Abbot Kinney

Abbot Kinney Blvd. is in Venice California. It is named after Abbot Kinney, the man who originally developed Venice CA based on his favorite city, Venice Italy. Hence the canals he built, some of which still exist. There is one area of this boulevard, maybe 4-5 blocks long, which has become a very fun destination. It is full of fun shops and restaurants, all independent and eclectic. Dominique and I like to go there once in a while and just walk around. It is great for design inspiration, we always feel recharged after soaking up the atmosphere. Here are some of the highlights we find interesting.

maison scotch

One of many very cool shop signs on the Boulevard.
will leather goods

“Will” sells great backpacks, purses, wallets, belts etc. The store smells fantastic and everyone is very friendly. The have a cool Italian espresso machine in back if you need a pick-me-up. Also come great old neon signs, big ones.
the butcher's daughter

This is a vegetarian restaurant!
for the love of

An appropriate name for a store that sell bras.
stag sign

Great old building housing a clothing store.
stag exterior

Here is the side of the Stag clothing store, showing beautiful old brick. The logo is new, but made to look like something from the late 1800’s.
carnation ice cream

These signs are simply left over from the building’s prior use as a local market. It’s cool that they left them in place.
the stronghold

“The Stronghold” sells great vintage-style clothing and boots. Sort of like workwear for everyday wear. But high quality stuff, like White’s Boots. The company has a long history and has been producing clothing in LA since 1895.
burro 1

Hard to tell from the name, but this store sells books and cards. We always stop in an poke around.
fewer better things

We just love this store’s motto; “Fewer, better things”
shinola clock

Shinola is a great company which sells items made in Detroit. They have watches, bicycles and stereo equipment. Their mission is to help revitalize their home city. They have a “hidden room” in back where you can sit and listen to classic vinyl LPs while sipping a Shinola soda.
tumbleweed and dandelion 1

“Tumbleweed & Dandelion” – what a great name for a store. This one is established in a house, literally. A cute little cottage from times gone by. With a little courtyard out back and a garage. Except now you can wander around inside and check out furniture, linens, lighting fixtures and curiosities.
tumbleweed and dandelion 2

Looking into the garage from the courtyard. To the left is what might have been a garden shed, setup like an office with classical music playing from an old tube radio. Just great.
sweaty betty

Sweaty Betty? You guessed it, women’s sportswear…
wabi sushi entrance

Wabi – a Sushi restaurant. Super cool inside (tough to photograph). The bar just inside the front door is absolutely worth a look.
drawer pull

Beautiful brass inlay on custom furniture piece. This was not for sale but part of the merchandising display.
crooked red door

Crooked old red door leading to who-knows-where.
collection of lamps

Collection of custom made lamps.

Front door at Gjelina. Reportedly one of the harder to get into restaurants in LA. Dominique and I ate dinner there once and it was very good. Great decor and chill hop music.
entry floor tiles

Encaustic tile entrance to a store.

Can’t argue with that!
corten fire pit

Cozy little courtyard behind a clothing store. Complete with fire pit. The little door in the background actually opens through two massive handmade sliding barn doors made from steel and reclaimed wood. Look carefully. Here is another photo:
massive barn doors

These doors must weigh a thousand pounds each at least.
feel around

No better way to shop for clothes than to feel them.
shou sugi ban

Restaurant with Shou Sugi Ban siding. This is an old Japanese technique of burning the outside of wood (usually cedar) and then brushing off the charcoal. The resulting product is very rot and insect resistant. Dominique and I think it looks real good.
little window

Random window at the top of a building.
marine layer

This is a clouting store with a very interesting name. The marine layer, sometimes called fog or overcast, is what provides the California Coast with “nature’s air conditioning”.
abbot kinney neon sign

The merchandising at the clothing stores on Abbot Kinney is very artistic. There are some creative people working in the area.

Graphic inside a clothing store. I was impressed with how it popped from the sidewalk.
woman in relief

This is artwork on the side of a building. It is incredibly inventive. What’s going on here is the brick facade was covered in plaster. Then the plaster was carefully chiseled away to reveal the picture of woman in relief. You could walk right by if a few times before realizing how it was achieved.
black cottage

It’s hard to beat the look of a black cottage.
the brig mural

“The Brig” is an old-time bar on the Abbot-Kinney. This artwork is on the side of the building above the parking lot. What’s unique is that the view of the building is exactly the one you’re getting when you’re staying on the sidewalk looking at the artwork. And the picture shows the same picture again on the side of the building behind the couple. Sort of like infinite mirrors (I hope that makes sense). Of course the couple are not present in real life. I’m not sure who they are or what time period this represents. Again, a high level of creativity.
cafe dog

Oh yes, Abbot-Kinney is extremely dog-friendly. In fact you can do as much dog watching there as people-watching.
succulent on concrete floor

If you are into succulents (Dominique and I love them), there are a lot of those on Abbot-Kinney. They thrive on the beach air.

You’ll find a lot of handmade signs with fun words of wisdom.
stone cold fox

No thanks bro, maybe 30 years ago.
stay present

Words to live by…
park pump pedal

Sign next to a bicycle rental rack. Seems that electric scooters have supplanted the bicycles though. They are everywhere, zipping around.
old mosaic floor tiles

This is a gorgeous old tile floor in what was originally one building, but was recently subdivided into four or five smaller stores. Luckily each one of these stores elected to retain the original floor so it is still continuous from one store to the next. Way to go. Are you staring to notice the water bowls for dogs everywhere?
brass door

Steel door at entrance to an office.
pendants in a row

The ceiling rafters look merely decorative but serve as an acoustic treatment to break up reflections and soften the sound in the space. Architects and designers often overlook such things.

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