Kelly Wearstler, Thomas O'Brien, Nathan Turner: These are the kinds of top designers whose homes grace the covers of magazines and whose interiors may likely seem utterly unattainable to the average homeowner. But, thanks to some new product offerings, that may no longer be the case. More design brands are opening up the world of high-end design to a broader audience with affordable product lines and partnerships.
This spring at High Point, the biannual mega market for furniture and decor, designer favorite Circa Lighting-which boasts lines by the likes of Kelly Wearstler, Suzanne Kasler, Ralph Lauren, and more-showcased a new sister brand, Clarkson Lighting, which offers fixtures by Kelly Wearstler, Thomas O’Brien, and Ellen DeGeneres at prices far lower than Circa's (think $200 for a Kelly Wearstler light).
"We believe both brands have a place in the market," explains Gale Singer, founder and president of Circa. After all, she says, "even the most discriminating designer will use a high/low approach. We can now offer an original product assortment, designed by our amazing stable of designers, in a price range for every space."
The idea that a homeowner with a modest budget could buy a fixture from a designer whose chandeliers for luxury hotels might go for somewhere in the tens of thousands of dollars is an exciting indicator of the democratization of design afforded largely by the ecommerce era. "With all the access to inspiration today, people want good design at an approachable price point," Singer says.
That's the same mission behind Wallshoppe, a wallpaper company launched in Los Angeles in 2016 to offer a "fun, approachable" version of a wall treatment that's now undoubtedly making a comeback from a scoffed-at, matronly treatment to a daring design decision. The company's wallpaper is around $130 per roll.
As Nathan Turner, who has a line with the brand (as does Chris Benz, Clare Vivier, and Chasing Paper), says, "I’m excited by the democratization of design, because I’ve always been a believer that you don’t have to be rich to live well."
Plus, he points out, a more accessible offering of design aligns with our sharing culture. "I’m obsessed with getting tagged in my wallpaper on Instagram," the designer says. "It’s my favorite thing to see how people use it-I find it so inspiring. Everything from lining the back of a bookcase to doing the peel-and-stick on a refrigerator in a rental."
"The whole spirit of Wallshoppe is it should be fun," he emphasizes. "It’s not a crazy price, so you can experiment with it. You have that freedom when you’re not buying a $300 roll."
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