I spend time shopping with clients from time to time, it's one of the services I provide. Buying decent furniture can be daunting for someone who knows what he's doing, but to someone who's never done it before it can be overwhelming. I can usually tell ahead of time what will and won't work in a given space, and I tend to know exactly where to go to find what's needed. I don't like indecision and I'll never walk into a furniture showroom with a client cold. With me, it never a matter of "Hey, let's go shopping for a sofa!"
On the contrary, I'll say something like "I know the exact sofa this room needs. Let's go look at it at Doma." When we arrive at my friend David's store (the aforementioned Doma) he's ready for us because I call him ahead of time. "Hey David," I tell him, "a client and I are coming over to look at Younger Sofas, particularly the 40530 and 40535." I don't like to waste time. I'm not a tyrant though. If my client doesn't like my preselections, I can usually tell from his or her reaction which way to go from there.
One of the rules of having me work with you on furniture is that I get to pick where we shop and what we look at. Every once in while though someone tries to pull a fast one and tries to lead the process. I say all the time that the jobs I work on aren't mine. The rooms and homes I'm working on belong to my clients, my ego doesn't figure into the process at all. Well that is a damn lie. My name and my reputation are written all over these projects and I personalize a lot of this, much more so than I probably should.
Anyhow, the client in question wanted to use an upholstered chair from that glorified flea market Anthropologie in one of my living rooms. I was mortified. Mortified. It was a chair like this one:
Appalling, it's just appalling. It stuck out like a sore thumb and coordinated with no other color or stick of furniture anywhere in her house. I talked her out of it and we went to see David and found something tailored and orderly.
Anthropologie looks like a thrift store. But unlike a real thrift store, it has the Skinner Box feel of a corporate experiment in how to get people to spend too much money on stuff that just looks bad. Their selections seem to be geared to people too young to remember how horrible the '70s were, but their price points are beyond the means of any 20-something I've ever met. The only people who can plunk down $4000 for an ugly Anthropologie sofa are the same people who should be old enough to know better.
Yet without fail and seemingly without thinking, the design press swoons over everything in their stores. I just don't get it.
In what universe is this an attractive or tasteful light fixture? What fool would actually pay five thousand dollars for it? Why doesn't any one seem to question this stuff?
Call me old-fashioned, but if I'm going to cough up $1700 for a media cabinet,
or $1500 for an armchair,
or $3500 for a sofa, can they look new at least?