Monday, November 5, 2007

Budget and high end

Cote de Texas' blog really inspired me this morning. In her recent post, she gives the readers a tour of some of her favorite shopping resources. She also discusses how, if the budget is tight or if the budget has been maxed, she will occasionally use a less expensive source or item until her client can afford a more permanent solution. I love that she is willing to work with clients when the budget has constraints, because not everyone can furnish and entire house all at once (and indeed, it is sometimes desirable to take a little time).

I enjoy those magazine articles that show a room done with two different budgets, one extravagant and one frugal. It is so interesting to see how a look can be accomplished two different ways, and to see what designers will splurge on, and what they will compromise on.

Because I am so familiar with many of the furniture lines, I often see when there are different variations of a similar design. Frequently one is very high end, and one is more reasonably priced. Here are some of my favorites.

High end buy: Kevin Reilly for Holly Hunt, Altar Hanging Light. This is one of Holly Hunt's signature items, and took the design world by storm because of its beauty and originality.

Budget buy: Restoration Hardware pillar candle chandelier

Barbara Barry for Baker gilded coffee table

Worlds Away Klysmos coffee table

Budget: Anthropology bed (above)

Higher end: Oly "Walker" bed

Budget: Century furniture mirror
High end: Dessin Fournir Otley mirror. This is spectacular in real life, and is hand carved out of wood.

Budget: Worlds Away Gold Leaf Iron Lamp

High End: Mattaliano Poillerat Lamp

Of course, budget is a relative term, but the 'budget' items pictured here are often thousands of dollars less. However, I always think it is best to see a piece of furniture in person before ordering (although this is not always possible) in order to judge its quality and construction. It is hard to tell the difference sometimes when looking at the pictures from a distance, but usually there are big differences from one item to another in craftsmanship, quality of materials, and ultimately longevity. Quite often you truly get what you pay for; one of the values of a great interior designer is helping you figure out what to splurge on, and what to save on.

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  1. Great job!!!! Love all of the pieces you've featured here, both the high-end and the budget ones!

  2. Thank you! While we're on the subject, any ideas where to find a budget version of the Kartell Louis Ghost armchair or Kartell's Maui Office Chairs? Both aren't hugely expensive, but x2 they're expensive enough...!

  3. Hi- No, I have not seen less expensive versions of the Kartrell Louis chairs, but it looks like a few websites are offering free shipping on them which might take the sting out of the price a bit!

  4. I have a love / hate relationship with most editorial high-lo lists, precisely because of what you point out... they glaze over the issues of craftsmanship, construction and materials. Also, there needs to be a nod to the provenance and origin of the actual design. What's the difference between a "Low" and a fake? Ideally, both alternatives are riffing off a similar theme, but finding their own unique perspective and exploring a new approach.

  5. It is always a balancing act to get good quality stuff mixed in with things that are more affordable. I love that challenge though. I never spend much anyways, but I have a houseful of good quality furniture.

    You just have to be willing to invest more time & patience than money, as well as be willing to let the look evolve based on your finds rather than trying to force it with specific wants. Not everyone likes to do it that way, but I enjoy the process as it evolves.

    Excellent post!


  6. Yes, it is an interesting challenge balancing the high end and the budget. Budget doesn't even seem like a good word to use in this case, because the items are only budget in comparison with the high end trade only pieces that I showed.

    I am a big advocate of artists rights, and copying designs seems to have become more prevalent with everything being so 'out there' on the internet. Blogs make things even more out there! However, there is certainly a lot of gray area. I am not sure if there are even any new designs out there....just reinterpretations of the same thing. This has been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years.

  7. great post!! i love doing stuff like that!

  8. It just depends where you want to--and can afford to--put your money. Is it trendy? Maybe you go for the budget issue. Love it with your whole heart, it's good quality and you know you'll want it in your space in 10 years? Splurge. It's all about balance. Yin and yang. And honestly, if budget were never an issue, some of the nice pieces may not be appreciated as much as when you have to make choices...and concessions...on others.

  9. Great finds! I was unfamiliar with Worlds Away and am going to be chacking them out right now! Thanks for the resource.

  10. Great post, it's so true that most people can't afford to furnish their entire house in one go, or prefer not to (like me and many others). Sometimes it is nice to buy a cheapie to fill the void until you find the 'perfect' piece. Or sometimes, its just hard to justify spending a fortune on something when you're quite happy with the budget option.

  11. What a wonderful collection you've assembled--especially love the Dessin Fournir Otley mirror and of course, the Walker bed!

  12. Wonderful post. I've been using Barbara's fabrics through Kravet. Nice job on the high and low.

  13. Great post! God, your blog is so great every time, better and better. I just got this trade magazine and it had an article on a chandelier that had been "copied" by someone for less. The less version was sued by the original and forced to take their chandy off the market. I wonder if Worlds Away has ever been sued? Their copies are SO good! Thanks for the shout out btw.

  14. I love all of your finds! What a great way to design with style on a budget!


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