“One of LA’s best retail environments for high style and trend setting.” – LA Times
Artist/Designer Deborah Rhein has been a fixture on the Los Angeles design scene since 1991. Starting from home, crafting unique high end decorative accessories, she has since developed a full-scale design and retail business featuring home and fashion accessories.
Over the past 21 years, D.L. Rhein has become a local and national brand, earing a reputation for sophisticated and classic designs that meld fresh color and unexpected combinations of antique and modern, re-purposed and worldly.
D.L. Rhein stores, one located in West L.A., the second in the West Third Street corridor, are a mecca for specialty products, furniture and accessories hunted and gathered from her travels around the world. The stores are a reflection of her unique style and taste that have been the vehicle for her thriving product and interior design business.
Working one on one with clients, has opened up Deborah’s creativity in a whole new way. Whether she works with a blank canvas or simply re-invents existing treasures, the end result is always the same: a fresh new space that not only reflects beauty and style, but her client’s vision as well.
In addition to manufacturing her own products, D.L. Rhein maintains licensing partnerships which have garnered accolades from customers, retailers and press. Deborah, her products, and even her home, have been featured in numerous trade publications and home magazines.
Deborah lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three children.
Why do people call you the “zhush” doctor?
I have this uncanny ability to walk into a room and begin the transformation process in my head. It begins as something as simple as painting and re-covering an old chair to tearing down walls to create a dream kitchen. When people started calling me the Zhush doctor, I was flattered to be referred to as someone who can “primp and fluff” almost anything.
How did you start your business?
I have always been industrious. Growing up, while my friends were shopping Ralph Lauren and La Coste, I was combing through thrift stores looking for special pieces that could be morphed into something fabulous. I have always enjoyed the challenge of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
After college, I was a struggling actress/director/producer/waitress. One of my part-time jobs was assisting a famous floral designer creating couture arrangements for Saks Fifth Avenue and elaborate weddings. After these big events, there was a lot of waste which everyone else considered trash. Where others saw trash, I found treasure. And thus DL Rhein was born.
The bushels of left over flowers and greens became beautiful adorned picture frames, tea trays, aromatic framed mirrors, and the list kept growing. Each day, as I arrived home from work with a new batch of “trash”, I would sit on the floor of my apartment, with glue gun in hand and create.
Where do you find your inspiration?
How did you get into licensing?
I was sitting at a trade show a few years back and I was feeling a little stuck. Although I still loved what I was doing I realized that most of my day consisted of 5% creative and 95% micro managing all the people around me. I needed to figure out how to get back to what made me happy and what drove my passion.
As I was walking the aisles of the trade show, I knew I was still passionate about design, but how was I going to be able to grow and brand myself? I started to look for the biggest frame designer. I approached the owner of the company and point blank told him that he needed me. He needed me because most of his merchandise merely knocked off my original designs. I told him I could create new exciting designs exclusively for him and thus a new division of DL Rhein began. I started licensing my designs to several other large corporations, including my current partnership with PKHC.
What’s in your back room?
What isn’t in my back room? Anything from antique findings to vintage wallpaper, to baubles and gems. My studio is a constant source of inspiration as everyday I am struck by how to repurpose all of these treasures I have collected over the years.
How did you get into retail?
I love collecting and hunting for beautiful objects: old, new antique vintage, whatever. Having a retail space allows me the opportunity to share these objects and to continue to search for new ones.
Why a 2nd store?
My entire family, especially my brother, was impressed with the success of the store. Despite its obscure location, we were able to garner a very loyal and devoted customer base and to also be featured routinely in the press. So when Andy first suggested and then found a great space in a more accessible retail location, I seriously considered it. With him at the helm taking care of operations, I am free to create a space that showcases all that I am passionate about.
How did you transition into interior design?
I put my heart and soul into remodeling both my first and my current family home. Even after being published for both of these projects, I never really considered doing Interior Design for anyone else. However, the retail stores have allowed others to both appreciate and want my unique point of view. When one of my devote customers asked me to “z hush” and help transform her home, I jumped at the chance. It was a great experience. Since then, I have had the pleasure of helping many people create beautiful and unique spaces to inhabit.
If you would like help creating the home that you have always desired to live in, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, about my design services. I do everything from re-purposing existing furniture and accessories in your home to breaking down walls.