It's Saturday morning, you've just poured yourself a cup of coffee. Sesame Street is on in the background and your toddler is playing happily on the floor with his toy cars. You're lying on your brand new couch, stretched out with your head on the perfectly fluffy new pillow, feeling the smooth, unmarred fabric under your outstretched hand. Ahhh, smell that? It's new couch smell. Otherwise known as no smell at all. Heaven.
Elmo's World comes on. Your toddler, excited to see his bestie, runs towards you to share his glee. He jumps on you, consquently spilling your coffee all over that brand. new. couch. Defeat.
You may not have experienced this exact situation, but on some level you know that feeling. The first ding in your new car door that happens while you're parked at Trader Joe's. The tiny ketchup stain on your white button down, only an hour after you tore the tags off. The scratch on your brand new shades. Your stomach drops, you break into a cold sweat, you're disappointed. Will anyone really notice the tiny stain? The scratch? What's left of the coffee after a good scrubbing? Probably not. But you will always remember that moment, and those new things will never feel "new" again.
Why not skip it? Just fast forward through the whole agonizing "ugh I can't believe that just happened" moment. What if someone ELSE put that stain, that scratch, that ding in your furniture first, before you even met it? Wouldn't it be a lot less painful of an experience the next time (and trust me, there WILL be a next time) something inadvertently happened to your new item?
You may not agree, but personally I would definitely consider purchasing a slightly imperfect piece of furniture - especially if it came at a significant discount. And that's exactly what we did when we were faced with the daunting and expensive task of decorating our new home. That's what you'll find (for the most part) at the Restoration Hardware outlet (otherwise known as my favorite home shopping experience. ever.) Slightly imperfect, slightly scratched, slightly dinged items - many of them current - on sale for a fraction of the current selling price.
There are several of these outlets across the country (the next closest one in Long Island, I believe), but I have only been to the one in Limerick, PA. A solid two-hour drive from Westfield, but 100 percent worth it. Each time we have gone, we leave with a truck load of goodies. (NOTE: you must take your findings with you at the time of purchase. You can either bring a truck with you, or hire a moving company - they work with one local one that we have used and were happy with.)
People often ask where we purchased items in our home, and more often than not I send them to the RH Outlet. Here are some examples of the things we got there:
Benson Pendants (over the island) In fairness, we only got two of the three of these pendants at the outlet. We had to purchase the remaining one at full price from the retail store. Still not a bad deal considering the other two were approximately 1/3 of the cost.
Victorial Hotel Pendant We loved this one so much, we bought two. The second one is hanging in our Master Bedroom
The list goes on and on... pillows, light fixtures, shelves and mirrors for our bathrooms, the furniture in my son's nursery. The possibilities are endless. The staff at the outlet is especially helpful over the phone. They must be used to people driving from all over to visit and shop. They will spend time with you on the phone to be sure they have what you are looking for before you make the trek. I recommend that you peruse the store (at The Mall at Short Hills) or the catalog or website (www.RestorationHardware.com) and make up a wish list. Then call the outlet and ask for these specific items. If they don't have them at the moment, they will take your name and call you if they come in. And they really do it. The gorgeous leather couch we had been waiting for for months was slated to arrive in the next shipment, and I got a phone call from one of the employees telling me so. If I hadn't gone into labor that morning (oh, the timing!), I totally would have jumped on the turnpike and picked that baby up! I still think about that couch...
Anyway, I digress.
For the most part, there was nothing wrong with the items we purchased. The media unit had several small chips in the wood that were easily repaired with a nail or two and some wood glue. The dining table had a small drip mark on one side of the trestle (it is a salvaged wood table - it blends in!). There was absolutely nothing wrong with any of the light fixtures we purchased - I believe these were just returns that could not be repackaged and resold in the regular retail stores. I'd say we did well.
And one thing's for sure... I won't mind so much when my son decides to chuck his sippy cup and dent the door on the media unit. It's not the first dent and it most certainly won't be the last.
Philadelphia Premium Outlets Restoration Hardware Outlet
Hours: Sunday 10am-7pm, M-F 10am-9pm, Saturday 10am-9pm
Please call store for holiday hours.
Ellie Mroz is the C.A.O. and Design Specialist for Michael Robert Construction, a Westfield-based Design/Build General Contractor. http://www.MichaelRobertConstruction.com andhttp://www.njdesignbuild.com