Infusing Danish Style With a Bit of Fun


One on One with Chris Oswalt and Martin Ulrich
By Gina DostlerOSWALT headshots and dog

Vertigo Home nestles amid architects, designers and home stores in Laguna Beach. Owners Chris Oswalt and Martin Ulrich instill their love of European style in their store and online shop, a hot spot for high-design furniture, accessories and luxurious upholstery service. With Oswalt’s passion for textiles and Ulrich’s modern and clean design, the store displays beautiful items infused with Danish sensibility.

Q: How did you get started in Vertigo Home?
A: Our original concept was to open a coffee and Danish shop where we could sell coffee and sell smart Danish design. When we started the conditional use permit process with the city, we were advised to do something “resident serving.” At the time we were renting a space downtown, so to receive a license we morphed into a Danish design store that offers upholstery and sewing services to the trade as well as to the locals. We also decided to become Nespresso machine dealers so we could offer the opportunity for our customers to taste delicious coffee, something very close to our original plan.

Q: You also have an online service.
A: The shop opened in 2009 and the web-shop followed in 2010 when it became obvious to us that we unfortunately could not survive solely on local support. The web-shop gives us the opportunity to showcase a more complete catalog of the various brands we carry and has been a tremendous success.

Q: What is the philosophy of Vertigo Home?
A: Our philosophy is constantly evolving, but at the core we believe a home should be beautiful, functional, and easy to live in with a little bit of fun. And that is what we offer our customers.

Q: What is unique and diverse about your merchandise?
A: We have a lot of European, Danish especially, products and our passion for travel gives us yet another opportunity to discover new (or at least new-to-the-U.S.), brands that we can bring to our customers.

Q: Tell me about one of your favorite designers.
A: There are so many, but since we just added some new products from them, Norm Architects, comes to mind first. They are serious about Scandinavian design tradition and their designs reflect the idea that a product should satisfy all senses and meet real needs.

Q: Do you feel a concentration of designers in one store is helpful to customers?
A: Absolutely. Our customers appreciate that they can come in and be exposed to many brands, designers, and items in one place. The local design trade has been very good to us, but we also love working with homeowners, helping them find the perfect fabric for that special chair.

Q: Your store is near five other design places. Is this the genesis of a design center?
A: We hope so! It’s true we have many architects and designers with offices in our neighborhood. And we also welcome the addition of the new home stores that have popped up over the last year and would love to see more. On the same note, we have lost a few really good art galleries in the district and are always sad to see them go. We feel they are such an integral part of the charm in Laguna Beach.

Chris Oswalt and Martin Ulrich
Vertigo Home
1550 South Coast Hwy. Suite 101
Laguna Beach, CA 92651