Posts Tagged ‘furniture’

I have a confession to make, I am becoming a furniture snob. As you know, I love anything that relates to decorating the home, especially furniture; my heart beats faster when I see a quirky, vintage chair, or a table, so exquisitely built that my sense of reason (and budget) is momentarily lost. Take me shopping, and I will touch everything that catches my eye, thinking of inventive ways to take it home, strapped to the roof of my car if necessary. I will obsess over it, creating stories in my head that explains why I must include it in my life. I may not take it home, but I can guarantee that I will dream of it that night …
But, recent experiences have tilted me towards furniture snobbery, and I hope it makes you feel the same way. Have you bought a dining or bedroom set lately? Did you see the signs that said “Wood”, and the description that said it was “Cherry”? Automatically, you would assume that it is made of wood from a Cherry tree. Right? Wrong. I just clicked to the website of a very well-known furniture store. Went to Dining Room sets, and hit the Cherry option. A 7 piece set (which is code for a table and six chairs, go figure) was $2,300. Go to the product description, and you find out that Cherry is the color, and it is “…..crafted of hardwoods, cathedral cherry veneers and exotic avodire veneers”.
Don’t get me wrong, veneers and composites are a wonderful, and possibly sustainable (?) way to produce furniture, but it is also a way to cut costs and create things that appear to be what they are not. If stores are going to use them, and charge those prices, then say what they are, don’t try and trick the consumer into thinking they are getting a quality, solid wood piece of furniture. Veneers and composites have more parts, therefore they will automatically have more issues than solid wood – the veneer may lift up, the glues can come apart, and the stain will often wear off more quickly. I did contact the company about their $2300 dining room set. With your purchase, you get a free one year warranty that covers manufacturers defects, or, you can spend an additional $230 to get their 5 year warranty. This will cover all sorts of spills, dents and normal wear and tear.
It used to be that wood was more expensive than veneer, but somehow that has shifted a little. I found a comparable, solid wood dining table and 6 solid wood chairs for $1600, at a very good on-line home store. In my opinion, solid wood has a couple of advantages. One, it will wear well (there is nothing to peel off or come apart), and two, it will probably last longer, and definitely look better as time goes on. FYI, soft woods (pine) will dent easily, whereas hard woods (oak, mahogany etc) will resist dings.
Whatever your preference, promise me to do some shopping around before you buy. If you are buying from any store, ask about the warranties and look for feedback on their website. Consider on-line catalogs and home stores; these used to be a lot more expensive (and style specific) but are now much cheaper, and offer a lot of solid wood choices. Also, if time is something you have to spend, go to some local thrift stores or second-hand retailers – older pieces tend to be more solid.
Furniture can be an expensive, and permanent, purchase for your home, so don’t be afraid to do your homework first. And, if you’re wandering the stores, undecided, just give me a call!
p.s. Photograph of this lovely, mis-matched, reclaimed dining room set is from House Beautiful

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Years ago, when I was taking my Redesign classes, we were each asked to decorate an empty fireplace mantle in a clients home. When it was my turn, I was paralyzed with fear. I whispered to Ann (Anderson) that I couldn’t do it. The house was not my style of decorating, and, naively at the time, I thought that every piece had to be perfect (my idea of perfection, not theirs). She whispered back to me “It’s not about you. Stop thinking. Just do it.”

Once I had recovered from the shock of being told it wasn’t all about me, I knew she was right. We all have different ideas of perfection, it’s what we do with those ideas that matter. The other thing I learned that day was to  “Just do it!”  A mantra that now carries me through life, teaching me to analyze the important, but not to hesitate with the easy or obvious. 

Which is where Interior Redesign comes in. Unless you are painting a room, or knocking down a wall, most decisions can be reversed within a few hours. Looking at a room, fully dressed (both you and the room should be fully dressed, it’s easier that way) it is almost impossible to understand how it will look with a different floor plan.

Even if a designer can “see” it in their head, it is often difficult to explain, and sometimes, well-thought-out ideas may change once the room is emptied. It is far easier to begin moving things around, it gives you a better sense of how the room should be. Often the plan changes; the symmetry may be wrong, or the floor plan impractical. If that happens, just keep moving. Play with the furniture. Try every conceivable idea. Don’t stop and theorize about why you should, or shouldn’t, do something. It’s furniture, it’s moveable. Just do it!

(By the way, I wish I could say that I designed the above room, but I didn’t. I love the eccentric calmness that manages to combine several functions into one space. Beautiful and practical)

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/   Thanks to  www.dreamhome-design.blogspot.com for the great photograph.

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Buying a sofa (or couch) can be complicated. It seems so easy to say “I am going to buy a sofa”, but, like buying a car, it has to be the right fit for who you are and what you expect it to do.

We all want a sofa to be comfortable, but we all sit differently……and we are all different sizes. For myself, I like to sit curled up against the left side of the sofa; I don’t like to sit up straight, and I like the seat to be quite deep, enveloping me so that I feel all cocooned and cozy. I like a straight back, with lots of pillows that I can move to fit where I am. Too much extra padding, while always more comfortable, can add a lot of unnecessary bulk to a sofa. Always measure before arranging for a piece to be delivered. Having a smaller, older house means that my doors are narrow, and some pieces of furniture need to be taken apart to get them inside. Actually, some don’t fit at all, and have to be returned, whereas others have to wait on the front lawn while someone removes a door, unscrews the legs or takes out a very large window.

A sofa should fit your home. Do you want it to be formal or casual? Will you have children and pets sitting on it a lot? How many people need to sit on it?Would you like a modern, simple design or a rounded, squishy one? Will a pattern look nice in your home, or would a simple color be better? Did you know that Leather can feel cold, or that Microsuede leaves imprints when you sit on it? How big will the imprint be? Are you ok with that? 

Of course, the list of questions is endless, and never make yourself crazy about a decorating decision, but it does warrant a little bit of thought. My best advice is to always sit on a sofa before you buy it, and remember, most importantly, it should fit your bottom AND your life.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Sofa from: Morosa

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