Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams on interior decorating and home improvement | Home Front

Nov 10, 2011

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams joined Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza on the weekly Home Front chat. Together, they gave advice on interior decorating and home improvement.

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We are thrilled to have Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams with us for our chat. Mitchell's new loft on Meridian Hill in DC (which he shares with husband Tim Gold) is featured in our section today - here is the story. These guys are on top of what is going on in the furniture business and all the trends. So let's get going with a great conversation.

we are having a few technical difficulties... but hopefully Mitchell and Bob will be on shortly... meanwhile... i hear there is a Stark sale in Tysons Corner... has anyone checked it out who can report in to us?

My parents gave us their old kitchen table set, which belonged to my great-grandfather and which had been in my parents' attic for 11 years before we got it. The chairs have metal rings on the bottoms of each leg. The rings are leaving stains on the vinyl tile in our kitchen. We need to use these chairs at Thanksgiving, and I'm worried about them staining the carpet. Any suggestions? I'm going to try a rust remover first, in case that's the issue. I was also thinking of painting the bottoms of the chairs with some sort of clear sealant, but I'm not sure what to try. Last resort: putting cheap kids' socks on each chair leg! What do you all think?

How about trying felt pads on the bottom of each leg, like these? Any hardware store should have them.

Do you all provide the So. Cal Starbucks locations with their amazingly basic and practical "Restoration Hardware" style leather chairs and couches? If there a way I can buy some myself?

yes, we provide many Starbucks the great comfortable furniture you can hang out in.  Unfortunately that is a design we make just for them....but you can go on our site and see many styles that I think you will like.  Enjoy your Starbucks!

Good morning: Since our entry lacks a closet, I've been looking for a nice bench with storage for winter items, but have had some difficulty finding something appropriate. Any suggestions?

Depening on your style, your budget and the size of your space, there are lots of options out there.  For example: Martha Stewart has one at Home Depot for under $80 (see it here). has many to choose from, as do many of the chain stores. You could do a quick Google search for storage bench and see what comes up. Another option would be to get a console table and slide two storage ottomans underneath, which could be used as seating when needed. Something like this.

I noted with interest that Mitchell Gold tossed the granite countertop in his Meridian Hill home. I am wrapping up a kitchen renovation and am torn by the light look of marble and the durability of granite ( I am looking at Costa Esmerelda). I want a light clean look. The kitchen is a galley with entries at either end, glass and white cabinets, stainless appliances and an oak wooden floor. Is marble too porous?

Yes. Granite is so ubiquitous that those who want a fresh look must go elsewhere... like to engineered stone or honed marble or something else... And believe me, I loved my granite when I installed it in 1999 and it has served me well but I would not put it in today. Quartz is the way to go if you are concerned about maintenance but marble has a very sophisticated look.

What would you say are the trends in upholstery these days? I want to get a new sofa and I'm not sure which way to go.

For trends that will last for years to come, take a look at our new catalog that is on our site (  We feel strongly that pieces should be comfortably on trend and not trendy....not something that you'll get tired of quickly.  We love modern with a traditional feel or modern that is more mid-century inspired.  Comfort is king.

My study is too small for a bookcase, so I'm considering adding floating shelves on the wall for books. What I've been able to see in stores and online is generally more for accessories and is not adequate to handle the weight of books. Do you know of any good sources for such an item? Thank you.

You could try these floating shelves, but if you are looking for more storage, check out this article, which addresses this very problem.

Hello! We are in mid process of buying our first home. In which order wouod you recommend renovating? 1.) the exterior front and back yards to increase curb appeal and outdoors entertaining, 2.) polishing up the kitchen with new counters, flooring and appliances, or 3.) putting in formers on our cape style home to add another bathroom?

which one looks the worst?  start there. Also, what is your priority?  curb appeal or what's in your home?  good luck!

What is the common thread that runs throughout both your design philosophy and your decorating vision?

for us it's about has to sit comfortably, feel comfortable, look comfortable and be priced so you don't say ouch.  For decorating, limit the number of colors to 4 with no hard ones....think soft and inviting.

I am confused - yes it is too porous, or yes, go ahead and use it? We love coffee, wine and lemon juice and all the things that are listed as bad for marble. We clean up spills pretty quickly (one has to in a small kitchen!), but are we asking for trouble?

If you aren't really diligent and are likely to let lemon squirt on the counter, then don't go for marble. Then again, if you really want the rich marble look, use cutting boards all the time. But you can't beat engineered stone to resist all the spills and stains.

My wife and I bought a Nikki II sofa (linen slipcovered) last year and are huge fans. Since buying it though, we have had to move overseas for a 2 year assignment and are wondering what the best way to store it is? Currently it is in a climate controlled storeroom with the slipcover removed with some moth balls.

Sounds perfect.  Enjoy your time overseas....and your Nikki when you get back.

Use clear fingernail polish. Let dry. I use it to coat the inside of pure silver and copper jewelry so as to not have an allergic reaction. Lasts long. Works great. Make sure it is dry!

Who knew?

I can't get enough of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams' stores, especially the one on 14th street. The inside is just GORGEOUS. Where do you get your inspiration for your own decorating, both at home and in the stores? Not to sound like a silly consumer but being in the store really makes me inspired.

Thanks for the compliments.  We're so happy we inspire you. 

We are inspired from everything....from movies (eg: The Single Man), TV (Mad Men, Pan Am to American Horror Story), plus trips overseas....from Paris to London, and all over America.

Thanks for joining us Bob & Mitchell! I have to just say, your relationship as business partners is admirable! Combined, you two have such great taste and I love that despite no longer being partners in real life, you guys make it work professionally. Welcome to DC Mitchell! We're excited to have you here.

Thanks..... DC is truly one of the great cities in the world.

I have inherited a Knole sofa and loveseat with a classic shape and nearly indestructible wool mohair upholstery, in a shade of 1970's gold. The fabric easily has another 20 years wear in it , but the color is dated. Is it possible to dye the fabric on an upholstered piece, bleach it or paint it? Slipcovers would have to be custom-made I suspect,. And any recommendations on who can replate the metal bits?

Try Awesome Metal Restorations in Kensington or Chevy Chase Plating in Rockville.

We recently redid our countertops and think the kitchen walls (now a bright yellow) need to be subdued. The cabinets are white and countertops are concrete, but with stones in them. However, the kitchen adjoins the family room which is beige. I was thinking brightening it up by doing the kitchen walls white, but would that look weird with beige walls in the other room? Thanks!

There are lots and LOTS of colors of white.  If you can find one with a creamy beige tint it will make the two rooms work together, but be two independent spaces.

Aren't there granite and quartz options that look like marble? Vyaras or Blue Lagos or something like that?

Yes. It is amazing the looks you can get.

Good Morning, My family recently inherited a lake house that was last remodeled in 1983. It's pretty rough in there, though my grandpa was living in it until recently. We would like to install new flooring, paint the entire interior, redo the main bathroom, master bathroom, four bedrooms and a loft. Additionally, the kitchen cabinets are sturdy, but hideously ugly after my grandpa picked a horrible color for refacing. Where would you recommend we start? We're so happy to have the home, but the prospect of redoing everything is pretty daunting. Thanks!

Take your time.  It sounds like a big project.

The cheapest and fastest and easiest thing you can do is to paint everything white....a soft white.  It makes everything look clean and fresh.


Is the mixed fabric style on sofas still in style? I have a long Leathercraft leather sofa (3 cushions) and the leather has cracked on one seat and the other two no longer can be refinished to look good. A previous repair on one arm with replacement leather was pretty good (dog chew damage), but I'd like a softer mix now. Would velvet or chenille look good? This is for a family room with two dogs and a husband who has lived on that sofa for 30 years.

I don't think mixed fabric on sofas is a good look. I think chenille would be a better choice for your two dogs and your husband who lives on the sofa!  Softer too!

Congratulations to Mitchell's on his wonderful new loft overlooking Meridian Hill Park. MHP is one of DC's greatest assets with a wonderful history and "great bones". It is starting to come back after a very long, dark period, thanks to recent investment and community involvement. What would Mitchell like to see happen to make MHP the world-class park it should be? (Also, the Friends of Meridian Hill organization could use a little star-power to re-energize the group).

Tim has a real passion to take the park to the next level. If you could send us some contact info that would be great.

We've talked about how great it would be to have a music festival, art shows....things like that.  Bryant Park in NYC is a good example.

Of course, we'd really love to see a pet costume at Halloween.  That is always fun.

We're very excited to be part of the park.

How do I know I'm getting a Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams sofa if I buy something from Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware? Do you put your labels in everything?

The deck label under the cushions will only have their logo. Look for the law label underneath which will have our name on it.  At PB we make the PB Basic, Manhattan and Solange.  At RH we make the Easton sofa collection and Warner bed.

I love your furniture and would fill my home with it if I could. When we bought our home four years ago, we set aside money to do a major kitchen remodel and install hardwood floors on two levels. When unexpected medical expenses came up, the nest egg went there and we're left living close to the bone. The ivory/pink carpeting (over subfloor) that came with the house is driving me crazy. It's not just that I hate the color and it's shabby. With kids, pets and allergies, we can't keep it clean. I want to rip it out and paint the subfloor with marine paint. Because we'd have to do this ourselves, my husband thinks I'm nuts. Am I?

I don't think you're nuts, I think you are looking for any possible solution for a something in your house that's driving you crazy - totally understandable. However, I dont think having your subflooring as your main flooring is a good idea. There's a reason it's called "sub" flooring. I would try to be a little more patient and save up for the hardwood floors. Maybe you could do one level at a time? Or consider a lesser expensive alternative to hardwood? In the meantime, you could also layer your carpet with areas rugs in some places.

Have you heard of any local schools looking for projects? I was thinking of contacting some schools to see if they have interior design students who would recommend furniture arrangements, color schemes, etc. Or is this a crazy idea?

Give it a shot. Or submit your room-in-need to our column House Calls to see if it is selected for an on-paper  makeover by a designer.

I was in one of your stores recently..WOW! we just ordered one of your leather club chairs and are thrilled with it. We're looking to replace our sofa in the family room and would love your suggestion on what is the best style for a family. We currently have a down bench cushion and it doesn't work for us. We find it too warm and too much maintenance with the kids. Do you have cushions that are still very comfy but not down? What style sofa is good for a family. I would say our style is transitional not contemporary. Any help would be great!

Down is great but needs to be fluffed regularly. We make a fantastic "standard luxe" cushion that is not down.  Check out Dr. Pitt or the Carson sectional for great family and friend togetherness.  We have many micro fiber fabrics that are extremely easy to take care of. 

At the risk of sounding like a shameless plug, I'd just like to say i had a great experience buying furniture at your store on 14th st here in DC. Patrick was great at helping me visualize and design the room, prices were excellent during a sale, and when a couch arrived with a bit of a fabric imperfection it was promptly replaced. I've recommended the shop to many friends.

We're so happy to hear your good experience.  Patrick and the whole team are really terrific.  We love going into the store...very good vibe!

Hi. (I live in State College, PA. May I hide in your chat for an hour?) I have a paint question: I'd like to paint my office an energizing color; I love orange/tangerine. Do you have any paint recommendations for something in that color? I don't want something too, too bright--just a cheery color that will keep me going. Thanks much.

Take a look at Rumba Orange, Tangerine Fusion and Tangerine Dream by Benjamin Moore; California Poppy from Ralph Lauren and Determined Orange from Sherwin-Williams. 

How did you decide on the color scheme for your new apartment? Was there one piece in particular that inspired it? Or something you saw in your travels?

The tile in the kitchen was the one thing that was not easily changed but more importantly, we really liked the color from the get go.  It was a great starting point because we wanted to play off of the park's greenery and as we progressed we saw that it worked very nicely with the orange accents and charcoal gray.

Love the chats!!! Wondering what paint and paint color the Gold's used in their 2nd bedroom/den? Love the apt!

Yes. It is Benjamin Moore's Amsterdam. Its a moody grayish-blue  - very nice.

Looking to replace my 22 year old sofa which has faded fabric, even though we have Low E glass windows. I prefer the feel of fabric over leather. Does leather hold up any better than fabric with sun exposure -- the room has lots of sun? Also when considering the cushions, is it just personal preference/style of choosing one, two or three cushions? Or is there any benefit to choose any of them?

Sun is horrible for anything....fabric or leather.  When you are not using your room, close the curtains.  Very important.

The cushions are personal preference to sitting and look.

I resorted to that option a few years ago (pet issues..enough said!) and with a couple on indoor -outdoor rugs it was the lesser of the evils. Many people didn't even notice. Layering area rugs over icky carpet will not help with the allergy issues. BTW my new hardwood floors are worth the wait.


I missed the chat, but for the unheated dining room person: look at Runtal flat panel radiators; euro design so they aren't hideous and solved my can't connect the new bathroom to the heating system much more easily than a heated floor; local distributors in both MD and VA suburbs; and for the custom entertainment center person: I have used Walmer Enterprises, an Alexandria firm for custom built ins. Not inexpensive but fairly priced and great work; I have a built in dining room wall from them--lots of gorgeous storage and shelves.

You are so thoughtful to weigh in on this. I'm going to look into one of those flat panel radiators for a bathroom in my addition that is a bit chilly.

Do you think that curtains are an appropriate window treatment for sliding doors located in the kitchen? I have sliding doors that are flanked by two windows. I'm at a lost for what to do!

Put the curtains outside the windows to frame the windows. That's what we did with the middle big windows.

This saved me from replacing the floor in a rental townhouse. It also works on carpet too, but like all products, try a test spot first in an inconspicuous spot.

Sounds fab. Thanks.

Hello Mitchell and Bob! Mitchell, I loved your space featured in the paper today. Two questions: 1. How do I edit my space and restrict myself? I don't want to end up with a house that is cluttered and the opposite of stylish. But I really enjoy decorating. 2. Do you have pets? And if so, how do you keep them from destroying your stylish home? Thanks! Love the chats Jura and Terri!'s a discipline that to get too cluttered.  At some point, when something new comes in....really think about putting something else in storage or give it away.

On pets, train them early.  A well trained pet is far more enjoyable.  Give them toys to play with, especially rawhides to chew on.  Lulu was a perfect lady.

Hi! I'm a newish condo buyer (have been in my condo for a year). I'm looking into getting the backsplash done and got a quote of 8 hours for 2 people $130/hour. Does this seem a bit high to you? Any recommendations for tile men/women in Arlington, VA?

The price aside, eight hours for two people to install a kitchen backsplash in a condo seems like an an awfully long time to me.

What kinds of things sell well in your Washington store? Do you think a lot of your customers live in lofts like you do?

We sell modern to updated traditional.  Lots of our customers are local and have lofts but it really is a big variety....and many from suburbs like Bethesda or Tysons.  You can easily view our look by going to our web site and lookign at our catalog.  We have many complete room setting ideas.

Mitchell & Bob, As a North Carolinian, just wanted to thank you for your great citizenship here. To other readers, please remember when you're making your purchase decisions, MGBW furnitiure is American made. Also, they are known to be terrific people to work for/with.

We are proud to be making our upholstered furniture in North Carolina for the last 22+ years.

Is it possible to provide one's own fabric and have a Mitchel Gold store make a replacement slipcover for one of your couches? long as it is one of our styles and the fabric is good for slip covers.

Thanks everyone and thanks so much to Mitchell and Bob. We covered a lot of topics - one of my favorites is the one asking Mitchell and Tim to get involved in Meridian Hill Park's preservation and enhancement. We will be watching! We appreciate you guys being on and next week another exciting guest - Deborah Needleman talks about her new book The Perfectly Imperfect Home and her many great jobs including editor of the late great Domino magazine.

I just bought my first condo and am incredibly overwhelmed. I'd like to replace most of my furniture and am having trouble figuring out where to begin. Any advice?

Our staff is experienced in making home making an empty house a home.  Also, pick up a copy of one of our decorating books.

In This Chat
Jura Koncius
Jura Koncius uses her years of experience as a home expert and her network of well-placed sources to help you choose everything from paint type and colors to how to de-shed sofas from pet hair to where to find the best designer fabrics at a discount.

Home Q&A archive
Terri Sapienza
Terri Sapienza is a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams are the owners of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, a $100 million manufacturer of home furnishings. They opened their first store in Washington four years ago. In this week's Local Living, Jura Koncius profiles the new home Mitchell Gold shares with his husband Tim Gold, a hip loft on Meridian Hill that Williams helped decorate.
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