A Very Hard Restoration


After several months of teasing (and being turned away at the door), Restoration Hardware (or ‘RH’ as they seem to have branded themselves) was finally open the last time I was in Boston. Having received their humongous catalog in the mail for a few years, I knew what to expect, and was suitably impressed with the three-floor-showroom at hand. I don’t know if you can actually walk out with any merchandise (it didn’t look like it, and I didn’t feel like addressing any of the numerous tablet-holding staff who somewhat uncomfortably outnumbered customers three-to-one), but the point of this store is to see what you like in the best possible light, even if you can’t really replicate what you see.

I’d heard the horror stories of an (almost)-opening night party that had gone dismally awry, but I knew that with that space there would be little way to go wrong, so the display rooms are suitably spectacular, in the subtle, rustic style of over-priced furniture that RH has made their trademark. On the numerous occasions (after the opening party) on which I tried to visit this place, I was turned away at the door by a friendly staffer, saying that the city had not yet granted them the building permits they needed to open. They offered me a 20% off coupon (several of them over the weeks) to make up for the inconvenience. I took them graciously, though I never any intention of buying. The beds that they were offering for $2500 and up were nice, but there’s no need to pay that for something an excellent upholsterer can do for a much more reasonable price-point.

Still, the idea here is not to purchase everything and recreate it (well, for the feeble-minded and rich who can’t think enough for themselves, that may be the idea) but rather to get inspired and see things that you might incorporate or add as part of a greater scheme. To that end, it achieves its goal (and I did see a chair that I would love to have in our home – this one). But I’m not fooled into thinking that by buying a piece or two, my home will instantly be transformed into one of these beauties. That’s just nonsense. Nonsense designed to sell overpriced burlap to hapless buyers who never had a clue. In that respect they may make a killing…

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