Accent home furnishings is a tiny blip – if a blip at all – on most home-furnishings consumers’ radar screens – though, ironically, some of the brightest spots in many of their homes are pieces of accent home furnishings. They just don’t know it.
Even insiders, those who make their living in the industry, don’t have top-of-mind-awareness of accent home furnishings. They usually design, manufacture, sell, buy, write about or photograph Case Goods, Upholstery, Leather and Occasional. Or maybe they work with Juvenile, RTA and Accessories. Accent, if it appears at all, is often lumped in with Occasional. But Accent is definitely NOT Occasional – never has been, never will be.
Clearly, accent home furnishings have an identity crisis on their hands.
Realizing that solving this crisis would bring housefuls of happiness to millions of Americans while generating substantially more business for thousands of retailers and interior designers, Butler Specialty Company has decided to step up and carry the accent home furnishings banner.
Chicago-based Butler, which produces America’s largest line of accent home furnishings, has assumed the lead first in defining heretofore elusive accent home furnishings as a bonafide home- furnishings category; and second, in raising awareness about the category throughout the industry and the broader public.
“Accent home furnishings, when done well, create brightest spots in the home,” says Dan Sumner, Butler vice president of sales and marketing. “They’re fun. They create a new focal
Point. They get attention. They give consumers an opportunity to change the character and quality of a room by adding a piece or two, not refurnishing the entire space.”
OK… so what is it?
1) Accent home furnishings celebrate individualism. They don’t want to match. They are openly contemptuous of cliques. They don’t run in groups, sets or suites. They stand apart, not in pairs. This individualistic trait distinguishes accent from occasional home furnishings, which is designed to blend in and match. Occasional is typically tables – two end tables, a cocktail table and a sofa table that match. Again, accent eschews such clubyness.
2)Accent home furnishings are bold. They can be loud. They definitely command attention. They are often colorful, or crafted from unusual materials, or both.
3)Accent home furnishings are fun. You play games on them… store your favorite wine in them… pull a favorite piece of jewelry from their hidden drawers… write a love note on their drop-down desktop or display a special collection of books on their shimmering shelves.
4)Accent home furnishings fill nooks and crannies. They look perfect in that corner or at the top of the stairs where nothing else will fit.
5)Accent home furnishings are art. They are unique. They are sometimes hand painted. Like a fine painting, they may coordinate with the sofa fabric, or they may not. Either way, they look great and get noticed.
6)Accent home furnishings include chests, tables, benches, chairs, game tables, console cabinets, secretaries, desks, armoires, bars, entertainment centers, headboards, fireplace screens, desks, pedestals, mirrors and globes.
At Butler, accent home furnishings are designed to be brightest spots in rooms throughout the home. These brightest spots are crafted from solid woods and veneers with exquisite inlays, marquetry and fossil stone. Many pieces feature authentic hand painting. Others are made from an array of exotic materials in inspired combinations of fossil stone, seashells, woven bacbac rope, Mindanao twigs, hand-hammered brass and various metals, bamboo inlays, cane, cogon flower inlays, rattan, and cocoa bark.
Butler, which produces exclusively accent home furnishings, will celebrate its 75th birthday this year. This Chicago business, founded by two men in 1930, is managed today by second and third generations. It has been specializing in accent home furnishings longer than any other company in America, currently featuring more than 800 items that don’t match each other, that are fun, that fill nooks and crannies, and that function as art in many homes. Butler IS accent home furnishings.
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