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It's an L.A. Thing

Beverly Hills
Orange 245 S. Robertson Blvd.; 310/652-5195. If you've ever dreamed of owning the contents of your third-grade classroom, stripped down to bare metal, lacquered, or painted tangerine, then Orange is for you. The vintage furniture store displays the discarded artifacts of California's 1960's golden age-industrial desks ($800-$1,500), taborets ($145-$475), the most beautiful mauve wastebaskets ($75-$225).

Santa Monica
Craftsman Style 1453 Fourth St.; 310/393-1468. The L.A. area may be home to more 1920's bungalows than everywhere else in the country combined. This small antiques store near the Third Street Promenade is an appealing source for items such as Stickley chairs ($3,000-$7,000), pottery ($200-$6,000), and hammered-copper mica-shade lamps by Dirk Van Erp ($25,000) that flatter original Arts and Crafts interiors.

Sur la Table 301 Wilshire Blvd.; 310/395-0390. Part of the Seattle-based cooking-implement empire, Sur la Table is Santa Monica's newest culinary shrine, perfect for a part of town whose sprawling Wednesday and Saturday farmer's market has nearly achieved the cultural prominence of the Vatican. The faithful gather to attend culinary classes from esteemed cookbook writers and to contemplate such unapproachable objects of veneration as Rösle nesting bowls ($41-$79), Henckels steak knives ($150 for five), and copper stockpots ($99-$279).

West Hollywood
Algabar 920 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310/360-3500. In a city where Thai food is easier to find than pizza and where people decamp for a month in Bali as casually as their parents used to weekend in Palm Springs, Algabar is a Saks Fifth Avenue for the new century. Atz the incense-scented store, chic Asian exotica becomes accessible. Its iron teapots are imported from Japan ($60-$150), 100-year-old beds from Indonesia ($5,000), extravagantly silk-screened velvet throws from local artist Richard Fischer ($800-$1,500), and teas from the French firm Mariage Frères. Owner Gail Baral stocks antiques and clean-lined furniture priced for the points-on-the-gross crowd, as well as stylish sake sets ($15-$40) that everyone can afford.

Soolip Paperie & Press 8646 Melrose Ave.; 310/360-0545. An elegant new paper store across the street from the Pacific Design Center, with rough-hewn notebooks ($8-$115), cards ($2-$18), and stationery ($3-$12 for 10 sheets). (The Soolip Bungalow annex in the rear carries luxury bath products and cashmere-and-silk throws.) Sometimes it's the thought that counts, and since the handmade gift wrap here is more exquisite than anything you might put in it, a thought can count for a lot.

Jonathan Gold is a columnist for Los Angeles magazine and L.A. Weekly.

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