Rolling Greens nursery and garden emporium comes to Hollywood
December 16th, 2009
Last Thursday, a vintage tire shop in the heart of Hollywood was the setting for a festive pre-opening bash thrown by Rolling Greens, its new tenant.
Designers, landscapers and horticulture fans gathered to sip, graze, explore (and shop!) at the hottest new garden emporium in Los Angeles. My editors at Garden Design magazine asked me to attend and check out the happenin’s.
Rolling Greens’ second location is the brainchild of owner Greg Salmeri and his colleague and creative director Angela Hicks. The original store in L.A.’s Culver City is a distinctive nursery, home and garden destination, formerly only for the trade, that opened to the public in 2004.
For his new outlet, Salmeri snagged the lease on Town Tire Company, a weathered brick building that has been a Hollywood landmark at the corner of Beverly Blvd. and Gardner Ave. Built in 1930, the iconic structure was originally a food market and then in 1963 became a tire store.
“I’ve had my eye on the Town Tire Co. building for years and dreamed of opening Rolling Greens in this incredible space,” Salmeri says. “In this new location, we’ve expanded our offerings into home categories beyond what we offer at our Culver City location.”
Salmeri and Hicks turned the tire shop’s unpolished attributes into appealing design elements for Rolling Greens. There are big metal garage doors that roll up to connect the indoor spaces with the fresh-air ones. The original concrete floor has been cleaned up and the exposed brick walls sandblasted. Once covered over, several huge glass doorways topped with half-circle transom windows have been exposed to invite sunshine into the 1,000-square-foot bed and bath department. The cash-wrap counters are clad in 19th century pressed-tin ceiling tiles. The “color greenhouse” is a glass-and-steel dividing wall that encloses an area for indoor plants, including orchids and ferns. Panes of amethyst and bottle green glass replaced broken sections, creating a vintage greenhouse backdrop at the center of the store.
Walking into the former tire garage on the day before last week’s launch party, I couldn’t help but think: Europe.
Rolling Greens looks and feels like one of those elegant places you feel giddy to discover in Paris or London – part mossy-scented flower shop, part eclectic antique shop.
Over-sized bird cages hang at different levels from a floor-to-ceiling branch installation. Large-scale lighting made from found objects – semi-industrial materials like metal mesh and salvaged wire baskets with linen shades – fill the high ceilings.
One wall display is made with cross-sections of twigs and branches, installed as a woody mosaic. There are even a few vintage chandeliers to add sparkle to the rustic interior.
As the owner-curator, Salmeri collects home and garden items that please his eye and appeal to his around-the-world sensibility. With Hicks acting as merchandising designer, the store’s displays emulate room-like settings in some corners and artful tableaux in other areas.
Even the fixtures – including distressed trestle tables and old metal file organizers – are available for you to purchase and take home.
When I asked Hicks if she worried about the displays going home with customers and leaving the store empty, she laughed and pointed out that it would mean she could begin scouting for new, eclectic pieces to fill Rolling Greens.
In addition to the assortment of interior and exterior plants that Rolling Greens is known for, this location features an extensive assortment of gifts for the home including pottery and dishes, table linens, gourmet foods, design books and vintage accessories.
Customers will be able to take a break from shopping and enjoy tea service from the Algabar Tea bar, which developed “Sweet Pea,” a special Rolling Greens tea blend as a nod to the store’s pea-vine logo. The store also features the popular Arrangement Bar where custom-planted creations and floral arrangements are assembled by the Rolling Greens ‘baristas’ in collaboration with customers.
Details: Rolling Greens, 7505 Beverly Blvd., on the corner of Gardner Ave., Los Angeles. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat.; Noon-6 p.m., Sun. Call 323-934-4500 or www.rollinggreensnursery.com.
Feast your eyes upon a gallery of photos from my visits last week: