The first thing you might notice about TrÃ¨s Chic LAâ€™s Instagram page is the vast amount of color â€” not garish, just beautifully colorful. I get the feeling this aesthetic is related to the motto of the shop and itâ€™s founder: â€œlife is art, we are just a canvas,â€ says Tyler Bonilla. â€œThe motto applies to every aspect of life, from the interiors of your space to how you live your life every day.â€
In March 2021, after building a collection through frequenting estate sales and thrifting, he launched TrÃ¨s Chic LA out of West Hollywood. With the pandemic keeping everyone (more or less) at home the need for a well-designed space became increasingly necessary, and Tyler already had a love for art and a passion for design. The inspiration was already there through a love of 70â€™s, 80â€™s and 90â€™s chic interiors and home decor.
â€œNostalgia is what drives me. Whether that be interior design nostalgia, or simple nostalgia for life in a particular era or decade,â€ he said. â€œThe feeling of nostalgia and excitement for something that lived a previous life. The hunt for a showstopper.â€
When sourcing objects, Tyler relies on history as a guide to tell him whatâ€™s new that was once old. Without this basic knowledge, the sometimes ahistorical nature of vintage furniture can make it seem less meaningful. Thatâ€™s where nostalgia is important; itâ€™s a call back to the past, to memories, or to a story. Itâ€™s about finding objects that are just as emotionally impactful as they are aesthetically pleasing.
â€œIt sounds cliche, but understanding what objects resonate with peopleâ€™s sense of nostalgia is key to vintage shopping. I am an empath, someone who can feel others emotions,â€ Tyler said. â€œGrowing up gay in the 1990s and early aughts forced me to be heavily in touch with my emotions and the emotions of others. I think this is something that helps me pick objects and home decor that have meaning.â€
Vintage has the benefit of sustainability and functionality but thatâ€™s not what tugs at the heart strings and brings out a wallet. In history, these objects have meaning and the chance to be a part of that is all the convincing anyone needs to bring home a piece what once used to be.
â€œWhen I see or touch an object that makes me feel nostalgic for another past life or era, I know itâ€™s worth buying.â€
Favorite designer right now: Anna Castelli Ferrieri
Favorite object right now: My Danish modern teak dresser chest by Arne Vodder for Sibast
Your astrological sign: Pisces
Texture your eye is drawn to: Marble or onyx
When I’m not collecting, curating, and selling vintage wares I am: taking care of my new kitties.
My estate sale strategy: Look for unique books, sculptures, and colorful glassware
First song on the estate sale getaway car playlist: Anything by Fleetwood Mac
When I say chair, you think: Cesca
When I say light, you think: Staging and photography!