C California Style

The rooftop park with heritage olive trees.
A 19th-century rococo chandelier lights a passageway.
Crystal Halo chandeliers float above a sectional sofa.
Antique mirror-lined staircase.

High Drama

by C California Style

RH takes design to another level with the opening of a sparkling, museum-worthy gallery in West Hollywood—and a rooftop you might never leave.

There are very good reasons that it took four years and more than 300 people working around the clock to open RH West Hollywood, The Gallery on Melrose Avenue. Whether you blame it on 18 heritage olive trees flown in from Italy that make up a public rooftop park, the facade lined with Venetian plaster, boxwood topiaries and massive banana palm trees, or the 15-foot-tall steel gates designed as a nod to Italian mastermind Carlos Scarpa—it was all well worth the wait.

Built in collaboration with architect James Gillam of Backen, Gillam & Kroeger (the Sausalito-based firm that designed Restoration Hardware Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman’s own Marin residence and collaborated with him on RH galleries in Houston and Greenwich, Conn.), the museum-like structure located across from Urth Café and the Pacific Design Center is a design dream come true. Think staircases lined with antique gilded mirrors and that pristinely manicured 10,000-square-foot rooftop garden showcasing the brand’s outdoor furniture collection, replete with modern concrete fire tables, wall fountains, a pingpong table and a 40-foot-long table made of two planks of reclaimed pine. “The rooftop is a real destination, and I think people in the neighborhood will want to spend a lot of time there,” says Gillam.

What sets the gallery apart, though, is the resort-like vibe: Impeccably styled rooms are arranged by style, color and category. Couple that with five-star service including an on-site team of design experts working with existing floor plans and photos, and offering up advice on everything from fabric and upholstery options to paint color (they also make house calls). “We are trying to be unpredictable, and we think until it hurts, so that the whole experience as you walk through will be like no other home store that anyone’s ever seen,” says Friedman. 

And the gallery is just that, down to every meticulous detail, including a giant sculpture anchored at the top of the building to pay homage to the City of Angels: a 10-foot-tall vintage, angelic replica of the Louvre’s Winged Victory of Samothrace procured by Friedman at a Parisian flea market. There’s also a Ben Soleimani rug showroom, and a Bellocq Organic Tea Atelier, while store vignettes throughout are layered with found objects such as aviation artifacts, salvaged ship propellers and Old World maps. Says Friedman, “The No. 1 comment we hear people say when they come into the new galleries that we’ve built is: ‘I just want to live here.’ ” 8564 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 310-652-0323; restorationhardware.com. 

By Jennie Nunn.