Furniture Porn

Last weekend, my dear friend and interior design colleague invited me to lunch and a visit to the new Restoration Hardware Store in Palm Beach.  We hadn’t gotten together for a while and my husband happened to be all cued up for a Sunday full of football, so I said, Why not?
So off we went to the visit the land of one of the most successful retail purveyors of furniture in the US.
I have always had mixed feelings about this brand, and I have to admit these feelings span the full spectrum of emotions, love, hate, envy, admiration.  You name it, I feel it.
You see for an interior designer, RH and all of its derivations represents a world of accessibility and expansion into a world of design for our potential clients that used to be exclusively provided and created by us for them. We used to be the gatekeepers of this elusive world of beautifully designed furniture and someone stole the key to the kingdom and made millions of copies, literally!
We have mixed feelings because we simultaneously love that our clients have grown in their level of sophistication through the constant exposure of these catalogs delivered to EVERYONE, but also hate that our potential clients are seduced by these images of homogenous perfection that they believe will be delivered at there doorstep within 48 hours, without our help.
Can you see why we as an industry are so torn? But I digress.
Off we went to be valeted into the showroom where everything is a lovely shade of grey and neutrals and placed and styled to perfection. It really is an amazing experience, but as I toured the 4 floors, each room started to look like the other. I observed that they managed to blend the modern with the classic in such a subtle and sophisticated way that I couldn’t help admit that it was no wonder people are seduced by it all.
I too started to drink the design Kool-Aid, and by the time I hit the 4th-floor restaurant environment, I was ready to eat the perfectly prepared RH food as well.
All in all, I’m happy I went, because it is always so useful to see and experience what the buzz is all about. Basically, the buzz is about our desire as a society to feel comforted, put together, and surrounded by beauty. Who wouldn’t want that! We want our lives to feel style and designed at all times. The question is… is it realistic to put that much pressure on a few pieces of furniture and strategically selected accessories?
There is definitely validity to the experience derived from the perfect placement of furniture and the just right selection of fabrics and finishes, but the question remains, is it perfect for each of us? Does one size fit all? I don’t think so, at least that is what I have found in my 3 decades of interior design practice.
I believe that we are each as unique in our needs and desires as our fingerprints and how can this albeit seductive form of furniture porn provide and interpret our individual needs. Just like the beautiful Victoria Secret models on the runway, wearing the gorgeous and accessible lingerie we believe will make us feel sexy and desirable, the environments created by this furniture brand seduce and entice us into a life that may or may not be real. It’s up to us to decide whether the pieces suit our lives or not and whether we need the help of design consultants that really have our best interest in mind to assist in making our lives come to life in our homes.
This question will remain as elusive as a fleeting aroma in the breeze and as difficult to hold down as a toddler that has just learned how to run. I’m not sure if I will clarify even for myself the mix of emotions that I have regarding the issue and maybe that is the point, nothing is ever so black and white. LIfe is full of subtle Shades of Grey, pun intended.

With Love & Gratitude.

The Design Enlightenment™

This practice is just one way in which I encourage you to start thinking about your home and the spaces you occupy in a different way.  I created a movement called The Design Enlightenment™ which is about finding out what is right for you in regards to the spaces we give labels to, without the preconceived notions of someone else’s life. This is totally about what works for you, and I grant you the FREEDOM and permission to use your rooms as you wish.

The story behind Design Enlightenment is how I was able to consolidate the two things that are most meaningful for me: design and soulfulness. It’s how I was able to make sure that I couldn’t begin the process of creating Interior Design without it starting from a foundation of soul.

If you’d like to learn more about the Design Enlightenment movement, please visit BpilaDesign.com where you can subscribe and receive a free four-step video series that’ll help get you started on your journey to Design Enlightenment.