Born in Shanghai and reared in New Jersey, Ms. Tarlow is an alumna of Emerson College in Boston, the New York School of Interior Design, and Parsons, leaving the latter before she could collect her degree. Then her husband's career called for relocation to Los Angeles where the protagonist, still in her 20's but already ahead of the times, opened an antiques shop before others recognized the existing market potential for really fine things. Since the Melrose Place store's founding in 1975, demand for her custom pieces--imagined "antiques" for present-day living, true reproductions, and contemporary designs--has steadily grown. She periodically goes to London, where she has kept a flat ever since taking courses at the Victoria and Albert, to buy antiques (the real thing). She has put together private collections for Australian clients. Though she takes on interiors work very rarely, she has done a house for David Geffen. Her Melrose Collection is in 14 showrooms nationwide; her influence extends considerably further.