Restoration Hardware goes Steampunk?


This is what Restoration Hardware used to look like.


Restoration Hardware was formerly known for their wide range of interior hardware (knobs, pulls, hinges, and hooks), bathware, textiles, furniture, wall paint, and interior lighting.  Their overall style harkened back to 1920’s New York, and they also carried an eclectic variety of toys, gardening tools, gadgets, and seasonal holiday decor which maintained an overall 1920s period theme.


 

This is a poorly lit photo of my own cheap-man’s version of a Restoration Hardware-inspired bathroom in a rental unit my husband and I rehabbed.  You know the look, right?



“reinvented.  remodeled.  reborn.”  So says Restoration Hardware’s new tagline.

 

 

According to Pablo Picasso, “Every act of creation is at first of all an act of destruction.”  According to Gary Friedman, Restoration Hardware’s Chairman and Co-CFO,



“During the collapse of the global economy, we drew inspiration from Picasso’s words and chose not to listen to the conventional wisdom encouraging us to follow the pack and lower quality to reduce prices.  Instead, we saw an opportunity to be liberated, abandoning our past to embrace the future, one that has redefined the essence of who we are.   No longer mere “retailers” of home furnishings, we are now “curators” of the best historical design the world has to offer. . .  We’ve destroyed the previous iteration of ourselves, clearing the way to express our brand in a never-before-seen fashion.   Behold our Fall Collection.  Introducing over 500 new pieces that are a personal expression of a lifestyle that respects the juxtaposition of form and function, past and present, and an environment that is both relaxed yet refined. . .  We invite you to join us this Fall as we unveil an entirely new Restoration Hardware.  Witness what destruction hath wrought.  Carpe Diem.”




In other words, Restoration Hardware got tired of retro and decided to go retro-futuristic.  Or, full-on STEAMPUNK!!!  Steampunk is nothing new – it’s been a largely underground trend for many years, inspired by retro-futuristic literature, films, and video games.  Movies of the genre include The Wild, Wild West, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and Sherlock Holmes, just to name a few.


The term “Steampunk” denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often set in Victorian-era England —but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy.  The idea of living in a Steampunk world is living a life that looks old-fashioned, yet speaks to the future.  According to the writer Roger Morgan, “Steampunk is the future as dreamt by the past.” 


In regard to decor, this means Victorian + futurism + vintage industrialism + romantic goth.  Think part mad scientist’s laboratory, part gentleman’s library, part retro workshop, part aging Victorian parlor.  A Steampunk home would be filled with steamer trunks, antique globes, vintage clockworks and gears, surveyor’s equipment, campaign furniture, apothecary bottles, botanical specimens, aged brass, and dark wood.  Restoration Hardware has taken the Steampunk aesthetic and done two things:  made everything HUGE, and doused everything with the color of the hour:  greige.  Oh, and I almost forgot:  priced everything really high.


Welcome to the new Restoration Hardware.  Witness what destruction has wrought.



Photo Credits:  Restoration Hardware, Kristie Barnett.

Get my special report "Child and Pet Proof Decorating"
Free when you subscribe to my email updates!


Share this Post

20
Leave a Reply

avatar

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
Michelle
Guest
Michelle

I miss my old R.H. When I walked in the door two weeks ago, it felt like a dungeon.

ehalvey
Guest

Finally!! A definition for Steampunk that clearly explains the look. I kept seeing it mentioned in decor, wedding themes, etc., but I could never really put my finger on what exactly makes Steampunk Steampunk. Thanks!

Kelley
Guest

“Witness what destruction hath wrought. Carpe Diem.” Geez, can they get any more pretentious about themselves? I like their steampunk-inspired chandeliers and coffee tables, but the colors seem a little dull, don’t you think?

danielle & dinosaur toes
Guest

i actually don’t like the new look at all. it just looks too theatrical for me, but then, i am a clean lines type of person…like the original 1920’s style!

Lee
Guest

I really like the look from the old movies – 30s and 40s – but this steampunk is kind of old, too. I haven’t decided if I like it yet. It sort of looks like Indiana Jones decorated their living room. An absent-minded professor from the 30s.

trackback

[…] own paint palette, but it appears to have!  And I’m definitely picking up on hints of Steampunk.  Here’s the brooding description by […]

Michelle @ Faith, Trust, and a Little Pixie Dust
Guest

Whatever it’s called, I think R.H. (one of my FAVORITE stores) is now going in the wrong direction. I think one line in this new (old) look would be fine, but not a total transformation–if that is what it is! I miss those beautiful blue/greens.

Warmly, Michelle

brownsugar09
Guest
brownsugar09

I love the room above with the brown steamer trunk coffee table! Is this Steampunk? Does anyone have any idea what color that might be on the walls or what family it may fall in? I might want to try that in our master BR :-).

trackback

[…] with the limed.    I blogged about one popular store that has gone a wee bit overboard with it here.  But if you are tired with all the dark, consider bringing in a few small pieces of limed […]

Denise
Guest

I just found this post and I LOVE it! I wondered what had happened to all the great blues and whites and chromes at RH. This new look is so…forgettable. I don’t see the “curation” they are aiming for–I do see curation at Anthropologie, for example. But this…this should be relegated to one corner at Pier One–for those wishing to go Carribean, or maybe Safari, or there’s steampunk! Your post is hilarious and your points are quite astute. Thanks for the post!

Benxamin
Guest
Benxamin

Steampunk is set when the British Empire ruled the world, royalty and feudalism were ending, and fossil fuels had not been exploited yet. Much like the Harry Potter series extends the Victorian age with magic, the Japanese animators who created the alternate history of Steampunk used mechanics and steam hydraulics achieve their sci-fi/fantasy creations like robots and flying machines. What is Steampunk? Think early sci-fi (Jules Verne, Mary Shelley), 1800s travel, (HMS Beagle, trunks, barrels, wheels, shipping chain, huge ropes, pulleys), clocks, trains, steamboats, whistles, photography, old biology renderings from the encyclopedic quest to catalog everything known, The Columbian Exposition,… Read more »

H
Guest
H

Screw the light blues and greens! EVERYONE does that. Heck, I’ve done it. It’s done. Steam punk accents work in modern, transitional and traditional. And you don’t need to go gung ho with it, a few pieces are enough to evoke the feel without being theme-y. I was SOOOO excited to open the latest catalog. SOOOOO disappointed I can’t afford any of it! But it gives me hope. People thought they were nuts for going all natural wood a few years ago, and then the next year it was more blended. Next years version? I’m guessing it will be a… Read more »

marilyn
Guest
marilyn

To me, steampunk just looks like an abandoned warehouse. No elegance, no grace, no personality, no comfort. No color. Depressing. Gosh, I wish I had something good to say about it! 🙂 Oh! TRENDY!