Ruthie Abel

Discovering Merchant, and The Enduring Allure of Mid-Century Design

During the month we spent in Los Angeles this winter, I became obsessed with Merchant. Located in Santa Monica and run by Denise Portman and her artist daughter Sarah, the shop is an absolute paradise for any fan of mid-century design. Denise has a fabulous eye, honed over the many years she spent as a stylist and vintage entrepreneur. The shop is beautifully curated: in between the cool midcentury pieces, Denise mixes exotic Moroccan rugs and incredible local ceramics.

Besides the main shop, Denise has styled a two-bedroom cottage called Merchant House, which customers can visit. It is an interesting idea: the space is designed so that you can see the products styled and be inspired to use these elements in intriguing ways in your own home. And with a cool midcentury-meets-the-Mediterranean vibe, it’s easy to fall in love.

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The mother-daughter duo also recently opened Merchant Yard, which is dedicated to the garden and is where I fell hard for their vintage macramé and Bauer and Gainey planters. The shop echoes Denise’s thinking that the outdoor space should be “a place where you feel happy to relax and spend time in.” The Yard is stocked with fabulous objéts, sculptures, macrame planters, collectible Gainey Ceramics, and so much more that you’ll want to take home.

To see more of Merchant’s work, check out their Instagram

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