Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Kind of Snob are You?

"Most of Us Take Something to the Point of Snobbery."

I'm a snob; I admit it. Anyone who takes his life and profession very seriously without accepting mediocrity is somewhat of a snob. What's wrong with liking nice things? Range Rovers. Polo by Ralph Lauren clothes. My Patek.

It's easy to be a furniture snob where I work, since we offer name brands representing quality and value. I love it when I can propose a sofa for $1899. that is made better and will last longer than that sofa at the mall for $2299. Or that end table hand-made by quality craftsmen in Viet Nam: it's less expensive because the labor is less, but it is still good quality.

Can you prove (or rationalize) that your $4 cup of coffee is better than my cup of Folger's? Or that your handbag is better than that purse from WalMart? Most times you can.

Let's face it, if you eat granola bought in bulk and hug trees on your lunch hour, you may "think" you're not a snob. But what about your Birkenstocks?

I'd love to hear from you, as would my "peeps." This should be good; come on, fess up!!! "What Kind of Snob are You?"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Do You Think Makes a Good Sofa?

...How to get what you want and what you need in a sofa.

Some people would rather go to the dentist than shop for a new sofa. Many more than that would certainly prefer a round of golf (in the rain) to spending a whole afternoon in furniture stores.

Why the anxiety? Why the hate?

Because we're all afraid of making a mistake (see my blog, My Biggest Mistake). Purchasing a sofa isn't rocket science or brain surgery, but I can make an educated guess that Neil Armstrong or Sanjay Gupta couldn't do it in an hour. You can, with my help, or the help of a good interior designer.

The layman decorator can't help but "think inside the box." She's looking at the new colours while he's imagining long naps on a leather couch that probably won't fit through the door.

Sad, buy very true.

Stop looking and touching and start sitting. Sofas are all about comfort--TRY 'EM OUT!!! And instead of pushing away that salesperson who wants to help, ASK QUESTIONS!!! Here's a few good ones:

1)"Why is that sofa $1599 and that one $3500?"

2)"Is this made in the United States?"

3)"What does, 'eight-way, hand-tied' mean?"

4)"Will this fabric wear well?"

Once you understand some of these things, and find a sofa frame that fits your body and fits your room and fits within your budget, the rest is easy. Your designer or salesperson proposes a fabric or leather (preferably from the same manufacturer as the sofa frame...to save you money...), and prices it out within minutes.

Order your new sofa, and within 2 or 3 months, you'll have a comfortable couch to come home to, ...without missing another round of golf.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How To Come Up With A Budget

(i.e., "Make your Plan and Work your Plan")

I can save you money by helping you establish a furntiture budget...read how:"

In the sixteen or so years I've been decorating homes and selling furniture, I could probably count on one hand those clients who came to me with a clear budget for buying home furnishings. I still find it hard to believe (...when you go out to buy a car, new or used, your pretty-much have an idea of how much money you need), but that's the way it is.

If you're one of those "I/We don't have a budget, but let's buy anyway," turn around, go home, and find someone who insists on a budget (per room, per house) before selling you anything. Everyone has a budget, whether they say so or not.

I learned years ago how to apply "THE PLAN" to my new and old clients at Beverly Hall. Iris Byers, my design-consultant guru, taught me that it's my job to make this process a whole lot easier (and maybe even fun and enjoyable), by listening and establishing a budget based on your wants and needs.

The process is as easy as 1-2-3. First, at our initial meeting at the showroom, I ask what specific room you are working on. I quickly sketch the room, noting what items you already own and what items you need. In our first walk-through our 35,000 square foot showroom, I can save you time, bypassing those rooms of items you don't need. I explain that I'll mention price points as we walk, so you can see that sofas, for instance, range from $1500. to $6,000. each. If I know that you have $8,000. to spend on a family room, we can bypass those sofas priced at $3500.

The second step is me coming to your home for an hour or so visit. I might bring samples of fabrics you responded to in the showroom, or a few tear-sheets of items you liked, but I'm sure to bring my measuring tape so I can leave with the exact dimensions of the room you're working on.

The third step is you coming back to the store (by appointment within two weeks of the visit), where I propose the exact pieces of furniture that will fit perfectly (they'll fit the room and fit within your budget, which you've already given me in Step 2).

When I visit your house, I can observe what you're already surrounding yourself with. Many times, I can reccomend moving something from another room, ...even from basements and attics. I discover unique attributes about your home (how many pets,...toddlers, ...teenagers?). My knowledge of my product can help you pin-point a realistic budget for upholstery, case goods, rugs, lamps, and draperies, in that order.

With the help of a professional interior designer who understands the value of your time and money, decorating your home can truly be more enjoyable. And who among us doesn't like to save money? Tell me about YOUR PLAN: