wong has 15 in her all-white bedroom.

Elsewhere, she installed lushly painted chests and tables from Raquel's Collection, a line of recycled barn wood furniture hand painted in Peru. The Hendrix room boasts Wunderley bead-fringed chandeliers and inlaid mother-of-pearl tables. She designed couches that give the room its exotic sensibility.

Throughout her restoration project, Wong kept her various styles organized by uniting them through color palettes or stylistic themes. No detail was too small. She even had the silver trim on a Moroccan table tinted from silver to gold. Now the whole place glows.

Where to get the Sue Wong look:

Artisan Restoration: Zoltan Papp -- a European-trained restoration expert -- restores, repairs and conserves furniture, mirrors, paintings, porcelain, carvings and entire interiors. 8556 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 559-8182.

Beverly Home & Hotel Manufacturing: The custom furniture manufacturer creates upholstered and wood furnishings in a wide range of finishes. To the trade. 225 N. California Ave., City of Industry; (323) 560-4200;

Charles Marder Original Period Lighting: Customized, vintage lampshades and bases are available at the designer's downtown studio. 1734 N. Main St., Los Angeles; (323) 222-2626, or

Moda Dora Gift & Home: This wholesale-to-the-trade showroom carries bedding, lamps and accessories, including embroidered velvet bedding by English Home, Renaissance-period bedding by Sweet Dreams, Raquel's Collection hand-painted furniture and Mi Alma by Marder period lamps and shades. L.A. Mart, 1933 S. Broadway, Suite 842, Los Angeles; (213) 749-6762.

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