We tackled the Fourth Phase of our retail redesign at Poppyseeds this morning. This is the largest room in the Cottage, so it is developing in stages. After doing an inventory of the furnishings & accessories in stock, and a few that are being added, we determined that they fell into three main categories that had not yet been represented in the shop: French style, Old World/Tuscan theme, and a hip, funky London vibe. Part 1 encompases the North end of the room, where we placed the French style furnishings & accessories.
The photo above is a view from the hallway - so what you see as you enter this room (in the center of the West wall) is this vignette. We dressed the wall with some old doors (the one with a window has a poster of a Cafe' hung behind it to replicate a 'view') and placed the large black wood mantel in front of those. This serves several purposes: first, it covers the purple wall. (It will be painted soon, but for today we just wanted to make it disappear!) Second, the mantel becomes an area we can add product to and dress in various ways. Third, this vignette serves as a 'bridge' mechanism between the French style area to the left and the hip mod London area that developed to the right. (You'll see that in another post). The black, ivory, and wood tones in this vignette combine the two themes and make for a nice visual transition from one theme to the next in this open space.
Above, you'll see a shot of the area before today's reset. Behind the table was a beautiful dressing table - that you can't see. What you CAN see is that purple wall. Not very French! The changes make for a much more elegant merchandise presentation.
When you walked into the room and turned left before, here is what you saw...
We took three large ivory armoires from the other side of the room (where they were blocking light from the windows) and placed them in the rear corner. This makes good use of the space, and because the pieces are ivory, they keep the corner from feeling dark & heavy. One unit has an open center, and a mirror placed in it with lights also helps to brighten this area. That dark thing on the left of the photo above? It is a positively gorgeous carved armoire - that no one ever saw the front of. By moving it across the room and into the corner, it is a focal point, and the mirrored door reflects light from the window on the South side of the room. Some black & white accessories, small tables, hanging crystal candle holders, and some wire mannequins create contrast, interest, and provide accessible areas to merchandise fashion accessories.
Continuing around the room to the right, this was what the East corner looked like before:Lots of furnishings & accessories took away the impact that any one of them might have had. So, we moved them out and simplified the space - by moving in one spectacular item. That dressing table (that was formerly hiding behind the round table) now shows herself off like a diva. Big plus? Once she was moved next to the beautiful armoire, they became a SET. Though not a perfect match, they compliment each other. This should result in a sale of BOTH items to a customer looking for fine antiques for a bedroom, instead of just one. By pairing items in similar themes and styles, we make shopping easier for the customer and increase per-transaction totals.
You can also see that the small, open-legged black accent table and wire mannequin use the center space effectively, but do not block the clear visual line to the armoire.
As your eye continues to travel to the right, you come upon the vignette with the round table and mantel, shown at the beginning of this post. Stacking chairs and small tables on top of other tables provides multiple levels for display of small items, and also uses vertical space. This allows us to fit in much more product than if it were all on one level. Remember that even if you sell home furnishings & accessories, you can get more theatrical than an average homeowner would. It's fine to have chairs with a table - but put one chair UP on the table for a new level and that 'something unexpected' that will catch a customer's eye. NO, they won't do this in their home, but if your store just looks like the average person's home, sorry, but it's boring!
In the photo below, you'll see that to the right side of the mantel, there is a sweet little white dressing table. This piece is very delicate and needed a spot that would let it shine. Placed in between the black mantel and some black tables (you'll see them in the next post), it appears in sharp contrast. In the warm sunlight coming in the window, it's mirrors sparkle - and that makes it eyecatching. We turned it toward the South windows, so that it 'faced' the far corner and didn't block more sunlight. This keeps an open, spacious feeling in the room that helps customers feel uncrowded and comfortable.
You can see the little dressing table in it's former placement in the photo below: in the corner, dwarfed by the large armoire and big expanse of wall above it. Just putting it in a place of honor in the room view - as soon as you enter - makes a huge difference. We did this with all of the most exquisite pieces and made them the focal points of several vignettes.
A bit of fluffing and placement of small accessories brought the French style to life. New products are on their way, so we left space for it to be added when it arrives. It's always important to plan for future use of each setup, and make it easy to change out accessories so that the look is always fresh for customers.
Next up, Part 2: The Hip London Look. It's pretty much in place, with only one furniture item yet to be added. The Old World/Tuscany theme is in place, however there are some furniture changes to be made as we tackle another room - several pieces from that room will come in here, to the South corner. It's a bit like playing Dominoes... move one thing, and it affects everything else! We are doing a bit at a time to keep it manageable.