Have you received Restoration Hardware’s fall catalog? Ours came this weekend and let me just say, it is full of all kinds of surprising things.
In my mind, Restoration Hardware, like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and Room & Board, offers quality furniture and home accessories for the masses. Back when we were actively buying furniture, we spent plenty of time wandering their store (although, truth be told, I don’t think we ever purchased anything — the prices were always a tad high). Anyhow, Restoration Hardware has undergone a makeover. Their fall catalog’s tagline is “Reinvented, Remodeled, Reborn.” Vaguely intrigued, I grabbed the catalog to flip through while munching on a snack.
The first page of the catalog offers a letter from the CEO of Restoration Hardware who begins with a quote from Pablo Picasso and goes on to liken his company to Picasso’s artwork.
He writes, “No longer mere ‘retailers’ of home furnishings, we are now ‘curators’ of the best historical design the world has to offer.” And a few sentences later, “Introducing over 500 new pieces that are a personal expression of a lifestyle that respects the juxtaposition of form and function, past and present, and an environment that is both relaxed yet refined.”
Apparently being relaxed yet refined means living without color. Every photograph in the catalog depicts shades of beige with the occasional brown or black item thrown in. But beyond an aversion to color, the really interesting thing about the reborn Restoration Hardware is its choice of new pieces. Shall we have a look? Below are some photos, complete with their catalog description:
Tractor Seat Barstool
20″W x 13″D x 32″H, 50 lbs: $395
Baroque Capital Coffee Table
47″W x 43″D x 13″H; 112 lbs: $1295
1850 French Dentist’s Chair
23″W x 24″D x 49″H, 37 lbs: $1695
Antique Hungarian Sleigh Bench
Burlap; 69″L x 29″W x32″H: $1995
A note about the Hungarian sleigh: the online description does warn, “Occasional seating; not meant for actual outdoor, snow-day use.”
Royal Master Sealight Lamp
Base extends from 24″ to 63″ diameter, height from 61-1/4″ to 94″: $1325
Distressed Whiskey Leather; 26″W x 38″D x 28″H; 100 lbs: $1295 (on sale from $1495)
And, finally, my favorite:
19th C. Timber Calipers
Small 10″W x 82″L, 13 lbs: $349
Large 15″W x 99″H, 18 lbs: $399
It appears that Restoration Hardware took the pulse of America and determined that we long for life in 19th Century Europe. I’m intrigued by how these items got past the focus group stage. Surely I’m not the only person who thinks that going to the dentist in the 21st Century is unpleasant, but the idea of reclining in a reproduction dentist’s chair from the 1800s sends shivers down my spine. While I don’t wish to be unduly cynical, on a practical level, how much demand can there be for a pair of 8-foot decorative calipers?