Amy Crain, founder of ROOM, tells us how her design showroom got started, the top 3 trends she's loving right now, and what's next for ROOM.
Photos courtesy of ROOM.
DUNN is pretty picky when it comes to working with showrooms. We want to be sure our work is represented appropriately and that design experts are on staff.
ROOM, with locations in New York and Connecticut, is an exemplary showroom with exquisite taste and excellent customer service. We've been working with Amy Crain, ROOM's founder and owner, and her team for several years now, and we couldn't be happier with the partnership. We thought it was high time we highlighted ROOM and the incredible services they offer.
I checked in with Amy to get some background on how the former House & Garden magazine editor got into the retail business and to find out what up-and-coming trends she's loving right now.
Q: Tell me about yourself. How did you get started with ROOM?
A: We started as a print catalogue. I was working as a product editor at House & Garden magazine, and it really hit me how difficult it was to find (in 1998, anyway!) great design if you weren’t located in a large city. The idea for a ‘magalogue’ began to take shape, whereby we photographed and styled a publication to look like a small magazine, but all of the products were for sale. We had everything from dog bowls to dining tables, sourced from different designers from around the world. Each issue had entirely different product and different photography...it was a lot of fun, and a great success!
After a couple of years, we decided to open a physical showroom in Tribeca and focused more on furniture and lighting, and began working more and more with the trade. This evolved into a showroom where we focus on some of the world’s best lighting, for example Studio Dunn!, and custom-made home furnishings.
Q: How would you describe ROOM’s style?
A: I would describe our look as warm modern, with a somewhat mid-century vibe on some of our pieces. We like natural materials and hand-made items which really show the unique character of the elements used.
Q: Where is ROOM located?
A: ROOM has two showrooms. Our larger location is in Tribeca, and this showroom shows a good deal of our furniture and lighting lines. Our Greenwich, CT, showroom shows our larger chandeliers and some furniture.
Q: What types of services does ROOM offer?
A: Customization is a big part of what we do. We love making each piece to order, so that customers are able to get exactly what they want. For example, we can make any sofa in any length, or as a sleeper or sectional...we can adjust details like seat height, depth, back angle...it can be as easy or complicated as desired! This applies to cabinetry and dining tables as well...really, everything we do is able to be tweaked to suit the customer’s needs. We provide each customer with a full 3D drawing for approval, so that there are never any surprises. We really like the idea that each piece is personal and unique to the customer and environment.
We also offer full interior design services when requested, or can also just help with furniture layout and sizing. Whatever the customer needs – we really are a full service showroom.
ROOM also offers rush options for a lead time as short as 1-2 weeks on many of our upholstered pieces.
Q: What are some of your greatest struggles/challenges as a business owner?
A: There’s nothing I would rather do than own my own business! What’s challenging is also fun: staying on top of social media and evolving technology, such as ever-changing design programs...it keeps you young and always learning.
Q: Take us through your process in selecting pieces for the showrooms.
A: As for the design element: we know it when we see it! We love simple lines and natural materials, and working with craftspeople who we can really develop a partnership with. We want to showcase striking pieces which are first off, just beautifully made. Quality is always crucial; we want to make sure that the pieces that we sell or make are loved for years and years to come. It’s also very important that all of the craftspeople and workshops we partner with are exceedingly professional and well managed...we always want to wow our customers with excellent customer service.
Q: What 3 trends do you see taking off in the design industry? How are they represented by ROOM?
A: Statement Lighting that can be customized to make it a more personal experience. Inspired by shimmering branches of sea kelp, the Sorenthia 2- and 3-arm chandelier is a solid favorite at ROOM. The Sorenthia can be customized to suit a client’s own configurations and dimensions, and is a great choice for over a dining table or in an entryway.
Velvets and Curves are very popular this year and the newly launched Amy Crain for ROOM Lola sofa offers both in spades. With a fully rounded profile, Lola’s design is striking from all angles, making it an ideal piece to float in the middle of the room. As it is fully customizable, clients can choose any fabric they like!
Textures – Adding texture to a design scheme brings warmth, dimension and excitement. Recently seen in House Beautiful, the Kassel mirror is a modern interpretation of German chip art, yet here brass is used instead of the traditional wood to create four stepped rows surrounding the mirror, giving great depth and interest.
Q: What’s next for ROOM?
A: We have two exciting projects on the horizon. One is to offer fully organic construction options on all of our casegoods and upholstery, and the other is a new website to be unveiled this winter. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to Amy for sharing her work with us! To find out more about ROOM or any of the products pictured here, contact Amy's team: