Many of our furniture designs take inspiration from famous furniture designers. Part of the education in our store is looking at the kind of influence these designers have had and I want to share a recent conversation.
Hans Wegner was a Danish furniture designer who lived April 2, 1914 – January 26, 2007. His style is often described as Organic Functionality, a modernist school of thought with focus on function. He designed over 500 chairs in his lifetime, many of which were never produced. “A chair is to have no backside. It should be beautiful from all sides and angles.”
Here are examples of how his style inspired the Boden Chair, the Paris Chair, and the Aiden Chair.
In January we have our new products and floor change to inspire us, but by March in Chicago, we start feeling as though summer will never come. But this week we were happily reminded that it is on its way!
Our outdoor furniture display arrived with umbrellas, colorful furniture and pillows, and fun plantings to bring a real feeling of summer in our store displays!
It may still be 30 degrees here but we are starting to feel the possibility of our beautiful beaches, blue skies, sparkling Lake Michigan and warm sand. Bring it on!
One of the best things about working at Room & Board is also one of the hardest things. We basically live in the environment of beautiful furniture and I want to buy a sofa but can’t make up my mind!
Besides the fact that I love our designs and fabrics, and we have a generous staff member discount of 35 percent, there is so much more to love:
- We offer 90% American-made products. Our American manufacturers are smaller companies all over the country, so we are supporting our country.
- We are careful to partner with companies who treat their employees like we are treated — with respect and care.
- Our manufacturers use an environmentally-friendly manufacturing process which includes using leftover materials to heat the facilities.
- We use wood from sustainable forests so we are not stripping the planet of supplies. One company has found a way to use pieces of walnut that are rejected in creating beautiful walnut cocktail tables.
- We partner with manufacturers to create unique products that are timeless and well made.
- We offer most products in stock for 5-10 day delivery turnaround.
- We offer white glove national delivery for a flat rate of $129 and local delivery for $89.
- We take care of our customers with an extraordinary customer experience.
New products come in that I like, which doesn’t help me as I struggle to make a decision about what I want. What a good problem to have!
On December 26 at Room & Board, our 2016 assortment of new products and fabrics shows up on our website and in January it arrives in our stores. During November and December, the team is learning what is coming and what is going so we can best educate our customers. It is impressive the education that Room & Board supplies for us and how as a team we are able to learn a category and share our knowledge with our team members, which translates to being able to easily articulate the information to our customers and make a graceful customer experience.
This year, once again, we have an amazing assortment of new products, old products with new fabric covers, and new stain options and tops for our table/base programs.
Last week our store was transformed overnight from the 2015 assortment to the 2016 assortment. We quite literally left the store on Sunday at 6:00 pm and when we got back in on Monday at 9:00 the store dazzled us with the new looks. The team who works overnight to create this transformation is truly amazing in being able to pull this off in all of our stores in a very short time.
As a Design Associate, we enjoy finally being able to show off and sell our new amazing products. For the customer it means a completely new look inspiration!
Here are a few examples of 2015 room setting vs. 2016. Both beautiful and completely different!
In Chicago we have summer for about 2 months a year (not nearly long enough for me!) and winter is showing its signs again. Well it is January so I guess that is to be expected. Some of our other stores, Denver, Boston, Minneapolis, New York will relate to this, while our more fortunate store locations, California and Atlanta, might not understand.
The first picture is when some of us (me included) were simply in denial and not wearing winter coats yet even though it was cold. The second photo is finally facing the reality. We have boots and coats and gloves and hats. It is snowing and this morning was 14 degrees. Winter is HERE!
You might ask “What are you doing living in Chicago then?” Hmmm… Well besides my family and friends being here, I enjoy my work at Room & Board and I love the Skokie team!
The good news for our customers is that we will deliver to our warm weather customers (Florida, Texas, Arizona, and anywhere where we don’t have a store) for $129.00. It is white glove, in-home delivery. I don’t know another furniture company that offers that. It shows how much our company appreciates our customers!
Anyone else wonder why they are living in cold weather?
I included a number of photographs of our store from this holiday season and I think they speak for themselves. Our holiday décor reflects our overall design style of SIMPLE & ELEGANT.
One of the many things I love about working here is that the environment I work in is always neat and clean, simple and calming. It starts with our clean, simple and elegant designs and it follows all the way through to the fact that our products are 90% American made, chemical free and environmentally friendly.
Happy holidays to all this 2015 season!
It is interesting that our customers come in and say “I love the modern furniture!” or “This modern design mixes well with my traditional pieces.” But guess what? Much of our “modern” design comes from the past! Our Product team takes inspiration from many places, including past furniture designers.
Milo Baughman lived from October 7, 1923 – July 23, 2003 and was one of many American modern furniture designers. He worked with a number of well known furniture companies including Mode, Widdicomb, Arch Gordon, Henredon and most notably Thayer Coggin. Many of his original designs are still in production and are highly sought after.
Our Delia chair and our Jasper sofa are close relatives to his original designs. (See the images below.) From the viewpoint of our customer, it is a reminder that what we think of as modern is from the early 1900s. From the viewpoint of the Design Associate, it is a lesson in Furniture History 101 and we can feel proud to continue the great tradition with American manufacturers.
Milo Baughman Sofa
Room & Board Jasper Sofa
Milo Baughman Chair
Room & Board Delia Chair