From the glitzy and glamorous to ordinary bachelors, Harriot Roughan has designed for them all. Her 7,500-square-foot shop, Estate Treasures on East Putnam Avenue, has been a landmark in home décor for over 32 years.
But even with all that experience and more than 5,000 pieces in her shop, Roughan is rethinking her business. Young professionals are moving away from traditional home furnishings because they have less money to spend. This has spurred her to buy more disposable, less expensive pieces. "I hope it's a transitional phase," said Roughan.
The modern furnishings preferred by the younger customers are functional but nothing like the antiques Roughan has built her reputation on. On display in her shop are pieces from sofas and beds to crystal estate jewelry and china. There are even sterling silver place settings that go for almost $20 an ounce. Total prices can range from $200 to $450.
"A lot of younger people have just stopped buying it," said Roughan. "People used to cherish their dining room sets, and now it's all about being mobile."
Roughan studied at the New York School of Interior Design and frequently gets calls to furnish model homes for developers. She has also designed for a $17 million home in Belle Haven. "We are trying to accommodate everyone," said Roughan. "We've brought in some things to try and get the younger people into the store."
Until 2005, Roughan made frequent visits to the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands to search antiques markets for elite pieces for high-end consumers. But with the dollar so weak in Europe, Roughan had to put her expeditions on hold. She hopes to be back in action soon.
"We still have our bread and butter, or the basics," said Roughan. "But I'll continue to go to home-furnishing markets to fill in the store with more modern pieces."
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