Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Give Their Perspective on Home Furnishings
Written By: Alexandra Huynh How to Furnish Your Home With Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Photographed By: Hunter Cole
Names: Mitchell Gold
Credentials: Chairman/Co-founder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Least Favorite Design Mistake: Hard-edged uncomfortable European modern
Name: Bob Williams
Credentials: President of Design/Co-founder of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Current Color Obsession: Camel, saddle, burgundy and merlot
Sleek architecture, Middle Eastern motifs, vintage artwork, views of the city—a home is defined by many factors. It can be homey and cozy, intellectual and fresh or fun and eclectic, but at the heart of all that is comfort. All of the following home experts instill a piece of themselves into their designs and architecture. While some of the experts work on luxury homes with oceanside views and lavish amenities, others help create comfort in the simple things, like the way the sunset reflects on a yard in the evening. As work schedules get busier and technology becomes a daily reliance, homes and amenities have morphed themselves to fit in with our daily needs. Built-in smart phone chargers for living room sofas are now a practical necessity that will aid in the comfort level of a home. Living rooms are increasingly smaller and family rooms have gotten bigger because families spend less time in their livings rooms—with the exception of holidays. A home is the space where you live, breath, laugh and cry. It’s where tension is released and muscles are repaired after a long strenuous day. It’s a place of love, family and friends. There is no single definition that for home because it is a space that’s special to each owner.
Fresh flowers, dim lighting, a stack of books, a personal photo collection–it’s the little things that turn a space into a home. It’s about bringing yourself, your interests and your passions into that space through its colors, textures and decor. Peering through the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams collection, you can imagine yourself at home sipping on a glass of wine or preparing an intimate dinner with friends. For designers Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams, bringing a sense of comfort and welcome into their clients’ homes has always been the main focus. They have 26 signature stores across the country and internationally and are expanding rapidly. In addition to this, they also offer in-home design services in which their design associates assist you in getting their signature look. Their style is communicated through the aesthetics of a room–the classic textures offset by soft colors and silhouettes. Modern interior design is redefined with original design elements. In one showroom, the cool grays set against a black and white palette and warm wood bring out an urban environment. In another, the rustic whitewashed bricks, soft beiges, shag rug and painted ocean view on the wall bring out a refined rendering of the laid-back 1970s beach vibe. Even the placement of the books on the coffee tables and the arrangement of the pillows feels very natural. The collection is soft and sophisticated as well as comforting and contemporary.
The care that Gold and Williams put into their pieces reflects the care they put into preserving the environment. They are a philanthropic company who have been using eco-friendly practices far before it became fashionable to do so. Their cushions for example, are free of fire-retardant chemicals. Their wood frames are sourced from local partners compliant with U.S. forest requirements. All of their upholstery is made in the U.S. from their factory in rural North Carolina. They also have an extensive initiative for paper, plastic and aluminum that furthers the product lifestyle while reducing the company’s carbon footprint. Their company is a founding member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, of which Mitchell is a board member.
Gold and Williams do not focus on trends. Instead, their designs focus on the everyday lives of individuals and how the changing dynamics of our family, our friends, our work lives and the technology we use have allowed our homes to evolve with us. The word “comfort” is not spoken in their presence unless every sense of the word is being used. For Gold and Williams, this means that a product, from the way it looks and feels to its price tag, must guarantee satisfaction for the consumer. The collection is constantly being reinvented and re-modernized in order to enhance lives while staying true to class and comfort.
Q: How did the business start?
Mitchell Gold: Bob and I met in NYC, fell in love and decided we wanted to go into business together. We were life partners and business partners when we started the business but now we are best friends and business partners. I had been in the furniture industry for many years and Bob was a graphic designer at Seventeen magazine. Initially we were trying to decide between opening up a Christmas tree farm/vineyard or a furniture business. Glad we went the route we did! We started the company back in 1989 during an economic downturn with $60, 000.
Q: Were you always interested in designing?
Bob Williams: Yes, I was always a very visual person, so I was always interested in design but not necessarily furniture design. Mitchell gave me the confidence that I needed to become a furniture designer.
Q: Where can people buy the furniture?
MG: Currently, we have 26 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores across the country and internationally (Mexico City, Puerto Rico, Montreal, and Toronto). We are on a rapid retail expansion plan with 4-7 stores scheduled to open per year. Plus, we have branded shop-in-shops in all of the Bloomingdale’s Home stores across the country and sell our products in approximately 60 of the top home furnishings specialty stores throughout the country.
Q: What are some of your most popular pieces?
MG: There are so many popular pieces in the line but some of our most iconic pieces and ones that have been in the collection for years include: Alex and Alexa sofa collections, Dr. Pitt, Gloria chair, Hunter sofa, Chester sofa, Butler bed, Franco sectional, Nico swivel chair, James wing chair.
Q. What would you say is the most important component in making a solid piece of furniture?
MG: The most important component to making a solid piece of upholstered furniture starts with the frame. Always test drive any upholstered piece of furniture. Many pieces of furniture may look beautiful, but we know from experience that you’ll only be happy if they are also really comfortable. Always ask what the frame is made of. Hardwoods such as maple, poplar, and ash are more durable than softwoods such as pine. Kiln drying takes the moisture out and prevents warping and mildew. Many frames include a highly durable material called engineered hardwood, made of multiple layers of thin wood glued together, that does not crack or warp. Also a strong frame is secured with double dowels and/or mortise-and-tenon joints, as well as high-pressure staples, wood glue, and corner blocks screwed into place. With case goods, make sure you check overall stability of the piece and open drawers/doors to ensure everything is lined up and operating smoothly. And consider veneers, construction and finish when purchasing.
Q: Do you have any favorite pieces?
BW: We are drawn to all of the pieces, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the collection. We don’t put anything in the line that Mitchell and I wouldn’t want for our own homes. The furniture we design are like our children so we never pick favorites!
Q: What draws people to your products?
MG: Our style sense seems to really resonate with consumers. It’s a clean, modern, comfortable design. And comfortable in every sense of the word—from the way a piece sits to the way it looks to the price tag. We think people can easily relate to our modern style sense, the fact that our upholstery is all made in America, that we have been eco-friendly since the beginning, that we have exceptional customer service in all of our stores which are beautifully designed and merchandised and that we are a philanthropic company.
Q: How would you describe your aesthetic?
BW: When we started the company over 25 years ago, we were strong advocates of modern design. Today, our love for modern continues. As our collections evolve, with a ’70s modern muse, we continue to define and re-define modern home furnishings through a delicate balance of mixing updated design elements with clean and classic silhouettes. There is something about the ’70s that speaks to us and translates so well to living and entertaining today. We try to capture the comfortable side of modern. We also love an urban spirit in any locale. We capture it by bringing together a subtle palette of black and white for example, with cool grays and warm woods. We add furnishings with clean modern lines. And to give the space a collected feel we add beautiful barware, great photography, stacks of books, and just the right lights to set the mood.
Q: Do you have a current color obsession?
BW: For fall 2015, the focus is on whiskey & wine (and those colors also tie back to our theme of the art of entertaining at home). This color palette features leathers in shades from camel to saddle, burgundy and merlot.
Q: What design mistake makes you cringe?
MG: Hard-edged uncomfortable European modern.
Q: Do you see any notable trends in 2015?
BW: We don’t focus on trends but instead spend a lot of time thinking about how people want to live today and what could make their lives easier and more comfortable. For instance, we’ve introduced desks with great style that wouldn’t look out of place in a well-decorated room because we’ve noticed people want the ability to fit a home office in anywhere—behind a sofa in a living room, in a bedroom—a place to work on their laptop and keep paperwork organized and tucked out of sight.
Q: Where do you see the business in 10 years?
MG: We will have many more of our own Signature Stores (around 75 in total), and will continue to introduce great modern design that consumers will appreciate and want to live with regardless of what stage they are at in their lives–first home, family home, retirement, apartment, etc. We want to be the best home furnishings retailer in the U.S. and known for our exceptional design, product, comfort, value, taste, and the way we treat our employees, customers, and communities.
Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
242 N Beverly Dr
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.691.7910 | www.mgbwhome.com
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