The Washington Post

Restoration Hardware hits home


The sound of the postal carrier delivering the eight-pound pack of six RH Spring 2013 catalogues is enough to get your attention.

As you sit down with your tower of “source books,” as the company prefers to call them, you’ll notice a few new things. RH, which is what Restoration Hardware rebranded itself as last fall, continues to surprise (and sometimes shock) customers.

RH has evolved from Victorian door knobs and Silver Sage paint to beige Belgian chateau-size sofas and reproductions of French dentist chairs, and it has continued to redefine its vision under Gary Friedman, chairman emeritus. And the twice yearly mailings might include separate catalogues for outdoor furniture and small spaces.

So two new catalogues caught my eye: RH Tableware and RH Objects of Curiosity.

I’ve been a fan of designer Peri Wolfman since the 1980s when she launched the craze for all-white tableware at her SoHo housewares store, Wolfman-Gold & Good Company. So when I heard Wolfman helped create a lot of these new RH products, I knew they would be classic and well-styled. Check out the Chinese porcelain fog-colored dinner plates ($40), ivory stoneware pitchers ($30 and $42) and horn handled flatware ($49 for 5-piece place setting). The cast aluminum/nickel-plated champagne bowls ($129) would make great wine coolers at a party.

I was a tiny bit scared to open the RH Objects of Curiosity book, but there were only a few big game horns and propellers. As he has done before, Friedman has sought out artists, historians, craftspeople and other creative types and curated collections of unusual items to add personality to a room. So there are versions of classic British pool locker baskets ($39 and $59), chunks of Brazilian amethyst druzy crystals (small $229) and 19th century cartographic prints of Paris ($1295).

One offering was a bit alarming but indeed a curiosity: the wood and resin “Curious German Carnival Noses.” You get a collection of seven noses for $295.

And by the way, if you just want a great sofa or a good looking headboard, RH has lots of those too.

The home and design coverage of Jura Koncius has taken her inside hundreds of homes, from tiny studios in Penn Quarter to country castles in Warrenton. Jura also hosts the Home Front live chat, Thursdays at 11 a.m. ET.
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