Question: I am European and I have recently purchased a home in Los Angeles. When looking for designer furniture, I find that most of it is in showrooms that are for the trade only. The only way that I can buy these pieces is by hiring some designer or an architect to charge me inflated prices. I have seen these same pieces in Europe in the manufacturers' showrooms at their original cost. Is there any way around this?
Answer: It is true that many of the design centers and many of the better home showrooms are for the trade only and you must go through a designer or an architect to purchase the pieces. However, many designers will work with you on a fee basis, rather than with the "suggested retail price," which is usually about 30% to 50% over the actual selling price of these furnishings.
Another problem is that the waiting period for these articles is usually lengthy--this is not only applicable to the boutique designer showrooms but to the major department stores and furniture outlets as well. Normally, the pieces in these showrooms are samples only; your order is sent to the manufacturers and you can wait anywhere from two weeks to six months to receive delivery. This problem is very common in virtually all aspects of furniture buying today, and the design centers only add an additional layer of bureaucracy, in my opinion, toward the acquisition of fine furniture at reasonable prices.