Our friend Justin Dew recently sent an inquiry as to where rich people buy furniture. While I might have described the house and furnishings briefly here and there, he made me realize I've never written about this particular topic in full, and there's so much fun stuff to tell.
The thing is, a lot of busy rich people (especially the new rich) rely almost entirely upon their interior designers to do all the work and fill their homes and rooms with whatever fits their needs. This can be tricky of course, since the new rich often don't have a clue as to what they need or want, and the end result depends upon the imagination, creativity, and expertise of the designer engaged.
Depending on what kind of budget he's given, the designer might just shovel in a truck load of nice looking upper-middle-class stuff from Bloomingdale's and call it a day. Given a larger budget, however, he'll probably check out some high end furniture purveyors like Horchow or the Italian Bakokko Group, not overlooking Neiman Marcus of course. And if he's worth his salt, he'll mix in some real antiques here and there that match his overall scheme and design.
The danger is that these decorator-designed rooms, without the personal touch of the homeowner, can come across looking impersonal, stiff, and uninviting. You see it all the time, and you wouldn't want to sit down for even a minute in these picture-perfect rooms.
Now having said all that, many rich people take a huge interest in working closely with their interior decorators, both in designing and continuously adding to their home's comfort and beauty. And they do, after all, have plenty of free time to do so, right?
You'll find them browsing through antique shops throughout their travels in America and Europe, or perhaps attending an estate auction after some rich old biddy in their hometown kicks the bucket. This is always a little amusing since you can't deny these estate sales resemble a flock of scavenger birds swooping down for the pickings.
The former Missus of the house was fond of checking out the renowned furniture auctions at Christie's, where documented and historic antiques can bring in huge sums of money. Not to mention the bragging rights when someone asks, "Wherever did you find this?"
For knickknacks and ornamental fillers, she also loved to browse through distinguished shops like A La Vielle Russie on Fifth Avenue in New York, known for getting their hands on items from the Russian Imperial Court jeweler, Carl Faberge - including his world famous Faberge Eggs. And she always looked forward to visiting London and browsing through the Aspery Collection.
For the super rich, accumulating unique and interesting items for the home is a never-ending ongoing hobby. Their attics are full of furniture and ornaments they're grown tired of and their homes are constantly evolving, not unlike a museum, with new displays coming in all the time - something amazing to observe from my point of view.
Thanks for asking the question, Justin. I hope this has shed some light.