Lily Spindle

Custom sofa surfin' in the City of Angels

Sometime last year, I purchased a vintage, tufted, gold velvet sofa from a woman in Long Beach and lashed the sucker into my beater Toyota truck (now driven by my husband's son) and drove back to Venice, where I then left it outdoors for several days because: cigarette smoke + Febreeze. Long Beach Lady, you weren't fooling anyone with that disgusting nonsense. 

Once finally aired out and tolerable, the vintage velvet became the anchor of our living room. My dogs licked it, rolled on it, slept on it, played on it, jumped on it, and within a year, it was toast. Sofa toast. Not structurally, mind you. But the velvet, mostly due to that aforementioned LICKING, was crusty and discolored and dear god, trust me when I tell you that no amount of lemon juice and baking soda can remove that deeply-entrenched grossness seeped into velvet and no throws or sheepskins can wholly shroud what I knew was lurking underneath. After the new year had commenced, I grabbed the other half of Lily Spindle and we visited with my dear, dear, dear, hilarious and wonderful friend Steve, the owner of Living Room Home in Highland Park (previously on Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake for many years and, fun fact, MY FIRST JOB IN LOS ANGELES UPON MOVING HERE IN 2007!) 

Not only does Steve have a quirky and eclectic eye for vintage furniture (and a disturbingly extensive collection of clown paintings), but he knows his shit. He's been in this biz for a LONG time, as managing partner at Civilization on Venice Blvd from 1990 to 2006, opening his 8000-square-foot Living Room Home on Sunset in 2007, and, within the last year, relocating and downsizing into his darling Highland Park space on York Blvd. While he now does a helluva lot of seriously good home staging as part of his business, he continues to understand the function and design specificities of furniture instinctively. All that being said, when I wanted to make a custom sofa for myself, I knew he was my dude.  He knows me super well, I trust him completely, and he's funny as hell, so his company is always A++. 

My living room is a logistical nightmare, really. A designer's horror show. There are windows and doorways, antiquated heating units and slanted walls foiling my desires at every turn. It's a fairly long room, but riddled with layout complications. Consequently, there's only one wall along which to place my sofa and that limits its length to 80 inches. I'm on the taller side and since my sofa will inevitably be shared with a brood of pooches and a 6'2" husband, I knew I wanted it to be 36" deep from front to back, with a seating depth alone of at least two feet.

Bench seat with poly-fill to avoid getting too mushy? Check.
Two back cushions with down fill and down wrap? Check.
Relatively skinny arms to maximize the seating width? Check.
Made locally? Check. 

Ah, and finally, the upholstery . . . I actually looked to our Instagram followers for feedback on this. And many of them so thoughtfully and kindly shared their opinions on the very hearty and substantial fabrics I'd pulled together as viable options. (#3 in the image below was the winner, fwiw.)

How many greys and versions of brown can one woman gather as upholstery options? Answer: Too many. 

How many greys and versions of brown can one woman gather as upholstery options?
Answer: Too many. 

But, this is the trickery of textiles (much like paint color) in relation to light and hue - these fabrics looked depressing as all get-out in my living room. I was going for neutral with the ability to bring in color with pillows and throws but what I was actually getting was the drabbest dentist's office circa 1987. These particular fabrics were beautiful elsewhere, but ghastly in my living room. I spent a week thinking about it off and on, revisited the swatch books a zillion times, and then texted a photo of the teal version of one of the original options to some friends and they were all like YESSSSSSS. AND HERE IT IS! 

I couldn't be happier, really. It's fresh and cheerful and just the right infusion of mid-century modern in our home. And this upholstery, for all its beauty, is virtually bulletproof. I can vacuum and scrub it when needed and it is seemingly impervious to the daily ins and outs of life with animals. As you can see, my knucklehead quadrupeds are pretty goddamn thrilled with this new addition, too. 

On all kinds of personal and professional levels, I've got massive amounts of gratitude and respect for Mr. Living Room, the one and only Steve Melendrez. Lily Spindle cannot recommend him enough for all things vintage and fun,  in addition to producing custom furniture creations right here in Los Angeles. (He throws a mean party, to boot, so you ought to check out one of his future Highland Park art opening fetes!)

Hefty thanks to my friends, IG followers, husband, and, of course, my Lily Spindle partner, Deb, for enduring this process with me and weighing in (repeatedly) when I needed an extra dose of wisdom and levity. This beautiful + oceanic blue end result has quite literally changed the way that I live, work, relax, and play in my own home and isn't that what it's all about? 

xx - Rebecca

SHAPERS / / / JESS RONA

If you've never witnessed the glory and gorgeousness that is a well-coiffed, slow-mo Los Angeles pooch on the grooming table of Jess Rona, your life needs a dose of this magic right now. Justin Bieber, Kurt Vile, Britney Spears, Billy Joel, Beyonce, Simon and Garfunkel, Bowie, and a boatload of obscure LA-based indie pop bands, provide the soundtrack to 20-second videos of Rona's canine clients being blown out, lathered up, or just throwing some serious shade to the camera. As an actress, writer, singer, and super funny woman, Jess is on Funny or Die on the regular, currently is putting together a photography book, writing a pilot somewhat based on her life in LA as a dog groomer, and has, along the way, amassed a staggering 106,000 followers on her @jessronagrooming Instagram

Needless to say, we were stoked to have her on board for a SHAPERS Q+A interview! Thanks so much, Jess! You're pretty awesome. 

xx - Rebecca

Your personality and humor definitely shine through in your videos and you brilliantly capture the quirkiness of each dog’s personality with your chosen musical accompaniment. As an actor and comedian who now has a thriving dog grooming business and over 100,000 followers on Instagram, do you find your creative pursuits overlap and if so, how?

Wow what a great question! Yes! It's happening more now than it ever has. I recently got to teach Eric Stonestreet how to groom a dog, I made a video for The Standard Hotel, directed a music video for Tegan and Sara (which was the coolest thing I've ever done), I did a segment for Groomer to Groomer TV making a grooming demo, and I'm working on an original pilot with my creative partner Sammi Cohen about a groomer (if you're a fancy person reading this, buy my pilot and throw money at me so I can make it thanks!)

I watched your hilarious “Love Song” video featuring you and Jason Ritter and laughed out loud at your psuedo homage to the film “Misery.” Tell us a little bit about making this video.

I asked Sammi Cohen if she'd want to direct another music video with me (she also co-directed my first video "Oh Shit We Forgot About Jess Rona" with Milana Vayntrub). She story-boarded it out, came up with the concept and made it happen. We took over my friend's house for the day, and secretly filmed a few scenes in Griffith Park. I was in full make up with a basket of apples among the hikers who were staring at me. It was a lot of fun. We had a look-out in case the ranger came. But it went smoothly! I asked Jason Ritter on a whim thinking he'd be too busy (he's good buddies with my husband Eric Edelstein) and he actually said yes. It was amazing to work with him. His expressions in the video are priceless. He definitely makes the video.


What kind of surprises has this business brought you, personally and professionally?

The whole instagram success is a surprise. People's reaction to me when they meet me is a surprise and I don't quite know how to handle it. I had a girl grab my arm and cry when she found out I was the one who made these videos. 

I only started making the videos cause I was going stir crazy in my garage. I needed to create, I needed an outlet. My friends were out auditioning all the time, booking jobs and traveling and I was antsy. I kept my grooming a secret for a long time because I only wanted to be known as an actress. Now I'm known as a bunch of different things (actress, comedian, groomer, director, musician, hottest girl on the planet) and I'm embracing it. 

 

If you could have breakfast with one famous person, living or dead, who would it be? And what would you order? 

This question is TOO HARD. I have so many that come to mind. (Larry David, Allison Jones, Katherine Hahn,Tony Robbins, Lena Dunham, Oprah, Jill Soloway, Obama, Bette Midler, Pema Chodron! - you ask the best questions by the way.) 

I'm gonna say Julia Louis-Dreyfus because I recently had a vivid dream about her where she was on a huge [cruise line size] boat and I was in the ocean and she saved me. I feel like we're going to work together one day.  

I would order my go-to breakky: Eggs over easy on a bed of breakfast potatoes with avocado, sautéed greens and carmelized onions, and coffee with homemade almond milk. 

Describe in one word each of these dog breeds:

Pug: Snorty
Bichon: Poofy
Jack Russell Terrier: Spazzy
German Shepherd: Sniffy
Standard Poodle: Elegant
English Bulldog: Stinky
If you put all those words together, 
you'll have the name of my next book. (jk!)

Are you a morning person or a night owl? 
I'm a night owl, but my schedule makes me a morning person.


What's currently on your bedside table?
A lamp, ear plugs, phone charger, candle.


Favorite song to get down to? "Helpless" by Poindexter off the Kitsuné America album. 
Favorite song to cry with? "In my Life" The Beatles
Favorite song to relax with? "Oh Honey" by Delegation
(These are just ones I picked because I have 100 favorites per question)

*Lily Spindle’s SHAPERS profiles the people whom we consider to be remarkable movers and shakers, doers and dreamers, trailblazers and big thinkers, the people who are doing things a little bit differently and unconventionally, with immense heart, passion, and authenticity in what they do. Artists, designers, writers, philanthropists, iconoclasts, artisans, heroines, voyagers, and all kinds of extraordinary extraordinaires will be interviewed in our SHAPERS series.

 

 

 

 

The MANA Project - The City of Angels meets The City of the Sun

The predominant reason Deb and I made the transatlantic journey to Italy was for the Villa di Donato exhibition "The Artists of the Film MANA," as organized and curated by Naples' Art 1307 association, spearheaded by Renato + Cynthia Penna and Los Angeles' very own powerhouse Andi Campognone. The artists in this exhibition were culled from the MANA project's original ten "Light and Space" artists, a project launched in 2013 by Andi, currently the director of the Museum of Art & History in Lancaster, California. MANA the documentary (produced by Andi C. and shot and directed by L.A.'s art scene photographer and chronicler Eric Minh Swenson), was filmed in Hawaii in the summer of 2013 and screened last year in Naples. Out of the ten original MANA artists, Ned Evans, David Lloyd, Ken Pagliaro, Steve Fuchs, Ben Brough, Alex Couwenberg, and Eric Johnson made the trek to Italy to attend the opening reception at Villa di Donato and partake in an incredible collaborative art project at the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso with Rosario Guida and Dario Correale, Napoli surfers who also make art (a difficult combination to discover, says Cynthia Penna!). Yes, it may be true that all the artists in this particular show are men. But it's the women who are in charge here. In charge like a boss, baby. Like. A. Boss. 

With sheer cliffs overlooking the sea, the Art Hotel Gran Paradiso in Sorrento has its fair share of naturally-occurring artistry, but Cynthia Penna has helped to make this resplendent four-star hotel an outpost for original works of art, devoting specific guests' rooms to the work of individual artists from all over the world (such as the talented and lovely Carla Viparelli). On May 26th, the aforementioned motley crew of ocean-loving MANA artists and their Italian counterparts got together in the blazing Sorrento sunshine and adorned a custom balsa board shaped by Dario expressly for this monumental event. They worked off of one another's drawings and sketches and doodles and patterns for nearly two hours, eventually placing this finished beauty in the hotel lobby, where we hear delighted guests have been taking photos alongside it since.

Following the collaborative event uniting the talents of Los Angeles and Naples, there was food. Lots and lots of food. And wine. And cappuccinos. And Limoncello. And cake. And some of us even dove into the "bracing and refreshing" swimming pool.

Next post. . . photos from the opening event at the magnificent Villa di Donato! And here's a little piece in Italia Magazine about the opening reception and exhibition to get you in the mood: FROM LA TO NAPLES: THE SEA IS UNIQUE