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Rewarding Pursuits

Leading design duo Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter are honored for a lifetime of creating and capturing beauty.

Annie Kelly and Tim Street-Porter chat with DADC chair Oliver M. Furth (left) at their Hollywood Hills home.

The Los Angeles Antiques, Art + Design Show Opening Night Party has long been one of the city’s most desirable tickets, and this year it is doubly so. The October event, a fundraiser for the Decorative Arts and Design Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is honoring not one luminary, but two: designer and author Annie Kelly and renowned photographer Tim Street-Porter.

The husband-and-wife duo have been a force for good design in the City of Angels for decades, famously refurbishing their landmark Hollywood Hills house, Villa Vallombrosa, in the 1990s. With dozens of books and articles written of and by them, they’re two of the most knowledgeable (and beloved) figures in the world of design.

So it’s no surprise that the DADC, chaired for the last four years by interior designer Oliver M. Furth, chose the couple as the recipients of the 2013 Design Leadership Award. “We honor individuals whose vision and contributions have set an inimitable precedent in the field,” explains Furth. Previous awardees include Joel Chen, Dorothy and Harry Lawenda, and Rose Tarlow, but by adding Kelly and Street-Porter to the lineup, the award takes on a deeper significance.

“Most design is witnessed not firsthand, but in magazines and books, through the lens of a photographer and the words of a writer,” says Furth. “We rely on these individuals to help interpret the story we’re telling. Both Tim and Annie are creative people, but they put ego aside to work with other creatives.” In short, their talent is letting someone else’s shine.

With the more than $300,000 raised at last year’s event, the museum purchased a 1935 Sparton Nocturne radio designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. Without an endowment fund, it’s up to these types of events to grow the purchasing power of the museum. What acquisition, then, befits the charming lensman and his effervescent wife? LACMA curator Wendy Kaplan identified just the piece: a c. 1944 experimental Eames armchair exhibited at MoMA in 1946. Two similarly in love and design-focused L.A. couples—Charles and Ray, Annie and Tim—it’s a perfect match.