This View Park-Windsor Hills store features furniture, art, and jewelry.
By Tracey Edwards
The story behind Cultural Interiors is as much as a travel story as it is an interior design story. Ladera Heights resident Gail Hawkins loves the cultural experiences that she gets from traveling around the world, so she opened a store to share those experiences with people in her community.
“I wanted to have a store where I could bring in pieces of culture from all over the world,” she said. “And everybody likes to have a nice home. So I thought about educating people about different cultures by bringing pieces from those different cultures into your home. I thought that bringing African pieces, especially the masks, and Asian and South American pieces, and bringing those pieces into your home would help us understand different peoples’ culture.”
Cultural Interiors is on Slauson Avenue, just east Overhill Drive. The store features furniture, fabric, masks, art, figurines, and jewelry. Hawkins started collecting pieces when she was a high school student traveling around the United States.
“Those pieces that I brought back with me really reminded me of the places that I had been,” she said. “It lets me relive the pleasurable trips that I’ve had.”
Hawkins uses the cultural items that she sells to encourage people to travel more.
“It encourages people who receive items to go and see the places that the pieces come from,” she said.
When Hawkins travels nationally and internationally, she makes it a point to shop at Black-owned stores.
“Everywhere I go, I always search out a Black store to see what they carry, to see what people like,” she said. “It’s very interesting. I found Black-owned shops in New Orleans and I was just totally blown away. They had book stores. There were two brothers who had a bath and body store. I was pleasantly shocked. And when I go to Atlanta, I always go away from downtown and I look for the Black-owned stores. The number of African Americans who are opening stores in Atlanta is just amazing. And Toronto is amazing when it comes to African art because so many Africans move there. That’s one of my favorite cities to go to. Canada is a very interesting place when you look at African influence.”
The items from Cultural Interiors can really turn a house into a home.
“These items can spice up your place,” Hawkins said. “Sometimes we get into a rut and you just need a touch of color. Adding it to a wall can enhance your space.”
Over the years Hawkins has formed a good following of loyal customers.
“I have people who come in all the time and say, ‘I bought a piece from you 10 years ago and everybody loves it,’” she said.
Hawkins also promotes health and wellness in the store, as she sells chakras, crystals, burning sage, and skin products. Recently she held a sound bath event on Instagram Live.
“It helps relax and energize you,” she said.
Hawkins hosts live events at Cultural Interiors, such as book signings, comedy shows, poetry nights, children workshops, health talks, and travel workshops.
Cultural Interiors is located at 4421 W. Slauson Avenue. They are open Monday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Contact them at (323) 292-1500. Visit their website at www.culturalinteriors.com and follow them on social media.