20 March 2012

Are They Serious???

 

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Did you get the new Restoration Hardware catalogue? Mine came via an email – nice and green. Beautiful as ever, I stopped at this image. Notice anything odd about this pair of Os de Mouton settees?

                                                       

 

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Labeled their “Wingback Settee” the sofa based on an 18th century original is missing its fabric. And, no, that’s not an oversight, or a ploy to get you to peek inside their furniture. This is how it is sold. Sans fabric.

What????

 

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This settee and all the other pieces in Restoration Hardware’s newest line “Deconstructed Upholstery Collection” – are all bare of the top layer of decorative fabric. I mean – seriously, WHAT??? And no, you can’t order the frame WITH fabric. You read that right.

 

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Early-18th-century French Louis XIV inspired wing dining chair

The new line of 15 upholstered pieces was designed by the Van Thiels, Rudy Sr.and his two sons. The trio are antiquarians who seven years ago closed up their European shop to move to China where they design and build authentic looking reproductions of the antique furniture they once sold.

 

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The inspiration chair – what an antique REALLY looks like without its fabric

Fast forward a few years, and Rudy Jr. is preparing to reupholster his grandfather’s 19th century Ladies wing chair that he had recently inherited. After removing it’s worn velvet fabric, the chair stood in the corner – bare, with its horsehair stuffing and burlap lining now exposed. Rudy was instantly drawn to the beauty of the frame, the elegance of its lines and craftsman’s handiwork (and a new way to make a buck.)

“It suddenly opened us up to something that I don’t think people realize is there in an
old wing chair: all the work is inside,” recalls Rudy Sr.

 

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The same chair – inspired by the original – with its “insides” all cleaned up and purty.

The chair is accented with nailheads. The fabric is burlap and “antiqued” cotton. “This is furniture for the ages” says the catalogue. Maybe it should say “furniture for the insane, or furniture for those with too much money to spend, or furniture for people who like to spend more money on an unfinished fake than a finished antique. I could go on and on.

 

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There is no denying the beauty of the pieces. They have chosen some of the prettiest upholstered antique furniture there is. But…..I just can’t get around the fact that there is no fabric on these chairs. It’s so bogus! So silly.

 

 

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The chair above seen here – 19th century English wing chair. How phony is this – look at the sides with the little tufts of torn fabric – as if there was once fabric on this chair and these are the remnants left when the fabric was removed. How deep is the illusion or the deception?

 

 

Still, it’s true – the chair is gorgeous. I could see buying it as is and having it covered. Yes, I do see the beauty in the frame and I do like that look – but when it’s original and real, not so phony as this!

 

 

 

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The matching settee. Gorgeous! This settee is one of the few pieces in the line that happens to look good deconstructed.

 

 

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Windsor Smith makes a copy of this same piece. Originals are hard to find and pricey.

 

 

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Jane Moore, interior designer from Houston has the original settee and matching chair, now with a skirt that hides the legs and casters.

 

 

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The Bad: The English rolled arm sofa is actually ugly in its undressed state. The back and side is very unattractive bare like this. Give me the covered piece any day.

 

 

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So beautiful – an English Rolled Arm sofa covered in a washed linen. The naked frame just doesn’t look good on the English rolled arm sofa and chair. Still, what is amazing about the collection at RH is how beautiful the shapes are. The pieces they chose are really pretty and it’s a crime they can’t be ordered covered in fabric.

 

What started this trend anyway? Looking at the shapes – the antique upholstered furniture, we have Mitchell Gold to thank for that. Years ago, he copied these vintage upholstered frames when no one else was doing it. He sold his designs to Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel, and Restoration Hardware too. Gold changed the furniture business and opened our eyes to venerable companies like George Smith – where people who could afford the prices bought their rolled armed sofa from, not from Pottery Barn. Today, RH is following the path that Gold took, introducing the masses to antique upholstery shapes – and good design. But they ruined it with this silly faux naked frame look. How well the Deconstructed Furniture line sells is anyone’s guess. I predict they will phase out much of the line and keep a few pieces like the Napoleon chair. Or, if they were smart – they would offer the pieces covered.

 

 

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Another clue to where this look all got started? The classic lines, the naked frame, the burlap - look at this 2000 Veranda story of Carol Glasser’s house. These chairs have always been intriguing. Obviously they were borrowed from a store for the photoshoot – and dressed up with checked fabric “trim” rather than upholstered just for the shoot. I had never seen anything like this and was torn between loving them and not. Can anyone remember seeing a naked frame chair in a magazine or book before this? I’m sure there was, but to me, this was the first time.

 

 

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These are the chairs that Glasser owned. But, when your house is photographed more than once – it has to be changed to keep it fresh for the readers. Hence, the burlap covered chairs dressed up with checked trim.

 

 

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Another influence: antique stores. In the past decade, antique stores started covering their merchandise in simple, pale linen or cotton – to create a uniform, clean look to the shop. Imagine if all these chairs and sofas were covered in their original old, faded, and mismatched fabrics? This look really took off and many customers took home the merchandise as is, and left it that way. The shop? The Gray Door.

 

 

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Kay O’Toole was one of the first to cover all her merchandise in liner fabric. Her store is a sea of beautiful antique frames recovered in white.

 

 

Another influence was this chair and matching settee. The “Hannah” by OLY. The chair featured prominent nail heads, raffia and a cotton cushion. This is probably THE chair of the early 2000s. It was seen everywhere and I think it really influenced the white frames, the nailheads, and the burlap/raffia craze of today.

 

 

The settee was never as popular as the chair probably because of its size and price. Just not as practical as a chair. There is also a Hannah headboard in the OLY line.

 

 

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Another influence was the Swedish look. This cover of a house in Dallas, decorated by Jane Moore, tipped the scales in favor of the light painted wood, nailheads, and naked frames. Color schemes changed overnight from reds and blues and yellows to whites and grays. For a while it seemed everyone wanted this look.

 

 

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With the popularity of the Swedish look – came the naked frame. Here tiny nails usually hidden underneath gimp or used on the inside only are proudly shown. Swedish furniture with its wooden frames looks beautiful in its deconstructed state.

 

 

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These two Swedish pieces look perfectly beautiful with burlap and lining fabric and tiny exposed nails.

 

 

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These Swedish chairs from Brooke Giannetti look so pretty deconstructed. But these are antiques.

 

 

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Brooke Giannetti’s beautiful Swedish chair – deconstructed. Hard to beat the real thing.

 

 

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Restoration Hardware Swedish demi lune chair. This is all wrong, the proportions, the stain color. Hideous. Can’t imagine what they are thinking!

 

 

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Better, much better. Tara Shaw makes this reproduction. The stain and proportions are better and the price is much better than an antique, though this is still not cheap.

 

 

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And again, Brooke Giannetti’s deconstructed Swedish barrel chair – the real deal. So beautiful.

 

 

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Gorgeous pair of naked frames. French 18th century. I would consider just putting a new white cushion on these chairs if they were in a place where no one sat on them a lot. But, this is the real thing, not some hokey fake from Restoration Hardware. The burlap is unusually clean and pretty as is, which is often not the case.

 

 

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Now these 18th century French antiques need to be dressed in fabric. There’s a world of difference between this pair and the one above these. These insides are much to0 rough looking to keep the chairs like this.

 

 

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Now, take a look at this chair – the 1870 French Napoleonic one from Restoration Hardware. Again, not a pretty naked frame, but a killer chair – dressed in fabric. $1295. With fabric and reupholstering – at least $2000. hmmm.

 

 

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Nathan Turner, 1880 French chair – what an authentic Napoleonic chair looks like naked. Not great at all. Needs fabric.

 

 

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First Dibs - PAIR of Napoleon III Arm Chairs, 1880s. These would go in any room, even contemporary.

 

 

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First Dibs: Victorian Armchairs in Original Upholstery , ca. 1880 - 1900
$1,285. In various states of undress. Great bargain for a period antique chair.

 

 

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Jane Moore – chair and ottoman. Not sure how you would keep this clean without a slipcover though. I love these chairs. They are great in any room, dressed up or not.

 

 

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Restoration Hardware: $1495. Beautiful chair. But, again, it needs fabric!!

 

 

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The original inspiration Queen Anne wing – notice the fleur de lis detail on the leg. ??? Queen Anne???

 

 

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Pamela Pierce – authentic Queen Anne. She used a linen with tiny nails to give it an undressed look – yet all the stuffing is left inside. Beautiful lines.

 

 

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Chateau Domingue: another wing chair – beautiful and simple in linen and decorative nailheads. And to the left, a chair in its lining look – with the tiny nails.

 

 

Deconstructed French Victorian Chaise

Deconstructed French chaise from RH for just $2295. snort. I think this one is horrible looking without its fabric. Just too much going on – it looks so busy instead of simple, as it should be.

 

 

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A similar look – English, not French, but simple and elegant in its tailored slip. The Gray Door.

 

 

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1st Dibs - French Napoleon III Chaise Longue, 1875. Period chaise. Upholstered in microvelvet. $2900. Compare this price for a period piece vs. a fake piece from RH.

 

 

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Restoration Hardware sofa – $2995. The sides aren’t great – bulky looking. But, this deconstructed piece is better than others in the line.

 

 

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The Gray Door – the real thing.

 

 

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A beautiful, yet simply covered settee in linen and nailheads. Gorgeous.

 

 

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And another, in simple cloth with tiny nails. Doesn’t get much prettier. Eleanor Cummings.

 

 

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Ottoman, 1870 French Napoleonic. This comes in two sizes and really is a perfect piece if you want the look. Plus it’s really affordable, only $895 for the 6’ ottoman. This might be the biggest seller in the line.

 

 

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The look of the ottoman – but in an antique.

 

So, what do YOU think about this line? Do you think it’s as ridiculous as I do? Or do you love it? I’m anxious to see what happens with all these pieces. If they would give buyers the option to cover the pieces with fabric, I think they would have a smash hit – because the shapes and lines are beautiful, to be sure. Otherwise, I think this line will tank quickly. But what do I know?

 

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Note: if you are in Houston, plan to see these homes! One is designed by Pamela Pierce and another by Ginger Barber!!!! And one is a renovation by Kurt Aichler. Whoa. Those houses are worth the price of admission, plus I’ve heard the other houses are wonderful too.

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246 comments:

  1. I agree. They are ridiculous. Can you imagine your embarrassment when a guest snags their clothes on those sill exposed nails? RH has gone over the edge.

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  2. A year and a half ago my husband bought me two French chairs from 1st dibs, they were covered in white muslin. After reading your post, I realize 1st dibs was saving money and streamlining their line. Smart! However, the RH trick is tacky....It's sort of like copying a red carpet gown and charging near the price of the designer original....or like selling a cubic-z for nearly the same price as a Caartier diamond! Similarly, I think mini-skirts are a "short cut" to save fabric for the manufacturer.

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    1. I thought the same thing! RH was smart to send this catalog as an email. They will be smarter if they allow a fabric choice on these lovely frames. I have a sofa I wanted to recover, now I guess I can just remove the rotting fabric and be done.LOL

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  3. Hi,
    I do not like the Restoration Hardware deconstructed look. I agree it works on original antiques, but not new pieces made to look that way. I think they will have to eventually offer the option to have the pieces covered in order to sell them.

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  4. Joni-
    All visionaries look back and forward. I think that the direction RH is going is very brave. Perhaps we need to look past the fact that what they might be trying to say is that the beauty is within.
    I have an open mind and try to appreciate all there is. There is something alluring about seeing the "innards" or the "guts" especially with all the sleek high tech gadgetry. Maybe Apple will follow and have a clear computer to show all the geekery within.
    There will be a new RH opening in Greenwich and I hear it is going to be a model store.
    pve

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  5. I wish we had an insider at RH to tell us if anyone on earth is actually buying these pieces. I do hope you'll blog about the home tour this weekend. Sounds fab. Thanks for the early morning laugh today with this post!

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  6. Sadly, their stores will be full on week-ends with people willing to spend money because it's the latest trend. I suppose this calls to mind the saying "more money than taste". The proportions are simply terrible. The furniture looks like someone's cat or puppy was home alone for two weeks.

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  7. Well researched post, Joni. Yes, silly, impractical and way too trendy!

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  8. Great post- hilarious, actually. I wish RH luck with that new (emperer has no clothes) line, might be a hard sell. Seasoned shoppers are forgiving of that sort of look in antiques that are well priced, but retail?? Keep us posted...

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  9. Just as I hate it when people fill their shelves with "fake" collections, I hate the reproductions. The authentic pieces are lovely. Also, who wants to sit on burlap in a short skirt? I say TREND...it just won;t work for 99% of America and I am not sure why RH is limiting their market so much. I do get their small paces catalogue and was impressed with these offerings.

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  10. I'm with you, Joni! This is ridiculous. Is this supposed to represent the fall of the economy or something? I love RH, but hate this line.

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  11. could not agree more...sadly, "phony" sells and the masses want it (especially when produced by cheap labor-read China)...but RH has there following and they are masters at styling and photoshoots...
    ...but as they say "there's no accounting for taste"....excellent post..
    best,
    maureen

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  12. I had the same reaction you had and I agree with everything you said!

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  13. Well, it would be nice if everyone could afford the real thing. But, what is wrong with the "fake" collections if people want that look?!! It is a bit snobbish to think that only the wealthy should be allowed to decorate this way and afford the authentic antiques. I am so glad there are knock-off pieces of the real furniture. I can now decorate the way I want and some will never know the difference (except maybe the very few "nose-in-the airs".
    Kat

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    1. Decorate with this and only those who have been living in Bangladesh would not know the difference.

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    2. many times though the authentic piece is cheaper or the same price. i tried to show that with a few chairs. but i understand wanting the look. but this look is not cheap! i love repros as much as the next person, but i hate paying more for the repro.

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  14. I'll take my furniture dressed, please.

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  15. Not my thing. I don't get it. If someone is really after that look, then by all means they should try to scour the markets (and they can be had at all price points, in everywhere from fine antique stores to flea markets and auctions) for the real deal, but there are no doubt going to be hordes of people who will succumb to this trend because they are so loyal to the RH brand but I cannot see it having lasting power. It would be have been more acceptable to see them do their own take on these chairs but to replicate it down to the untacked nails is going over the edge, in my humble opinion.
    I got not one but two catalogs, and was tempted to keep them as dumbweights to do my arm exercises..geez...how heavy are those things!!

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  16. As far as I'm concerned, RH jumped the shark years ago. There was a time when I admired their style - but I can't really remember how long ago that was. You can look through their entire catalog and only see a color other than brown, beige and ivory in the towel section. Sorry, but all that boring neutrality puts me to sleep - or depresses me. Overpriced, pretentious and deadly dull...

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  17. Joni, I couldn't agree more. A person can find lovely antiques that are great buys if a person enjoys the hunt. A person does not need to pay RH money for lovely older-looking pieces in a home. The real deal is out there. Or, reproduction deals that look much, much more authentic than this. Why pay RH prices for furniture that looks like mice have been living with them in the attic? I think this guy who took over RH awhile back is beginning to look like a one trick pony. The company has spent a fortune re-vamping themselves for a very narrow market. It will be interesting to see how long it all lasts. All I can say is, I hope he is learning a new trick, because this one will fall by the wayside before too long. I know the people who began and used to own RH, and I lived near their first group of stores. I have loved watching their success and transformation through the years. This phase though....I think will prompt more ridicule than sales. Loved your post today - a tremendous amount of work and incredibly interesting! Thank you!

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  18. I think that RH lost the plot when they started doing the airplane wing desks and chairs, and all of that massive industrial looking furniture. The number of people who 1) like that look, 2) have the room for that look, and 3) can afford that look has to be pretty damn small. I used to love RH, but now I barely give them a glance... and the store near me closed earlier this year.

    xo

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  19. Not a fan of RH. Like liparifam says, too boring. I also prefer authentic and dressed, and if you scour the shops, you still can find antiques in comparable price ranges to the RH repros. BUT I do appreciate all your research and the mini history lesson! I learned some things! Thanks!

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  20. Don't like it , don't get it , wouldn't want it in my house .

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  21. Maybe I've gotten too old to be trendy but I really just don't think you can mass produce "charm". I grew up and designed in the furniture capitol of the world and have seen it attempted over and over and over again. I just don't buy it; literally! I may sound a bit snobbish now, but I remember a time when a lot of us were snubbed for decorating with our "as was" (pre- "deconstruction") finds and doing it on a shoestring!Restoration Hardware certainly knows how to inspire though. Kudos!

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  22. Too trendy for me. Thanks for the info on the home tour. I have seen some beautiful deconstructed chairs in House Beautiful, Dan Marty was the designer. They looked so appropriate with the rest of the texture in the room. These just look so trendy. In 5 years, people will be hauling their naked furniture to local upholsterers to be covered.

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  23. My friend I am reminded of a fairy tale that you might be familiar with: "The Emperor's New Clothes". There are always people who will buy what you tell them to even if it looks ridiculous.

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  24. Joni - this post made me laugh out loud. You are the funniest woman in blogging. Thanks for a great start to the day. Phyllis

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  25. Joni, have you read Deluxe by Dana Thomas? This latest RH line is straight out of the luxury brands playbook. In her book Thomas reviews how luxury brands started taking shortcuts and making them fashionable, thing like shorter cuffs as well as "frayed" or "laser" finished edges. These methods are all big cost savers in the production of the clothes, which get sold at the same price or even more. That is exactly what RH is doing. They are saving money on the fabric as well a the labor and the prices are on par with those of the same "upholstered" pieces or perhaps even at a markup. I don't necessarily think its "big corporations being evil" but I do think that as a consumer its important to be aware. Then again Thomas' point is that if high-end brands get caught up in all the cost savings it will ultimately cheapen their brand. Overall I just think its a shame that they don't offer the pieces fully upholstered, because I would snap up that wing chair and ottoman in a minute!

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  26. I got my catalog on Saturday ... and was waiting for your comments!! After the last catalog I was going to be very disappointed if you didn't weigh in! You made my day. I can appreciate what they are trying to do ... just not sure they hit the mark. Still, fun fodder for discussion and really makes me wish I had the money to scour european flea markets and send a crate home full of the real thing!!

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  27. I completely agree with you! Ridiculous!!!

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  28. ...as i posted on another blog...the emperor is alive and well...living at restoration hardware...and he is still just as naked as a jaybird...laney

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  29. ...as i posted on another blog...the emperor is alive and well...living at restoration hardware...and he is still just as naked as a jaybird...laney

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  30. Oh my, where do I start! Great informative post Joni. You took the words right outta my mouth! I totally agree, the RH look is plain stupid. It is just a look - nothing more and not something that is functional. I suppose I could see a piece of something deconstructed, old or not, if you really liked it. But I bet guests would be afraid to sit on it! I've been waiting for the RH catalog, sure hope the rest of it is better than this! And thank you for the heads up about the houses, I'll be there! Oh and Joni, I wish you would do a post again about shopping in Houston. I remember the post you did about all your favorite spots - loved it !!!! Beth

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  31. Well, I for one wish there was a Restoration Hardware store in Melbourne Australia so I could pop in and have a good look at these interesting pieces of furniture. At first glance I would say - love them! Restoration Hardware - come to Australia. Antiques are well out of reach of the normal person here, so we can't be too snobby about "antique" or "fake".We have very few stores that sell imaginative interesting well made furniture.We would love and appreciate some variety!

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  32. I don't like it at all. The furniture is ugly and doesn't look like anything I would ever want to sit on. I don't like the real deal pieces done like that either, they just don't look finished or pretty or usable. I want my furniture to be soft to the touch and NOT mess up my clothes when I sit on it, who wants nails or raw wood snagging their clothes?!?!?! It's just plain stupid!

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  33. I received my catalog and thought exactly the same thing!

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  34. My husband and I bought a beautiful double-sided stained bookcase from RH years ago! Back when I loved their style and the quality matched their sale prices (RH has always been a bit overpriced in my mind). I think the only thing I look at their catalog now is for the silk drapes. I haven't purchased anything since that bookcase - which we still have and still LOVE.
    I think they changed their tune too much - didn't management change a few yrs back? I think that's when they went off the deep end.

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  35. I enjoyed all the great examples you showed off in this "set em straight" post. Thorough as always~

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  36. RH is trying way to hard ...in the wrong direction. Even if they did offer upholstery the final piece would be so ridiculously high for a reproduction or rather a faux reproduction. Of course many of us cannot afford exquisite antiques like those pictured; however a gorgeously well made reproduction is so much better than these spoofs.

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  37. I'm so glad you said it! I was thinking it was going the way of a jump the shark moment, and as much as I'm not a heavy pattern kind of girl, this has officially gotten out of control! Love the last picture with just a few fab printed throws and pillows! Still love my linen, but sans fabric has got to go!

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  38. I got the catalog in the mail - it was actually packaged as a set of three: the huge main one and 2 smaller ones. I was actually angry when I opened it to see this new deconstructed line. RH treats the masses like we are morons. Come on! Do you really think we are stupid enough to buy new furniture that looks like fake antiques that need to be re-covered. They have insulted my intelligence. I was about to dump the whole thing in the trash when my mom wanted a look, and noticed that the same pieces are shown over and over again throughout the catalog, further enraging me. Why put out a massive "look book" and waste all that paper when you could just pair it down and show the basics. Just the facts, mam.

    As you pointed out, Joni, there are plenty of places to get the real thing at a good value. If you don't have a source in your home town, there is always the internet. There is no excuse for buying junk like this. I hope the masses send RH a clear message: WE ARE NOT STUPID.

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  39. Joni- I couldn't agree more. I am so tired of the crap that is out there. I have always been a big fan of RH. But this-COME ON!! It's like they're trying too hard. I just don't get it! It's like in my posting on my blog today -just had to have my rant. I am so glad that you have used your voice- it is your blog afterall!! What about function? I mean if I wanted an antique-that's what I would buy. And I agree about the proporations- all wrong. Keep it coming Joni-voice of reason will out I say!!

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  40. I love the distressed and industrial looks and I suppose that deconstructed furniture was bound to happen, but I don't like it at all. If I had one of these pieces in my living room my friends and family would assume I just bought it at an antique store and would ask, "When are you going to have it upholstered." Thanks for your long, long posts Joni. I know you put a lot of time and effort into each post and it is so fun to sit down and enjoy a nice long read from a great design blog!

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  41. FAntastic post! Very informative and well researched- impressive! I agree 100% with you. Can't believe they are limiting their audience so.... and the prices! for undressed- ridiculous.
    Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome

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  42. Me thinks you do protest too much. You don't have to like it. RH doesn't have to conform. Just as a fashion designer occasionally presents outrageous apparel on the runway, perhaps RH is thinking outside the box. The frames are gorgeous on most of the pieces. Time will tell whether the parameters of their "outside the box" thinking appeal to a market.

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    1. I think it's different and interesting. And yes you could buy originals when available. But it's always nice to have a choice that you know will be sturdy and not smelly, like so many original pieces that just sit at antique stores. In my experience the original pieces that are in great condition, cost much more than the pieces RH is offering. Trendy yes...but we all fall for something that is a current favorite. Not unlike your wicker chairs that you have in your dinning room. I may not agree with you on this one...but I do appreciate the conversation.

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    2. one point i should have made - antique furniture can be quite small, esp. dining room chairs and upholstered chairs. so - if you and your husband are large, repros are the way to go.

      i agree most frames are gorgeous = and i said that. i just couldn't believe the risk they are taking without the option to order fabric. they would double their sales. i don't get it.

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  43. I'm okay with the look - I like stuff in the rough, but the real stuff. I have a pair of 18c chairs stripped to the skeletons and I love them, but it's not forced, it was an accident that we discovered how pretty the frames were. I think context matters, too, even with the real thing - some trends only work in some instances. The wrong environment makes it look double-cheesy instead of current.

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  44. I think you hit the nail on the head!

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  45. Agreed. My other gripe with RH over the past several years is how gigantic their furniture pieces are. Are they catering to the mcmansion market? I must say I do like RH window treatments, especially the linen lines, and some lighting fixtures, and hardware. I used to love RH when it was a hardware store and hate that it's turned into primarily a furniture store for gigantic houses.

    Maureen

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  46. What an informative post, as usual. I thought the exact same thing when I got my RH catalog. I glanced through it and threw it away immediately. Usually, there are a couple of things I drool over in the RH catalog. Not this time. Great minds think alike.

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  47. I really like the look of deconstructed pieces of furniture. I would not buy a new piece that looks old though...I prefer an antique. I think they are like little pieces of art and would not do a whole room but rather showcase one piece in a room so it would really "shine". I think most people would tire of this look pretty quickly though......
    I have a few pieces of RH furntiure and think it is a nice option for those of us who live in areas where antiqie pieces are not available. Not everyone has the time or money to travel to hand pick antique pieces for their home. Plus shipping pieces in is a nightmare since they almost always arrive damaged and it is pretty expensive now.

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  48. This past week I recieved 3 catalogs from RH and have no idea how or why I got them. After glancing at the overpriced furniture and reading your blog about RH's "unfinished" line all I can say is P.T. Barnum was correct in saying "there's a sucker born every minute".

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  49. I'm so with you on this one! When I looked through their online catalog I was initially so excited to see some new furniture with beautiful lines but then I noticed the "deconstructed" sides and backs and my heart sank. They ruined what could be some amazing furniture...

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  50. Oh, my. My Mother taught me that we work hard for our money, we invest in pieces that have stood the test of time and will continue to do so. We reupholster furniture as needed and you truly do get what you pay for. I have a beautiful pair of carved bergere chairs that I bought at a garage sale listed on Craigslist. I've wanted to take them to the upholstery shop but now I'm going to peek at what's underneath!

    Thanks for the home show info & always your attention to detail and thoughts.

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  51. I always look forward to your articles. Your trained eye and astute commentary are fabulous design lessons. Keep up the good work; I know it takes hours and hours to produce such quality articles. I'm sure I would have flipped right past the RH pages, not picking up on the detail since I see the originals in antique stores.

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  52. RIDICULOUS!!!! Great if I found it on the side of the road...a real find and recovered it!! I wouldn't pay $100 for it.

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  53. I still buy RH hardware and bath ware. I have bought antiques in bare linen...usually to recover but sometimes (rarely) the simplicity works. RH is missing the mark here...an all such big pieces.

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  54. I think RH has something for everyone. I agree that the new pieces are too raw and trendy. The Luxe, Belgian, French look is being overdone today; however, I love some of the RH pieces such as the tufted bench I just purchased for my bathroom. It's lovely, upholstered and timeless. They also have beautiful linens, velvet fabrics, and wonderful bath/plumbing/hardware accessories. We just recently remodeled our master bath and bedroom and used their paint line, which turned out beautiful. The funny thing I recently noticed about RH was in their new store in Highland Village (Houston). Outside in the downstairs courtyard, they have wooden wingback chairs, un-upholstered, and the wood looks like plywood....very thin. When I say no upholstery, I mean NONE. I'm not sure if these chairs were for sale, or just a prop for the courtyard. If you live in Houston, check them out...they are near the fountain area. Consequently, when the new catalogue came out, I wasn't surprised at the pieces that were partially upholstered. For me, the thin-wood wing backs tipped their new line :) I still love RH though.

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  55. If I were to buy those pieces and bring them home, first my husband would laugh his head off and then cart me off to the funny farm. Crazy is right!

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    1. I agree-my husband would flip if I ever purchased something looking like that. AND, at those over-inflated prices.

      Delete
  56. I have to agree with Patricia [PVE]; live and let live! Seeing the beauty inside is part of the philosophy. I am a RH fan and I appreciate the fact that Gary is trying to introduce design to the masses. Perhaps the beautiful pieces WILL be covered in future lines – and the people who don't like the deconstructed look will be able to relate. Till then, we'll have to see what happens!

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    Replies
    1. American "masses" don't have the kind of money that RH wants for their products produced "en masse" by the Chinese masses. I think these pieces look like something you would find at the edge of the street... as massive roadkill!

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  57. Well said, Joni! The Restoration Hardware collection looks like the kind of furniture we picked off the corner when I was a grad student, and believe me, I'm over that! I predict this collection will quickly tank--it looks like a set for Miss Haversham's house in Great Expectations.

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  58. I agree that there is beauty in some of these pieces, but they are FAKE people! This is a look that has to be found. As in an antique store, or the side of the road. Still, one would eventually upholster--right? RH is chasing a look and they're behind. I'm so over burlap I could scream! Then there is the price! Ridiculous!
    Fabrics are coming back. Wonderful, gorgeous fabrics. And so is the English Country look. That would mean color, collections, cozy and comfort. None of the RH pieces can claim my 4C's! Great post Joni. Jane Moore's kitchen makes my heart skip a beat, as does Carol Glasser's. ~Delores

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  59. You tell'em, Sistah! RH always leaves me scratching my head, which is maybe what they intended.

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  60. Joni, Some of the pieces are beautiful, but look trendy and i think they will go out of style. I wouldn't buy them! love Jane Moore's designs, so talented....

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  61. My cats would have a field day on the burlap on these pieces! I miss the old RH before they decided to go "high end" with furniture that is out of touch. That airplane desk...really?

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  62. I would never pay these prices for "copies" from Restoration Hardware. Like you, I prefer the originals, even if in the long run they are more costly. However, they will keep their value and these new pieces won't. Is this possibly shades of Dan Marty? I was at a party recently, in Houston, and some very professional guys were discussing
    RH's new concept store in Highland Village...they were amazed at the prices, but happy RH thought the market is strong enough in our city to undertake this project. I could not agree with you more, Joni. And, yes, you do know a thing or two. :)'s

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  63. Phony or not - it is hideous.
    Deconstructed furniture looks awful ANY way you look at it.
    I wouldnt spend a nickel on it old OR new...and if someone gave me one Id have it upholstered!
    They (RH) are headed for a disaster. As it is, the "overdone" gray on gray and frenchie thing is now like the
    "french country" look that everyone is replacing. Soon to be faded out like all of the other trends. (geez I sound crabby!)

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  64. I feel like I'm reading the "Emperor's New Clothes".

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  65. I was actually working on a post about this very subject! Don't know if I will continue with mine since you covered it all! Great post! Yours is far more meaty than what I was writing but in essence the same material! I think RH is hoping we will buy this look but the reality is this is much like them trying to sell books with the covers ripped off and twine tied around them for $25.00. It's a joke. These frames will end up being upholstered, you watch and see. I think anyone who wants this look is wanting a real antique because anyone who understands what they are trying to achieve is too smart to fall for this...

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  66. The line is, of course, ridiculous. If meant for a gay couple with no kids in a NYC loft apartment, fine. Anyone else has to worry about the practicalities of life, like cleaning such dust collecting eyesores, the threat of splinters, etc. I must admit that I have ordered a few things from Restoration Hardware and have had to return or exchange them because they had functional problems, such as not sitting level on the floor or tabletop. The lack of foresight and the slavish adherence to the "look" over all else is breathtaking in such an economy.

    The frames are ravishingly beautiful. If, however, I want to see antique furniture construction methods, I will go to a museum. I have a big problem with Restoration Hardware not allowing the customer to order the item with at least a muslin upholstery, even at a slight upcharge. It is amusing/maddening to go into their store (or "atelier") in NYC to find the clerks affecting a haute designer stance, yet not allowing the customer the simple basics in choice provided by even rudimentary designers. I once asked if a finish other than the weathered oak was possible on one of their french inspired dining chairs, even unfinished (easily done as the "weathering" is accomplished after construction of the parts) and was told, most emphatically, and a bit dismissively, "No"; ribbon clerks as design Nazis...

    Another manufacturer/retailer should take note, Use RH's sources and offer a few options on the same type of product and customers will beat a path to your door.

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    1. Gay couples with no kids in lofts are susceptible to dust, splinters, etc.

      Delete
    2. Gay couples in lofts with no kids have much better taste than this garbage...

      Delete
  67. I just don't know what to think. I received the GINORMOUS catalog Saturday. I thought it was interesting to look at (in the catalog) but wondering who exactly is their target market? Who is buying this stuff? That is one marketing panel I would love to join. I think it would be fascinating.

    Their current look is so one dimensional. What are they going to do when the trends shift away from this look? Oh wait, they are adding blue... ??

    Would love to hear the comments on BLUE furniture they added...

    Great post... your posts must take you days. They are always so in depth.

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  68. I'm definitely in agreement with most of the comments and with you, Joni. Your candid, hilarious and to the point remarks addressing the target buyer of these pieces about sums the appeal of this particular look & "gosh, I hope this doesn't catch on" trend. To that point, thankfully a less than brilliant trend does tend to have a shelf life.

    In my antique business and shop the "go Muslin or go home movement" came about for one main reason- in most cases, the customer/client will want to change the upholstery to reflect their tastes & decor. I cover chairs, settees, benches, etc... in Muslin to present a visually cleaner piece & to control unnecessary costs on my part & the part of the customer/client.

    Stylish & timeless are not two words that come to mind when I see these pieces. Thank goodness a large number of the buying public is able to think decoratively for themselves, recognize style over substitutions for it, and refuses to let a trend or catalog define true style.

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  69. I consider myself very fortunate for not having gotten that catalogue. Their "inspiration" reminds me of a beautiful man or woman -I enjoy admiring but would never want to see their skin stripped away to reveal their bones and or muscles. Please people keep the damn things covered! I like coverings.

    I think I've also reached my limit in seeing faux antiques. There are enough antiques in the world to go around -save your money and buy the real thing (or in this case save money by buying the real thing!). RH has really taken a dark turn down the wrong alley and I know I'm not willing to pay more for half done work. Ughh, I need a coffee!

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  70. Love this post. I also love RH's deconstructed line. Are they really any more bogus than other reproductions? When I first saw them in an email from RH I thought they were brilliant. It never occurred to me there might be a firestorm backlash. What I do HATE is the airplane line. But I would hate it if the collection were the real thing.

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  71. This upholstery fails my Flea test. If a seat looks like I can't sit on it without worrying about fleas crawling up my shorts, it's too shabby.

    (As an aside, I love Michele Lalande's books; they feature a lot of furniture like this. It is REAL though. And the rooms you would actually use have furniture that passes the flea test. Mostly. But beautiful settings in a book are for inspiration, something you buy at RH should expect to see use.)

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  72. Hah! Joni, I thoroughly enjoyed this rant! :-) I agree; great shapes, and it's interesting for buyers to have a chance to see what's "under the hood" of an upholstered piece of furniture, but selling unfinished furniture at these prices is just further evidence that RH is getting too full of itself. "We'll save money by leaving off the fabric, and tell customers that upholstery fabric is old-fashioned! They will believe us, because we are gods..." And yes, I find myself looking at some of the better chairs and thinking, "I could just have my local upholsterer cover it with fabric," but it wouldn't be cost effective to do that with the price points RH is asking for the chairs. Basically, they are trying to sell people upholstery frames as finished pieces.

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  73. I agree with your conclusions about this furniture and "LOL"-ed about your comments!

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  74. Completely DISAGREE!

    I adore the look, but am phobic of old fabrics/stuffings -- this is a perfect compromise for people like me.

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  75. I actually think its great looking now that I have seen it in person and know somone who just got the settee and 2 chairs and guess what it looks really beautiful. I wasn't sure when she first showed me the picture but seeing them in her home (near the coast) I must say they are breathtaking. She looked first for older pieces (and can easily afford them) but she said eventually everything becomes old or an antique and she was tired of looking when right in front of her was what she was looking for. So...don't be so quick to judge, and tear someone apart for liking them. Clearly the bunch not loving it are in the minority given the enormous success. I do admit that at times i find the catalog to be a bit bland and predictable but he is obviously appealing to millions of people who love it. And seeing it in the flesh, I have to admit it looks quite beautiful. Gotta give RH credit for continuing to be innovative and marching forward.

    I don't think RH has always hit a home run but in general they have reinvented themselves over and over (with much success) and Gary is a marketing genius.
    Their new stores are incredibly gorgeous, you don't want to leave!

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    1. actually this makes me feel like sh@T. ok. i GET it. and I'm sure her house is fabulous. I love the look. but i don't know - the whole line with the burlap and the tufts of fabric hanging off like it had been torn off - it's just so phony. but i hate that someone will feel bad about buying it. there are some of the pieces that i would like myself - like the ottoman and some of the chairs.

      it's just worth having the discussion - but i wouldn't judge someone for buying it and have no doubt it looks good. some people hate old furniture - and like i said earlier - sometimes the antiques are too small.

      this is why i hate going negative!!!!

      Delete
    2. Joni, you should not. Everybody has a right to an opinion, and in your own right you are a trend setter. Like-minded people band together. The reason I love your astute and sometimes hilarious comments is because they are authentic --as in not 'phony' or 'fake'. Of course antique pieces are smaller, because people ate moderately and were not so huge that the "need" for McMansions emerged.

      I am now so tired of the grey everywhere. I'm certain that 5 years from now everybody will be repainting their greys with the colors that have endured the test of time. And you have a few good articles about that subject.

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  76. Now this is a fun while to while away a rainy Saturday. Joni, you are the best! Thanks for the lessons and the laughs. Loved EAC's comment about the flea test! I hope this RH attempt to fool us all bites them in the flea bitten butt!

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  77. Just got RH "BIG" catalog...they sent me two sets of three! (Go figure) OMG, If you have never "sat on burlap" you are in for a rude awakening..snagsville + scratchy, need I say more. Furnish a room from Big Box Stores like RH & that room will look just like Big Box Stores..bought out of one of their catalogs! Spend your money carefully + wisely-take an ID advise. So agree with you, Joni! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  78. Joni, I am soooo with you on this. When I saw this new line I thought RH must be hurting, they have now stepped into the land of, Maybe really really different will sale. You and I have been designing long enough to see trends come and go and come back again,but a pitfall of some designers is when they try to be soooo different they wind up in bazaar land and I think this is the case here. I did a post last year called have we gone to far? It shows some of the what they are calling deconstructed pieces. I felt the same way when RH changed their over all look. Apparently it is not doing as well as expected because they have injected a lighter background and a little blue( I am glad about that) but I still miss my silver sage! Change can be good, but why fix something that is not broken and now they are trying to fix it with pieces that truly look broken.
    http://goodlifeofdesign.blogspot.com/2011/03/have-we-gone-to-far.html

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  79. Los Angeles designer and shop owner Dan Marty has done this look...it was featured in House Beautiful a few years ago. This seems like a pretty blatant rip-off...and just another example of Restoration Hardware "jumping the shark". Their catalog is an example of everything that is already overused and passe.

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    Replies
    1. I remember that. At least it was only the backs of the chairs that were left unfinished.

      Delete
  80. I've posted a couple of blogs recently about what I consider silly decorating trends taken to the extreme, the painted furniture and woodwork, the numbers, the burlap, the sink skirts, the deconstructed furniture. This certainly is taking it to a new extreme although, as I pointed out in one blog, if the piece of upholstered furniture is so bad it would look better in its underclothes, then it might be at a least a temporary solution. Teddee

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  81. I totally agree with you, don't care for this deconstructed look at all.

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  82. Great post and I totally agree!
    x
    maria

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  83. Choosing a copy (are they called "fine antique replicas" perhaps?), which is pretty much mass-produced, instead of an original, for roughly the same price...hmm.

    This touches on the problem I have with over-styled interiors you know. Sometimes if you have a lovely antique object you should just let it be there, even if the wallpaper and the rug are not optimal matches with it. Our hunger for portion-controlled, well-behaved antiques (fed by our matchingness/styling addiction - but I won´t get too fired up about all of that here) is apparently greater than our interest in actual antiques.

    McDonalds Antiques, an English friend om mine calls objects like these. He says that some people would choose a hamburger över a piece of well hung, prime beef and the decision to select fake antiques instead of the real thing is a similar phenomenen.

    Whatever its name, RH ar cleverly tapping into the demand.

    Another thought: If Monet (or replace his name with any other great artist) were alive today I guess he´d probably get the comment/question: nice work - can you do me a version with yellow on it to go with my sofa?

    Just for the record, I think RH do some amazing work.
    I also love to read a good rant - well done you.

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  84. I haven't scrolled through the comments to see if others have guessed the source of the exposed RH furniture but I'm guessing the idea came from Dan Marty.

    See a close up of Dan Marty's exposed chairs on Style Beat
    http://stylebeat.blogspot.com/2010/05/turning-french-maison-au-naturel-from.html


    Dan Marty's dining room with exposed chairs
    http://designinthewoods.blogspot.com/2011/09/repetition-in-design.html

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  85. I sure appreciate the honesty. I would say these raw looks are risky. They don't look bad, but I am afraid over time the people who buy them may get tired of them looking so unfinished.

    Many people in the "design world" would know the raw primitive look they were after, but I am afraid most guests, or common folk that would step into your home would point it out right away.... "so when are you going to get these upholstered?" I know that would be my parents reaction and my inlaws who don't follow design trends.

    It seems like everyone is throwing RH under the bus here. Though in defence of RH, over the last several years their furniture has been top knotch. I just cannot get enough of it. I love their distressed furniture, and it seems like more than ever they are producing a lot of reproductions, and for me, I eat it up, because I feel as though any of the modern designs for the last 30 years havn't been attractive at all. For the most part the only thing good these last few years have been the reproductions that have come on the market. There isn't anything that is NEW that is exciting.

    Though I appreciate the edge of RH. They always have good merchandise, and a whole line of complete upholstered pieces that you can pick from. I do look forward to their new lines because they always have a good eye. I love that they are producing reproductions from a lot of different regions, (Swedish, English, French, and Modern....) They have something for everyone.

    Joni- Thanks for your honesty. I can see this hit a spark with everyone here.,

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  86. 700 pages! I couldn't believe it!

    Yes, as you pointed out, we have several authentic "deconstructed" pieces in our house.
    I fell in love with them because their condition was a glimpse into their history... a well worn existence.
    Unfortunately, the RH pieces can't possibly recreate that kind of "soul".

    I hope I'm making sense. This is a very emotional topic for me, because it goes to the core of my design philosophy.
    But in the end, I know this trend will fade. When I start seeing the RH pieces being sold at a discount, I will still be in love my authentic antiques.

    Wonderful post, Joni. Thank you for including some images of my favorite pieces.

    xo
    Brooke

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  87. Joni,

    I received a set of three RH catalogs in the mail. I could not agree more about the deconstructed pieces. I also found myself wishing for an option to fully upholster the pieces as well as a selection of additional finishes. Some of the pieces have nice lines IF ONLY they could be fully upholstered. I have been dying for a Tara Shaw Gustavian barrel back chair, but the price is still a little out of reach - even for a reproduction. The RH version is not aesthetically pleasing and you are correct, the lines are wrong. It definitely could use some refinement. With better upholstery options and finishes it might be a passable, more affordable alternative. Still, I have to hand it to Restoration Hardware for being on trend and making affordable reproductions of popular designer and antique pieces. They are still my go-to source for garden decor and bathroom lighting. Thanks for the interesting post, Joni!

    Ashley in Houston

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  88. Joni, I couldn't agree more. Thanks for your outspoken post. I have a feeling R.H. will realize this was a mistake. Reproduction is great. Phony and "affected" is not.
    Always love reading your blog and seeing your stunning photographs.

    Sherri in Colorado

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  89. The RH rooms are about as depressing as I have ever seen in print, and yet Brooke Giannetti can put a somewhat similar piece of furniture in a room and it is gorgeous. There is no substitute for authenticity.

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  90. There is nothing wrong with a Good Reproduction - it certainly makes things accessible to people without a big budget for "real" antiques. But these pieces cross the line from reproduction to ridiculous. I have plenty of "faux" things in my home, because it is what I can afford I suppose (who in their right mind needs a $500 antique planter on the back step when a $25 resin one will do?) and what suits my purpose and budget. But somehow this goes too far. It is just creepy mostly and weird. And unattractive. I had the precise same thought "that would look better upholstered" and actually did the calculation for a couple of chairs of what I'd have to pay in total to upholster! They do have some good lines in some of their pieces.
    I am not sure who will buy this crap. The great unwashed Middle Class I guess, who shop at Pottery Barn and want a trend look without interest in authenticity or a real collectible. Again, I am conflicted as we cannot all shop at Tara Shaw, but yet people want this look. How do they get it? Do the poor do without? I am always conflicted about this stuff as I appreciate so much the real deal. When I travel, I spend days in antique stores, educating myself, but I cannot afford most of the pieces. So I buy almost all turn of the century (1900) or vintage (<100 year old) which I can afford. I have 100-year old reproduction Queen Anne, which I feel better about buying than a modern reproduction, but it is not the "real thing". Where does one draw the line? I have a line but it is vague...!
    This stuff does cross it though, but mostly because I never liked that distress look to start with.
    :)

    xo Terri

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    1. "The great unwashed Middle Class...who shop at Pottery Barn..." How absolutely rude of you!!!!

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  91. it makes me itchy just looking at these pieces...

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  92. The sad thing is people will purchase this just because it is from R.H. then in a few years they will need to have it re-uhpolstered. people can be sheep especially when it come to style. Thank you for sharing your honesty.

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  93. Joni, What were they thinking? High price, low cost...there can be no other explanation. I'm not buying it!
    Love your AUTHENTIC images!

    xoxo, chris

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  94. I love you post, you are so right. I just do not see any beauty in those deconstructed pieces of furniture. They do have a beautiful frame, no doubt, but please please people, just covered it nicely.

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  95. WTF, RH!!! I'm usually a big fan of theirs but it seems like they really are just trying to be sooooo "forward" they're forgetting to make it still appeal to the masses (albeit the masses with some decent dough). Reminds me of Zoolander when Will Farrell's fashion designer character makes his new line "Derelique" based off of "hobo chic".

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  96. If an individual likes the rustic look then they are in heaven. Personally, this is not my preference and I certainly would not pay the price-points they have for furniture that is deconstructed. It is kind of like ordering a deconstructed desert .... the pie filling is here .... the crust is here and the topping is here (3 little piles).... it tastes the same ... just isn't together. Sometimes I think people get bored and try something totally out of the box. Some people like it ... others don't. Maybe we'll start wearing deconstructed clothing as well .... wouldn't that be a hoot????? Inside out clothes ... maybe no sleeves or the hem out .... the collar off. It is all a little ridiculous isn't it?

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  97. I used to love RH, but I can't figure out who their audience is any more. I like the look of a lot of their pieces (not these undressed ones) but I couldn't imagine how many people had houses big enough to use them. I have nearly 12 foot ceilings, and most of their light fixtures seemed way too big for my house.

    This new line? I don't get it. I agree with everything you've said about it. I commend them for taking a chance, but who is buying this stuff?

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  98. I understand it and can even apprecipate the idea behind it, but I think they've taken it too far...most of the pieces are missing too much...Sort of like a friend of mine who just spent $2M on his palm springs reno and furnished the entire house with custom pieces all in plywood...it's supposed to be cutting edge...but to me it just looks like Urban Outfitters! Oh...and thanks for stopping by the blog...and yes I did read your post on Ron's house. He sent it to me and thats how I found you...

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  99. Amen! Finally someone see's what I have been seeing. Thank you for telling it like it is! I love this post. Restoration Hardware has lost it. Their products are just an overpriced Pottery Barn and PB stuff breaks easily. Some of their things are cute and functional, but you can really see the poor quality when you shop at one of their outlets.

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  100. The profit margin must be HUGE on these half-dressed, half-naked pieces. It's one thing if you have the real deal, faded and worn with use and love, but this is just an exercise in active fakery. I'm also assuming these are manufactured overseas. Hopefully the RH fans left will take their dollars and spend it on something worthy. Joni - you called it, this emperor has no clothes.

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  101. I find this post and most of the comments to be more ridiculous, over the top, and pretentious than the RH furniture. You all act as though you all only buy antique originals. Seriously? Get real. If you don't like something, big deal, get over it; no one is forcing you to buy it. I doubt I'd buy this furniture, but it's not "horrendous" or "ridiculous". It's a different take on things. Grow up already.

    I also wonder who all these women are who claim they would never buy a knock-off or fake. Take a stroll through any mall and you'll see far more fake designer handbags than real ones after all. Simply put, there are not enough real antiques to go around; the vast majority of "French", "Belgian", and other period pieces sold and sitting in the homes of Americans are reproductions. I applaud RH for at least trying something different instead of presenting exactly what you can already find at a hundred other retailers.

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    1. Since you claim to be more grown up than the honest women who gave their honest opinion of this post, can perhaps go and help RH sales people sell this uglyiness to the in shock customers they will be having. Good luck with that.

      Delete
    2. The Exactly!!! reply is for John M. You said what I was thinking. Thank You.

      Delete
    3. well, i agree with a lot of what you said. i can't afford period antiques, so i buy repros or repro antiques - old furniture but not period. i don't know - there was just something about this line that was so phony, i thought it was worth the discussion. i happy to be one of those that loves rh for many reasons - their lighting, plumbing, curtains, furniture - that you can order big or small. their baby catalogue is drool worthy. this line though - it just seems silly. especially when you can buy an antique for the same price. still, no one wants a naked sofa - it's not the same as a graceful gorgeous swedish or french chair. lots of pros and cons about the line. i love the ottoman and loathe the sofas.

      good comment imo.

      Delete
  102. What is RH thinking? Well, that has already been answered. Weird. Just weird. Really.
    Please, please let's hope the industrial hard edged, naked pieces of furniture all go the way of
    the Big Mistake.

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  103. Sorry I didn't get to see most of the post...your blog takes soooo long to download...I can never see what the first few pictures are...I open hundreds of blogs and they all have huge pic and many pic with no problem...thought you would want to know...

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  104. Such a well-written informative post! I never knew the inspiration behind all of these copycats. I totally agree with you on the RH stuff. It's really gotten out of hand.

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  105. I think many of us are longing for "pretty" rooms. We're looking for furniture that will help us make those pretty rooms and also stand the test of time. There are a finite number of companies that produce well-made reproductions of European antiques at a relatively reasonable price. Restoration Hardware WAS one of them. But not any more. We now have one fewer store at which to shop. That Restoration Hardware has chosen to make deconstructed furniture rather than something that would work in most design enthusiasts' homes is what has us many of us up in arms, I think. They're designing for someone, but it isn't us.

    We're sad, Restoration Hardware. Why don't you love us any more?

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  106. Most mass-produced furniture manufacturers offer nothing particularly innovative. At least RH is being creative. I wouldn't buy these pieces, but at least they got us thinking and talking.
    I'm not sure RH's design team is a good fit for a large manufacturer/mall retailer. It seems they would do better as a smaller, niche manufacturer.

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  107. Honestly I think RH is losing their minds. I'm not sure who is advising them, but I don't think this is going to be a hit. I'm not exactly sure what audience this would be for.

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  108. I have a friend who does upholstery and my first thought when I saw the catalog was that it looks like her barn! lol I think RH has gone over the edge.

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  109. i'm circling back to this at the end of a long day particularly since product development is what I do in my professional life. In reading through the comments that were left today I cannot help but wonder if perhaps the readers of this blog are not the audience that RH is after. We are too informed, too educated, too desirous of the real thing for RH. Rather RH are after the audience who just wants the look. Surely RH tested out some of these concepts and someone ran a bunch of numbers before deciding it was worthwhile to launch this line, particularly since it means they have to invest in things like the design and photography -- those are real costs not to be underestimated. On the other hand, I agree with many of the comments that RH used to be great and has somehow lost their way. I certainly admire them for taking a risk where PB and C&B have become so conservative, but I know so many people — this different aesthetics — who have lost their love for RH. Makes me wish they could just be more transparent about where they are headed and what they are doing.

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    1. oh, i disagree, we are exactly the audience that rh wants. i don't think americans who like big leather sectionals would buy one single piece of this furniture - they just want cheap and comfortable. i guess i mean people that don't read decor magazines - who are the majority of people - they would NEVER buy a deconstructed sofa. RH knows we like this look - or at least a few pieces of it here and there - a beautiful chair in the corner or next to a sofa or a desk. but a whole suite of it?

      i really would love to see if it sells. they are still selling that ugly airplane furniture so who knows?

      Delete
  110. Looks like they are doing something strange in the hopes to find something that nobody has done yet in a big way. Everything has been done, except this, perhaps.
    I love reading your blog, it's so informative, thanks so much for all of the information! You are amazing!
    Hugs, Cindy

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  111. The room by Kaye O'Toole is to die for. Hope I got the spelling right. I don't want to go back over the post and double check. Joanie, I'm glad you said it. I've been sensing a CEO on steroids at RH for sometime now. You have put it bolder than I would have but really where will they stop? Please drop by Joy of Nesting for a visit when you have a chance. Shiree'

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  112. Hi Joni, I did a post last week about RH deconstructed look. Out of 95 comments only three people said they liked the look. I will be passing on their new line. xo, Sherry

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  113. Seriously?? $3,000 for those hideous things? Wouldn't a smart shopper buy the real thing for that money?? Talk about a marketing scam - but, there will be people who will pay for this junk because they think its the 'in' thing and they care more about other people's eyes than their own. They will think it impresses and it just...doesn't. Great post Joni! ;-))

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  114. Gimmicky silliness. Sales will spell it out to them. or should I say, Non-sales.

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  115. My house is decorated in the "deconstructed" style thanks to my three sons. Guess I didn't have to wait for them all to go to college to get my house stylish looking. Thanks Restoration Hardware.

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  116. WOW-HOW DISTURBING! RESTORATION HARDWARE IS MAKING MAJOR CHANGES, I KNOW....PERHAPS THEIR MAJOR REVAMPING CAMPAIGN HAS LIMITED THEIR FUNDS TO FINISH OFF THE UPHOLSTERY? HMMMMM, A LITTLE WORRIED FOR THEM.....

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  117. Joni,

    When I received my catalog, I actually wondered what your reaction would be to this line from RH. I was appalled and kept thinking "Am I missing something??" I would be embarrassed to have these 1/2 naked pieces in my home. What would my neighbors or family say when they visited? They'd think I'd lost my ever-lovin' mind to have 1/2 upholstered, brand NEW, and somewhat expensive furniture! Thanks for the honest, and re-affirming critique. BTW, I LOVE your blog and have used it many times for inspiration in my home. You post the most gorgeous pics time and again! Thanks for all the hard work and you put into this. Reading your posts are a highlight to my day.

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  118. Well, at least they've got everyone talking...

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  119. Yeah...maybe a touch of the emperor with no clothes...

    For hat price add fabric...PLEASE

    I'll decide if I wanna rip it off to look "original". K?

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  120. U.G.L.Y.
    I'd be shocked if they sold ANY OF IT!

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  121. My 2 year old son would grab the corner of the ripped burlap on that chaise and shred it to pieces. Stupid!

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  122. Joni I will add that we had a Restoration Hardware right up the street from me, which closed after Christmas.

    This is one of the highest income demographics in the country. The one on The Country Club Plaza they kept open ( also a high income and historic area of the city) They are really pushing to cut costs.

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  123. I have a deconstructed chair but mine is original and I love it the way it is and would never think of covering it up. These pieces don’t work for the very reason mine does….wear and time you can’t copy that. While these chairs do take a lot of time and talent to produce, think of all the extra work they have to do in order to get what does show perfect, they’re lacking that time worn look and you can’t fake that. I would buy that bench for under $700 but the rest I would have to take a pass and I have a lot of RH pieces throughout our home. Nice try RH but not for me.

    XX
    Debra~

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  124. The strangest thing is that you buy this 'one of a kind' piece, supposedly cutting edge and unique, and a neighbor several houses down has the same one. It's like overpriced art, just because it looks strange and costs a lot doesn't mean it's good. Who knew trash-textile was in vogue.

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  125. Yes, this is a love it or hate it look. I think it's as silly as their aviator line and imagine they will take a hit on this. But I would imagine a lot of folks will buy this stuff thinking they are being clever. I have a friend that works as a salesperson for RH and he said loads of people come in with a lot of money and too little brains. Thank you for your well done post, you did your research!

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  126. Joni, this post was a terrific read! Your comments always crack me up when you get passionate about things like this! I wish more people were bold enough to say what they really think. I agree that the RH deconstructed pieces would look better upholstered. I'm a DIY'er, and my first impression of most of these is "Ooh - great lines! I'd like to upholster this piece!" But I would want to pay a flea market price for it - not a RH new furniture price, not even at a RH clearance price. The only advantage these pieces have over pulling an antique out of a dumpster is that they're new and structurally sound.

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  127. Hi Joni, You had me from the first word and photo. I run from trendy. And that is exactly what RH does. And once they bring out a repro line in a trendy concept, the entire design aesthetic is dead within a year to 18 months. Thanks for giving voice to one of my major pet peeves. Mary

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  128. I am appalled at the blatant negativety and uppityness of most you folks!! I for one LUUUVVVV this "new" look. It just took my breath away!I am not able to always find "the real deal" and when i do it is so old and possibly frail that I don't want ANYBODY to sit on it.
    RH is doing trendy, yes, and reproduction, yes....and so what is wrong with trendy, what is wrong with reproduction?? Most of the furnishings that each and every one of own is a reproduction of something that has been done before. Like centuries ago.
    I will buy something(S) from this line, not sure yet which pieces. They are meant to be statement pieces...you wouldn't do a whole room in matchy-matchy would you? Or maybe you would.
    I am beyond myself with all this snobbery, and Joni, I usually agree with you, but not this time.
    I am amazed at RH and their ability to go for it. They are unlike any other retail furniture/homegoods store anywhere!
    I myself am an antiquer and junker.I buy old and upcycle, destressing it to make appear even older and giving it more charm. I think RH did a fab job of distressing, look at the wood frames, totally gorg!
    This look will pair soooo nicely with my old gilded chandies and sconces, my slip covered linen chairs, and timeless RH leather, down filled Chesterfied sofa. Oh and bits of industrial elements and my cabinet of curiosities accessories.
    Quit being such haters, guys. Oh and what was that comment about "only GAYS living in a loft would buy it" about? Yes, haters indeed.

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    Replies
    1. i understand what u are saying, i get it. i love repros too when i can't afford the real thing. and yes - it can be a beautiful look - a naked frame. but honestly - i have never seen a SOFA naked, never, ever. a settee - yes. but a cushy sofa? no. not getting that. some of it is weird looking, some is great looking. and trendy? i love trendy - always have. it's just seeing the whole line together is a bit overwhelming i guess. couldn't wrap my head around it. but that's me.

      i don't think people are trying to be snobby, they just don't like the line.

      i never said i don't like rh - i do. and i shop there. and will continue to. and i admire a ton of what gary has done with rh. but i don't know= those tufts of fabric clinging to the frame like it had been torn off was just so cheesy.

      and i think the comment about gays was meant to mean - people without kids - but even that isn't true. gays have kids all the time, but i do think that is what she was meaning to say (i hope so anyway!!)

      i just think if you can find an authentic piece to rip the fabric off - go for it. if you can't then buy this. i would buy the ottoman in a heart beat.

      but the sofas, never. and some of the pieces are just not attractive imo. but i hear what u are saying and thanks for giving the other side.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the reply Joni, gosh I guess the mark of a great blogger is.....you sure get us talking! and reading, and thinking, and.and.
      I crave patina and age and adore all the beauty. I cant always find or afford it. My little hobby is to
      find furniture ( I love Louis style chairs! ) from Victorian up through the 1970's and tear it completely
      down to the stuffing. if the stuffing is good, it stays, then paint, sand, distress, or sand and limewash to gray it out. And recover in muslin, linen , burlap,or anything old and cast off. And Nuetral. Not a big fan of color. In the end I get a fab look for cheap and tons of elbow grease. I keep em or sell them. Also sewing linens and pillows, love it.

      Delete
  129. *** Joni, this made me think of precious, beloved "Forrest Gu-ump"... YOU KNOW, "STUUUPID IS AS STUUUPID DOES"... ***

    Now, the VERANDA COVER, ANYthing contributed by BROOKE, CAROL GLASSER, CHATEAU DOMINIQUE and ELEANOR CUMMINGS, amongst several others, were D*I*V*I*N*E!!! And I thank you for THOSE!!! (And actually, I THANK YOU TOO for the "LAUGHS" that RH provided!!! What MUST they be SMOKIN'?!?!?!?!?! ***

    Hugs,
    Linda in AZ *
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net
    bellesmom1234@comcast.net

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  130. This deconstructed look seems to be a large trend in Scandanavia and Europe. Sandy Foster featured some of the proponents in her blog http://myshabbystreamsidestudio.blogspot.com/2012/02/nailhead-trim-refined-or-raw.html. As for me, it is reminiscent of having my furniture sitting around in its underwear with its hair uncombed.

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  131. ...we simply cannot compare an antique chair that has been worn down to its origins with a chair that is reproduced to look like a time worn antique...the first example is not now in the state in which it was first produced...the antique was once beautiful...covered in wonderful fabric...the workmanship was exquisite...the finish was hand rubbed and glowing...it came to the state of deconstruction honestly...and what makes it so awe inspiring is thinking of the minds and hands that created it...the homes in which it sat...and the people who first owned it...it would never have been presented to a patron in a state of disrepair...the reproduction deconstructed pieces have only their quirkiness to speak for them...not a gifted provenance of the antique...the restoration pieces may be fun...but the price of their stories seem way above their true value...however interiors...and the bits and pieces that create homes... are as varied as the people who read blogs...so...whatever captures our imaginations...and touches our hearts is perfectly ok...

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  132. I really like some of the pieces from the deconstructed line that Resto is offering. I almost bought a wingback @ their outlet the other day...it was missing the cushion and it was on sale, but I still did not want to spend $400. I am hoping it gets marked down even more this weekend so I can buy it! ;)

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  133. Wow, they've missed the mark yet again.

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  134. your right and i love how you went off with your opinion so mature. I would of just puked and laughed out loud! lol. wonder how this line will do??

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  135. I think RH is being ridiculous. I was recently in their store in Kansas City, and it was so blah, like everything was dead. No color, no life! I used to love their stuff, and it was a pleasure to shop there. One of their stores closed here in an upscale suburb. I think they've gone off the deep end, who would want to buy their stuff anymore?

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  136. Just another example of why Restoration Hardware lost me a long time ago. I don't know a single person who would actually put those pieces in their home.

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  137. I think this is absurd. The antithesis of what makes "the real thing" special and unique. Is there anything tackier and more "fake" than artifical age? Even worse, artificial distress? Completely ridiculous. I like a lot of what Restoration Hardware is doing, but this is ridiculous and phony.

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  138. They are deconstructing a perfectly good trend....

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  139. Rather than read all of the comments....which are overwhelming...I skimmed them....but my own take on this issue is that if you want an antique...buy an antique! RH has a place in our design world and I'm glad for them...however...you can't create anything that is fake to be real...you just can't. And vice a versa! A real thing can't be made to be fake!" IT IS WHAT IT IS!!!!!" My favorite saying!!!
    As an antique shop owner and lover of ALL antiques....my heart lies there....nothing can compare....they may come close, but you will always want the real thing! The best advice I ever received was from my first decorator that helped me when I was quite young and very naive! " Never settle for anything less than what you really want...have a plan and stick to it! If you buy something to take it's place you will be wasting your money because you will not be satisfied!" I've always tried my best to tell my clients the same thing!
    Thanks so much for posting this!
    Carolyn Bradford
    Carolyn

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  140. Here in the shop we have a Louis XVI Revival settee--probably marketed 120 years ago as "Marie Antoinette Style", although its higher stance & proportions thicker than those of genuine period originals give the game away--and it's been taken down to what looks like its original muslin, stretched over shaped-horsehair upholstery. It's a handsome piece. Somebody has touched up its fluted front legs with gold paint, but the water-gilt scrolls & flowers along the top rail still glow, and after more than a century, the piece is still solid. And this real chunk of history is priced way less than these gimmicky pieces. What's wrong with this picture?

    Who's RH's market for this stuff? And what's the point--other than to get everybody talking, I mean. Ya gotta give 'em that. After all, when's the last time 150 people got together to dish about the new Crate & Barrel catalog?

    All I know is I don't get pricing a bunch of raw frames & ragged upholstery as if it were fine furniture. Then again, now that they're all grown up & are making a gazillion dollars as brokers & e-commerce geniuses, maybe the kids that used to pay megabucks for torn t-shirts & designer jeans that looked like they'd been ripped at the laundry think of this stuff as cool. Or maybe as normal. Maybe for true visionaries--a word I've seen more times in the Anonymous comments above than I've seen anywhere else in the last six months--chairs with exposed tacks & everything hanging out is the decorating quivalent of stubbly beard & pillow hair, or your boxers hanging six inches out of your jeans. The difference, of course, being that this stuff costs a lot of money. And maybe that--its expense--is the whole point. After all, no poor person would be caught dead with any of this stuff. And with IKEA selling colorful Modern pieces to the hourly-wage rabble, how do you set yourself apart? Which reminds me of an old joke: Q: How do you tell an Internet billionaire from an unemployed skater? (Hint: these days, it's not their clothes.) A: The skater's got a nicer crib.

    BTW, if you ever saw my apartment in a magazine and remember my living room's rug with its six-inch holes & jagged edges--I hacked it out of a bigger rug with an electric carving knife & left in its raveled state--and think I'mtalking out of both sides of my mouth, this look is not at all the same thing. That was rescue. If I hadn't saved that chunk of that beautiful rug, it would have gone to a landfill. This, on the other hand, is slumming: very expensive slumming.

    And for those who think this is merely a bit of light-hearted fun, a clever way to take some of the stuffiness out of traditional decorating, a sort of innocent, 21st-Century version of Marie-Antoinette & her friends playing at milkmaids & shepherdesses, rememeber how that all ended.

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    1. After I sent my post; (with only skimming comments)!I read yours!

      You explain it better....and the philosophy is the same! I have also cut up pieces of rugs and tapestries...on their way to the dump! Nothing artificial, trendy, in appropriate.....or uncomfortable about that!

      Your rug was not made to "look old" It WAS old! I am a big fan of some artifice.......this is beyond artifice.

      When Tony Duquette used hubcaps; and phone wiring signal boxes; etc. etc. etc....

      He used them to create his art. He did not make "fake hubcaps" and sell them in a store.. A different thing entirely!

      I am really disappointed in RH! I had high hopes until I saw that Lockheed stuff.

      now I am going to read as many comments as I can!

      Delete
    2. Do you think this is "light hearted fun"?
      Sorry!

      Right during my post.........this person was writing.......Not me. Great joke about the skaters.

      What my mother said to me......is that really "good taste" (I put my bullet and arrow proof vest on. Right this minute!) is a misnomer. "Bad Taste "is also a misnomer. "Taste" is what is. and "no taste" is the opposite.

      In my opinion........" taste "is explainable" Taste lives. (My mother said (she would be 107 if she were here.....What a wonderful woman) said on this subject when I was around 15. I said something was "in bad taste"!

      She was always busy....she just knew this was important "teaching moment"; so she stopped what she was doing...took me to the table..and said:

      There is only "TASTE" Penny; "good taste" and "poor or bad taste" simply doesn't exist. (and "tasteful "to describe something done with taste the worst! Sounds like a different language..........Only excuse for that is if you are coming from a different culture?)

      I would hate to have archeologists digging up "fake antique European" furniture made in China! During their digs!
      They should give up early......can you imagine an archeologist seeing our houses with that stuff?

      Make that some of our houses. Standards do live on........some places. This furniture does not meet my standards. And that is that!


      EEEK!


      In the next month I will try. See what you think@

      Delete
    3. ...i think your mother sounds wonderful...

      Delete
    4. do you have a picture of the magazine article about your apartment? I think Im thinking of the right one, but i want to be sure. email it to me if you do.
      thanks!
      hi penelope!

      Delete
  141. 152 Comments! WOW!!! Sure took me a long time to get to this post!!

    I skimmed them; (truly skimmed; I think there are so many great blogs.....I can't possible read all the comments, too! Although I would love to!

    I was dumbstruck when I saw this catalogue!! ( I had liked a lot in the beginning of the big changes) But when the stuff that looked like it came from Lockheed .......I saw some serious demise coming. (in skimming, I did see the word "snob"; I've been called that (and worse); but I am a proud snob about certain things.

    (a blog about snobs is coming from me)

    1. Authenticity. (faux fur is still authentic; no one really thinks that throw is "real lynx") This furniture (most of it) is just plain "fake"; and pretending to be something it is not. Joni hit the nail on the head with the "fake" bits of fabric. Give me a hand-woven basket; but don't give me a fake French wing chair made in China.


    2.Trendy. Don't, won't , have never, ever wanted, sold, recommended. Against my religion.
    No grain sacks in my work. No! (Others can have them; just not me. My nose hits the ceiling with "trendy"!) (I am talking decorating; not clothes here! A very smart girl looking at my family pictures nailed every single year correctly in about 10
    pictures based on our daughter's outfits!!!)
    "Santa Fe" belongs in "Santa Fe"; I just don't like trendy.

    My daughter has her grandmother's classic upholstered furniture from the 30's and 40's beautifully made. Recovered so many times. (Always admired by the upholsterers for the quality of the pieces)

    3. "Suitability" the opposite of 'Inappropriateness". A young person; or a person on a budget should buy furniture that is suitable, appropriate for their life, family, and lifestyle. And should last at least one lifetime! ( Some "fraudulent antique" has no place in anyone's house , if you ask me.)

    4.Comfort. YIKES! None of that junk looked comfortable to me.

    YUCK!

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  142. Deconstruction is good as a learning tool especially for us Interior Designers but I wouldn't want this in my house in the "undressed condition". It looks so incomplete and it is ugly!

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  143. All the design purists need a reality check. What's "REAL"? Miss Velvet & Linen did not come up with this idea she goes with the trend du jour - she doesn't make them. By the time they hot the mass catalog producers its over.

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    Replies
    1. AMEN to that!

      Delete
    2. Actually, "Miss Velvet and Linen" did come up with all of her designs......by copying (not the 'trend du jour"); but classic pieces she admired the proportions of!

      And, of course, she doesn't "make" them! (all of we decorator have our upholsters ; and they are happy to have us! )

      She designs; based on classical examples; her upholsterers make the pieces.
      I completely disagree with your point.
      "The hot mass catalog producers do not influence us in the least. (except when we avoid their obvious mishaps!!"

      Delete
  144. Wow, I love your blog and your post is interesting but you sound so angry. Not everyone may like this style and that's cool, don't buy it then. I have 2 beautiful benches from the 1830s, they are covered with their original burlap, fabric long gone. I love them and will never cover them. That said, not everyone has access to the "real deal", I sure don't. I was just lucky to stumble on them. I cant imagine anyone filling their house with these Restoration Hardware pieces but I think an accent might be fun. And not everyone likes alot of color, I am one of those people. Someone commented that the RH color palette is trending out and that English Country and lots of color is coming back in. What if you don't like alot of color? Does that mean my house is in bad taste because I don't like what you like? Honestly, some of these comments are just snobby. I really can't believe people get that worked up over a line of furniture.

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    1. Hey! Joni doesn't preach color; no color, Joni in fact, recommends "no trendy"!

      Your benches are exactly what she is talking about and praising!

      NO TRENDS!!!
      Isn't that what you mean, Joni?????

      Delete
    2. Hi! That is my post above, dont know why I hit anonymous. First, I said "someone" posted about color, I didn't say Joni did. And I understand Joni is praising furniture like my benches, as are most people here. I get that. But not everyone is able to get things that are truly aged, with a history, either because of cost or access or time, whatever. I think the RH pieces are funky and different, so what if they aren't "real". What is wrong with a piece of trendy, are you saying not one person here has purchased something trendy? Really? I follow some great design blogs and have seen people change up their rooms and add things like old trophy collections and big dough bowls filled with wooden balls and mounted horns...these aren't trendy?? Come on.

      Delete
    3. thanks for signing in with your name. ok - i AM a trendy lover, i am. my house is filled with t rendy - zebras, shells, coral, slipcovers, urns - etc. i am not against trends - i think they help our decor look up to date. sorry penelope if that offends you! but i don't think it will. and i buy repros - all the time - i just bought 3 repro pieces - old, but not period. i just found this line phony. I love the deconstructed look and have a few pieces of it myself - i just think it looks bad on sofas - but the lines are gorgeous - those tufted settees and chairs - why don't they offer them with fabric? i don't know. there are pros and cons. the line is brilliant if it gets us all talking. and i'm not a color person. your house sounds beautiful to me. i just think most of the line would be better, prettier with fabric than without. sorry to offend.

      Delete
  145. This furniture reminds me of new jeans that are sold with holes and tears to look old. Just a bit too fake to be cool and too overpriced to be worth it.

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  146. RH always gets people talking... When I saw these pieces I was reminded of Dan Marty and of the ever popular flea market style. This is pretty in style in my book. They are a little overdone but if you want to buy something like it this is one of the more expensive sources you can find. Buying vintage is always my first choice by far, and you can get some serious deals when you do, but this could be fun for those who are not interested in the the search and time involved. Just think you could use it this way for a bit and then add something different fabric wise at a later time- which is what furnishings should be doing, evolving from one style to the next with the simple addition of fabric or change up.

    Fun post- I love to see what everyone is saying!

    Christina
    greige

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    Replies
    1. I read most of the comments, and then when I was reading the last one, thought, "Yeah, that's how I feel, too!" Then I had to smile, because of course, it's sweet Christina, who always gets it right, with such grace. Hey, Friends, it's not brain surgery, here. Either you love them, or you don't; and either you can afford them or not (expensive to some, but not to others). It's a refreshing style change, and honestly, I get tired of perfect upholstery. To me, RH is more like an art store; and art, as you know, is in the eye of the beholder. I say, "Yes" as it does not harm people, or animals!

      Delete
  147. I may be going out on a limb here, but is it possible that RH is trying to make a statement about our society in a riches to rags sort of way? The rooms are dreary and depressing and seem to reflect how America feels about itself; a once wealthy nation stripped of it's former glory leaving only a shell of what it once was. I find it anything but refreshing.

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  148. Charlotte Des FleursMarch 22, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    My mother's family is from Sweden so I am very familiar with the Gustavian look. When you live that far north of the equator you need to have pale, pale, pale to make use of every photon. However, I live in Southern California. Our light is bright and clear. No matter what the latest color trend may be, give me the vibrant colors of Provence! Carol Glasser's home would fit in perfectly here.

    RH always has some interesting ideas and the fit and finish of most of their products is excellent. However, their prices far exceed their value. Haven't actually bought anything from them for at least 5 years. Come on. They were selling scented dryer sheets for over $10 per box. Downey sells exactly the same fragrance for less than $5 per box.

    Hope none of my friends decorate their homes with any of this pretentious, oddball stuff. It will take all my decorum and control not to burst out laughing!

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  149. Joni
    I mean really, you would think they can reinvent the wheel in another fashion. My first thought was how do you clean in there...I am a big fan of vintage furniture....update it in another way.
    It will be interesting to see how well the line sells. I have a friend who works there I am going to ask her to let me know!
    thebeneblog.com

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  150. Yes you said it right, "what were they thinking?" With so many great rue antiques out there , ones that can be refurbished with a clean linen or even Sunbrella fabric for durability , why would one choose a reproduction that looks like it will fall apart in no time! I am not saying that Restoration doesn't have some good things, I got dining room chairs to work into a decor that had other real antiques, but at least those had new crisp linen. Could not agree more with this post!!

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  151. YOU always say what I wish I had the nerve to report to my customers. My dealer friends in Belgium think these RH guys "bandits". Thank you for educating my customers with your enjoyable style and brilliant point of view....

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  152. Did you get the new Restoration Hardware catalogue? Mine came via an email – nice and green. Beautiful as ever, I stopped at this image. Notice anything odd about this pair of Os de Mouton settees?

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  153. that beautiful furniture .. I love them because they are rustic .. are very stylish ..
    very good post .. excellent article ...
    regards

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  154. Oh my goodness. IMO, I think this line would even raise the eyebrow of Ludwig MIES Van Des Rohe (pioneer of modern architecture and furniture designer) who was well asssociated with the proverbial phrase ... "less is more".
    In summary, perhaps this is the marketing strategy behind Restoration Hardware's creation and release of this particular line? Who knows! -Brenda-

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    1. Absolutely NO offense is intended, but this time the opinions may be generationally based. The tweeters and bloggers who I follow love RH and the new looks. Also, it definitely looks better to have a couple of pieces (for interest/accents) and not rooms full of furniture from one brand. Still, it would have been a sight to see Joni blow her top as she flipped through the catalog. #ThatMiniHeartAttackWhen

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    2. very funny. mostly politics make me blow my top. not pretty at all.

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  155. So interesting . . . Good design is always in the details. I predict that those who invest in these "deconstructed frames" will be looking for some new fabrics to "construct" a finished look very soon! The world of design is never boring! Thanks for this great critique!

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  156. thanks everyone for commenting. looking over the pieces - i would love that tufted settee or the tufted chairs - those are gorgeous- beautiful. the os de mouton sofa - with fabric though. love the ottoman as is. i think it would be a good idea like christine said - buy it now, enjoy the trend, then recover!! i should have said that.

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  157. Well I don't know what to say about RH. It's not just this line, it's the bizarre gargantuan furniture, the blatant uncredited ripoffs, the hideous airplane/aviator chairs etc. I just can't figure any of it out. Who buys this stuff? It is not cheap. I certainly can't afford it and I wouldn't buy it if I could. It's not snobbishness, this is just a sham. To be honest, I prefer something like Ballard Design or Oka in the UK. Classic pieces (Oka at least, though I do like Ballard's parsons chairs and some of their other upholstered stuff), human-sized proportions, fair prices. I do believe this is a case of the emperor's new clothes and Joni, since you're so resourceful and connected, can you do some digging and find out how much of this stuff they are shifting and who is buying it? Get the scoop, girl! Thanks for another interesting post.

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  158. Wow, what a lot of rumblings on this topic! Just to add my "two cents" worth -- at my shop, we have been showing/selling stripped down vintage and antique seating pieces for some time now. We have a couple of customers who are buyers for Restoration Hardware and I know that they also shop another local boutique that has a similar french rustic aesthetic. So, I know that the big catalog companies are watching the independents, then mass producing what they like. It's frustrating, trying to stay ahead of them, as we will never reach as wide an audience as the whales like Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn. It's even more aggravating when you know they are shopping you for ideas. The mass produced copies can't hold a candle to the original...

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  159. Why does it matter so much to go on and on about a subject in such a negative conversation? Are you in that much need for attention and to be right? Apparently so!

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  160. ARE YOU SERIOUS?

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  161. 'Nothing like the real thing baby... ' I would love any and all of the originals you shared! Something to dream about over the weekend. Monica

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  162. I'm not a fan of this look in furniture at all. I previously posted that I was in the san diego RH store months ago and it was eerie--no one in there and it was depressing...everything was dark grey and dreary/spooky. I felt like I could not breathe in that store...and I made one quick pass around the place and left.

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