In his studio in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Giancarlo Valle dreams up furniture and rooms with a palpable sense of playfulness.
With the help of a Casablancan designer, one expat art dealer creates a home that’s always undergoing its next update.
Some $40,000 later, they could finally start thinking about updating the house they bought in Farmington, Conn.
A special edition of the Milan Furniture Fair, called Supersalone, turns pandemic constraints into a chance for innovation and anchors a five-day design celebration throughout the city.
Even his artsy friends were skeptical. But for $70,000, he knew he could find a way to make it work.
Yes, the comfy chair. The War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco put in roomier seats just in time to try to lure audiences back from the couches they got used to during the shutdown.
In his colorful Guadalajara work space, Fabien Cappello collects and creates pieces he calls “prototypes of the future.”
By filling his 1830s Brooklyn Heights apartment with just the essentials, Colin King has created an oasis of calm.
They already had the ideal home in Marfa, Texas. So when they needed more space, they built another little house — to hold the bedroom.
When they first worked together, renovating a home that had once been a church, they never imagined they’d eventually get married there.
After a two-year gut renovation, just about the only thing that remains is the windmill.
The Citizenry announced today that it raised $20 million in Series B funding in partnership with NextWorld Evergreen. A direct-to-consumer home decor retailer, The Citizenry works with artisans from around the world to produce limited-edition runs of handcrafted, hand-numbered home goods. In October, The Citizenry opened its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City, and with this round of funding, The Citizenry hopes to accelerate its development into a whole-home brand.
Co-Founder Rachel Bentley got her start at Bain & Company, where she worked in strategy consulting in global supply chains.
“I saw a lot of the challenges that were coming as a result of that, tied to income inequality, human rights, and the environment,” Bentley told TechCrunch. “But I also saw the tremendous opportunity that connections of global supply chains can create to hopefully move communities forward.”
Bentley and fellow co-founder Carly Nance, a brand strategist, noticed that there was a gap in the market for premium, thoughtfully crafted home goods. They took the leap to leave their corporate jobs to start The Citizenry with the aim to make a positive global impact and set more socially conscious standards for the home decor industry.
These are lofty goals, but Bentley’s experience in global supply chain strategy helped her develop a business model that prioritizes the fair treatment of workers.
“One of the biggest challenges in working with artisan communities is that companies are there for one season, they place a large order, and their goal is to get a really high volume at a very low price,” Bentley says. “We came in and took the opposite approach. We tried to identify groups we saw a long term potential with, that we could partner with for the next ten, twenty, fifty years, to really help grow their businesses. Having sustainable income day in and day out, not just seasonally, is where you really start to see change happen.”
The Citizenry is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), and for over eighteen months, they’ve been going through the process to become fully verified through the WFTO’s Guarantee System. This means that the WFTO reviews every partner and conducts several day, in-person examinations of the artisans’ working conditions. On average, The Citizenry pays its artisans double the local minimum wage.
“Social responsibility is much more important to our generation than previous generations,” Bentley said. “We want to feel good about the way a product was made, because we know we’re going to be living with the ramifications of how it was made, whether that’s environmentally or in terms of human rights.”
Bentley says that the rise in farm-to-table food shopping is indicative of consumers’ transition in values. But spending an extra few dollars on organic produce isn’t quite the same as shelling out $695 for a Portuguese leather headboard. So, The Citizenry may not undercut retailers like IKEA, but their price points are often cheaper than luxury home competitors like Williams-Sonoma, for example. The fact that The Citizenry can even compete with larger retailers while paying livable wages to artisans is a testament to their business model.
Since closing its Series A in 2019, The Citizenry has grown sales over 200%, with repeat customers driving 45% of sales. Over the same period, the company has supported 3,000 global artisan jobs. With its Series B funding, The Citizenry hopes to expand its furniture section — the most shopped category on its website — and invest in expanding its brick-and-mortar business after its SoHo store’s successful launch.
The designer Umberto Bellardi Ricci’s metal lighting and cement objects feel of a kind with the buildings outside his window.
They bought the house in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., thinking it would be nice for weekends in the winter. But Covid changed that.
Why do you need a tray? To serve drinks, collect the mail, organize the bathroom — they’re useful almost anywhere.
The plan was to do a quick cosmetic update. Then a couple found out the plumbing, electrical and septic systems were shot. And the house was sinking.
To avoid sending tons of usable fixtures and appliances to a landfill during our renovation, we tried a “post it and see if they will come” strategy. It worked.
Working in finance in Manhattan made him homesick for the beach in California. So he recreated what he missed on an unlikely site in Amagansett.
Versatility is not the only reason blobby sofas and chairs are back in style.
Christopher Carter, an artist who works with salvaged materials, set out to create his biggest work ever. Now it’s his home, and the subject of a new exhibit.
If you’ve recently acquired some outdoor space, you’ll need to furnish it. Start with this versatile little table.
The company that helped popularize open office plans and lavish employee perks is trying to reinvent office spaces to cope with workplace sensibilities changed by the pandemic.
For one Chicago entrepreneur, it was a design that felt as if it had been pulled straight from her unconscious. (And there are lots of chains.)
Vegetable-dyed scratch pads and organic catnip leaf? The money grows on these cat trees.
The Greek Revival house, once home to the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, needed more than just a simple renovation to function in the 21st century.
Whether you choose a showstopper or one that’s virtually invisible, a range hood is essential. Otherwise, you’ll be smelling that fish for days.
The challenges of the past year gave designers every reason to recede into the shadows, but creativity won’t be denied.
With their daughter leaving for college, a couple began planning a new life — and a new house — in Idaho, where they could enjoy the cold.
What’s the most multifunctional piece of furniture you’ll ever buy? Probably a daybed. Here’s why — and what to look for.
In a country house on the Baltic coast, Nina Norgren and Bengt Thornefors, the founders of the textile and furniture brand Magniberg, have made a home entirely their own.
Developers are catering to buyers who want a true move-in experience, with the furniture already in place.
People with nice furniture do have dogs. So how do they do it?
Max Zinser’s new collection of animal-like furniture and Matthew Fisher’s debut offering of marble and wood objects are both rooted in age-old crafts.
More than one, as a Chicago designer and her client — who also happens to be her brother — discovered.
A new generation of homebound shoppers is developing a hunger for antiques and other hard-to-find items online and on Instagram.
The pandemic has spawned an enormous wave of items tossed out on New York City’s streets — including kitchen sinks, a Korean wedding chest and even a Tiffany bracelet.
Burrow participated in the Y Combinator accelerator in 2016 with an initial aim of building sofas that, by virtue of being modular, were easier to move and adapt to a variety of living spaces. Now its product lineup also includes armchairs, ottomans, tables, rugs, lights and other accessories. In fact, the company says it launched 19 new products last year, including a modular shelving system.
When I asked via email about this expansion, co-founder and CEO Stephen Kuhl told me that the company follows “a very rigorous research process” involving customer surveys, focus groups, online search data and more.
“The goal is to match the largest customer needs with the biggest market opportunities,” Kuhl said. “Once it’s clear what category to enter, we use our research to define how we’re going to develop the best version(s) of each product for our customer base, and how we’re going to build the best end-to-end customer experience around that product. I’m probably going to jinx it, but every single product we’ve ever launched has exceeded projections, a testament to our customer-centric, research-driven design process.”
Burrow says it saw triple-digit revenue growth last year, a trend it anticipates continuing in 2021. Kuhl suggested that the startup is also benefitting from broader trends accelerated during the pandemic, including the shift to e-commerce, an increased focus on the home and people moving to the suburbs (and buying more furniture in the process).
“Over the last 18 months, we launched innovative new products in every category of living room furniture,” he said. “In 2021, we’ll continue that expansion into every room of the home.”
The startup has now raised a total fo $55 million. Its Series C was led by Parkway Venture Capital, with Managing Partner Gregg Hill joining Burrow’s board of directors. NEA, Red & Blue Ventures, Winklevoss Capital and Michael Seibel also participated in the new round.
Burrow says it will use the new funding to launch new products while also investing in operations and building out its international supply chain.
“Parkway looks for brands that are changing how we live today as well as innovating to stay ahead,” Hill said in a statement. “We believed in Burrow’s business model from the beginning, having invested in their Series B round, and recognize all their future potential.”
The exterior of the 1930s Mediterranean-style home in Coconut Grove was charming. The interior was anything but. This couple was thrilled.
After buying an awkward 1960s house with a clumsy 1980s addition, a couple set about dragging the lakefront property into the 21st century.
A clamp lamp is the easiest fix when you need to bring light to a dark corner — or a makeshift home office.
The house in Orinda, Calif., was designed for entertaining. But it turned out to be just as good for living through a pandemic.
As the C.E.O. of Herman Miller, Andi Owen has had to navigate a polarized work force while thinking about the future of the offices her company makes furniture for.
The coronavirus has disrupted supply chains in unpredictable ways, creating long waits for basic items like dishwashers and love seats.
For one couple looking for a place in Brooklyn, natural light mattered more than space. They knew they’d make the compact apartment work.
What Plexi-Craft — an upscale furniture factory in the Bronx — has, the city wants: Acrylic resin skills.
Since moving into the Chianti, Italy, property in the ’70s, the shoe designer René Caovilla has, together with his kin, made the traditions of the ancient region his own.
As one architect discovered after a failed relationship, the best way forward is sometimes getting rid of most of what you own.
Because you need a place to sit near the front door — unless you want to kneel while you’re putting on and taking off your winter boots.
A scientist tracks the dangers of flame retardants, meant to protect children, and why manufacturers cannot seem to stop using them.
With a little paint and accordion folding, your newspaper can become décor for your Thanksgiving table.