Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams | Home Front

Feb 27, 2014

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams are co-founders of Design for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Gold and Williams are celebrating the company's 25th anniversary this month with a new book release, titled "Who We Are." Williams and Gold head a $100 million national brand carried in a growing chain of 17 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores in cities from New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Portland and beyond.

Every week, Jura Koncius helps you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? She's happy to whip out her paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself. Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation about the best way to feather the nest. We invite you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

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Last night I attended the 25th anniversary party for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams at their store at 1526 14th St. NW. The showroom was freshly spruced up and full of the comfortable sofas and cool coffee tables they are known for. And there's always a fun surprise, such as their new Tibetan shag upholstery. Mitchell and Bob are here on the chat today and they are full of great ideas and solutions. Let's start chatting.

Good Morning to our nations Capitol!  We are excited to be starting the celebration of our 25th Anniversary from our first company owned retail store on 14th Street in the heart of DC. We've watched the transformation of the neighborhood and couldn't be more pleased.  Just wish there was more parking! Write your councilman and Mayor.

We also have watched with joy as the DC style sense has evolved to be very chic and modern like so many other of hte hippest cities in the world. We pride ourselves on offering an easy to live with soft and modern aesthetic.

I keep looking for modern home entertainment units. Everything I find is either poorly made (ie particle board/ cheap wood) or more expensive then the electronics (ie over 1G). Any recommendations for a moderately priced (400-800) unit that is well made? Please exclude Best Buy etc. Used/Consigned furntiure is also acceptable, if not preferred. However reviewing Craigslist has not been helpful so far.

We find that well made media units retail from $1500 to $2500.  Less expensive ones use materials that are unacceptable to you....and us!  To stay within your budget we suggest shopping at a local flea market or antique-ish/second hand store to get a good used piece.  You could buy on line but you would need to know what you are looking at.  If you find something local you can also save on the shipping expenses.

Hello! Can you please give me some advice as to where I might find odd sized rugs? I'm ideally looking for 7'x8'. 5'x8' is too small and 6x9' is too big, which is what most stores carry. I like modern styles and color. Any suggestions for the DC area or online?

Probably best is to buy a larger than you need rug and have it cut down and edges bound, or get broadloom cut to size.

I want to update the wall behind my sofa. It is a 2-story wall.I have had the same large painting there for 25 years. I want to make a collage of photos and maybe a large mirror but I have no design sense! Are there templates that could help me design the wall OR do you have other suggestions for the wall? Thanks, Bonnie

You could look in our decorating books "Let's Get Comfortable" or "The Comfortable Home" and see some ideas.  Also, go on the net and Google "how to hang multiple pictures."  We found some good ideas there. 

I was so impressed with your guest John Gidding several weeks ago--even more so if he was answering questions "on the fly". He was very knowledgeable yet gave common sense and reasonable suggestions (unlike some of your other guests). Please recruit more guests like him (better yet, invite him back!)

So glad you thought so. I try to mix in a variety of guests. I will put him on the list for a return chat.

This is for Jura Koncius--Just a comment about your posting today-2/27, on pet shedding. I used to believe that dogs shed in the spring/summer, ridding their winter coats, but my dog is just the opposite. She sheds profusely from fall til spring when it subsides substantially. I have a yellow lab. Perhaps it's the breed but I was told shedding in the winter is normal. I could make dozens of sweaters out of all the fur she sheds. It's amazing she has anything left on her body! Just an FYI. Thx.

I have one word for you. Furminator.

What is the best way to protect an investment sofa from kids? Is it Scotchguard? Slipcovers? Or something else??

Slipcovers are GREAT, a throw or a blanket are also good protectors and add color to change up the look.  There are also many easy care and durable kid friendly microfiber fabrics on the market today.

Hi. I have always wondered how you come up with the names for your furniture. It's kind of like naming paint colors.

We have long meetings with about 8 people.  We try to find a name that 'speaks' to the personality of the piece.  It's not easy but we try to have fun with it. AND it's easy for customers to remember.  Easier to love your piece if you know her better.

What is the easiest and best way to display pictures? Is it: a) using Command sticky strips, b) a old-fashioned picture hook, c) installing a shelf or picture ledge, d) a picture rail, or e) something else?

Picture ledges are easy and a great way to add, subtract or just change around.

What is your most comfortable sofa bed?

Try our Super Luxe sleepers...they are the Bentley of sleepers.  It has an 8" mattress and comes in lots of different styles, you can select from 350 fabrics, 50 leathers or we can do it in your own fabric. Check out Fiona or Grant.

I wish you both all the best on your book "Who We Are". I look forward to getting a copy. So, who are you? Or, more appropriately, what are some of the key points you want us to learn through your book?

The purpose of our book was to talk about our sense of style and how you can get it, and also talk about how we like to live life....how we run a business and how we give back and are part of every community we touch.  It's based on our company mantras.  It's a view into our personalities and how we love to eat.

Great article on choosing paint color and I love the photos. I wish you had included a picture of a room painted Benjemin Moore's Palladian Blue, since you sing its praises and I've only seen swatches. When I'm choosing paint colors, I paint sampes on a large piece of foam core from an art supply store. Then I can move the sample around the room to see how the light plays on different walls, against trim and with furniture. This also worked to pick exterior paint.

We will keep this in mind for next time! Still one of my all time favorites. Thanks for your tip.

I just want to congratulate Mitchell and Bob on their social responsibility on several fronts: the daycare program for the children, to the on-site library and gym. It's great to see a company thinking about how the happiness and health of their employees affects their bottom line. Bravo. PigtownDesign.com

Thank you!  We talk all about these things in our new book Who We Are.  After 25 years we think we have proven that greed can take a back seat to "taking the high road" as Sec. of Labor Perez recently told me when he called to congratulate us. Go to our website to see the link to the CBS This Morning profile they did on us last Tuesday.

I also looked for sofa beds and they vary greatly in comfort based on price with one exception. Most low to midpriced sofa beds just have saggy springs. Some of the very high priced sofa beds over $5000 had solid platorms on which the matrress rested and were very comfortable. I did find a reasonably priced Ikia lather sofa that had wooden slats under the mattress that was almost as comfortable as the expensive sofa sleepers.

Thanks.

I agree - he was an awesome guest. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to that chat "live", but I read it afterwards.

Thanks for reading the excerpt. We often publish edited questions and answers from the chat the following week in print in Local Living.

How may I order slipcovers separately for 2 Mitchell Gold-Bob Williams Alex chairs whose coverings my cats have shredded? Thanks for considering, Ann

Contact any of our Signature Stores.  You can find them listed on our website for the one nearest you.  We archive all our patterns so you are always able to get a replacement.

The article today in Local Living was perfect timing! My sons only want white walls. Only thing the paint needs to coordinate with is navy blue carpet. Any ideas? thanks.

I would use Benjamin Moore Decorator's White.

I am trying to find a new dining table set and matching buffet. I am having a hard time finding both tables/chairs and a buffet I like as a set because the table has to be within certain dimensions to fit the room, and there are certain features I want in the buffet. I found a table/chairs I like in a cherry finish, and a buffet in a different set with more of a warm cognac finish. Do you think it would look odd to have a table/chairs with more of a red tone to the wood, and the buffet with more of a golden tone?

It might look very nice.  But it's hard to tell not seeing these in person.  Find a salesperson you can trust. But, yes, it could be fine.

Hello, Long time fan and love today's articles on paint! We have a closet installer coming to do several closets, including converting the original 1930's very small coat closet to more of a mud room function with hooks and shelves. The interior needs to be painted first. Should we just stick with white, or do you have any favorites? The walls around it are BM Hancock Green and Manchester Tan. Thank you!

I like your color choices. You know, I think in this case I would stick to white. It will make it look fresh and clean and larger! Maybe Benjamin Moore White Dove.

My first couch I purchased was a 1993 Mitchell Gold denim couch with matching chair and ottoman. I've tried several times to get a new cover for each but each time your customer service said they would call me back with prices and available colors. No call no email nothing. Very disapointed. Acton, MA

I'm sorry to hear that.  We  archive all our slipcover patterns assuming you are talking about a slipcover style.  If you are talking about an upholstered piece that you want reupholstered that is a different story.  Please call the factory at 800-489-4195 and leave a message with my Exec. Ass't Dan Swift.  Leave your name, phone number and email address and we'll get back to you by end of day.  Thanks!

Asking way in advance....question is there a place to buy a new washer n dryer where you can haggle/negotiate the price like you do for cars. I need a new set and only have a certain amount to spend but I also want it last a while(yrs) so I don't want the cheapest on in the store.

Check out the Sears Outlets, I believe there is one in Silver Spring and one at Potomac Mills Mall. They have appliances there that may be discontinued or dented. I don't know if you can negotiate, but they can be deeply discounted. Do you guys know of another place to suggest?

Mitchell and Bob: Someone told me that you have great mattresses for sale with your beds. Did you guys specially design those? What's their secret?

We had 2 different types made for the way we like to sleep.  The secret is they are on the firm side.  Find it gives a good nights sleep.  Our Signature Stores have both types on display so go in for a test rest.

How do you recommend washing your slipcovers? Also is it okay to use stain spray on them?

Make sure you have a washable fabric.  Wash in a big machine with cold water, tumble dry on low heat until they are still slightly damp. Put the body on the piece, finger press into position. Then put on the cushion casings on the base and cushions have come to a complete air dry.  Yes, you can use stain spray but check the fabric type.

Can you have slipcovers made for a leather couch?

Could....but going to be slippery.  Not really a great idea!

Do you have any favorite pieces from the new Spring 2014 Collection and why?

We LOVE the new curved sofas....they create such a great conversation environment.  The new shiny brass Jules collection has some very specail statement pieces from dining tables to bookcases to consoles. New upholstered bookcases are a soft and colorful way to display books and accessories.  Who could resist our fur pieces.  We love so many things....check them out in person if you are able.

Could you give some ideas on creating extra storage in a bedroom?

Yes...that's an easy one.  We introduced last year these incredible storage beds where the mattress lifts up.  It provides the equivalent storage as an 8 drawer dresser.  Another great way is to use 3 drawer chests as bedside tables.

I have a huge brick step in front of my fireplace. It spans the width of the family room. I have a hodgepodge array of pictures on it. What are some creative things to do to make it look better?

Add other accessories besides pictures, like candlesticks, vases of different shapes of heights. Art resting on mantle. Group things together in collections. An urn is always a statement piece!

Any tips on how to make this area of the home fashionable and functional?

Treat it like a small room. Furnish it with appropriately sized furniture, such as a console table or buffet or bar table, a chair or two and a mirror. Use a small rug if you can. Keep fresh flowers on the table to greet you when you come in the door.

West Elm has special order rugs in odd sizes.

Thanks.

I bought a TV stand and A/V rack made by Salamander Designs more than ten years ago, and it is still in perfect condition, and looks clean, fresh, and modern. You can customize the units (number of shelves, size, and finish) and the open-shelving units can be had for $400 or less.

Thank you for that.

I just bought condo yesterday. Is it better to paint before moving in (probably with a pretty neutral soft grey) or wait until I have my furniture in place so I'm choosing based on the surroundings? Is there a price difference to painters? I'm hearing conflicting advice -- thank you!

It's always better to paint before moving in.  But also remember, if the painting doesn't work out as you like the more you live there, in the scheme of things, it's fairly inexpensive to correct.

Want to thank Pigtown Design for her kind words about Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' commitment to social responsibility and let people know she has a great blog (http://pigtown-design.blogspot.com). And ask if perhaps she has a favorite piece from the Spring Collection?

Thank you very much. Pigtown do you want to chime in?

I love your store on 14th St.! It's been more than a year since I was there. Do you have or will you make a small round dining room table? I am looking for one that is 40" across and would seat 4 comfortably. It would be great if it could either expand or be made smaller. Most of the tables that are available to the public are too 'busy' in the legs/pedestals or the table can only be moved by two people. I would also like a comfortable 2 person bench or banquet to go against the far dining room wall that could be used with the table. All though, I guess then the table would have to be a small rectangle or a square. Thanks, Carol Alexandria

We do make several 42" round tables. Clean modern polished stainless parsons bases with choice of 3 different wood tops, glass or white quartz.  Sorry we don't have 40" but we find 42" is the smallest that seats 4 comfortably.

Hi. My master bedroom is a long, narrow room. One end, where I've put my bed, is bright and sunny due to a large bay window, which does have shutters installed. The other end is darker, with a single small window that overlooks the neighboring house (I live in a row of townhouses). I'd like to find a paint color that will be relatively subdued in the front but not so subdued that the back of the room retreats into shadow. I was thinking a gray or gray-brown, but am open to anything. I've dozens of paint chips and swatches of color painted on the walls. Can you help me with any suggestions? Thanks!

Go with a light color for the room but do a dark color behind the bed...that will help balance it out.

We have a baby at home. When he learns to walk, are wood stairs safer or are carpeted ones better? My MIL insists that carpeted stairs will be less likely to slip on. However, in my experience, socked feet + carpeted steps can = slipping.

I got my stairs carpeted as soon as I got pregnant. Didn't want to slip on the wood. I feel personally prefer them for kids too.

What are your favorite rooms in your own homes? And what did you include in those rooms to make them really comfortable?

Kitchen, bedroom, and living room spaces...in that order. Every room needs a comfortable place to sit and relax, to enjoy that room. The living room has an incredible view so we used swivel chairs to look out or be part of a conversation when we have people over.

What are your favorite piece(s) from the new collection?

There are many as this was a big introduction for our 25th Anniversary.  Tones of silver and soft white to beautiful brass with warm woods.  Please check out  our new catalog on line or better yet, go to a Signature Store and get a personal tour. Tell the Design Associates we sent you.  If you live in the Tyson's area, look for our new flagship in Tyson's Galleria opening by June.

I really appreciate your being on the chat. I am looking forward to spending some time with your new book: "Who We Are." Great ideas here for everyone. Over and out.

It was great being with y'all and Jura, as always, you are the best. For those that don't know, Jura discovered us many years ago when we were just starting out. We cherish those people like Jura who saw something in us and believed in us. Thank  you!!!

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius is a Washington Post staff writer who specializes in home and design. Read her daily twitter feed @jurakoncius for the latest in decorating trends, shopping, decluttering, organizing and DC retail.

Home Q&A archive
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams are co-founders of Design for Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Gold and Williams are celebrating the company's 25th anniversary this month with a new book release, titled "Who We Are." Williams and Gold head a $100 million national brand carried in a growing chain of 17 Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores in cities from New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Portland and beyond.
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