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Designing Furniture by the House, Not Just the Piece

February 27, 1992|SUSAN GEMBROWSKI

Whether you're home alone, entertaining guests or spending a quiet evening with your family, you want where you live to be a comfortable and inviting place that reflects your individuality.

A little innovation--adding a carefully crafted table, a new fabric to your chairs or a front-yard seating area--can give your space a fresh outlook.

North County has scores of craftsmen and designers creating custom and customized furnishings for the home. It has nurseries to help turn your landscape into an intimate garden. It has shops that supply you with the materials you need to do things yourself. It has creative people with ideas you're free to borrow, or if you like, hire to put their talents to work just for you.

On the following pages, a report on some of what's happening on the home front in North County. Some furniture designers are interior designers creating pieces that uniquely fit the homes and tastes of their clients. The designers then contract with craftsmen to construct the pieces.

"Most furniture makers are geared for the Midwest or Eastern market," Andrew Gerhard of Gerhard Interiors Ltd. said. "In California, the scale of homes, with the tall ceilings, is different. We design to fit the space. We make cabinets that fit from floor to ceiling like they should."

Among the items in Gerhard's La Costa showroom: a 25-foot, L-shaped, one-piece sofa.

"If you're buying quality furniture from a good furniture manufacturer, there's not much difference than having something custom-made," he said.

"A piece of furniture may require a cabinetmaker, an electrician, an upholsterer and a marble and granite man. We use all of them, and we have quality control as we have a huge resource base (of craftsmen)."

Mary Anne Powell of Buyers Design Interiors in Solana Beach also sings the praises of custom-designed furniture.

"Sometimes people will buy furniture that looks good in the store, but not in their home. With us, there are no mistakes," she said.

"Our pieces fit the room, and we usually save the customer money since we know where to go for the best prices and the best quality. Truthfully, we're not any more expensive than a department store since we're not inventorying furniture. We don't have to buy it and hang on to it," Powell said.

Still, hiring an interior designer to create unique furnishings isn't for everyone's taste--or pocketbook. The designer's fee is in addition to the cost of the furniture.

"People wouldn't come here unless they want something special or unusual," said Alexandra Kahn, vice president of Gerhard Interiors.

Buyers Design Interiors, Mary Anne Powell, 742 Genevieve, Suite A, Solana Beach, 481-3015, hours: Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. or by appointment. Gerhard Interiors Ltd., Andrew Gerhard, 7630 El Camino Real, Rancho La Costa, 436-0181, hours: by appointment.

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