Friday, March 27, 2009

The Land of Pottery Barn

We live in the land of Pottery Barn. We drink our Starbucks Coffee and watch our reality TV in rooms designed by PB (Pottery Barn). Every American home is only complete when there is a PB catalog lying on the counter or hangin’ in the powder room. Even those who can’t afford to purchase anything, still hold on to the magazine as inspiration for decorating their rooms. How did this happen? What does this say about our individual style? And, as asked by a friend of mine, what is PB style any way?

This smart home furnishings chain creates their popularity by giving out free catalogs of glossy colored pages filled with trendy carefully designed rooms. These catalogs are read cover to cover. I applaud a well thought out room full of pieces that anyone can easily get. It reminds me of what popular fashion designers like Isaac Mizrahi, Stella McCartney and Vera Wang have done for the average person with short purse strings. They have been successful bringing their designs to chains such as Kohl’s, H&M and Target at affordable prices.

But there are pitfalls to this idea; be prepared to have at least three other girls show up in the same dress as you at the next party – ouch! And the same will happen with your home design. When you order furnishings from a brand that boasts its ‘rooms in a box’ you are bound to have house guests pointing to something in your home and commenting “is that Pottery Barn?” or “I have the same thing at my house.” ‘Special’ is no longer a word used to describe your d├ęcor style. And so the PB revolution goes on.

I do believe that PB has sparked an interest in less traditional, more liberated decorating styles, and applaud them for that. They create interesting spaces by mixing up designs, adding pops of color, and creative detail. They have brought sophistication into our homes. I do worry that individual style and artistic angle is being lost after staring at enough of the catalog pages. I question whether PB sells the trends, or creates the trends.

So what is PB’s style? My first thought is transitional, made up of a mix of contemporary and antique lines. What ever it is, they have become a major influence in American decorating. So I think there should be a new style called Pottery Barn style – the ‘PB Style’. And anyone can get the PB look including a single family home in the Lehigh Valley, an apartment in New York City, a townhouse in San Francisco, a condo in Florida, and a co-op in Chicago.

With every issue in every season of the year, PB gives us ideas, shows us what colors to use, and instructs us on how to mimic their every move. And so many follow their lead; they dictate what is ‘in’ and sell more and more. The PB Style! But who wants to be like everyone else? Or is this the trend? What do you think?
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