Thanks to online property listings like Zillow, an internet connection is all you need to view homes for sale around the world – as a result, a multitude of social media accounts have sprung up to highlight the craziest interiors left behind by former owners, which offer everything from indoor water slides to extensive taxidermy collections. Whatever’s next, stay tuned with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading and more.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson received a rebuke from his ethics adviser last week after failing to disclose certain text messages relating to a costly renovation of the leader’s Downing Street flat, the New York Times reports. The renovation project overseen by Johnson’s wife and carried out by an interior designer Lulu Lytle, landed the British leader in hot water after he asked a prominent Conservative Party donor to arrange funding for the redesign – a process documented in news stories that were previously undisclosed Christopher Geidt, who advises the Prime Minister on ethical issues. Lytle herself has described her own displeasure at being caught up in the project’s backlash, particularly with media coverage mistaking her Middle East and African-inspired aesthetic as “colonial boho” and exaggerating the cost of her services. “I hated every minute,” Lytle told the Financial Times. “I found it incredibly unsettling to be caught in a political storm.”
Sotheby’s is facing a class action lawsuit, reports The Art Newspaper, like a lawsuit filed last spring by Franz Fenwick, a former accountant for the auction house, alleges that it misclassified workers as independent contractors rather than full-time employees, denying them benefits and violating New York’s Freelance Is’t Free Act. Although Sotheby’s legal team filed a motion to dismiss the case in November, calling it “without factual allegations,” plaintiff’s attorney has now asked the court to decide whether Fenwick was an employee or an independent contractor — if they find out that he was B. an employee, more than 40 other people working at the auction house may also have been denied benefits. Both Fenwick’s attorney and Sotheby’s declined multiple requests for comment from The Art Newspaper, and a hearing for the lawsuit will be held in the US District Court for the District of New Jersey on January 17.
Casegoods and upholstery importers and manufacturers are conducting price increases this month, which means retailers and customers will soon be paying more for products shipped from Jan. 1, reports Home News Now. Companies like Martin Furniture, Manwah USA, and Hooker Furnishings are introducing increased freight surcharges, while other companies are raising prices in response to double-digit price increases in materials like fabric, metal, and wood frames, as well as higher pay needed to attract employees. As shipping, material, and labor costs continue to rise, some companies are still considering making more changes to their pricing structure in the coming months.
Former WeWork CEO Adam Neuman is moving into the residential realm, The Wall Street Journal reports, as the billionaire and his affiliates bought stakes in more than 4,000 homes across the U.S. while there at the short-lived WeLive, which operated several community homes before closing when the company got into financial difficulties.
The first-ever “MetaReal” mansion, which combines a real-world home and a virtual counterpart in the metaverse, will be launched soon, Forbes reports. Created by ONE Sotheby’s International Realty and Voxel Architects, together with general contractor and NFT collector Gabe Sierra, the purchaser of the NFT asset will receive both a virtual home in the sandbox metaverse and a physical home in Miami, due for completion later this year. The 11,000-square-foot home will feature seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms in both its physical and virtual iterations and will be auctioned in 2022 at an undisclosed reserve price.
In the latest supply chain news, the surge in home purchases over the last year combined with a shortage of building products has forced some new owners to move into unfinished homes. Because the flow of goods and materials needed to manufacture windows, garage doors, appliances and paint remains impeded, home builders are now limiting options for floor plans or design features, according to The Wall Street Journal. In Sacramento, California, city officials even instituted an interim policy allowing homebuilders to complete homes with makeshift garage doors while contractor Epcon Communities was forced to install gutters and downspouts after buyers had already moved in.
Business-to-business sourcing platform Geniemode, which offers home furnishings from India and surrounding countries, has announced the closing of a $7 million funding round led by Info Edge Ventures, reports Home News Now. The company currently works with more than 100 furniture and home decor suppliers and with the new funding plans to expand its technology to onboard more buyers and sellers and expand its offering into new geographic regions.
Product launches and collaborations
Chairish now offers European goods on its e-commerce marketplace, adding 200,000 products sourced from the continent to its website. The expansion follows the company’s August 2021 acquisition of Pamono, Europe’s leading online marketplace for vintage and antique furniture and art, and means Chairish buyers now have access to new furniture, art, carpets, lighting, decor and have more from places like Barcelona, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Vienna and Rome.
Ecommerce marketplace The Nopo has teamed up with three designers to create curated pop-up shops on its website. To celebrate the launch of a new designer trade program called The Nopo Designer Society, the company has been tapping into designers Kathy Kuo, Ginger Curtis and Karen Wolf to put together a unique, shoppable selection of crockery, accessories and home accessories.
The designer lineup for the fifth annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach was announced on the organization’s Instagram account. This year’s cohort, which will reinvent a property at 3001 Spruce Avenue in West Palm Beach, consists of 25 designers, including Beth Diana Smith, Amanda Reynal, Noz Nozawa, and Chris Godard.
The estate sale occupies a unique place in the antiques world, driving interior designers, high-profile dealers and amateur treasure hunters to compete for the homes of the recently deceased. For the New Yorker Lizzie Feidelson delves deep into how the phenomenon came to be and where it’s headed in the pandemic era — while setting the scenery, translating the jargon (“wall bags,” Hummels and Lladrós galore) and introducing the typical cast of characters who attend the sales.
Set in the world of the Animal Crossing video game series, users have the opportunity to customize their virtual home with an extensive selection of furnishings – including exactly 436 different options when the series debuted, a number that has grown to a whopping 1,900 over the course of several years of updates . In fact, many of the furniture pieces resemble iconic pieces in the design canon – Blogger Nate Pfeiffer has taken a variety of examples from the game along with their real-life counterparts and drawn parallels Charles and Ray Eames, Le Corbusier and Iasmi Noguchi.
Interior Designer, Home Influencer and Star of HGTV’s Build Me Up, Orlando Soria is aware that his life on screen seems to be close to perfect – that’s why he has decided to chronicle the ups and downs of the last two years of his professional and personal life in a sprawling post on his website. Between poor working conditions, turbulent home projects and health struggles, Soria speaks honestly about the not-so-nice side of being a public figure in the industry. “If you’re going through similar professional and financial struggles, just know someone who might seem ‘successful’ because of their TV show and social media presence, someone who’s experienced a lot of privilege and opportunity and is also faltering , gasping for air, trying to stay above the surface of the water,” writes Soria.
Call for applause
The New York Product Design Award winners have been announced, recognizing the efforts of product designers, design teams and manufacturers from around the world whose designs have improved everyday life. For the full list of winners click here.
The Dallas Market Center has announced the winners of the 32nd annual ARTS Awards, which recognize regional manufacturers, retailers, sales representatives and other professionals for their industry excellence. Among this year’s award winners are Jan showers by Jan Showers & Associates, taking home the only award in the Interior Design category, and Barry Goralnick by Barry Goralnick Architecture and Design, the only winner of the Product Designer Award. For the full list of winners click here.
Homepage Image: To celebrate the launch of The Nopo Designer Society, the platform selected designers to curate pop-up shops on the site. | Courtesy of The Nopo