Archive for the ‘Press’ Category
Your dream Sofa
Down cushions or standard foam? Exposed legs or a skirt? Some manufacturers let you customize, affordably, almost from scratch.
By: Eils Lotozo, Inquirer Staff Writer
Few things in a home take up more space, get more use, or make a bigger style statement than a sofa. Too often, though, finding the right one can be a frustrating quest, requiring marathon treks through countless furniture showrooms, where the sofas are never quite what you had in mind. If it’s got the right arms, it’s got the wrong cushions. If the size is correct, the legs aren’t. This one is too soft. That one too deep. But what if you could skip the search and conceive the sofa of your dreams? What if you could get a near-custom piece at retail prices? You can, thanks to the increasingly flexible offerings of some manufacturers. Lee Industries is emphasizing consumer choice. The company’s custom-upholstered sofas, available through the Chestnut Hill home-furnishings shop Host, start at about $1,800 for pieces that feature eight-way hand-tied springs (a mark of quality in the furniture industry that’s getting harder and harder to find). “With Lee, there are so many different versions of each style,” says Host’s owner, Doug Reinke, who offers a selection of 500 fabrics. Most sofas, for example, are available in both full and apartment size. “That’s been really popular,” Reinke says. “In some older homes, you have smaller rooms, and the oversize furniture just doesn’t fit.” Cushions and back configurations also can be changed according to taste. One deep-enough-to-nap-on Lee frame that Reinke shows clad in kiwi linen in his store and on his Web site (www.hostinteriors.com) can shift from a strictly traditional English roll-arm look, with a tight back and turned legs on brass casters, to a square-back version with tapered modern legs and three-over-three cushions. “You can even buy it upholstered and get an extra slipcover to use in the summer,” says Reinke, adding that Lee has been delivering pieces in six to eight weeks. You’ll see only a few examples of the Lee Industries pieces at tiny Host, where Reinke keeps a small selection of sofas and chairs on display. With them, and with the aid of a thick company catalog full of photographs, he helps customers compare various arm and cushion styles, test out seat depths, and compare the feel of a spring/down cushion to that of a standard cushion.
Host advises shoppers to measure their rooms and bring in floor plans. Or even photos. That’s because scale is key to buying the right sofa, Little says. You don’t want to put a behemoth in a small room, or a diminutive piece in a mammoth space. Making the right cushion choices also is important. People with back problems may prefer the firmness of a standard polyester-foam cushion. Others might love the feeling of sinking into down. Or you could combine a firm seat with a down back. Other things to consider: The ideal seat depth for you might not be the best for the rest of your family, so bring everyone along, if you can, when selecting a sofa. Practical matters can also steer style decisions. Exposed wood legs, for example, can give a sofa an airy, less substantial feel than a skirt, but a skirt can hide boxes, games, or that dining-table leaf. A sleek modern sofa with a tight back and seat might look great, but families with young children, or those who entertain frequently, might do better with a sofa with loose back and seat cushions that can be flipped to hide stains. Those with durability issues might also want to opt for tough upholstery fabrics such as the Sunbrella line, which has come a long way from its boat-cushion origins and is now available in everything from bold damasks to batik-look prints to weaves as soft as chenille. And what about color and pattern on a sofa? Is this the place to make the big statement, or to play it safe? “A lot of people are afraid of the shelf life of a sofa,” Reinke says. “They worry whether they’re going to like it eight years from now. They have a fear of commitment.” His advice: “If you’re in transition, or you think you will be moving in five years, don’t get too specific with your sofa fabric. I tell people to pick a nice neutral and punch things up with your throw pillows.”
Friday March 17, 2006
Host, in Chestnut Hill, is the brainchild of a former art director and graphic designer, Doug Reinke. ‘Transitional modern’
As an art director and graphic designer, Doug Reinke spent years designing for clients—including producing catalogs for home stores—until one day he realized he was more interested in furniture than advertising. Last month, Reinke did something about that when he opened Host in Chestnut Hill. He describes the look of his stylishly appointed home-furnishings shop as “urban” and “transitional.” Says Reinke, “It’s a bit contemporary for Chestnut Hill, but transitional modern.” Among the wares featured at Host: Convivo Italian ceramic and pewter tableware ($65 for a dinner plate); seagrass and jute area rugs, with lots of custom options, from Merida Meridian ($550 for a 9-by-12 in seagrass); a beautiful bright-white ceramic line ($16.99 for a large square platter; $8.99 for a long, skinny olive tray); and vintage-looking garden pottery from Guy Wolff ($49 for a tall pot). Besides lamps, pillows, mirrors and wall art, Host also offers a well.edited furniture selection. There’s a line of sleek metal and glass accent tables (a round side table with three shelves is $275; a wheeled bar cart is $299), as well as a collection of pieces in dark birch, including a buffet and hutch with three sliding glass doors ($899) and a coordinating trestle dining table that seats 10 with the addition of two cleverly designed end leaves ($799). The centerpieces of the store are undoubtedly the upholstered, leather and slipcovered line of chairs and sofas (starting at $879). Sturdily made by Lee Industries. The line has 500 fabric and leather choices, a wide range of leg- and arm-style options, and a choice of foam, spring or down cushioning. For those struggling with furniture decisions, Reinke, who suggests that customers bring in room photos, swatches and paint chips, offers plenty of design advice.
– Eils Lotozo
New Hill furniture store the ‘Host’ with the most
by PAT STOKES
One of the most exhilarating retail events to hit the Hill recently is the arrival of an honest-to-goodness furniture store, yep, right here in our midst at 7946 Germantown Ave., on the southwest corner at Willow Grove Ave. “Host” opened its doors just weeks ago, in mid-February. On entering this warmly beautiful interior, you feel immediately at home and get that old “I want everything in here” feeling. The colors on the walls are delicious and Doug Reinke, the owner, described them with knowledge and sensitivity based on a background in fine arts. It’s a scheme based on neutralized tones that work marvelously together: ochre (a color I like to call gray-yellow), burnt copper and darkish moss green. Against these shades the dark wood cabinets and their displays of silver picture frames, vases and other silver accessories stand out strikingly. A collection of club chairs, arranged as several seating areas, are covered in rich brown leather, tomato red fabric or natural color fiber. Underneath are rugs of sea grass or sisal, bound in cotton, linen or leather in colors to blend with the color scheme of it room. And whence doth all this knowhow spring? It would seem to have evolved from the training/ cum / experience of Doug himself in which bits and pieces coalesced into the ability to establish, shape and develop a home furnishing business conforming to the needs of today’s homeowners. Doug hails from the good old Midwest, an area which has introduced many a musician, writer, artist and designer. In his early days at Trenton State College Doug studied art, aspiring to be an illustrator, but being a person of many talents, he found ways to diversify: he was art director at New York University for a time; he started a newspaper for a Wall Street firm; then started his own graphic design business. Some of his clients operated home furnishing businesses, so of course he took photo shoots and designed their catalogues and advertising.
All this led to co-owning a furnishings store in the Lehigh Valley. Totally hooked, he decided he wanted to have his own small store that he could manage by himself. “Although much of my training and work has been in graphics, which is a two-dimensional art form,” he points out, “choosing and arranging large pieces such as furniture is, to me, graphics in 3D.” So let’s look at the furniture. The club chairs (extremely comfortable) are from Lee Industries in South Carolina. They aren’t turned out on an assembly line, but in the trade are known as “bench made” (the frames), with springs that are hand-tied. Customers may order from the floor model, to be upholstered in his/her own material, or may choose from a large selection I of fabric samples to be taken and I tried at home. A great looking dining table in dark wood is in a style Doug calls mid-century modern, from the ’40s and ’50s, currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity. Picking up on the general upbeat character of the entire place is the background music … classical ’50s and ’60s jazz. If you like what you’re hearing, you can buy any CD from his collection, right there. Doug tells me he likes to focus on the idea of entertaining. Hence he includes white pottery serving pieces for dining or cocktail time; cocktail napkins in pretty, solid colors, books on wine and glassware and bowls elegantly rimmed in pewter. Different! Then there are the pillows. Pillows are in, folks, as if you didn’t know. A few tossed on your present sofa can definitely give it new éclat. Doug mentioned that he sold out all of his pillows the first week he opened. I mustn’t forget to include here the Guy Wolff pottery, from simple cachepots for your indoor plants to the terra cotta types for the terrace. If you’re planning a bit of spiff-up for spring, here’s the place to start, at the Host with the Most. Phone 215-967-1196.
See you on the Avenue.