Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams share five essential decorating secrets.
by Karen Derr
While everyone else is talking of belt-tightening and austerity plans, Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams are giving us permission to buy beautiful furniture. The design experts and upscale furniture manufacturers have written their second book, The Comfortable Home, expounding on the benefits, and the sound investment strategy, of creating a comfortable home.
At a recent book signing at the Upper Kirby location of the furniture store that bears both of their names, they explained their reasons for doing a follow-up to their 2007 book Let’s Get Comfortable. Williams and Gold insist that making your home more beautiful adds value to your home and can be done on any budget in any economy. Thankfully not a collection of do-it-yourself projects, this book is a guide to using color and furnishings to create rooms that are more beautiful and livable.
Visiting the Houston location of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Furniture is a coming home for Bob Williams. He grew up in the Conroe area and still has family here. When asked about the Houston market in particular, Williams said he draws inspiration from mid-century modern homes, abundant in Houston’s close-in 1950s- and ’60s-era neighborhoods. He is a fan of modern, clean lines, and many of his furniture designs have the perfect scale for the moderate ceiling heights of Houston’s ranch-style homes.
Mitchell Gold pointed out that their furniture’s lack of bulkiness and fussy detail makes it very gender-neutral and comfortable for any family or household. The book is packed with artfully photographed homes that are favorites of the authors, including a small cottage that is much like a Houston Heights or Montrose bungalow. A ranch-style home that might be found in Meyerland or Afton Village, but happens to be in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is presented by the duo to illustrate blending furniture pieces from different eras.
The Comfortable Home can be used as a road map for everything from finding the money for purchases to deciding when to buy the best you can afford—or when to bargain shop or use what you already own in a different way.
Gold admits that the key to their elegantly comfortable look is their unique way of using color. The book goes into the use of color in detail, enabling the reader to immediately enhance the comfort and beauty of their rooms by applying Mitchell and Gold’s simple but powerful advice.
5 tips from the book to get you started investing in your own nest
Planning saves money. Before you buy anything, do two things. Think about how you want to live in each room and make a list of activities that will go on there. Then get familiar with each room’s best features, views, and traffic flow. Measure it thoroughly so you have a full list of dimensions. Knowing what you need and why, plus what will fit, makes decorating decisions easier and helps you get it right the first time—which saves you money.
Re-prioritize your spending. Be conscious of what things like a new pocketbook, a watch, or even a car cost, and consider the benefits of reallocating those funds to making your home more comfortable. One way to furnish a whole room is trying a “staycation” instead of a vacation. Make it the family room and get the kids involved. Create a new kind of family memory while getting a space that will give you years of enjoyment.
Use color to get a great look affordably. When people tell us they “want our look,” a big part of what they’re responding to is our sense of color. To make a room feel calm and warm without being the least bit bland, we use soft, subtle, solid-colored hues and then enliven with accessories in patterns and stronger colors. We also limit the number of colors in a room to no more than four, with two used as accents.
Invest in a few good pieces. Some things not only “say” quality, but also help ensure quality of life. For you, it might be a beautiful dining table that will let you entertain the way you’ve always wanted, or a rug with colors to set the theme of the whole room. It might be window coverings—beautiful linen draperies that add warmth and texture. Or it could be an antique chest you buy for one room knowing you can repurpose it by moving it to other rooms over the years—an environmentally intelligent way to decorate.
Get finished (at least for now). We often see people invest in decorating a room, but then stop short of the finishing touches that will give them the look they want. Adding accessories, pillows, throws, flowers, photos, and collectibles—without cluttering things up—can be done affordably, giving rooms that “finished” look you see in magazines and making them easy to update by regularly switching out and rearranging items.
Karen Derr, a Houston-area Realtor for over 20 years, writes and speaks about home and small-business topics.