Most designer furniture showrooms are open only to "the trade," which means no one but interior designers and their clients can get in. But on Friday and Saturday, the Houston Design Center opens up its showrooms to the general public for a big once-a-year sample sale, offering quality pieces at a fraction of their original price.
Just as department stores clean out their inventory to make way for new items, furniture showrooms do the same. "You have one-of-a-kind, high quality investment pieces that are sold at a huge discount," says interior designer Janus Augusta Lazaris, who took me on a tour of the Bunch & Shoemaker showroom for this week's CultureMap Moment on Channel 11's Morning News.
"You have one-of-a-kind, high quality investment pieces that are sold at a huge discount," says interior designer Janus Augusta Lazaris.
Lazaris pointed out a Henredon deep-set leather and fabric sofa, original price $13,397, which is on sale for $2,679. "It would be beautiful in a Great Room," she says. "It's a Hill Country look, whether it's the Texas Hill Country or Tuscan Hill Country."
A set of six Hendredon leather chairs, original price $10,170, are on sale below cost at $4,000 for the set.
The showroom also features a table of accessories, with everything priced under $25.
At the nearby Teri Pugh Studios, almost everything is 50 percent off, so that a French antique chair, regularly $1,400 is on sale for $700, and a mother of pearl candlestick, originally $85, is on sale for $42.50. The sidewalk in front of the Charles Ray showroom features a variety of white sofas for bargain prices (one $3,000 sofa has a $800 price tag). A buyer can also pick from 10,000 fabrics and pay an additional charge to have the sofa covered.
At the mammoth Design House showroom, a back room features a host of lamps, chandeliers, antiques, beaded pillows and antiques for 50 to 60 percent off the original price. And at Postmodern Traditions, 6-by-9-foot contemporary rugs, hand woven in Nepal, which normally sell for $3,000, are available for $995 to $1,500.
Lazaris, owner and operator of Janus Designs, says that such a sale allows buyers to pick something special to build a room around. "These are things you don't see in every furniture store in Houston," she says.
She believes a room is much more enjoyable and livable when family heirloom pieces are mixed with high-quality furniture and accessories of all price levels to create a one-of-a-kind room. "Clients want a high-end look with a unique style," she says. "Nobody wants to have the exact same room you see at Pottery Barn."
The 13 participating showrooms open at 9 a.m. both days and the shopping experience continues until 5 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Adding to the fun, several popular food trucks will be serving from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Also, designers will offer tips in three free lectures on Friday:
- Lazaris talks about how to work with an interior designer in a talk titled "You, Me & HGTV," at 9:30 a.m
- Pugh (no relation to the writer) discusses "Faux Finish or Paint?" at 11 a.m.
- Peggy Hull will discuss "The Art of Incorporating Antiques into Current Decor Styles" at 1 p.m.
Take a peek at the Houston Design Center Designer Sample Sale featured on this week's KHOU CultureMap Moment: