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Inside L.A.’s Most Charming Design Shop

Inside L.A.’s Most Charming Design Shop
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Ask any decorator or home enthusiast where she goes for beautiful refined-rustic finds in L.A., and chances are she’ll point you to Nickey Kehoe, the widely beloved shop from designers Amy Kehoe and Todd Nickey. Akin to a gemlike vintage shop you’d stumble upon in the South of France, the homey, inviting store overflows with treasures from all over. Midcentury chairs, Portuguese ceramics, and Peruvian throws are artfully mixed in with original furniture designs and pillows by the gimlet-eyed duo, who share a connection only natural to longtime friends. “We met at a dinner back in 2000,” says Todd. “We became friends, and we would go to the flea market together,” Amy continues. “When we both used to live in New York, we fantasized about working together someday,” adds Todd. In 2008 they launched their design firm; a year later they opened their shop. The rest, as they say, is history.

Come peek inside the shop with us, see what’s new, and find out the things they’re loving now in our Q&A below.

“A lot of people say they love how the store feels,” says Todd of the light-filled, high-ceilinged space, where curated cabinet displays and home accessories demonstrate their masterful eye for design.

“A lot of people say they love how the store feels,” says Todd of the light-filled, high-ceilinged space, where curated cabinet displays and home accessories demonstrate their masterful eye for design.

An ornate display cabinet features terracotta serveware. “The last few years we’ve seen the handmade and craftsmen coming to the forefront,” says Amy. “It’s beautiful, and we’re huge fans of it.”

An ornate display cabinet features terracotta serveware. “The last few years we’ve seen the handmade and craftsmen coming to the forefront,” says Amy. “It’s beautiful, and we’re huge fans of it.”

What was the space before it became the Nickey Kehoe shop?
“It was actually two stores, and we opened up the wall between them,” says Todd. “One side had been a pretty infamous Mid-Century Modern store. The other side had been a host of different things, from a T-shirt shop to a trinket store—there was always something new going on.”

What’s the first thing a visitor will notice in the shop?
“There’s a feeling to the store,” says Todd. “It’s a very warm, lived-in atmosphere. Our goal is for people to feel really comfortable shopping here and for it to feel really approachable,” Amy adds.

Vintage Charlotte Perriand chairs, found at a Paris flea, accompany black-and-white etchings and a multihued capiz-shell pendant that the pair bought because they’ve “never seen one like it, and we couldn’t resist the colors,” explains Todd.

Vintage Charlotte Perriand chairs, found at a Paris flea, accompany black-and-white etchings and a multihued capiz-shell pendant that the pair bought because they’ve “never seen one like it, and we couldn’t resist the colors,” explains Todd.

Tell us about the design inspiration for your shop.
“We had been flea market shopping and collecting, and the inspiration came from things that we found and loved,” Todd tells us. “There’s a lot of patina and texture to both the store itself and the things that are in here.”

How do you edit what goes into the shop?
“Everything in the store speaks to one of us, and most of the time both of us,” Amy points us. “We have an unspoken filtering process—we both have total veto power over the other one, but 99 times out of 100 we agree,” adds Todd.

How would you describe each other’s aesthetic?
“We have a lot of overlap, but Amy leans more toward the purist modernist side,” Todd says. “Todd is a little more rustic countryside, so the store is the perfect marriage,” finishes Amy.

“We love finding everyday utilitarian items that have beautiful details,” says Amy about a set of Japanese case-brass knives and utensil holders.

“We love finding everyday utilitarian items that have beautiful details,” says Amy about a set of Japanese case-brass knives and utensil holders.

Amy and Todd are constantly reexamining the ordinary. “Japanese hand brooms are the perfect marriage of beauty and function,” says Amy. “The details and colors of these are lovely.”

Amy and Todd are constantly reexamining the ordinary. “Japanese hand brooms are the perfect marriage of beauty and function,” says Amy. “The details and colors of these are lovely.”

Peruvian throws, sometimes used as rugs, appeal to Amy and Todd’s love for the unconventional. “These have an irreverence for color combination and pattern that is inspiring,” says Todd.

Peruvian throws, sometimes used as rugs, appeal to Amy and Todd’s love for the unconventional. “These have an irreverence for color combination and pattern that is inspiring,” says Todd.

Are there things you’re always looking for?
“Anything we find that’s local and indigenous to a place we’ve been—it can be textiles, ceramics,” Amy says. “But we’re always hunting for so many things, it’s really about finding things we didn’t know we were hunting for.”

Where do you shop?
“We love shopping the flea markets in Italy and France. Also American flea markets and auctions,” says Todd.

Tell us about the furniture you bring back.
“We love ‘antique’ antiques. We love primitive pieces. We love midcentury pieces. We love European. It’s really a full range,” Todd explains to us. “Right now we have a big cupboard from Pennsylvania that’s from the early 1800s.”

Any materials and textures that you gravitate toward?
“It’s a full spectrum: anything from antique floral prints to Kuba cloths to tie-dyes to Indian batik—everything’s up for grabs,” Todd chimes.

A vignette captures the designers’ old-meets-new ethos. Vintage artwork, part of a collection that includes contemporary pieces by local artists, hangs above pillows made by Amy and Todd.

A vignette captures the designers’ old-meets-new ethos. Vintage artwork, part of a collection that includes contemporary pieces by local artists, hangs above pillows made by Amy and Todd.

Describe Nickey Kehoe in three words.
“We have three phrases,” Todd tells us. “Warm minimalism, sophisticated bohemian, earthy elegance.”

Favorite spot in the shop?
“The courtyards for both of us,” Todd points out. “There’s one on the east side, and there’s one on the west side,” adds Amy. “We have outdoor furniture, we have garden pots, one has a koi pond.”

Secret to mixing vintage with new?
“I think a little bit is having an irreverence to rules for how things should go together,” Todd says. “It’s okay to take risks.”

“We love these colors and fluid shapes,” says Amy, who along with Todd is a champion of designs by L.A. artisans, such as these vases by Marina Kim and bowls by Dino Sophia.
 
“We love these colors and fluid shapes,” says Amy, who along with Todd is a champion of designs by L.A. artisans, such as these vases by Marina Kim and bowls by Dino Sophia.

 

Vintage tools from Japan and France are in keeping with the shop’s rustic appeal.

Vintage tools from Japan and France are in keeping with the shop’s rustic appeal.

Pieces you’re excited about right now?
“There’s some Mexican pottery,” says Todd. “And I’m really excited about some Oaxacan pottery.”

How do you approach color?
“We’re both really drawn to color, and we’re seeing artisans combine the handmade with bolder colors and patterns,” says Amy. “We like to color-block in the shop. We have red pillows on a bed from a woman in the South of France; she overdyes vintage hemp and makes it into pillows. She also has rugs; they’re felt, all hand-painted, and we’re huge fans of them!”

A 19th-century French plate rack demonstrates what the design duo do best in their store. “The plates are vintage American, Japanese, and French, and we love them all mixed together,” says Todd.

A 19th-century French plate rack demonstrates what the design duo do best in their store. “The plates are vintage American, Japanese, and French, and we love them all mixed together,” says Todd.

Among pieces new to the shop are blue-and-white Portuguese plates and platters hand-painted with bucolic scenes.

Among pieces new to the shop are blue-and-white Portuguese plates and platters hand-painted with bucolic scenes.

“We love rugs with colorful patterns, be it Navajo, Turkish, Moroccan,” says Amy of their whimsical hand-painted felt rugs, which were discovered in the South of France and are now personal favorites. “We’re pretty obsessed with them,” says Todd.

“We love rugs with colorful patterns, be it Navajo, Turkish, Moroccan,” says Amy of their whimsical hand-painted felt rugs, which were discovered in the South of France and are now personal favorites. “We’re pretty obsessed with them,” says Todd.

Do your finds influence your own designs?
“All the time,” says Todd. “We really have an appreciation for the details of things that we find out in the world, and somehow it always translates into something that we’re doing for a design client—that could be piping on a chair or a color combination.”

How do you train your eye to find amazing design?
“You really have to listen to your instincts,” Todd notes. “You have to hone your instinct and know what it is that you like and why you like it and be able to defend that. That helps start that process.”

The bed (each tuft has a flat brass button) is from Amy and Todd’s furniture collection, and it’s topped with red vintage hemp pillows as well as striped pillows made from a vintage fabric they found and one that is covered in a red-and-green Oaxacan fabric.
 
The bed (each tuft has a flat brass button) is from Amy and Todd’s furniture collection, and it’s topped with red vintage hemp pillows as well as striped pillows made from a vintage fabric they found and one that is covered in a red-and-green Oaxacan fabric.

 

Shop all vintage finds →

Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

One Response to “Inside L.A.’s Most Charming Design Shop”

  1. boofinky says:

    cool

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