Friday, February 15, 2013


As a rule of thumb, I never buy "sets" of furniture, I stay away from filling a room with items from no less than three resources and if I can buy old over new, I will do it any day of the week! Am I a snob?  Well, you decide.  A few examples recently invaded my already over-crowded creative mind, and I had to keep myself from belching out how I really felt; one friend, we'll call her Sue, told me of a desert rendezvous one weekend with her husband.  They "simply fell in love" with the furniture in the rented house they squatted in, so called the chain upon returning home and bought the entire set (this furniture dump sells pieces from a former supermodel, lamps from a basketball player and sofas complete with cup holders and anti-stink fabric...need I go on? I WILL).  I...someone who talks in his sleep...was at a loss for words.  Another pal, Jessie, couldn't wait to show me photos of her husbands new "man cave" a space once used as a dining room, where the formal table and chairs were replaced by a half moon shaped, faux leather all reclining sofa, matching side tables and coffee table and, wait for it, faux leather-sided entertainment center.  Once again, I was speechless. While I applauded both women for attacking a design project and loving their end results, I was dumbfounded by both philosophies behind the projects; "we just wanted it DONE."  Then I stumbled into a design job last week where the clients, exhausted from long negotiations for a retail space, didn't have time to jump to conclusions let alone shop for desks, floors, lighting and accessories.  Contrary to my divine design beliefs, I told them to head down easy street to Ikea.  While assembling certain pieces from Ikea can send anyone to the corner of fit and rage in an instant, I've been blown away by designs in the past few years that compete with other higher end retailers.  Instead of traditional desks, I suggested they purchase kitchen islands from Ikea for $399/each (designed for seating on one side and plenty of storage, perfect for creative offices).  Rather than purchase hum drum corporate stale carpeting, I sent them to the cool bamboo flooring section of Ikea where gorgeous, durable floors are as cheap as $.65/square foot.  And forget headache-inducing overhead lights, grab these modern designs for under $25/each and install with Ikea's easy plug-in cord, transforming any lampshade into overhead lighting in an instant.  While I love combing the land for interesting, unique pieces and accessories, finding it all under one roof makes my job a hecht of a lot easier!
MAKE IT YOURS: Even if you decide to design your space with furniture from the same store (please don't, though) take your time and make it your own over time.  While you might buy the lamps from Pottery Barn and tables and sofa from Ikea, take time to find fun frames from antique stores, transform granny's cool old trunk into a coffee table by adding a piece of plexi-glass from Home Depot on the top, frame Mom's old fabric, take that vintage tricycle you found at the rummage sale and use it is a side table, piled high with magazines...we all have finger prints unique to just us, and your personal spaces should be no different!