Restoration Hardware: CEO Gary Freidman's House in San Francisco


 I received my Restoration Hardware catalog last week and spent about 30 minutes going through it.  My initial thought was that is seemed a bit more fun and I was happy to see some of the furniture more scaled down.  

Yesterday I found a copy of C Magazine in my mail box and one of the homes featured is Restoration Hardware Chairman Gary Freidman's home  in the city of Belvedere, overlooking the San Francisco bay
 It seemed interesting that the timing of this article happened to coincide with the delivery of the catalog...a wonderful happenstance?

I doubt it....
 but it is an interesting article and it gives you a peek inside Gary's world. 

 The house was designed by architect Howard Backen and is a 7000 square foot villa which took over 5 years to complete.

 I was not surprised to see furniture from the new catalog placed throughout this incredible house.  

Most notable was the deconstructed style furnishings which are new this year.   

 The English wing chair in the bottom left of the photo above is $1995 (now $1695)
and is a cotton a burlap creation by artisan Rudy Van Thiel.
Van Thiel is know throughout Europe for snapping up antiques and treasures 
and restoring, reproducing and selling, all things beautiful.

Most recently for Restoration Hardware

I think this chair pairs beautifully with the red lacquer Chinese amoire
and I love the little side table made for scavenged architectural fragments

So would you buy this chair?

There have been a few interesting, fun
and rousing discussions
by other bloggers
about this subject:
read Cote de Texas here

I like this chair actually.
I like the scale of the back and the arms
and the legs are really interesting.
I think it's fun and doesn't take itself too seriously!

I would probably try to find an
antique or vintage piece first...
but if budget were a huge consideration and it usually is,
I would buy this chair

The kitchen below seems a bit boring to me
but is probably jaw dropping in real life.

No upper cabinets or much of anything for that matter...very spare.

The space was designed to enjoy views of Mt. Tamalpais and the bay
from all vantage points and doors open up on to sheltered terraces.
 All of the linen fabric used in RH's drapery and furniture are from the centuries old firm of Libeco-Lagae, know for producing the finest Belgium linen available.

 I have some Libeco sheets which are probably 5 years old
and they have just gotten softer and more wonderful over the years

 In the living room
Gary placed these HUGE antique French column  fragment and glass lamps
which inspired a Resto lighting collection
do you like this lamp....retail $1295

Below the deconstructed sofa ($3295 retail)
is paired with a modern Scandinavian chair

The artwork is really stunning in this room

Architect Howard Backen designed the rooms to be perfectly proportioned for entertaining and for showcasing furniture, art and collections.

All of the walls are Venetian plaster and very minimalistic 
with window and doors framed in mahogany.

Looking at this house you clearly see the owner as someone 
who travels to Europe and Asia.  

What I find interesting too, is how there is a mix of modern with antique, Asian and British Colonial....
 and then the addition of mass produced RH furniture thrown in. 

too much?

At least from the photos 
it seems to work really well. 

Perhaps this is how Mr Freidman sees his furniture being used 
and not how it is merchandised in the gallery stores 

I would never want to walk into a house 
and feel like I just stepped into the pages of a catalog.
 I definitely feel there is a need for this type of design 
both from a practical and budgetary standpoint.

The fact is, that not every one is good at visualizing
how things may look when they are placed in a room 

Would I have a house full of this stuff?...never 
but a nicely placed chair I could do.

so what do you think?

have a great weekend

thank you so much for the wonderful comment on the Martha book giveaway,
I will now post continuously about my compost bin and muffin tops!

winner will be announced on Monday morning!

  1. It is interesting that you posted this because this past weekend I visited my best friend and we stopped by the RH. I miss the old RH; this one os more like a designer's gallery. Everything is so large in scale, so cold, so uninviting. There were some pieces I would buy (if I had the money) but for some reason a lot of their floor room setups did not attract me. As for their new deconstructed line, I am with you in that if money was not an issue, I would probably get this chair. I really like the lines, and most of the details. Hey, if nothing else it will be a great conversation piece.


  2. I LOVE the dining room.
    Personally, I don't think I would ever spend that kind of money for something "deconstructed" like that.

  3. I was just at TJ Maxx and saw the most beautiful linen wingback chair almost just like the one in your photos. And the best part it was only 299.00 much better than 1695.00.

    However it would be a serious road trip for you as its in WA

  4. Honestly I love your style so much more and I think some of the prices at RH are just out of control. I too have seen very similar pieces at TJ Maxx for 1/3 of the price. No wonder his home is so amazing..RH is so expensive. I really love seeing homes done by the average person with a real budget. But thanks for sharing. You are an amazing designer. xo Rachel

  5. I just can't get past the scale of most of the RH furniture. I am 5'5" and my feet dangle when I try the sofas. Who has a house large enough for these huge pieces of furniture? If they do, they can probably afford the real thing not a trendy fake. I agree with the other commenters, if you want to try the style check out the discount retailers who are already copying these copies.

  6. I have been to Cote de Texas and got Joni's slant on the furniture and I had agreed with her but seeing this house with the mix of different styles I could see how a few pieces could work. Maybe the catalog pictures are too strong a statement. As always you are always there with the information.

  7. It is really interesting when you look at Gary's own home and how he has paired the pieces with antiques and then look at the showroom photo...what a complete difference!

    I think the catalog shows too much similarity and not enough of a mix to really shine as good interior design.

    thanks for stopping by!

    best, Kelley

  8. I think the prices are ridiculous. this company has jumped the shark.

  9. Wow, lots of grumpies here. I think this deconstructed line is the best thing to come out of resto for a long time. Thank goodness! I like the deconstructed line. I'm actually contemplating the Napoleon chair, but I don't like it as is and I'd have to make some changes to it. I have access to two real Napoleon antique chairs that are deconstructed but they are trashed. I mean, the stuffing is coming out all over them and the muslin type upholstery is pinned on with safety pins. I guess my point is the resto deconstructed line isn't really deconstructed. It's still a new piece of Restoration Hardware furniture and it's pretty polished for being deconstructed!

  10. You asked for a comment.....and here it is.

    This is the stupidest mistake I have ever seen a company make.

    "FAKE" antiques" made in China......with "fake" antique fabric and "open " stuff is the most stupid thing I have seen happen in my many years of decorating.

    I will be fascinated by how it turns out for them.

    It goes against every thing I believe as a decorator.

    In fact; it makes me sick.

    I walked by their LA store yesterday......and it was closed for a "Photo shoot"! My friend and I saw this stuff up close.!

    Honesty; I have never seen anything uglier than that sofa with the open sides.

    Never. "Fashion victim" is all I could think of. This CEO must be on some drug??!!??

    It makes no sense on any level!

    It really broke my heart; I was so enthusiastic about their collection until those scary airplane things came out. He needs an "Aesthetic Director" permanently. He had some great ideas out of the box; however he has gone dangerously astray!


  11. RH is not playing it safe anymore. Their look will appeal to a certain buyer only. Of course as with any chain ( furniture) retail store.....I always believe a little goes a long way. To get a custom curated has to be mixed in with a little old....and new. If RH decided to create more vignettes in their store and spice it up with some color I do believe it would help the consumer realize how it could work in their home. As he did in his own home!

  12. What is interesting is that when a retailer knocks off a piece of furniture that is modern, like a Saarinen table or a Knoll desk we don't seem to have the same reaction. Modern knock offs are everywhere. Are European antiques not to be touched? And haven't we seen dozens if not thousnads of knockoffs lately of classic Swedish and Belguim antiques?

    I don't think RH is fooling anyone into thinking they are getting the real deal. But if you needed to add something interesting to a room maybe the Deconstructed wing chair might be just the thing.

    Most of the furniture is being manufactured in India, so the biggest problem they have is quality control, which I have found to be terrible, especially in light of what they are asking the consumer to pay.

    I agree with Penny about the scary airplane things...weird!


  13. I personally am not a fan of the deconstructed look. I feel it is a step too far to, "The I am trying to be different look." However I do think his personal home is lovely and it looks as if it was done over a period of time, a process that took time to do. IMHO, I feel RH is missing the boat and I miss the days of the light interiors painted in Silver sage and white.
    Happy Saturday,

  14. ...what deconstructed furniture....I cannot get passed that VIEW!!! Swoon!

  15. I'm sharing a little sunshine that was shared with me... because your blog is full of sunshine.

  16. Hi Kelley,
    I love the location of his home...what's not to love, right? Even though I've not bought any furniture from Restoration Hardware since they made the change, I do think its pretty and probably would look amazing in a large home. I do love the little side table...the deconstructed furniture is interesting but I'd be bothered by the incomplete look of it.
    Thanks for sharing this and your perspectives on some of the furnishings.

  17. I am a fan of RH's linens, but I mainly watch RH's furniture lines so I can keep my eye out for reasonably priced antiques in similar styles. Living on the East Coast, we have access to lots of antiques at better price points than anything at RH, so I would personally never buy something like that. However, like one of the other posters mentioned about Knoll, I'm not one of those people who think antiques cannot/should not/must not be reproduced for the mass market. A lot of antiques were actually reproductions when they were made, not to mention that retailers should bring products to market that fill their customers wants.

    The problem is this deconstructed thing is trying too hard to be something it's not IMO. It doesn't look like an antique reproduction to me--it looks like a modern piece of furniture that someone is unsuccessfully trying to pass off as an antique.

  18. I think it's interesting that his home is light filled while the stores are so dark....and what a view!!!

  19. Kelley you kind of summed up my feelings perfectly on the new deconstructed line from RH. I would also prefer the real thing, but let's face it, not everyone can afford the real thing. And I also couldn't have a houseful of furniture from any one company, be it RH or otherwise. I prefer a gathered over time look with new and old pieces mixing seamlessly. But I can see where RH and their designs fills a niche in the market.


  20. Hi there! I love that term "jumped the shark"

    I've personally jumped the shark so many times I should own an aquarium!

    thanks for the comments


  21. Kelley~
    Do you know where the term "jumped the shark" came from?? ... my husband reminded me not too long ago... It was from an episode of "Happy Days" where Fonzie was in the ocean and actually jumped a shark in his leather jacket and bathing suit... the show was sooo poorly received and ridiculous that people started using the phrase "Jumped the Shark" to refer to nonsense :)

  22. Well I went to the store after I got my catalogues (3 right) I needed to see it in person because I'm shopping for some new pieces, love old but new sometimes works better. Ummm who are these pieces made & sized for it was a bit like Alice in Wonderland....

  23. Had to add my two cents! I purchased two of their linen slipcovered dining chairs to mix with my antique set....and was satisfied with them. Then made the mistake of ordering an upholstered/wood frame bed. Unfortunately the quality was so poor, the bed (as well as the replacement bed) never made it into the bedroom. Back onto the truck they went! I wholeheartedly agree with you Kelly regarding the quality of the wood furniture. It is really sub-standard. I hope I don't sound cruel, but I think the company would be better served if they would focus on QUALITY reproductions.

  24. Wow - lots of interesting comments. I recently walked through a store on my way to another store in a mall and found the "total amount" of all the new deconstructed furniture too much, too monotone and too cold. BUT I can see how select pieces mixed in with other items in your home would work. But the question is...will the consumer see it that way? Or will they blindly follow RH trendsetting ways and think they need to buy the whole catalog page?
    As for the antique debate - well if you have access, the eye and the budget for the real stuff -more power to you, but if you don't and you want to jump on the antique, deconstructed trend then get it there. Why not? But I agree that RH should focus on quality furniture because their stuff is still a lot of money (for many people) for what it is!

  25. I have been highly disappointed in the quality of the RH Belgian Rolled Arm sofa I waited 2 months to receive. the back cushions are much smaller than they should be & just look stupid. RH provided me with the correct measurements for the cushions & I provided them with photos of mine & tape measure confirming how small they are. But after 2 months now of trying to get new cushions made, RH just continues to tell me their vendor is deciding what to do. they apparently could care less about defective custom orders, which is what we are stuck with since everything they sell is order only for the most part. if they don't care about providing a good product & stand behind their mistakes, nothing else will matter. eventually it will catch up with them. very sad.

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