RH launches its first hotel, West Elm bets on digital furniture and more

This week in design, recycled denim is the latest alternative material in the spotlight, as a manufacturer has found a way to convert old jeans into furniture. Whatever happens next, stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches, events, recommended reading and more.

Economic news
A growing number of individual investors are buying homes out of state to rent out, The Wall Street Journal reports. Called “laptop owners”, the growing group is mostly made up of well-paid professionals who view the process as an investment, similar to stocks or bonds, and who are enabled by new technologies and online platforms like Roofstock and Appreciate which simplify the process. home buying process. While data revealed home purchases by investors of all kinds hit record highs during the pandemic, peaking at 28% of all single-family home sales in February 2022, up from 17% a year earlier. on the other, according to housing data firm CoreLogic – the niche of out-of-state individual investors also grew, with members of this group buying 2.1% of all US homes sold in Q2 2022, versus 1.5% year-on-year.

CSC Generation — the private equity owner of companies including One Kings Lane, Z Gallerie and DirectBuy — has publicly submitted a bid for Dubuque, Iowa-based furniture maker Flexsteel Industries. above the company’s recent share price, Home News now reports. The move has had some back and forth: CSC Generation says Flexsteel did not respond to an initial offer, although Flexsteel denies this. In a letter to the Flexsteel Board of Directors, CEO and President of CSC Justin Yoshimura wrote that the company needed a “transformation” that could only succeed with private ownership and the resources provided by a digital-native entity like CSC. CSC offered $20.80 per share in an all-cash proposal, a 22% premium to Flexsteel’s closing price of $17.10 per share last Tuesday, a purchase price total of approximately $115.6 million. Flexsteel released a statement indicating that it plans to evaluate the offer.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association has released its Market Index report for the second quarter of 2022, revealing that although demand is now stable, professionals in the sector are seeing the first signs of a market cooling and expect a slowdown growth for the rest of the year. According to the report, 59% of design firms and 82% of building and construction firms experienced project cancellations or postponements. While kitchen and bath sales for the year are still expected to rise by 9.4%, that projection has come down from the 15.1% forecast three months ago – although, on the bright side, the Lower demand alleviated inventory issues for manufacturers, with 36% of those reporting an increase in inventory.

A year after completing a $100 million Series B funding round, real estate tech startup Reali announced it was closing and laying off most of its 140 employees by September 9. Tech Crunch reports. According to a press release issued by the co-founder and president Amit Haller, the decision was the result of “difficult conditions in the real estate and financial markets and an unfavorable capital raising environment”. The company was founded by Haller and Friend Avrahami in 2016 with the goal of enabling clients to buy and sell their home in one coordinated transaction, and subsequently raised over $290 million in debt and equity financing. The company joins the ranks of other online real estate companies that have also fallen on hard times in recent months, including Homeward, which recently laid off 20% of its workforce, and Better, which laid off thousands of employees this year.

Furniture maker Semi Exact, which specializes in custom “ready-made” furniture, has received a $600,000 investment from StartUpNV, a non-profit organization that provides startups with start-up capital. According Furniture today, the company’s ready-to-make category allows customers to purchase furniture item components (such as furniture bases, table legs and shelf brackets) which can then be assembled on the based on templates available on the company’s website. Additionally, customers are encouraged to “cut, sand, stain, add or subtract” to personalize their items. With this new funding, Semi Exact plans to invest more in its product development process, which the company claims can bring new designs to market in less than 45 days, whereas major manufacturers typically take six months or so. more.

Online rental marketplace Zumper completed a $30 million Series D1 funding round led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Tech Crunch reports. While the company has typically matched users with landlords for long-term leases, in 2021 it saw a larger subset of tenants shift to more flexible options, such as monthly or monthly leases. hybrids (usually one to six). monthly contract). With the new capital, Zumper plans to undergo a “rebirth”, CEO and co-founder Anthemos Georgiades Told Tech Crunchby revamping its platform to better serve customers looking for short-term rentals.

Launches & Collaborations
CEO of Williams-Sonoma Inc. Laura Albert announced last week that the company’s West Elm brand is teaming up with video game company Roblox to roll out a line of digital furniture products later this year, Home textiles today reports. Alber made the announcement during an appearance on CNBC mad moneyduring which she said digital product sales would generate revenue for the company, making it the latest brand to collaborate with Roblox besides names like Nike and Gucci.

Crate & Kids teams up with a textile designer John Robshaw for a new collaboration inspired by the colors and patterns he observed during his travels around the world. The range of products for children and babies includes pillows, bedding, quilts and more, and is designed to spark the imagination with images of camels and elephants rendered in colorful jewel tones and soft pastels .

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams team up with the designer Brigitte Romanek on new creations for existing collections. The expanded product assortment draws on influences from fashion, architecture and art deco aesthetics with the introduction of a swivel chair and small sofa for the Lucy collection, and leans on lush curves and clean lines for the LA collection with the addition of a new high lean-to bed.

Bedding from the new Crate & Kids collection made in partnership with textile designer John RobshawCourtesy of Crate & Kids

Model houses
The beginnings of the Flower magazine designer showhouse in Atlanta has been postponed from September 15 to November 3 due to unforeseen construction delays and will now be open to the public for tours from November 4 to November 27.

recommended reading
With the launch of Guesthouse, the first hosting concept for HR, CEO and President Gary Friedman wants to do luxury hotels differently – swap Pringles and M&M’s for fresh baguettes, charcuterie and crudités; communal gyms for a range of stainless steel and walnut workout equipment for private use; and frantic halls for a single attendant stationed at a discreet entrance. For The Wall Street Journal, Howie Kahn sits down with Friedman to discuss his vision for Guesthouse and take a closer look at how the entrepreneur’s abrupt rise to executive status set the tone for his current approach to disrupting the home and hospitality industries hotel.

When Ace Hotel debuted over a decade ago, it set a precedent for hotels aimed at millennials with an atmosphere inspired by the alternative culture of the time. In the years since, various corporate hotel chains have applied the same (now obsolete) style to their own millennial-branded facilities, marked by a series of similar aesthetic choices that include “funky” decor, nature-themed patterns and decorative books, among others. For The Melt newsletter, Jason Diamond explores the phenomenon and laments the lack of moving design in millennial-focused hotels today.

Newly remodeled homes on the market tend to feature signature 2020s aesthetic details – think: minimalist open shelving, glass mosaic bathroom tiles, rustic barn doors and most importantly, gray laminate flooring. As Amanda Mull written for Atlantic, design choices are typically selected by a growing class of home flippers (a quarter of single-family home sales went to homeowners, Airbnb hosts, and other investors in 2021) who are likely looking for profits at the above the actual home improvement. “They chose these things as much for what they are not as for what they are – innocuous, inexpensive, harmless,” Mull writes. “These homes aren’t necessarily designed to be inhabited. They’re designed to be contract.”

In memory
San Fransisco Photographer Fred Lyons died of lung cancer aged 97 last week. Best known for documenting the changing landscape of his hometown for more than seven decades, Lyon began studying his craft at age 15 under the tutelage of a photographer Ansel Adams at the Art Center School in Los Angeles, before becoming a Navy photographer during World War II. During his career as a commercial photographer, Lyon shot for top magazine titles such as Life, vogue and Home & Garden, covering topics as varied as fashion, interior design, travel, food and wine and sport. The post-war Northern California interiors he captured, as documented in his recent book with a collaborator Philip E.MezaInventing the California Look, covered the work of a group of renowned designers, including Frances Elkins, Tony Hail, Michael Taylor and John Dickinson. Lyon is survived by his wife, Penelope Whelan Rozisand two sons, Michael and Gordon Lyons.

Front page image: The new 75″ sofa from the Lucy collection, created by Brigette Romanek in collaboration with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams | Courtesy of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

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