The word “tasteful” comes to mind when walking into County LTD. The color palette is purposefully narrow, a tight range of mostly camel, navy, nude, and white. There are tan leathers, light woods, polished brass. The ceramics are dimpled, hand-thrown. Everything, the homegoods in particular, takes on an immediate patina. The overall feel is homey, worn, and–in its caliber of quality–decidedly Japanese.
Opened by friends Taylor Caruso, Phillip Proyce, Kirill Bergart, and Joe Lorens halfway through 2016, the store’s ethos can be summed up well by its tagline: T-Shirts and Chairs. It’s a store that doesn’t stick to a product vertical as much as it does provide everything a particular variety of aesthete would desire. Lady White Co. sweatshirts, Takeshi Nii rocking chairs, vintage sculptures: from menswear to home goods, if it’s good lookin’, this place has it.
The whole of County LTD is the combined talents and taste of its owners, with Kirill and Joe on the furniture/design side and Phillip and Taylor running the in-house clothing brand. Together, they’ve created one outstanding store, and a welcome addition to Hyperion Avenue. Below, we talk to ¾ of the team about L.A. traffic strategies, regrettable raver pants, and mercurial taco spots.
Where are you from?
Taylor: A town called Palatine, just outside of Chicago, Illinois.
Kirill: Kherson, Ukraine.
Joe: Silver Spring, Maryland, on the border of Washington D.C.
What part of town do you live in?
Taylor: Just moved from Chinatown to Cypress Park.
Kirill: Highland Park–more specifically, the Garvanza neighborhood.
Joe: I live in South Pasadena currently, but I’m relocating to Silver Lake.
What were you doing before opening Country LTD?
Taylor: Believe it or not, working as a valet manager at a hotel in West Hollywood called The Sunset Tower Hotel.
Kirill: Working in fashion. Before this, I was working for Unionmade Goods as a visual director and collecting furniture as a hobby.
Joe: Previously, I have worked in fashion, graphic design and information technology.
Favorite street/neighborhood in L.A:
Taylor: Mount Washington has always been somewhere I would love to live. It’s close to everything, but when you are up in the hills it seems so tranquil and separated. Always find myself driving through the hills regathering thoughts.
Kirill: Highland Park.
Joe: I’m enjoying the growth on Hyperion in Silver Lake and all of the great shops/bars in the area.
Least favorite time to drive:
Taylor: Fridays. Best to stay local.
Kirill: Night, for sure.
Joe: Any time in L.A.
Taylor: I originally moved out to California to pursue a skateboarding career, so [my] hidden talent I suppose would be that.
Kirill: Mine are all visible. I’m not too sure, honestly.
Joe: I record music and produce songs in my spare time.
Item of clothing from high school you most (happily) regret:
Taylor: Lots and lots of midwest flannel.
Kirill: Fingerless gloves, I guess.
Joe: JNCO Jeans.
Trend you’re ready to see on its way out:
Taylor: Cut trouser bottoms.
Kirill: Man buns.
Joe: Socks with sandals.
Era or aesthetic you’re most interested in at the moment:
Taylor: Late ’50s, early ’60s. Everything was made with such appreciation and was intended to last. The clothes, the cars, the architecture, the music–unbeatable.
Kirill: French Modernist and Postmodern stuff, as well as Japanese design.
Joe: Modernism and Japanese Minimalism.
Magazine on your coffee table:
Joe: Popeye from Japan.
Your regular coffee shop (and what you order):
Taylor: Generally, I have a morning routine with a pour-over at home. If I go somewhere, it’s generally on the way to County. I’ll stop at Division 3 for an ice coffee before seeing if Tacos Villa Corona decided to be open that day.
Kirill: Collage. Cold brew with almond milk or the chai. Honey and goat cheese toast is great from there.
Joe: Collage Coffee in Highland Park. I usually order a cold brew on hot days and a macchiato on chilly days.
Your idea of a perfect day in L.A., from start to finish:
Taylor: Waking up early, taking a walk in the mountains with mine and my girlfriend’s dogs, Frankie and Beau. Little escape from breathing the recycled city air. Then having a nice prosciutto sandwich in Echo Park at Valerie. Walking down to the lake to read and enjoy the California sun before having a sunset skate session at the local park in Frogtown. End it by cooking dinner at mine or my girlfriend’s house while enjoying a glass of red wine with some nice conversation. May or may not be catching some popcorn dessert at the nearby theatre…
Kirill: Just a nice, slow day without traffic.
Joe: Waking up around 9:30, taking my dog on a hike in Debs Park. Grab a coffee at Collage in Highland Park, then take the train to the Broad or MOCA to check out the newest exhibits. Stop by Little Tokyo for some ramen. Then head to Boomtown Brewery or Mikkeller for drinks. Finish the night up with a concert at the Regent Theater in Downtown.
Best meal you’ve ever had in Los Angeles:
Taylor: Hard to say. I think there are so many different good options in Los Angeles; it’s amazing. I find myself on a never-ending food tour. To have one answer, maybe I would say anything my friend Christian has made. He’s a master chef.
Kirill: Mexican food at La Fuente in Highland Park.
Joe: I really like the ropa vieja at Cha Cha Chicken in Santa Monica.
Best meal you’ve ever had abroad:
Taylor: One time, maybe 10 years ago, I had Chinese food in Ireland. As I recall, it was the best food we had on the trip. Might have been that we were all starving and that was the only thing around… The story grows and the memory lives on as the best meal while abroad between my family.
Kirill: Ramen Sen No Kaze in Kyoto and Rosetta in Mexico City.
Joe: Ramen Sen No Kaze in Kyoto, Japan. Hands down the best ramen I’ve ever eaten.
Brand we should be wearing by now:
Taylor: Lady White Co.
Kirill: Lady White.
Joe: Lady White and Evan Kinori.
Home good we should own:
Taylor: Counter Space hooks.
Kirill: Counter Space furniture and hooks.
Joe: A Counter Space stool. They are multifunctional as additional seating or as a side table.
Last book/movie/film that inspired you:
Taylor: A Single Man. There was one small part of the movie that really made me feel something special. It was so inspiring and only for such a brief stint. The notion that there is beauty even in the simplest experiences, no matter how bad things can get, to take a step back and be able to embrace such offerings. That minute-long scene made me feel very empowered and positive.
Kirill: Nowness films are always inspiring with beautiful cinematography.
Joe: I haven’t had a lot of time to read books lately, but Infinity Net: The Autobiography of Yayoi Kusama was a great and very inspiring read.
Three items you can’t travel without:
Taylor: Lady White t-shirt, skateboard, and a nice pair of trousers.
Kirill: Toothbrush, Lady White tees, and Google Maps.
Joe: Fuji X100s camera, Nanamica backpack, iPhone.
Best advice you’ve ever received:
Taylor: “Cherish every encounter you experience with close friends and family. These life moments are few and far between.” –UB
Kirill: Don’t take life too seriously.
Joe: Take time to listen to what other people are saying.