Rosemary Ryan moved into a 1950's house in Studio City with her family, but something just wasn’t right.
“I went in to Mother of Pearl and found these great vintage handles for the cabinets and that was just the right accent for the kitchen,” Ryan said. “It wasn’t expensive, it was a little thing, and it was perfect.”
That’s the kind of customer service that Robert O’Connor has given people all over the Los Angeles area at Mother of Pearl & Sons Trading Company at 12328 Ventura Blvd.
An Australian native, O’Connor, 69, helps people find knobs on antiques that have them missing or broken, and he can even have them custom-made. He's helped fancy homes from Calabasas to Brentwood, Sherman Oaks to Pasadena.
“We have items in here from the middle of the 19th Century,” O’Connor said. “The columns are from India, the lights above are antiques.”
What O’Connor does is an increasingly lost art with homogenized designs coming out of Anawalt, Home Depot and other mass hardware stores.
“We sell all brands and we restore, too,” O’Connor explained.
From window latches to coat racks to furniture restoration, O’Connor said it’s the personal interactions he likes best.
“If you are going to spend $60,000 or $70,000 on a kitchen renovation, you want to have a little bit of nice hardware along with it, it’s like a bit of jewelry,” O’Connor said.
He moved to Ventura Boulevard in 1993 and said he loves the Studio City and Sherman Oaks area. He said he likes the passing traffic and he has seen the neighborhood change quite a bit.
“I’m not really happy to see some places close, like Lotus across the street, and there doesn’t need to be so many nail salons and such,” O’Connor said. “Also, I hate seeing the Republicans wanting to stop funding anything that cultural, people need the knowledge to appreciate all kinds of architecture and styles.”
“People here appreciate the historic look of their homes, and care about preservation,” O’Connor said. “I like to deal with the people.”
O’Connor loves taking a piece of furniture and giving it an antique look, or building a coat rack for a corner entryway that had the owner flummoxed about what to do there.
He fell in love with antiques and his restoration expertise is self-taught.
He added, “And customers like Rosemary come in just to look around, and we like that, we will help her out with whatever she needs.”
(Find out more online at http://motherofpearl.us.com and see the video above.)