For Kris Keith, founder of hospitality design and construction firm Spacecraft Group, it's never about what is, it's always about what could be -- past clients recall him coming in and sitting in every single seat in a restaurant, just to envision things from every angle. So what inspires a guy like that? Well, this stuff.
Kris Keith built a Spacecraft. Now he's dishing on his LA.
One Man's Trash...: St. Vincent de Paul
As a collector of totally bizarre objects (lace doilies?), Kris loves hunting the thrifts for cast-offs, many of which end up as decor at restaurants like BoHo. His favorite shop: St. Vincent de Paul, for its huge selection of furniture and miscellaneous whatnots.
Dairy Up: Andrew's Cheese Shop
The search for a specialty shop with a little extra led Kris to Andrew's Cheese Shop, which satisfies his appetite for "simple things with something complex about them", as well as his appetite for lots and lots of cheese. Besides monthly tastings, they host grilled cheese & beer nights, the greatest pairing since... well, bread & cheese.
Awesome Blossoms: A.C. Postel Rose Garden
That one lanky sunflower boldly cocking its head out past the other, lesser flowers? That's the one that reminds Kris of his mother, a floral designer who served as his first inspiration.
Turn the Page: Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore
The bygone era of specialty bookstores is made less, well, bygone, thanks to Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore, where you'll likely find Kris flipping through rare art, design, and architecture books. To further nurture future generations of literate younglings, H+I also maintains a small, but no less active, publishing division.
Great Outdoors: Malibu Creek State Park
It's not all sun and beaches in Malibu, it's also sun and... State Parks. "When you're out in nature, you feel like everything is grand in scale." Kris kept that scale in mind when designing several-story-high drapery at GOA along Hollywood’s Cahuenga corridor.
Walkabout/Eatabout: The Kris Keith Random Street Challenge
Never one to leave a bite unbitten, Kris will pick a random street, starting on one end, and working his way down trying each restaurant in order. "It forces you to try new things that you would've never known, and sometimes you'll find a hidden gem." Among the best discovered so far: Joe's Falafel.
1. Griffith Observatory2800 E Observatory Ave, Los Angeles
2. Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store210 N Avenue 21, Los Angeles
3. Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Ste 8, Los Angeles
4. Andrew's Cheese Shop728 Montana, Santa Monica
5. Malibu Creek State Park1925 Las Virgenes Rd, Calabasas
6. Joe's Falafel3535 Cahuenga Blvd W, Ste 105, Los Angeles
Not considered one of California's most popular attractions for nothing, Griffith Observatory is that necessary reminder that we are but a blip in the universe, offering its visitors scenic views of the LA basin as well as that great big thing up above they called the Solar System in high school astronomy. The monthly Star Parties allow you and a date (hint, hint) prime telescopic viewing of the vast space we call outer.
"We're going to need a bigger car" can often be heard from the parking lot of this 96-year-old superstore, known throughout LA for two things: inventory (it's got a lot) and uniqueness (a handmade Telavera plate from Mexico, check!). The prices are cheap and the store gets new inventory daily, making this place a return visit no-brainer.
Put your kindle down for a second, yeah you, and you'll learn that brick and mortar bookstores are still very much a thing, a thing that doesn't come much better -- or more niché efficient -- than Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore. Considered a landmark in the visual arts community of LA, H + I specializes in range, offering books on architecture, design, photography, fashion, and furniture. As for the space itself? Let's just say you won't find any dust bunnies lurking here.
Andrew established his rep as the fromagier at the Melrose Patina (a position the resto created for him), but is now bravely going solo with an eponymous, mid-sized, hardwood-floor'd shop, which boasts over 200 varieties of smelly, curdy goodness.
As if Malibu didn't have enough going for it -- beaches, weather, and general utopian-ness -- they've got Malibu Creek State Park, a sprawling 7000-acre mountain range, complete with a lake and canyon, cause, after all, it's Malibu. Bonus coolness: Planet of the Apes and Logan's Run were filmed here.
For those unable to afford a trip overseas, Joe's Falafel's got your bite, offering a variety of tastes from the Middle East to Greece and Turkey. Watch via the open kitchen as Joe's prepares the aforementioned falafel (a favorite among locals and tourists, alike), plus your always reliable shwarma, kabobs, and yummy hummus.