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Retail Therapy LA: R Furniture by Olinda Romani, Lance Reynolds By April Neale

Posted by Lance Reynolds on

There's a special place, way off the beaten tracks in the artsy section of Canoga Park (Sherman Way) that's a treasure trove of authentic, hand-made furniture that references historical periods and classic furniture designs gone by.

Whether you love roman architecture, greek architecture, gothic architecture, ancient greek architecture, ancient roman architecture, spanish architecture, baroque architecture, medieval architecture, byzantine architecture, romanesque architecture, castle architecture, colonial architecture, rococo architecture, mediterranean architecture, mexican architecture and medieval castles architecture, artist Olinda Romani has you covered.

Peruvian master craftsperson and designer Olinda Romani and her accomplished family have brought old world solid wood charm and elegance to us Norteños.

R Architectural™ also known as Renaissance Architectural and Romani Architectural, was born out of the desire to integrate Olinda and her husband Lance's furniture line with architectural elements.

The Romani family collectively have over 100 years and 3 generations of experience. They make hand carved leather interior doors and leather wall panels that are stunning. They also are making French exterior windows and doors unlike anything you have ever seen.

Olinda specializes in interior design for bed and breakfasts, castles, chateaus, estates, legendary haciendas, homes, hotels, majestic residences, ranches and villas.  The style periods she works in include the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th century in Italian, Spanish and French furniture and home décor.

Together, Lance and Olinda of R Furniture manufactures the item in Peru at their own factory and then imports to the United States and Canada. Shipping is available to Europe for larger orders. 

Their simple, unfussy showroom off Sherman Way in Canoga Park is filled with gorgeous treasures, arresting custom hardwood exterior doors and windows, custom hardwood and leather interior doors, custom architectural details, hand painted furniture, hardwood and leather furniture, natural wood furniture, verre 'glomis' or reverse painted glass mirrors (cajamarca), accessories and accent tables, original Escuela Cusqueña wall art, hand painted mirrors and unique gift items and accessories; you must come out to the valley and visit them.

R Furniture's items have been featured on the television show Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Broadway plays "Lestat: and "A Man For All Seasons" starring Frank Langella.

R Furniture, 7219 Alabama Ave., Canoga Park, CA 91303 Phone: 818-592-0815

I had to interview Lance Reynolds after I discovered this place by sheer chance. I purchased a large cajamarca box mirror that I cannot stop looking at. These people make magic:

Monsters and Critics:  How did you meet your wife?

Lance Reynolds: I met Olinda in Los Angeles.  We dated for a while and enjoyed simple things like planting gardens and hiking.   I didn’t know how talented she was, but knew she was very special.  She asked me to help her promote her designs.  We started at the Rose Bowl Swap meet.  I remember the first reaction from Jenna Elfman (from Darma and Greg) was 'Wow,  I love this furniture!'  She bought a mirror.  The reaction from the clients is what keeps us motivated.  Because many of our clients order from out of state, their reaction is 'it’s better than they had possibly imagined.'

M&C:  How do you best describe the design ethos of your company?

LR: We strive to provide products and services which are client wants.  They want the old world look with today’s functionality.  We design items they can't find in a store and customize for their needs.  Traditional measurements don’t always work in homes.  Times have changed.  Armoires are now for clothing, not TV’s.  Media credenzas need to have the 'Old World' look, but narrow enough to not be too imposing in the room.

M&C:  Do you bring pieces up from Peru and replicate designs?

LR: We make our items in our own factory in Peru.  Olinda’s family has been making furniture for over 100 years and 3 generations.  We focus our designs from the Renaissance period and consider influences from Spanish Mediterranean, Gothic, Medieval, Moorish, Hacienda, Spanish Revival, Old Spanish, Old World, Spanish Colonial, Spanish Baroque, Tuscan, Rustic, Mission, etc.  We make what our client wants.

M&C:  Talk about the special order process-if someone wants a specific piece of furniture.

LR: Our clients often are looking for something different. They want something exciting that will last for generations.  We work with them whether they are close or far away.  We ask questions to learn what is the purpose of the item.  Furniture should be beautiful and functional.  We design many unique pieces for clients.  Customs orders take time, but the clients always say it was worth the wait.  Wait times depend on the complexity of the piece.

M&C:  The art is arresting, talk about where they come from and who the artist is.

LR: We have several artists who paint the furniture and the wall art with direction from Olinda.  We paint art typical from the Cuzco School Catholic Religious Art and the Italian Renaissance Art and also sceneries from the Tuscan Countryside.. We are very proud to have one of our paintings,  “Our Lady of Guadalupe”  in a church in Daly City, California.  They also have our Spanish Friar chairs on their alter and are used every day during mass.  Our wooden frames are hand carved and the paintings are hand painted on wood panels.  We also make custom sizes.

M&C: The mirrors and frames - where do they come from and what are the frame made of?

LR: Another of our specialties is reverse painted glass mirrors.  The process originated in Europe and is also called Verre églomisé.  The glass is painted on the back of the glass and inset into the wooden frame.  The details of the painting is what makes our pieces special.   We also make hand painted wooden mirror frames with scrolls, flowers and even sceneries.

M&C:  A lot of the finishes on your furniture is very dark-is this typical of Spanish revival furniture?

LR: We typically stain our furniture either chestnut (light finish) or dark walnut.  Old Spanish and also Spanish Revival designs are usually in the dark finish.  Often, we will make the leather a shade lighter for a 2 tone effect.

M&C: What are the defining characteristics of your imported furniture?

LR: Our pieces are handmade, hand carved and unique.  Most of our items are made in limited editions which makes them more appreciated.  Many are one of a kind!

M&C:  How long have you been in the arts district of Canoga at Sherman Way?

LR: We decided to locate in Canoga Park 17 years ago before it was an art district.  I am a board member of the Canoga Park Business District since 1998.  Our mission has been to promote arts and invite businesses which are more artistic.  Now we have art events, two live theaters, and musicians in the area.

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