news digest | Apr 4, 2023 |
Martha Stewart teams up with Etsy, RH’s Aspen drama and more

Many people never dream of putting their high-end homes on the rental market—but when celebrities like Rihanna and the Obamas come to town, those same homeowners are quick to change their tune. Stay in the know with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches, events, recommended reading and more.

Business News
RH laid off approximately 440 workers last week, SFGate reports, as part of a restructuring plan aimed at streamlining business operations. According to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the job cuts affected “numerous leadership and other positions throughout the organization.” The decision comes amid an expansive period for RH: The company has recently opened a boutique hotel in New York, unveiled a yacht and private plane, and is on the verge of opening its first international location, a “gallery” housed within a 17th-century estate in England.

RH has made headlines elsewhere in recent weeks for clashing with residents in Aspen, Colorado, where the brand plans to build a two-story retail space, restaurant, hotel and a handful of stand-alone homes. As Air Mail reports, locals are not only taking issue with the ongoing construction that has been delayed midproject—which they claim has become an eyesore—but they also fear that the company’s impending presence will disrupt Aspen’s local character.

Interior Define, the Chicago-based direct-to-consumer furniture brand that drew customer ire last fall, has launched a new ad campaign just months after the complex transaction that saw its assets sold to e-design platform Havenly. The ads, which are running on streaming media platforms, highlight the company’s custom capabilities. According to customer comments on social media, many of Interior Define’s missing orders from the past year have been fulfilled under the brand’s new ownership—though some still remain in limbo.

In certain New York suburbs, residents have long resisted new development. According to one study, over the past decade, Westchester County and Long Island have allowed fewer homes to be built per person than the regions around nearly every other major U.S. city, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Boston, The New York Times reports. New York Governor Kathy Hochul is setting out to reverse that trend by aiming to build 800,000 suburban housing units over the next decade. But local officials in the suburbs in question have been quick to oppose the new legislation, arguing that new development could strain local infrastructure and pose a threat to the small-town feel of places like Scarsdale, where the total number of homes (about 5,750 in 2020) has barely changed since 1990.

Apple debuted a new buy-now-pay-later service that will allow users to split purchases into four payments over the course of six weeks, CNBC reports. Through the Apple Pay Later program, users will be able to manage their loan payments from their Apple Wallet, through which they can also apply for loans of between $50 and $1,000 to use for in-app and online purchases—the loans will not affect their credit score and do not include interest or fees. The new feature began rolling out to select users last week, though the company plans to expand access to all eligible users in the coming months.

TikTok enlisted a new partner to boost its recently launched Shop feature, Women’s Wear Daily reports, tapping Cymbio—a marketplace and drop-ship automation platform—to embed brands’ product data within TikTok’s live shopping offerings. This will mean that shoppers can view a brand’s catalog and complete their checkout process without leaving the app—a potentially lucrative new play for TikTok, which will take a 5 percent commission on each in-app sale a business makes.

First-time homebuyers in America have never been older—in 2022, the typical American purchasing a starter home was an all-time high of 36 years old, The New York Times reports. Meanwhile, a growing share of buyers have already reached their senior years before they can afford a down payment on a property. According to Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report, about 20 percent of buyers between ages 50 to 59 were purchasing a home for the first time in 2022, while 11 percent of buyers ages 60 to 69 and 7 percent of buyers over 70 were also first-time homeowners.

Disney released new details about its Cotino project, a planned community outside of Palm Springs, California, and the first of the company’s new residential Storyliving by Disney concepts, Archinect reports. Designed in partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, the neighborhood will include a midcentury-modern-inspired member’s clubhouse, a town shopping center, a 24-acre man-made lagoon and 1,700 homes. Slated to open in 2024, the project will be the first of several themed communities Disney is planning, including a 1,300-unit affordable housing development outside of Orlando.

Showroom Representation
The Invisible Collection added London-based design duo Popus Editions to its roster. Created by French interior designers Yannick and Fanny Gicquel, the Popus Editions collection draws upon 1970s tropes such as simple geometric shapes, bold color blocks and playful patterns for a collection of candy-colored accent chairs, armchairs, coffee tables and poufs.

The Kips Bay Decorator Show House announced its 2023 designer lineup, revealing the 22 interior designers and architects who will be re-imagining the space at 337 Riverside Drive on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This year’s cohort includes industry veterans like Timothy Corrigan and Mary McDonald along with relative newcomers like Lillian Wu, Ahmad AbouZanat and Clive Lonstein,, whose work on the property will be open to the public starting May 11, with proceeds to benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.

Left: Athena Calderone teamed up with home fragrance brand Cinnamon Projects for the EyeSwoon founder’s first scent collaboration Courtesy of Cinnamon Projects | Right: Benjamin Moore launched a streetwear collection in collaboration with Los Angeles–based clothing brand Market in honor of Contractor Appreciation Month Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Launches & Collaborations
Maison&Objet announced the debut of a new Well-Being & Beauty category, scheduled to be introduced at the French design fair in September. The sector will include cosmetics and skin care, fitness accessories, health care products and ambient scents, along with a variety of “soft” wellness techniques, including light therapy, music therapy, stone therapy and aromatherapy.

Etsy named Martha Stewart as the platform’s first official Curator for 2023. In the new role, Stewart will hand-pick items made by Etsy sellers worldwide to curate a series of seasonal collections released throughout the year. Last week, Etsy debuted Stewart’s first collection: an assortment of more than 200 springtime-themed items, including home decor and hosting essentials, gifts, and wedding accessories and attire.

Athena Calderone teamed up with home fragrance brand Cinnamon Projects for the EyeSwoon founder’s first scent collaboration. The debut collection includes two scents: Spirited, which features notes of bergamot, eucalyptus, juniper and vetiver; and Saturnine, with notes of clay, iris, palo santo and saffron.

California Closets launched its first-ever podcast series, hosted by interior designer and TV personality Jeremiah Brent. Called Ideas of Order, the eight-episode series will draw inspiration from the brand’s annual Ideas of Order magazine, featuring guests such as Drew Barrymore, Athena Calderone, Tan France and Brent’s husband, Nate Berkus, all of whom will share how they transform their spaces into places that feel like home.

Benjamin Moore launched a streetwear collection in collaboration with Los Angeles–based clothing brand Market and its founder, Mike Cherman. Released in honor of Contractor Appreciation Month, the collection pays homage to paint contractors, with workwear items such as jackets, carpenter pants, long- and short-sleeve T-shirts and beanies.

Recommended Reading
After moving to Peoria, Illinois, about a decade ago, Angie Ostaszewski has become the city’s unofficial ambassador, using TikTok to broadcast the area’s healthy supply of affordable housing. Since 2020, the 32-year-old energy efficiency consultant has recruited an estimated 300 strangers from across the country, who have come to fulfill their dreams of homeownership. As Anna Kodé writes for The New York Times, Ostaszewski’s efforts have helped to repopulate a post-industrial city that once seemed past its prime, revitalizing Peoria’s small business sector and uniting a new community with activities like “transplant parties,” Beyoncé dance nights and vegan brunches with drag performances.

It won’t be long before the sun finally sets on incandescent bulbs: The Department of Energy is starting to fine distributors and retailers this month for selling the bulbs, and will enforce a full ban in August, all in favor of the more environmentally friendly LEDs. As Tom Scocca writes for The Strategist, while LED bulbs have gradually become the norm over the past decade and a half, it has come to light among a growing set of consumers that the next-gen offerings are inconsistent at best, with factors like loss of brightness, shifting colors and flickering indicating that lighting quality varies wildly from place to place—and from bulb to bulb. “What we’re starting to glimpse is a new phase in which good light, once easy to achieve and available to everyone, becomes a luxury product or the province of technological obsessives,” writes Scocca.

Martha Stewart teams up with Etsy, RH’s Aspen drama and more
Ryan Saghian’s recently completed project for Guns N’ Roses’s Drummer Matt Sorum in Palm SpringsLance Gerber

Cue the Applause
The 2023 edition of the 1stDibs 50 was released this week, spotlighting a group of interior designers and architects who draw inspiration from the furniture, art and objects used throughout their projects. This year’s cohort spans the country and a variety of interior styles, with honorees including Corey Damen Jenkins, Heidi Caillier, Noz Nozawa and Courtney McLeod.

Last week, the Pacific Design Center held its 2023 Stars of Design Awards ceremony, honoring dynamic talents in architecture, interior design, photography, art, landscape design and product design. This year’s interior design award went to Los Angeles–based designer Mark D. Sikes, while the Stars on the Rise awards—a new category this year—went to fellow Los Angeles–based designers Ryan Saghian and Cèsar Giraldo.

Homepage image: Ryan Saghian won the Stars on the Rise award at the Pacific Design Center’s Stars of Design Awards ceremony last week | Courtesy of Lance Gerber

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