industry insider | Oct 10, 2018 |
Downtown to close La Cienega showroom after 22 years

Venerable Los Angeles antiques shop Downtown will close its doors forever on November 1. Founders Robert Willson and David Serrano first opened the shop in the La Cienega Design Quarter in 1996, and built relationships with designers, editors and celebrities—many of whom became “close family friends,” Willson tells Business of Home. Now, they prepare to say goodbye.

Robert Willson and David Serrano
Robert Willson and David SerranoOnik Agaronyan

“The best memories are the relationships you make with customers and fellow dealers who become your very best friends,” says Willson. “We have been involved with La Cienega Design Quarter and the Los Angeles Antiques Show throughout our run. Those relationships bring so much to a business. When building coalitions with fellow design enthusiasts, you feel part of a whole.”

Despite the departure of the two founders and the shuttered showroom, Downtown won’t disappear completely. Willson and Serrano have manufactured and sold their own designs, the Downtown Classics Collection, for 15 years. That line will live on, and Downtown’s production manager of more than a decade, Onik Agaronyan, will take over the brand’s operations.

Willson looks forward to retirement; he will join Serrano at their 19th-century home in Merida, Mexico, which the partners restored themselves using two 40-foot containers filled with Downtown antiques. (Serrano has lived in Mexico full-time since 2014 to focus on his art; he has a local gallery show opening next Tuesday.) “We’ve been squirreling things away for this house forever,” Serrano told Architectural Digest when the 5,500-square-foot home was featured in 2015. “This house is composed of ideas we’ve been playing around with for years, using pieces we truly love...and when you’re acting as your own client, you can do anything.”

Until the shop shuts its doors, Downtown fans can purchase vintage products at a discount. The Classics Collection is available through 1stdibs and Dering Hall, as well as multiline showrooms around the country.

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.