From the San Francisco Bay to San Diego and from Austin to Pittsburg, “barkitecture” is sweeping the nation.
According to a recent report from the U.S. Labor Department, Americans spend $61 billion per year on their pets, averaging just over $500 per household. Kit Yarrow, chair of psychology at Golden Gate University, points out that pets also have an elevated status in our homes than in the past, with 9 out of 10 owners considering their pets to be “part of the family”.
Now, animal lovers can combine their love of design to help their furry friends. Animal rescue groups all over the country are challenging talented designers, architects, builders and artists to create fantasy doghouses to later be auctioned off at fundraiser events. These competitions have become quite the event themselves- with specialty categories in “kitty condos” and “interior barkitecture”, which are structures intended for indoor use only.
Pittsburgh, PA Contemporary Design Group store, Perlora is currently partnering with community organization Animal Friends to help give pets a “new leash on life”. Challenging competitors to “think outside the cage”, Perlora will also host the finale live auction on October 24.
Animal Friends of Pittsburgh is a non-profit companion animal resource center serving the needs of pets and people for 70 years. According to their website, “our progressive programs have been nationally recognized and include humane rescue, shelter and adoption services for homeless pets, humane education, pet behavior classes, pet- assisted therapy, wellness programs and more. In addition, Animal Friends is leading the way towards ending pet overpopulation in western Pennsylvania through comprehensive, community- wide spay/neuter programming.” To learn more or to learn how you can support, check Animal Friends out at www.thinkingoutsidethecage.org.
And, just in case anyone is wondering... Rockstar Puppy Boutique.com is currently offering an exclusive, custom “doggie dreamhouse” inspired by the Taj Mahal at a mere $40,000 pricetag. No word yet on how well it’s selling, but you can be sure that it’s future occupant will be one pampered pooch.
This year Thayer Coggin is celebrating the big 6-0 by hitting the road. The Roadshow, titled “Thayer Coggin and Milo Baughman: A Design Union” will be touring the nation making stops in 23 cities.
CDG stores will be hosting the show in the following cities: Richmond, VA (La Difference), Boston, MA (Circle Furniture), Pittsburg, PA (Perlora), Boca Raton, FL (Sklar Furnishings), Oklahoma City, OK (Suburban Contemporary), and San Diego, CA (Lawrance Furniture). La Difference in Richmond, VA was the third stop on the tour and owners Sarah Paxton and Andy Thornton shared their experience with us.
CDG: What are your personal thoughts about Thayer Coggin and the mid-century modern trend?
LaDiff: “We have been Thayer Coggin fans for years. We love hearing the stories about how Mr. Coggin and Milo Baughman met, formed a business relationship of 50 years with a handshake, and basically created the mid-century modern upholstery movement.”
“Mid-century design came out of the technology of the 40’s, developed during the war to streamline production, incorporate plastics, bent veneers, and lighter weight materials into useable objects, and to celebrate the ‘form + function’ ideas. Milo Baughman should be as celebrated as Charles and Ray Eames for his designs. They are as classic, functional, and beautiful today as when they were first introduced. While it’s true that Don Draper, the philandering marketing guy from ‘Mad Men’ (the AMC drama series), may have helped bring mid-century design to the fore front for many Americans, mid-century furniture design has become as ‘classic’ as Chippendale, Queen Anne, Colonial, or French Provincial.”
CDG: How was the roadshow experience?
LaDiff: “Our staff are huge Thayer Coggin fans, so the energy and excitement going into the Road Show was palpable. Our guests on our special cocktail night were real aficionados. Everyone there was eager to hear about the history of the company, presented by Phil Miller, VP of Sales and Marketing for Thayer Coggin.”
CDG: Any favorite pieces, eras or colors?
LaDiff: “Picking a favorite Baughman piece is like choosing a favorite pet!”
Sarah’s personal favorite is the Groovy swivel chair because it is such a statement piece; but is also fond of the Viceroy recliner and Boldido chair and ottoman (the only design Milo did in the 1980’s). As a former woodworker, Andy loves all of the chairs with the solid walnut arms and the olive burl elm tables. Both love the turquoise upholstery option.
“For us, the best part of the show was seeing the history. The Road Show was curated by date, so you could walk through the pieces from 1953 to 1997 and see the changes to Mr. Baughman’s designs.” Sarah says
Interior decorating is really just fashion for your home. When you get dressed to go to work or to go to play, most people add “accessories”. In fashion this may be a watch and belt for a man and a scarf, purse, and jewelry for a woman. When decorating or “dressing” your home, don’t forget the accessories. (Courtesy of Sklar Furnishings Blog)
“We sell so many accessories that they have become a big part of our sales volume,” says CDG Member Pat Howard of Skar Furnishings in Boca Raton, FL. “The staff love to finish the job after delivery.”
According the Jennifer Brouwer, of Jennifer Brouwer Design, the key to understanding the impact accessories make is to consider other examples of things without finishing touches, like a cake without frosting or a little black dress without the right jewelry. “Accessories cannot be overlooked or treated as an afterthought—they truly can make or break the look and feel of your home.” Brouwer also notes that, “More is not always better—you don’t want to feel as though you’re navigating an obstacle course to enter a room!”
Elaine Verhoff at SheKnows.com suggests 8 simple tips for accessorizing.
1. Go with what you love: Start with an object that brings you joy, and choose other accessories complementary to that piece.
2. Choose your colors: Contrast can add vibrancy to a room. If your furniture is neutral, go bold with your accessories.
3. Stick with a theme: will help create a cohesive look.
4. Consider symmetry: a sense of balance is part of formal design but if your style is casual, go with asymmetrical pieces.
5. Group according to size and number: mixing size and height adds interest.
6. Don’t forget about lighting: it’s an easy way to add instant impact!
7. Or walls: the ultimate canvas, you can paint a bold color or use to hang art pieces.
8. Or floors: Look down. Yet another blank canvas! Area rugs are an easy and flexible way to add color and texture.
Choose your budget and you will be able to find pieces you will love that will make your new home and space YOU!
Contemporary Design Group is a national association of independent contemporary furniture retailers.
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