Friday, November 12, 2010

Honey I Blew Up the Furniture!

Has anyone been to Restoration Hardware (RH) lately? I went there to pick up some shower curtain rings, and when i got there i barely recoginized the place. So i thought i'd give a Roncy Vic review of the new RH.

First impressions:
As i walked in i had this weird feeling...kind of like how Jack must have felt when he got to the top of the bean stalk. The doorways are high, the ceilings are high, the furniture is HUGE. I felt like at any moment, some giant would come out and turn me into a sandwich.

RH has really shifted gears, the place once known for its understated timeless classics has gone through a major make-over, their stores are now painted a dark, moody brooding gray colour. And their new cardboard tags have a black background and small negative font. I actually love the look of the stores, but frankly the low light and dark tags, make checking out the items and their prices more difficult. Perhaps this was by design because once you see the price tags, you also realize that Restoration Hardware has moved up a couple of snack brackets.

OK, so what about the funiture? Well, the only way i can describe it is "Amazonian". And just like the mythical Amazon Woman. The furniture is enormous, but also very gorgeous. At first, I suspected the manufacturer mistakenly used inches, when the design must have been spec'ed in centimeters. There was a 10 foot high armoire. Most of their mirrors were 6-8 feet tall. The style is definitely trendier than the old RH. They now incorporate a lot of Scandinavian influence (grainsack upholstery, rustic matte finished light coloured woods, etc), as well as the trend towards reclaimed wood, upcycled industrial metal and weathered wood. I also noticed, the intentional treatment of furniture as "object" and "object" as furniture - what the hell do i mean by that? I'm not even sure myself, other than to say, if you buy something from there and bring it home, it is definitely meant to make a BIG statement. Nothing there is meant to be mundane, which actually brings me to my first beef with the new RH. Used to be i could count on them for mundane...classic, timeless, luxurious elegance. Not anymore, if you're looking for a perfectly proportioned elegant coffee table, too bad you're out of luck. Instead you will find a 300 pound platform made of reclaimed wood, that can double as a stage if you and three garage band friends want to have an impromptu concert. So what's my second beef? No shower curtain rings! Again the new store is not about mundane everyday items that people need, it's about trophy furniture that people dream about. They have a tiny smattering of taps and hardware, a mere fraction of what they used to stock. Is it too much to ask a place called Restoration Hardware to actually stock...hardware? It looks like you can still get the hooks, curtain rings, house numbers, knobs and pulls on line, but they should mention that if you're looking for hardware, a Restoration Hardware store is not the place to go.

6 foot by 4 foot Balustrade Coffee table


Rambling Renovators said...

I felt exactly the same way when I stepped into the Bayview Village store. Sort of like meeting the dark, brooding, reclusive sister of the once friendly Restoration Hardware. Funny, but there wasn't much that I liked and would have in my own home. And I can't imagine that most of that stuff would fit or work in typically tiny Toronto houses.

Shannon said...

I felt like I walked into the wrong store when I went to the one on Yonge @ Eglinton...i wanted a lamp shade...they had to call them up from the storage room ...they did this after I took their initial advice and walked around the showroom to see if any of them would work...huh? What happened to having merchandise to sell?

Eric Pellerin said...

I went there when they just re-did everything that way... and I hated it. Plus, is it me or their stuff look like fake antiques now?


Designwali said...

hahahaha...funny post.

Roncy Vic said...


Haha, I think RH would prefer to call them reproductions, albeit mass reproductions. Old RH also reproduced old styles of furniture(e.g. their old Lutyens bench), however i never thought they looked quit so "fake" as the new line. To me the reason for that is that today they are reproducing "objects" and not furniture. With an "object" you would expect there should only be very few in existence, but now that everyone can have a Versailles Domed Burlap-Backed Chair or Oeil-de-boeuf mirror, it truly ups the "fake" factor. It's like anyone (with lots of money that is) can have an entire house full of a lifetime's worth of collecting.

S and N said...

Dark age ahead? I was in the Yonge St. store picking up some fixtures for our two piece bath reno, and I found the darkness oppressive. I miss the fresh, crisp mood of RH. The increasing monumentality of the furniture is baffling. Do people live in warehouses? There are a few small pieces, like the diminutive vanity we bought for our half-bath, but they are hard to find. I think the rustic finishes must be a huge cost savings from a manufacturing standpoint, so perhaps they are marketing geniuses. The prices in many cases are what you would pay for custom work, so this is indeed pre-packaged, fetishized design for the deep-pocketed. (I say all this, and yet we still shop there--go figure).

Katherine said...

I have been receiving catalogues for their "new" stuff forever. The first few catalogues had me loving it, now I am over it. Everything is HUGE, I went in earlier this year for throw pillow covers and passed, they were too big. I bought a soap dispenser awhile back for close to $40 and it quickly became a piece of garbage. The inside of the lid became crystalized and green, maybe oxidized (?) I don't know...point is, my love affair with RH has long been over.

DaisyExpress said...

We do not have a Restoration Hardware here on Vancouver Island so I am happy to here I am not missing anything. We finally did get a Lee Valley though :) I just came across your blog through the milk paint company. Hoping to use it on our furniture. I love your cottage....lots of fun and creativity ahead. I build furniture and kitchens...still working on my blogsite. Will follow you to see how the cottage is going. My best, Sheryl from Cobble Hill, BC

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