Female-Focused Boutiques Bring Chic Design to Los Angeles

Behind the design of two new must-visit Culver City shops.

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Two women-owned and operated boutiques on Washington Boulevard are bringing a new level of sophistication to the Culver City retail scene, with warm and welcoming design and a thoughtfully curated selection of home goods, accessories, and beauty products. WMN Space opened shortly before the Women’s March on Washington in January, while Midland Shop welcome visitors last fall. We caught up with the ladies behind these creative outposts to learn more about the design.

WMN Space

Beautiful and light filled, WMN Space has a warm, homey vibe and serves as a conscious space for women to gather and heal. The space offers workshops, gatherings, events and one-on-one healing sessions for female well-being and opened just before the Women’s March on Washington. Think yoga, yoni steams, and birth-related services like doulas and fertility work.

Concepted by Paula Merritt Mallis and designed by her husband Todd Mallis of design firm Potter Mallis, the space features his custom lighting, built-in cabinetry, travertine countertops and seating, and French white oak floors.

“My husband likes the term warm minimalism,” says Merritt Mallis. “Like our home, we committed to a few materials and created a rhythm with them to make the space uniform and consistent. The real challenge, but key, is restraint and commitment. I wanted women to walk in and automatically merge with the thoughtful ease of the room and exhale.”

Mid-century modern furniture and light fixtures, Moroccan pile rugs from Merchant Modern, and ceramic planters from Gainey and Architectural Pottery can be found throughout the studio. The furniture consists of a shearling-covered Nido chair designed by Estudio Persona from Stahl + Band, and a 1970s modern sofa from Directional, Rene Brancusi end tables.

The space features clean lines and minimalist touches to reflect the “intention of a clear and clean space physically and energetically.” Its retail offerings including skincare from True Botanicals, supplements from Moon Juice and scents from Lake and Skye. “We wanted to create a clean shell where women would enter inspired, feel safe and supported,” explains Merritt Mallis.

10764 Washington Boulevard Wmnspace.com

Midland Shop

Friends Paige Appel and Kelly Harris first teamed up in 2008 on an event production company, Bash Please, but recently, they were in search of a new creative outlet. They founded Midland Shop in their quest for quality goods and a greater sense of permanence as they traveled so much for work.

Housed in a former hair salon (which smelled like bad perm according to Harris), the duo worked with designers Alan Koch and Karen Spector at Otto Design Group to bring the space to life. Since its opening last fall, the shop has been praised for its design and selection by everyone from the LA Times to Emily Henderson.

“We wanted clean lines and raw textures and the feeling of being outdoors in a calm open space that smelled like a fresh woodsy rain,” says Appel. “A western cowboy meets a Japanese farmer vibe with that classic SoCal ease.”

The walls are Japanese stucco with actual straw bale troweled on with the stucco for a beautiful patina, and the shelving is all-kiln-dried blonde spruce wood. Cacti potted in pale pink vessels from Mexico are placed on raw concrete floors and a spruce pergola was built over the checkout area.

“We like to say Midland is a little Santa Fe, a little Texas, a little Japan and a little Southern California,” says Appel. “It’s infused with earthy culture but sophisticated and refined.”

Artisanal, holistic, and well-curated products include accessories from Agnes Baddoo, Brookes Boswel, and Sara Barner; beauty from Shiva Rose; ceramics from Lucy Michel, Rebekah Miles, FBP and Notary; and home goods from Heather Taylor Home, Rachel Craven and Creative Women.

“Everyone that comes in says they want to live in the space,” says Harris. “They say how good it smells and feels. You can shop or you can just smell the scents and chat with us.”

8634 Washington Boulevard shop-midland.com