Inside Look: Restoration Hardware
By Andrew C. Stone
Fulham Leather Collection
If you’re looking to smarten up your sanctuary, you’d be wise to start at Restoration Hardware. No longer a predictable purveyor of nostalgic pieces and retro flourishes, the company has evolved into an innovative, globally influenced leader in the home-furnishings category. Since his arrival in 2001, chairman and co-CEO Gary Friedman—a self-taught retail wunderkind who found success as president and COO of Williams-Sonoma—has been strategically repositioning the brand.
Friedman is passionately committed to providing great design for quality-conscious customers, and he travels the globe with a carefully culled team to find inspiration. “First and foremost, we’re curators,” he says. “We travel and find items or ideas we can put into a fresh context. Secondly we’re editors; we don’t take everybody’s ideas. In fact, of all the artisans we work with and all the antiques shops and flea markets we visit, we buy less than one percent of what we see. We place those items into an artistic composition that reflects our personal style.”
One look at Restoration Hardware’s bespoke collections, website, directmail catalog and 100-plus retail locations shows that Friedman and his team are hitting it out of the park. The stores have been transfigured into high-concept design showrooms, and the logo has been updated to complement the new aesthetic. “We’re also opening some great new stores,” says Friedman about Restoration Hardware’s upcoming locations, including its biggest one yet opening this spring right here in West Hollywood on Beverly Boulevard. “Most important, the products don’t look like anything we’ve done. What’s coming down the pipeline will show an even greater evolution.”