“I’ve always maintained a passion for modern design,” says Mike McAllister of San Diego’s Hold It Contemporary Home. “As a child of the 1960s, I appreciate the simplicity of the era.” McAllister’s emporium—once host to organizational products—now holds a mindfully edited selection of contemporary European furnishings, and it was his vision that turned things around. “The storage trade was dominated by mass merchants,” he says, “so we made the transition to reflect my love of all things modern.” Today, with over 100 different brands (including Global Views, Arteriors Home and BDI), Hold It is a one-stop shop for designers and clients alike. “We create layouts for lighting and rugs, and offer custom finishes and locally produced upholstery,” says McAllister. “Our capabilities are greater than those of a simple showroom.” And, after spotting a void in the marketplace, he’s forging ahead with an exclusive line of office furniture, Modernwork; it’s set to launch this fall. “I love the diversity of my job,” says McAllister. “It feeds my business and creative needs, and I love both.”
LX: Design icon:
MM: Alexander Calder. I’m most attracted to his paintings; the way he created depth and movement from colored objects inked or painted on paper or wood amazes me.
LX: Greatest influence:
MM: Sir Terence Conran. He inspired me to enter this business.
LX: Dream dinner party guest:
MM: Morten Georgsen. Ten years ago I had the opportunity to have dinner with him, and I’d like the opportunity to do that again. After all this time, I have a very different perspective on furniture design.
LX: What do you collect?
MM: Watches. My favorite is a 24-hour pilot’s chronograph that belonged to my grandfather.
LX: Extracurricular activity:
MM: Local philanthropy, like Chairs for Chair’ity, which we founded three years ago to raise funds for Make-A-Wish San Diego, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports childhood cancer research through men and women raising money and awareness by shaving their heads. I’ve gone under the blade every year!