ASID Icon - Winter 2013 - (Page 30)
Photos courtesy of Connie Le Fevre, Le Fevre Collection
Connie LeFevre, ASID, of Design House Inc. and Fabric
House Inc. in Houston, creates custom furniture, such as
this swivel chair, as part of the Le Fevre Collection. The
furniture and other custom pieces feature the collection's
"The problem has gotten worse recently because of the economy,"
says Marcello Luzi, ASID, managing principal of WPL Interior Design, a
Philadelphia ﬁrm that serves residential and commercial clients. "People
are trying to squeeze more out of their budgets. By keeping price points
down, they can do more."
One of Luzi's clients compared a dresser he selected from a high-end
showroom to a piece from IKEA she found online. "You can't compare
particleboard to a real piece of wood with a slate top," lamented Luzi.
Ironically, the customer's
concern was with the hardware: She thought the metal
drawer slide on the retailer's
dresser was sturdier than the
rustic wood track on the one
recommended by Luzi.
"The Internet has given
us a lot of information, but
has not given us knowledge,
wisdom, experience or education on how to apply the information," says
Luzi. Designers can educate clients, but not all will listen. Creating private or custom labels helps curtail comparison-shopping.
In October, the company launched an online shop. WPL Interior
Design is in phase one of the project: It currently sells products made by
manufacturers. The next step is to add unique items procured by Luzi
and his partners, such as antiques, sculptures and oil paintings. Finally,
the company will develop its own products - exclusive to WPL Interior
Design - to market online.
"People can't shop a custom-designed, custom-made product as
easily as an off-the-shelf item," says Luzi. "You can compare similar
products, but for value the
locally-made custom piece is
always a better buy for the
client." Luzi and the small
companies with which he
partners have less overhead
and less markup, so more of
the actual cost of the goods
are in the product. "Big
box stores have much more
overhead for fancy showrooms and huge catalogs that are mailed to
every household," he says.
There are other advantages to private labels or custom design.
"Clients feel like they are getting something special," says Tim Schelfe,
ASID, IIDA, director of interior design with JDavis Architects in Raleigh,
N.C. The company offers architecture, landscape architecture, planning
and interior design services. Schelfe has created custom label upholstery for clients. "It allows the designer to not only tailor the look of the
piece, but - in the case of upholstery - the type of cushion, the way it
ﬁts and so on," he says.
"People can't shop a custom-designed,
custom-made product as easily as an
BENEFITS OF CUSTOM LABELS
Luzi offers what he calls "custom exclusive design." He works with companies - usually craftsmen within 100 miles of his ﬁrm - to design and
produce custom upholstery, cabinets and case goods. For instance, he is
currently developing a relationship with a small glass company to create
bowls, vases and objet d'art glass exclusively for WPL Interior Design.
the magazine of the american society of interior designers
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASID Icon - Winter 2013
A Commitment to True Collaboration
Design’s Growing Body of Evidence
Design for Life
ASID Icon - Winter 2013