Photo courtesy Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams
Owners of the successful home-furnishings company, Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams, Gold and Williams have also written a new book, The Comfortable Home: How to Invest in Your Nest and Live Well for Less (Clarkson Potter). R.Home had a chance to catch up with them and ask a few questions.
R.Home: What was your impetus in writing this book?
Bob Williams: We really wanted to create a book to help people get started decorating their home. We want people to make a list of basic questions to ask themselves: What do they really want this room to do? They should ask themselves, "Is this a room where I'm going to sit and watch TV or is this a room where I'm going to be entertaining friends or family? Is this the place where I'm going to read?"
R.Home: Is that the very first thing you should do?
Bob: Definitely. You know, a lot of people think, "I can start with the color" or other things, but we really encourage people to sit back. ... By answering some of those basic questions, they can start designing a room that really fits.
R.Home: What's the next step?
Mitchell Gold: In the book, there [are] lots of pictures of rooms for people to take a look at and say, "Wow! That's really something that resonates with me — that's something I like." Look for rooms you like ... look around, look at pictures, look at our book, and if there are things you really like, try to mimic it.
Bob: An easy way to do that is to create a notebook and start tearing out images from magazines. When you've got a couple of pages full, you'll start to notice a little bit of a theme. Use these [images] for inspiration . . . you're not going to find the exact same sofa or table or lamp, but it gives you a direction.
R.Home: What about budgets? What's the most important thing to spend money on?
Mitchell: We think it's the seating pieces . . . that's where you're going to be comfortable or not comfortable. And then a rug really helps create a room . . . people need to look around and get a feel for the things they like and how much they cost and see where the budget falls.
R.Home: What's inspiring to you guys right now?
Mitchell: We feel that mid-century modern is really resonating with people. A lot of that is because it's an uncluttered look . . . when you watch TV shows like Mad Men, and you're seeing that ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s design, it inspires you — it makes you go, "Wow! That was a fun period." [It] was an interesting time — when things were pared down. There were fun colors like avocado or raspberry or orange. How do we take those things and [re]make it for the kind of life and style that we want to live? One thing we [at Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams] do is take those colors and make them a little softer. We take some of the furniture and interpret it for the size of people and the kinds of rooms people have today.
R.Home: I noticed a wall of photos by Tipper Gore pictured in your book. I was wondering what your relationship was?
Mitchell: I first met Al Gore in the late-1990s, and then we met Tipper when she was the keynote speaker at a dinner we were co-chairing in North Carolina. And we became best friends — Bob and I, since day one of our company, have been concerned about the environment and have organized the company to be environmentally responsible. So that and our sense of style really resonated with Tipper. We helped the Gores with some of their homes — their beautiful home in Nashville and in San Francisco. Bob and I were looking at her photography and said, "You know, she's really good." And we love photography in a home; we really think that [it's a] great way to do art on the wall. So we worked out an arrangement with her to sell her artwork. It's very exciting.
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams book signing. Thursday, 5/13 from 6 to 8 p.m. Ruth & Ollie, 3445 W. Cary St. For more details, call 288-3360 or go to ruthandollie.com .