Couple sees 'room' for growth in Westport
Published 1:01 am, Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Walking into the Westport showroom of ROOM furniture/interiors is like visiting an immaculate, brightly lit, spacious studio apartment.
Hand-selected, solid wood dining room tables, sleek low-to-the-ground living room tables, beds featuring clean, simple lines, and niche modern lighting by Lyndsey Adelman and exquisite chandeliers by Bocci of Canada are just a sample of the furnishings and home accessories featured at ROOM, which recently relocated to Sconset Square.
ROOM originally started as a print catalog. However, with an overwhelming interest from designers, the couple quickly realized that a showroom was needed to display their inventory. ROOM's flagship store was opened in New York City's Tribeca area, and another store was established in Westport two years ago. ROOM recently relocated to its present site in Sconset Square.
"This is a great place to be in, and I think everyone here in the Sconset Square complex complements each other well," Crain said.
Located around the corner from the Post Road, Crain noted that there is greater visibility at ROOM's new dwelling. "It's been fun because people have come in to say that they first drove by us and, after seeing all of the interesting lighting fixtures in our front window, turned around and came in to have a look," Crain explained. "Business is off to a good start and we're very happy with the new showroom."
One does not have to be a professional decorator to appreciate the beauty found within ROOM.
According to Crain, her goal is to offer modern furniture in such a way that it creates a warm, cozy and welcoming feeling in the home.
However, she points out that there's "nothing cookie cutter here." For example, every thing -- from couches to beds and tables -- could be personalized and custom designed to fit any room. Customer service is an important part of their business. The couple, along with Operations Manager Alexis Presley, enjoys working one-on-one with clients to ensure that each item perfectly fits the space in which it will reside.
"Some people are actually put off by having too many options, though," Crain admitted. "They could easily feel overwhelmed. However, the process of custom designing a couch, for example, and changing its dimensions, is actually very simple. Our goal is to provide a positive and pleasant experience for you."
Most items are produced within six to eight weeks, she added.
Interior design services are also available. Appointments are suggested for consultations.
ROOM's owners work well together professionally, perhaps because they have been together in a personal relationship for a long time. High school sweethearts, they both grew up in a small town in Illinois. They created the catalog ROOM so that other people who lived away from urban centers could find beautiful home furniture and furnishings, she said.
"We knew that people living in the Midwest didn't have access to great designs," she said. "You had to go to either L.A. or New York to find beautiful products."
Resembling a magazine more than a typical catalog, ROOM was filled with "great photographs and lots of interesting stories," Crain said.
And, it was an instant success. Written about in industry publications, such as Vogue, Wallpaper and House Beautiful as well as The New York Times, Crain said that their business "started off with a bang."
"We learned many things, though," Crain explained. "For example, we saw that, to our surprise, the larger items sold very well. Not only were the smaller products popular but the furniture also did very well."
As more and more designers called to look at furniture, Crain and Miller realized that they needed a showroom. With the opening in 2000 of ROOM's flagship store in Tribeca, though, the catalog took a backseat. Gradually, the owners were too busy with other projects to commit to publishing responsibilities.
"I would eventually like to get back to a catalog, though," Crain said.
After moving from Manhattan to Wilton a few years ago to raise their five year old son, Graydon, the couple decided to open a Westport showroom.
"We didn't want to have to commute every day to New York City," she admitted.
Crain said that they rented a small space two years ago in Colonial Green as a way to "dip our toes into this area and see if we should move forward."
They decided that a larger showroom was needed and in July moved to their present location.
For more information, visit www.roomonline.com