Restoration Hardware Is Going Modern in a Big Way with RH Modern

Restoration Hardware Is Going Modern in a Big Way with RH Modern

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Carrie McBride
Jun 12, 2015
(Image credit: Restoration Hardware)

Restoration Hardware is known for "big" - big furniture, big stores, big ideas and big talk. Yesterday Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman announced BIG plans: "the most innovative and new concept in the world of home design." If, like me, you're picturing color-changing fabrics and drone sofa delivery - no, not quite that innovative. The big news: the introduction of RH Modern.

(Image credit: Restoration Hardware)

That's right, Resto is going modern and committing a LOT of resources to make it happen:

  • a dedicated website
  • a 300-pound page sourcebook (natch)
  • a freestanding store in Los Angeles
  • giving over the ground floor of their Flatiron NYC store to it
  • dedicated floors in their "next generation design gallery" in Atlanta and, later, Chicago, Denver, Tampa and Austin
  • converting 2-3 thousand square feet of 20 of their legacy stores to it

Why modern and why now? In a 13+ minute speech as part of the company's first quarter fiscal 2015 earnings video, Friedman outlined four trends that were "driving a shift toward modernism" and pointing Resto in this direction:

(Image credit: Restoration Hardware)

Trend #1

"The largest trends in home design are driven by the dead: that's right, generations pass away and their possessions go into estate sales which feed the antique markets which feed the high-end design trade which feed the reproduction market and trickle down from there."

(Image credit: Restoration Hardware)

Trend #2

"The second trend is being driven by architecture which has been predominantly modern over the past two decades...the trends in consumer product design with its roots in technology and its champion, Apple, is shaping the way we see and live in the world. Millennials, who have grown up with technology and modern work spaces are beginning to enter their home purchasing years and are driving this new trend."

(Image credit: Restoration Hardware)

Trend #3

"The Baby Boomers, who have the most disposable income, want anything but to grow old. They're driving the pursuit of youth...we believe in the Baby Boomer's quest to remain youthful and relevant. They will invest and upgrade their homes and surroundings to reflect what is current and of the moment."

(Image credit: Restoration Hardware)

Trend #4

"The return to urban living and revitalization of cities is predicted to create a shift in where people live as our major cities densify and grow vertical...we believe modern living will become more meaningful than at any point in human history and RH Modern will be leading the way."

Keeping with their belief that big, well-lit, home-like stores trump the online buying experience, the company plans to have 120,000 sq. feet of selling space for RH Modern within the first year of operation. RH Modern launches this fall.

Readers, what do you think? Are consumers ready for modernism? (Or has Resto been behind the times in recognizing this trend?). Known for their large-scale furniture - will they change this to be compatible with the "return to urban living" i.e. smaller homes?

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