news digest | Oct 24, 2023 |
Design Miami is acquired, how white paint became so polarizing and more

This week in design, some homeowners are putting their faith in designers to transform former churches into well-designed residential dwellings.

Business News

HomeGoods shut down its e-commerce operation last week, Insider reports, ending a run that began when its site debuted in 2021. The home decor retailer issued the news in an email to customers, noting that the last day to shop online would be October 21. The email also noted that HomeGoods would soon announce a number of new store openings, adding to its existing portfolio of more than 900 locations. In August, the company reported that its net sales from e-commerce comprised just 2 percent of its total sales, and that it planned to open about 125 new stores next year.

Digital marketplace Basic.Space acquired collectible design fair Design Miami in an all-stock transaction, Wallpaper reports, though the terms of the deal were not disclosed. Following the purchase, Design Miami will remain independent, with current CEO Jennifer Roberts retaining her role and Basic.Space founder and CEO Jesse Lee joining as board chair. Lee hopes the acquisition will allow the e-commerce platform—which hosts 500 vendors and independent artists working across a variety of mediums—to expand its reach and enter new markets while helping Design Miami tap into a younger audience of collectors.

Made Renovation, a four-year-old startup that guided homeowners through the bathroom refurbishment process, is shutting down, TechCrunch reports. The company had a promising start—raising at least $31 million across two funding rounds over the years—though it landed in hot water in recent months as customers voiced complaints on social media, citing long delays, overrun budgets and general project mismanagement. Last week, the company issued a letter to shareholders announcing that it is closing the business and selling “certain assets of the company” to an unnamed acquirer, letting go of all employees in the process. Made Renovation did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Milan-based furnishings, kitchens, lighting and contract group Italian Design Brands will debut its first U.S. flagship this week in New York, Women’s Wear Daily reports, marking the start of a long-term strategy for expansion in the country. As the company’s U.S. chief executive officer Andrea Sasso and managing director Giorgio Gobbi told WWD, the consortium is currently seeking investors and partners to establish a brick-and-mortar presence in cities including Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Boston, and Washington, D.C. In doing so, the group would build off the momentum of other upscale Italian design brands making headwinds in the U.S. market, including Italian furnishings firm Cassina’s debut of a Los Angeles outpost in May and Italian design, furniture and lighting company Design Holding’s new store concepts in Miami and Boston.

Social e-commerce is estimated to grow from a $67 billion market this year into a $100 billion market by 2025, according to research firm Insider Intelligence—as a result, a new rivalry has emerged between giants Amazon and TikTok. As The Wall Street Journal reports, each platform is rolling out new initiatives and features to tap into the other’s strengths—with Amazon seeking to build out its social elements and TikTok aiming to build an e-commerce presence. As their early efforts reveal, both have faced challenges in advancing into their respective target territories: TikTok’s newly debuted shopping feature has drawn claims of poor-quality items (recently prompting the Better Business Bureau to issue a warning to consumers), while Amazon has been slow to harness influencer power and has struggled to direct customers to Inspire, its TikTok–style photo and video feed.

Launches and Collaborations

Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop is celebrating its 15th anniversary by partnering with the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, to unveil a new 2,524-square-foot villa at the historic property. Reimagined by Goop and designed by New York–based architecture and design studio Ronen Lev, the space features two bedrooms and two bathrooms crafted with the brand’s modern, feminine Parisian aesthetic in mind—complete with rattan, marble and mohair touches, and blush, gray and seafoam green hues. Guests of the villa will enjoy full hotel amenities, along with curated menu additions and bathrooms stocked with Goop products.

Design Miami is acquired, how white paint became so polarizing and more
Hereabout partnered with Matriarchy Build to combine each platform’s home renovation servicesCourtesy of Hereabout

Home-improvement expert database Matriarchy Build partnered with Hereabout, a bespoke home plan provider, to allow customers to benefit from each company’s services at once. Hereabout will incorporate Matriarchy Build professionals into its customers’ build process, offering the option to tap the company’s general contractors as “construction coaches” to guide the planning and execution of their design projects.

Recommended Reading

White may seem like the simplest shade, but history tells a different story: that of a paint color so polarizing it has inspired excitement, inspiration and disgust from philosophers, poets, artists and novelists—and now can be found in nearly 200 different tones from Sherwin-Williams alone. For The Washington Post, Chris Moody tracks the color’s trajectory throughout design history, exploring what it takes to create and market the perfect hue as the industry undergoes a new wave of fanfare for white paint.

For decades now, reporters and economists have been telling others to brace themselves for the so-called Great Wealth Transfer—an event that would see the aging baby-boomer generation leave their great sums of amassed wealth to their children and grandchildren. As Ann C. Logue writes for Insider, the phenomenon may be nothing more than a myth, thanks in part to a growing wealth gap, the rising costs of elder care and the changing spending habits of seniors.

In Memoriam

Joni Cohen Webb, a pioneering voice in interior design blogging, passed away earlier this month at age 68. Webb became one of the leading online writers in the design field in the early 2000s with the launch of her blog, Cote de Texas—a platform that earned a devoted international readership for its close analysis of unfolding design and technology trends. Webb is remembered by friends and fellow writers for her ability to combine playful personal anecdotes with extensively researched posts, cultivating an online community that left an indelible mark on the design industry at large.

Louis Oliver Gropp, a longtime design editor across multiple leading publications, passed away last week at the age of 88. Gropp began his career at trade publications like Home Furnishings Daily before going on to serve at the helm of the industry’s top shelter magazines—including as editor in chief at House & Garden from 1981 to 1988; founding editor in chief of Elle Decor, overseeing the magazine’s debut in 1990; and editor in chief at House Beautiful—a position he held for nearly a decade, championing the work of designers across the industry before departing in 2000. “I learned more from him about magazines than anyone I ever worked for or with,” design editor Deb Martin wrote on Instagram. “Rest easy, Lou. You will be missed.”

Want to stay informed? Sign up for our newsletter, which recaps the week’s stories, and get in-depth industry news and analysis each quarter by subscribing to our print magazine. Join BOH Insider for discounts, workshops and access to special events such as the Future of Home conference.