Friday, September 18, 2009

I was too lazy to post about the new "look" at Restoration Hardware...

... when the new catalog arrived a few weeks ago.



But hey - - it looks like I don't have to since you can read about it HERE.

I will say that as soon as I saw all the huge linen-covered furniture and the limed wood I thought, "Bummer for Axel Vervoordt. Your time is up."

The whole catalog is a sea of brown. Ick.

48 comments:

Jules said...

I assume by international artisans they mean China?

I love linen, so I can begrudge them that indulgence. The fake old is a little silly, though, especially when you can find it elsewhere for less. The over scale pieces would never work in my 1900 square foot mid-century home, either.

Alex said...

I'm confused. So, it's totally OKAY for Couch to rip off other companies designs, which he boasts about on his website, but NOT okay for Restoration Hardware to use Belgian linen upholstery on the sofas they design themselves?

That makes absolutely NO SENSE.

How is Couch not squeezing the life out of other companies by stealing their designs??

my favorite and my best said...

so over this look. when a catalog is offering up new items made to look like antiques and selling them for 375023750923958million dollars and cultivating an entire look for sale it's time to move on. i mean if i went to belgium and bought some amazing limed oak something or other and someone asked me if it was from restoration hardware i would be pretty pissed. they are gross.

my favorite and my best said...

ha! i just went and looked at the website and you're so right..it's a sea of fucking brown. although that giant tufted leather chesterfield was pretty amazing. i would not pair it with all the linen and grain sack pillows, lanterns and factory cart table bullshit. a lucite table? guilded mirror maybe? modern, graphic rug?

Anonymous said...

It's the SCALE of the new shit I don't understand. I saw a pretty, hand-carved "entabulature" mirror advertised in Elle Decor--when I looked it up online, I found it comes in two lengths: 8 feet, and 8 feet 10 inches. And those floor lamps that look like Coast Guard search lights! They are taller than most people's sofas are long. Who has the architecture for these pieces?

Anonymous said...

The new catalogue is like a traditional woman's magazine: It stirs up status anxiety, then offers remedies (Furniture that looks like Real Antiques! From Europe!)

David said...

I stopped in yesterday to take a look. I like the new wood pieces a lot, but I have doubts that the dining tables could recover from a spilled glass of red.

A very good local store is selling the same linen covered dining chairs a LOT cheaper.

Vanessa said...

Restoration Hardware is a joke. Every single idea is a knock off of someone else: Ralph Lauren, Pottery Barn, now Anthropologie. Oversized, overpriced cheap crap from China and India.

I especially love their new campaign of highlighting "artisans," (a knock off of Annie Leibovitz--see? No original ideas here!) Because seriously? If they really wanted to showcase the artisans that "crafted" their goods the photos would be black and white artsy shots of people in factories in India, not European men dressed in suits.

What a joke. And yes, the entire catalog is now a sea of brown drab blah.

kitchenandresidentialdesign.com said...

Yawn. Why buy fake antiques? I will never understand the appeal of a short cut to character. It doesn't work for people and it sure doesn't work for furniture.

Anonymous said...

Vanessa--Yes! The print ad campaign is a hoot!

One of the ads describes an RH product developer as a "Reproductionist."

Alex: Do you really, really believe that Restoration Hardware didn't ITSELF rip off older designs? "Sofas they design themselves"? They refer to their own people as "reproductionists"! Come on, grow up.

Anonymous said...

I love the phrase "short cut to character"

VelocityJohn said...

Just was in there today. They have stacks of the Axel Vervoordt books for sale on their tables. The sales person I spoke to said that the collection has already sold out its first run, and many pieces are already backordered and on to the second round of production. The moment that that leather sofa hit the floor, it completely sold out. I guess the houses around UVillage will all be full of these pieces, even though they will dwarf many of the small rooms that will inhabit.

kris said...

I totally agree re: the comment about scale. Many of the pieces were ENORMOUS. I sat in one of the new armchairs and the proportion was totally off -- not comfortable whatsoever. And for those of us who live in apartments not particularly practical either.

Decorno said...

Hi Alex - I bet he would design one (and probably has) but many of his customers seem to go to him for custom solutions. I am surprised you aren't more fired up about Restoration Hardware ripping off lighting designers or all of Belgium and focusing just on this one guy in Seattle who is willing to get you a certain sofa on a scale that will actually fit into your older (and tiny) Seattle home.

Anonymous said...

okay, decorno. at least show us a photo of the couch you got from this guy. i mean god, after all the promotion you do for him you must have gotten it for FREE!

glad to see you supporting the rip off artists, woo hoo decorno! awesome.

ddavis said...

RH is ripping off Pottery Barn?! You mean that company that never had one original idea about anything...ever. Say what you will about this new stuff, but please don't give the Barn any more credit than what RH is doing.

Anonymous said...

Alex:

Do you think it's all right for Restoration Hardware to rip off this Edouard Bouquet lamp:

www.1stdibs.com/furniture_item_detail.php?id=198993

And sell its own virtually identical version as the "Counterpoise Single-Arm Task Table Lamp":

http://tinyurl.com/mtjbkq

?

Cote de Texas said...

Count me out on the dis of RH. I think the new merchandise is gorgeous. That linen sofa is probably the best looking piece I've seen in all of PB, Ikea, RH, CB, WSH - combined. The two wing chairs are fabulous - alone those chairs would make any room have style. There are other places in this world beside small apts. in NYC. Most new houses today have cavernous sized rooms that the scale is made for - finally. Sea of brown? Well, that's what Belgium design is all about and that's the look they are going for. Frankly, I don't care for hot pink and orange and turq in my living room. And yes, many of these artisans that everyone seems to be laughing at are actually just that. RH was genius to hire people that actually can design to create their new look which is flying out of the stores. I defy anyone here to tell me that sofa is ugly, cheap, gross, whatever with a straight face. And btw - try buying a "real" Axel sofa for anywhere close to what RH's are. Those things start at 15,000 without the fabric - you still have to provide that to Axel - who is so overpriced he makes RH look like discounted ikea. My Fav and My Best can go to Belgium all she wants but she won't find any bargains there - their prices are so steep it is laughable. Better to stick with RH if you want the Belgium look cheap.

Anonymous said...

Decorno, seriously. Why all the insane promotion of this company? What is your point? You love Couch Seattle, WE GET IT. You don't mind copies of original designs, GREAT.

Enough already with this guy, really!

Penelope Bianchi said...

Oh hi! I just posted a comment on your post circa 2008!

Love this blog!

I (have been a decorator for 40 years) said to my assistant....smart and sassy and 25! "Uh oh....there goes Axel Veervort...maybe you can buy a few pieces on sale."

OVER. Too bad.....

I actually support the catalogues supplying good taste to the masses....... however......it is mostly made in china......I would rather recycle the well-made repros from the 30s and 40s and 50s...paint them.....refurbish them......they were made right here in the US ...in Grand Rapids!

Restoration Hardware is trying hard. It may go the way of Williams- Sonoma....I adored.........

Who knows..we'll see??

My granddaughter who is 10 and spent the last 14 months living in Madrid and traveling all over the place.......

I asked her favorite place she saw. Bruges.

Wow.
No criticism of Axel here......once you are copied....it isn't right.....it isn't coherent.......it doesn't work. I liked it for 5 minutes....then I could tell it was inherently wrong.

can't wait to hear the comments!!

This stuff from China is junk.....(not the boat)

Decorno said...

Anon 10:43: While CouchSeattle may have commented here many times before, this is the first time I have posted about him. So do your homework.

Anon 5:59: Haven't bought a couch yet... from anyone. Also, same to you, this is only first time I have specifically posted about him. What suggests that I love him? I am merely continuing a healthy debate.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joni,

Three things:

1. You're not saying anything you haven't said a thousand times. Houston McMansions, need for quick Euro/antique credibility, etc. etc.--We get it.

2. "RH was genius to hire people that actually can design." Joni, RH's own ads call their "designers" "Reproductionists"! They admit they copied vintage lamp designs (Edouard Bouquet, e.g.). What on earth do you mean, "people that can actually design"?

3. There's something depressing about your thinking that there are only two alternatives when it comes to color:

1. Beige

2. "Hot pink and orange and turquoise"

In your mind, those are the only choices? And you're a decorator?

Anonymous said...

"I would rather recycle the well-made repros from the 30s and 40s and 50s...paint them.....refurbish them......they were made right here in the US ...in Grand Rapids!"

Now THAT is a decorator who knows her decorating history. Thanks, Penelope, for not falling for this fake notion that your only choices are Restoration Hardware or overpriced pieces from Belgium.

Anonymous said...

By definition an artisan is a person skilled in an applied art. Then why isn't RH showcasing the factory workers who actually make their furniture? The thousands of Chinese, the people in India? Why is it only white men in Belgium, Italians?

RH is depserately trying to sell the WASP dream of a designer/decorator lifestyle complete with inherited style. The problem is nothing is inherited here, only copied, and copied badly at that. The quality is crap, none of the ideas are original and the prices are steep for what you get.

"Short cut to character?" Only if you want your character to scream FAKE OVERPRICED, LOOK AT ME! I SUSCRIBE TO ELLE DECOR AND HAVE BEEN TO EUROPE! ONCE!

Reproductionists. Can that word even be said without a smirk?

Anonymous said...

"The problem is nothing is inherited here, only copied."

I agree with Penelope. The history of furniture making is full of copying, and period reproductions made by grand old companies like Baker and Widdicomb have been pretty wonderful. There's no disgrace there.

my favorite and my best said...

well cote de joni not only could i not afford a plane ticket to belgium i certainly couldn't afford an antique from belgium even if it was made from popsicle sticks so you're not telling me anything new there (go figure). what i don't understand it what gave you the impression that i WAS going to belgium to buy anything?
i think my point was that if..IF joni..i went there and bought something i would be pissed if someone asked me if it was FROM RH.

Anonymous said...

I'm okay with the look. Would prefer some color, but I get that this is the "in" thing right now and I don't blame them for trying to capitalize on it.

But the scale simply blows my mind! I'm going to admit something that will make most of you shudder: I live in a 4800 sq. ft. McMansion. ::GASP!:: Most of the RH pieces would look ridiculous in my home because of the size. So who on earth is buying this stuff? People who have no concept of scale and are squeezing past all the giant furniture in their house? I just don't get it.

zimloy said...

I'm with Cote on this one. I think some of the new RH stuff is quite attractive. The point should be made that most people won't fill their homes with it, but will select pieces that fit with what they already have.
The scale is perfectly fine for most homes in the U.S. Nothing twee about it, that's for sure.
The history of interior design is a history of knock-offs. Tweaking a style to give it a fresh look, whether it's Kelly Wearstler reviving Hollywood Regency and 80s design, or T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings reviving the Greek klismos chair.
"There is nothing new under the sun."

Anonymous said...

"The scale is perfectly fine for most homes in the U.S."

An 8-foot-tall mirror is not "perfecctly fine for most homes in the U.S."

Kirby said...

Most of you are bitter because you can not now, nor will you ever be able to afford anything from RH. Just shut up and continue to buy your stained, flea-ridden "vintage" furniture.

Zimloy is correct. Nothing is new.

Cote de Texas said...

my only point is - for ONCE a masses store has produced something worth looking at, buying. I don't care what anyone says, I think its all fabulous looking. I love the Belgian look but can't afford it. RH at least gives people that option because people just can't afford Axel's things, or anyone elses in Bruges either. An antiquarian in Houston who stocks her store with the finest went to Bruges this summer and even she couldn't afford to buy for her shop - it's all outrageously expensive. So - I'm loving the opportunity to buy it at RH for clients that like the look. At least they have great looking merchandise. And Penny - have you seen it? why do you say it's junk? I don't get that. I mean - there's junk and then there's junk but what I saw in the stores look very well made.

Stacy said...

So many people commenting have no idea how the furniture thing works...

It's easy to pinpoint places like Restoration & PB, because they operate under one brand name. But all of those "unique" and "special" boutiques out there buy from the same wholesalers, and if you've ever found yourself liking anything from Roost, or Oly...you've most likely bought something that was "inspired" by designs of the past.

To the people commenting about the RH furniture being the wrong scale: you can't say it's wrong unless you see it in the room where it's going to go! That's what scale means...

I agree that a lot of the furniture of the last 10-15 years has become humongous (think sleigh beds and the hideous matching bedroom sets that come with them), but people's mistake lies in their decorating, not the pieces themselves...depending. I would say that more often than not, people make the mistake of placing pieces in a room that are too SMALL. This especially happens with accessories.

It all comes down to balance, in the end. If you like it: buy it. Period. Unless you have bad taste.

Anonymous said...

Kirby, I think you meant that in a snarky mean way but it honestly made me laugh out loud! :-)

I guess because I am SOOO OVER the entire vintage (real or inspired) look right now. Give me a new sofa with feathers in the seat and I will be happy ever after!

Anonymous said...

"you can't say it's wrong unless you see it in the room where it's going to go! That's what scale means..."

Stacy: I don't need to bring it home to know that a floor lamp more than SEVEN FEET TALL is going to look ridiculous in my house.

It's called a "measuring tape." Look into it.

Anonymous said...

"I'm loving the opportunity to buy it at RH for clients."

"For clients"? If I hired a decorator, I'd expect her to show me to-the-trade stuff, not stuff I could buy out of a catalogue I got in the mail.

Chain-store furniture I can buy myself. I don't need to pay your 25% markup to have you make that phone call for me.

Stacy said...

Um, obviously if you're going to buy something you need to measure it. I meant that you can't make a decision that something is the wrong "scale" unless you know where it's going. Obviously, you would know where it was going for yourself, but you don't know where it's going for someone else. I forgot to mention that it's proportion that is more important to good decorating, than the scale of an individual piece. That is all.

fashionable palette said...

Those industrial lamps....in love.

Anonymous said...

plenty of the homes or rooms that decorno has posted have elements similar to the pieces in RH's new catalog. because blogs like this post about them, why wouldn't RH make pieces that people seem to want? i agree with stacy...the problem is not with the pieces themselves. the problem is when someone buys the whole catalog and puts it in their house. it's simply an option for people when putting together their homes. i'd like to hear what people on this blog DO like instead of the constant criticism of what is simply a person's preference.

Erin said...

Everyone here can decry the "crap made in China or India" problems, but I'd seriously love to see the contents of everyone's homes.

Regarding Belgian Producers Mark Sage & Rudi Nijssen now supplying some pieces to RH, they started the company Bobo Intriguing Objects 5 years ago with carpenters in Poland.
Their stuff is all over, from Sundance to Anthro to tons of boutiques.
website:
http://www.bobointriguingobjects.com/bobo_web/BoBo.html

you can read their story here:
http://brookegiannetti.typepad.com/velvet_and_linen/2009/07/bobo-intriguing-objects-restoration-hardware-and-.html

Is RH ripping off Anthro & other companies? Just cashing in on some of the same suppliers?

Which is my question to someone who knows more than I do: How much of the product line for a company like RH is made "in house"? How much is supplied from folks like Bobo? Versus companies like Anthro or Sundance who appear to pull everything from other craftspeople and nothing is "in house." And how much of in house is actually india or china? Does anyone know or are we all speculating?

Anonymous said...

"the problem is not with the pieces themselves"

I agree. They would be excellent for a brontosaurus family.

Anonymous said...

Erin,

What people are objecting to is not the outsourcing of labor to Third World countries so much as the fake "real Olde World European Craftsmen" patina RH is spritzing all over this campaign. We know better. That's all.

(PS: Couchseattle did buy up some discontinued RH sofas from a Chinese maker, so yeah, it's more than just speculation. And no, I don't work for him or buy anything from him.)

Anonymous said...

"How much of the product line for a company like RH is made "in house"? How much is supplied from folks like Bobo?"

RH laid off 90% of the sourcing/production team and a good portion of the product development team last year, so I'm sure the % of items purchased directly from folks like Bobo has dramatically increased.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that it's proportion that is more important to good decorating, than the scale of an individual piece.

"The scale of an individual piece" makes no sense. Scale is by definition about multiple pieces, and their relationship to one another.

Anonymous said...

I think there is such a thing as "just too big, regardless of architecture." I don't care if the room it's in is a ballroom in a Viennese castle--a floor lamp that's eight or nine feet tall is too big. It's about the relationship of the piece to the human body. Any piece that makes a person feel puny and inconsequential is too big.

Rachel said...

Wow.
Okay, well here's my 2 cents...
I do like some of the things in their new campaign. Not all of them, but some. And if I had the money or the need, I might buy something. Unless it's a very famously designed unusual piece (like a Barcelona chair) I'm not going to worry too much about authenticity. I buy things that I like and that I can afford.

I will say, working in a high end showroom, that lots of things are made over in India and China. Lots and lots. And they are not all crap. If people were willing or able to pay much more money, then more things would probably be made here. But the fact is that it's just cheaper to make it over there. You can get crap that made over here, too, you know.

Anonymous said...

How much of this stuff is made in China?

Cote de Texas said...

Anon September 21, 2009 5:14 AM

not that you will ever read this but I don't charge a 25 percent markup, thank you very much. that would be wonderful though. And sometimes people like to buy from stores like PB or RH - they want something now and can't wait for a six month, 9 month, 12 month lead time from the more exclusive sources you are alluding to - also they can't afford it. you have to give the client what they want, when they want it, and for how much they can afford to spend. not every client can afford the things in the decorative center.

Anonymous said...

Frankly I love the huge pieces. My great room is 17' tall and I've been going crazy trying to find something large yet affordable to fill the immense wall space. A few pictures hung in a group look absolutely ridiculous.
Also digging the extra long & deep sofas. I'm only 5'4 but adore being swallowed up in a huge sofa. I'm a hairstylist & on my feet all day so there's nothing better than curling up in a big old deep 46" sofa. Also great to have lots of room for another to sit & lounge as well instead of feeling uncomfortable that you're practically on their lap.
Not to mention it's wonderful to be able to finally fully stretch out when napping. Loving RH & thankful for the large pieces at a price I can afford!