Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Furniture for the Rich!

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.



  1. Fabulous post, Andrew! I imagine someone like the former Missus would treat interior decorating much like fashion shopping--always being inspired by moods, arts, and travels. I wonder though, with several homes in their portfolio, where do all the old furniture go? I remember watching Oprah purge her storage room of all her furniture, which she eventually sold, and there was enough furniture to furnish an entire village, and that was just from one estate of a member of the new rich at that. With generations decorating multiple homes, where does it all go? Are their attics the size of a middle class home? Is anything ever donated? Or are 99% of the furniture simply tossed into an estate sale simply cherry picking what will be inherited by the heirs? Would love to hear your insights.

    Cheers from Heather!

    1. Thanks, Heather,

      There's no rush around here to empty out the attic, except when we need more space. Then we call in the local auctioneer who comes in and hauls out a truck load of stuff. I'm happy to say the proceeds are donated to the favorite charities in this house--this after family members have 'cherry picked' whatever they may want, as you say, which is not often, (They have their own stuff to deal with, and their attics are full as well.)


    2. Hi Andrew,
      Being the butler to a billionaire myself, I completely understand the concept of furniture. My "mister" is constantly accumulating new furniture and knick knacks. Storage of these items are amazing to me.
      In every city he has a home, there are numerous climate controlled storage units acquired to stash his latest finds. Most of the things he buys are original items that need a little "tender love and care". Which simply means that I am to find someone to fix all of this stuff and bring it back to a great standard, (cost is no object to bring it back to working order).
      The previous reply said that Oprah could furnish a village with her left-overs and I could attest to the same as my mister. Until I started working with him, I had no idea there were so many areas to buy furniture.
      I truly enjoy your blog and it brings me great comfort in knowing that someone else feels my pain at times.
      Keep it up

    3. Delighted to meet you, Michael! And yes, by all means, I feel your pain! As idiotic and frustrating as our jobs can be, the constant challenges and daily opportunities to learn new stuff keep things interesting, right? On the other hand, while this blog is meant to be primarily informational, sometimes I'm afraid I use it as an outlet to vent the current frustrations and nuttiness at hand! Rich people are just so full of it, and endlessly amusing.

      I like your fun blog Tyner's Diner, and will definitely try your Prosciutto BBQ Chicken -- for myself and friends, that is, not for "them". I'm sure they'd love it, but I'm at such odds with my employer nowadays that I wouldn't spend a minute in the kitchen making a nice dinner. To hell with that, those days are long gone since the divorce. I just call up the caterer for an emergency delivery, or pick up some take-out stuff from the market. And that's that.

      If you ever feel the need to vent, you're welcome to stop by here anytime and let it out! You'll find a sympathetic ear, not just from me, but I think our readers as well.


    4. Hysterical Andrew, but don't you have a chef to make the dinners?

    5. Hi, Belinda. Yes, but he's only here five days a week. I'm expected to take up the slack on his two days off, which I yield to the caterer Lydia, or just grab some take-out stuff from the market.

      Nice to hear from you as always, Andrew.

  2. That was very enlightening. Thank you, Andrew.

    1. The thanks go to you, Justin, for asking the question. Hope all is well, and see you next time.


    2. Andrew,
      I had forgotten about the Tyner's Diner blog - that's hysterical that you found it. I created that blog for the kids that have lived with me over the years. Many of them were calling asking how to make something, so I made the blog for them to be able to cook for themselves when they moved on with their lives.

      Yes, our job can be challenging and somewhat overwhelming at times, but I wouldn't trade the learning situations I have been part of for anything else.

      And yes, although this blog is extremely informative, you do occasionally put in those thoughts of frustration. I actually think this makes your blog unique. It helps us, as the reader, to be more involved in the day to day activities you endure.

      Keep up the good work.

      By the way, I got you book in the mail yesterday. I am leaving on a trip with my mister next week and am taking the book with me. I am eager to start reading it.

    3. That's a charming reason to start up a blog, to pass along your recipes to the children you've helped care for. Because of your personal touch with photos of friends that describe the occasion, it's interesting, well done, and the recipes are easy to follow, unlike most food blogs that get you all crazy and bore you to death

      I'm delighted you're going to read the book. I do hope you'll let me know if it brings a few laughs! As a butler yourself, you may identify with some of the crazy, nutty situations along the way. Andrew

  3. Some of the best sites,where rich people can buy furniture.Furniture Miami Beach is the one stop shop expert in designing custom Italian luxury furniture.

  4. In the UK the rich buy their antiques in Tetbury, Corsham and Hungerford. Full of high end antique shops.