Legacy

~Legacy

The name Sunset & Magnolia  was inspired by research Roxanne was doing for a magazine article on her grandfather, while in the Smithsonian Archives, Washington DC. While combing through the original sketches of both Allan & Porter, Roxanne discovered a piece of stationary from the early years when Porter had a workshop in Burbank, on Magnolia Street, and a retail showroom in Hollywood, on Sunset Blvd. She knew at that moment she loved the sound of Sunset & Magnolia because it was inspired by her legacy in design on her moms side of the family. The “&” represents not only the joining of the two styles of design, but  the joining of design and entrepreneurship.  Roxanne loves to credit where credit is due for that: to God who gave her amazing men (Dad and Grandpa Allan) to train her up to work hard, be creative, honest and to think outside the box!

Roxanne’s love of design began in a family referred to as “Design Royalty” by former Silver Magazine editor and noted antiquarian, Connie McNally. To say she learned the painstaking attention to detail and pleasing your client from her heritage would be an understatement. She didn’t just listen, hear and take notes as you would in school. She learned by doing. Both in the silver shop, at conferences, sitting with them while they sketched out a design with clients she soaked in the process of designing for clients.

To truly understand the depth and beauty of learning the old-fashioned way, by apprenticeship, watch this beautiful video. This is narrated by Danny Parsel, Roxanne’s dear friend and cousin!
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Allan Adler

Her maternal grandfather Allan Adler, “silversmith to the stars”, was not only her dear, sweet grandfather of whom she was immensely fond, but her greatest inspiration when it came to design, besides her mother, Linda. While spending many nights at her grandparents home while studying design at USC and FIDM, Allan’s design advice proved essential to her design skill. “Good designers know when to stop” and “Don‘t goop it up” are favorite design quotes from him. He is a California living treasure at the Smithsonian. He is a featured artist in the California silversmiths room at the Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena. He has pieces on permanent display at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

As a young man, my grandfather was all set to become a building contractor.  But his plans changed when he met my grandmother.  Her father was sixth-generation silversmith Porter Blanchard (1886-1973), to whom Grandpa Allan soon became apprenticed.  Porter Blanchard had learned the trade from his father, George Porter Blanchard, a Colonial Revivalist Silversmith and prominent member of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston (Massachusetts).
Her father, a successful real estate developer, was/and is always cheering her on. He was honest, forthright and ethical. He would send her notes of encouragement, along with newspaper articles, such as, “If Debbie (Mrs. Fields) can do it, so can you.” His can-do anything you “set your mind to” served as a backdrop for Roxanne‘s positive, “anything can be done” attitude.
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Porter Blanchard

Most noted for his colonial style, Roxanne’s maternal great grandfather Porter was a founding member of California’s Society of Arts and Crafts. His stories within the family are legendary. He was quite the eccentric character and the artist!
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After moving west to California in 1923, Great-Grandpa Porter was instrumental in founding the Arts and Crafts Society of Southern California.

Porter’s philosophy was simple.  He defined craft as “that thing in industry which is good and beautiful and worth doing for its own sake as well as the money made from it.”  He said that a craftsman was “a man who has been trained in the practice of some craft with a ‘home influence’ of love, honor, and respect.”  His favorite expression, “With my hands alone,” showed the pride he took in his work.  Perhaps his best-known creation was the stunning Commonwealth Coffee Set and Commonwealth flatware (circa 1930), commissioned by actress Anne Harding.
Great-Grandpa Porter’s work was carried at Gump’s Department stores and fine boutiques across the country. His craftsmanship has been exhibited since 1937 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and later that same year, it was celebrated in Paris.  More recently, his creations have been displayed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Huntington Library and Gardens and the Smithsonian Institution.  His celebrity clients included Harding, Joan Bennett, George Brent, Cary Grant and George Dix.  He often referred to Joan Crawford—for whom he created the “Georgian”—as his best customer and friend.  But my great-grandfather’s greatest legacy was the one he left for his family.
That legacy was passed on to me through my grandparents, and what a legacy it is: You will see it in these pages.  Perhaps, one day, you will see something like it in your home.
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