To gallery owner, blogger, fashionista, lifestyle maven and all-around It girl Heather Taylor, life consists of "little moments of making things pretty." Sitting barefoot and cross-legged in her living room, she looks around at the colorful throws, the Moroccan table, the moss-green velvet settee, the neatly stacked art monographs. She has dark eyes, dark hair, red lips and an effortless, eclectic sense of style - like Frida Kahlo, without the misery.
She can't put a precise name to her style, she says, except to note that it is cozy and classic, with elements of "the indoor-outdoor L.A. thing." Whatever it is, people want to be around her - if not outright be her - because Taylor is the epitome of a certain kind of Southern California living: casual, elegant, playful and creative.
The spine of her business is Taylor De Cordoba Gallery, which she and her husband opened in Culver City in 2006, when the neighborhood "was just starting to become fun." She was 26 then. She has since made the gallery a warm, welcoming place for both emerging artists and the public.
"I'm not one of those myopic art people. That world can be really cold," says Taylor, now 32. "But we're not a come-drink-beer-with-us party gallery. But not superserious, either, like Blum & Poe," the blue-chip gallery around the corner.
Unlike places that "just throw art up on the wall," Taylor De Cordoba represents a dozen artists in the traditional mode, wherein the gallery owner functions as an agent, attempting to get the artists placed in museums, introducing them to collectors and otherwise nurturing their careers.
Those who wonder what an intrepid young L.A. gallerist's life is like can experience snippets of it on Taylor's blog, L.A. in Bloom. Her days are a busy whirl of art openings, lunches, dinners, drinks with girlfriends, the occasional paella party or weekend trip to Palm Springs or "whatever's inspiring." She started blogging during the recession, basically as a creative outlet, when she was feeling low. Now it's an indispensable marketing tool.
Sometimes the questions her blog fans ask make her feel like a concierge at a hotel: What's your favorite vintage shop in Los Angeles? Where do you get your throw pillows? Others are from admirers who just want to get the details right: What is the recipe for your almond banana date shake? How do you arrange cut roses?
Readers often tell her, "I wish you had a cookbook or a product."
Taylor recently obliged them with a home goods line, Heather Taylor Home, which launched in December. Embroidered table runners and napkins in raw linen are her first items. The table runners because visitors to her house were perpetually asking if they can buy this or that blanket or tapestry she'd knitted or woven herself. The napkins because, when she entertains, she likes to serve wine and cheese with the perfect small cloth cocktail napkins, "but nobody was selling them." So she designed her own.
Taylor, who grew up in Malibu with a lawyer dad and a stay-at-home mom, has always been a crafty, domestic-goddess type. She recalls being 10 years old and watching her hero Martha Stewart on television, back when Stewart "wasn't slick yet."
These days, Taylor still loves cooking and baking and "putting it all together" with linens, a gorgeous centerpiece, a bowl of fruit and some weird, unexpected flowers. "But not in a fussy way," she insists. "I don't know where the spoon goes."