JF Chen’s proprietor and namesake, Joel Chen, has been featured on the cover of Apartamento magazine, so you know his collection of antiques is worth perusing. You can find them on display in this 30,000-square-foot, 1950s concrete bank vault in Hollywood, where you’re likely to rub elbows with A-list celebrities looking to populate their Malibu homes with the best antique pieces in town. That is, if you can find the place; JF Chen’s storefront boasts no signage. The gallery’s selection is diverse; pieces are sourced globally, and eclectic antiques are mixed with items more modern or mainstream in design. This is a reflection of Chen’s tastes, which run the gamut, though in the last decade his daughter Bianca has begun to add her own unique aesthetic preferences—mostly oddball accessories—into the mix. The result is an amalgamation of 17th century baroque limestone figures, 1930s French Art Deco tables, late 19th century chandeliers, mid-century modern chairs and more (much, much more). Even with a (real or fibbed) designer’s discount, don’t expect to leave without spending a bare minimum of around $5,000. If they’re within your budget, these antiques are the stuff from which dream homes are made.
Shopping at random for antiques can be a tough proposition for those who lack a professional eye; it’s difficult to know what’s reasonable, what’s authentic and what’s mostly just creatively marketed smoke and mirrors (read: junk). But if you're just not into what contemporary furniture stores or boutique shops have to offer, antique stores are your best bet. So to aid you as you endeavor to add both soul and history to your home—without regular, grueling trips to the Rose Bowl Flea Market—we’ve scoured the city, from Echo Park to Venice, for the best it has to offer in antique dealers. Here, LA's finest, ranked and reviewed.