Monthly Archives: February 2014
Ask any entrepreneur how their business got started and you’ll find that it usually begins with love: a love of the industry, love of the products or love of helping others. For Consign Design owner John Kauzlarich, it was the love of his children that motivated him.
In the mid ‘90s, John was living in London and working in the cable TV business—specifically, in the customer service training department. He wanted to return to the United States to coach his son’s baseball team, but he wasn’t sure how to make that happen. So when an opportunity arose to start a Seattle furniture consignment business, he took it.
John jokes that he probably couldn’t even spell furniture in 1998 when he launched Consign Design. But these days, it’s clear he knows quite a bit about the pieces he’s selling. His readiness to answer customers’ questions and his eagerness to talk about the furniture people bring in reveal the passion he’s developed for the industry.
“The hardest part is saying no,” he admits. It is something he has to do on occasion, as Consign Design focuses on high end, lightly used furniture. But clearly he says yes fairly often, as they have over 7,600 consigners. The company once had just 1,500 square feet to work with but now has an impressive 8,000 square feet of space, which is filled with beautiful furniture and home accessories.
John estimates that Consign Design has paid out over $3 million to its consigners for beautiful pieces that may otherwise have been thrown away. In a city like Seattle that is known for their love of environmentally friendly living, it seems Consign Design has found a comfortable niche. In addition to its good condition, the furniture found at the store is very versatile. Shoppers will find everything from handmade antique pieces to sleek modern leather furniture. Someone recently brought in an authentic Mark Hopkins sculpture, complete with the Certificate of Authenticity.
Selling different things is part of what makes John’s job so exciting. Another part is seeing some local celebrities on occasion, such as Dan Wilson and Spencer Hawes. But the best part of owning Consign Design has to be the stories behind the furniture. One story in particular still resonates with the store’s staff.
Several years ago, a woman came to Consign Design with a friend. They’d been driving by the store when the woman got the urge to stop and look around. She eventually found what she didn’t even know she’d been looking for: a one-of-a-kind desk that she recognized as being made by her late husband. It just happened to be the 25th anniversary of her husband’s death. Needless to say, the women left with the desk.
When you walk into Consign Design, you’ll most likely be greeted by the staff as if you were a friend. John makes sure that he and his employees always treat people well, no doubt in part because of his customer service background. In fact, he jokes that the store has only two rules:
1. Behave yourself 2. Everything is up for discussion.
Posted In:About us
Here in Seattle, we’ve had a recent bout of unseasonably cold weather. For many of us, this has meant many evenings spent retreating to our comfortable homes where we can keep warm. Unfortunately this can lead to a touch of cabin fever or getting a bit bored with your surroundings. Luckily, freshening up your living space doesn’t have to be time consuming or break the bank. Here are five easy ways to add some new touches to your home:
1. Redecorate your fireplace mantel. The fireplace is a focal point, so give the mantel a fresh, new look. Start with a mirror or a piece of art that can be seen from a distance, then supplement it with candles, vases or small framed photos.
2. Add an area rug. Layering any texture adds dimension to a space. An area rug is one small change you can make to your home decor that will make a big difference. You don’t have to have hardwood or tile floors, either—area rugs look great over carpet.
3. Style your coffee table. Your coffee table is more than a place to store your cup of tea and remote control. It’s a mini display of the things you love and a chance to show off your decorating style. Create a new centerpiece with fresh flowers or candles in jars. Add a stack of books to one corner, stacking from largest to smallest. Top the stack with a small home decor item, like a framed photo or a paperweight.
4. Hang some new art on the walls. Whether it’s in your entryway, living room or master bedroom, hanging new art on the walls is an easy and fun way to change the appearance of the room. You can also get creative and hang a gallery of art on a big, empty wall.
5. Add one piece of accent furniture. Perhaps your living room could use a new ottoman or a set of occasional chairs. Or go for something unique, like this table from local artist Karlito Bonnevie. After you bring in your new piece of accent furniture, try re-arranging all the furniture in the room for a nice, new look
Posted In:design tips
The dining room is the spot in your home where people come together to enjoy each other’s company over a meal. If you’re lucky enough to have one, make sure you devote the time and energy necessary to make it look nice. When a dining room is decorated well, even a casual weeknight meal with your family can feel like a fancy dinner party. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ll provide some tips and inspiration.
- First, take a look at the walls. Consider painting them a neutral hue—a shade of gray is always a great option since it looks refined and is versatile and soothing.
- When was the last time you replaced your dining room furniture? If the wear and tear has started to show, perhaps it’s time to invest in a new table and chairs. We’ve always got a selection of dining room furniture at Consign Design that is both beautiful and affordable. When choosing your dining room furniture, pick out versatile pieces that will shift easily between simple family dinner and formal celebrations.
- A new dining room design trend is mismatched dining room chairs. Choosing chairs that are similar in color but different in style will give the room a contemporary, vintage look without looking too eclectic.
- Layer your lighting. Hang a chandelier above the table or have a dimmer switch installed, and keep plenty of candles in the room so you can control how bright or soft you’d like your light.
- Display your fine china and glassware in a china hutch. A hutch provides a safe, stylish storage option and makes setting the table a breeze.
- You may choose to keep your walls bare for a minimalist look, but hanging a few pieces of artwork or framed quotes will give the room an inviting, comfortable vibe.
- Every few months, create a new seasonal centerpiece for the family to enjoy.
Posted In:dining room ideas
Karlito Bonnevie just sounds like an artist’s name, doesn’t it? Karlito is the creator of Bonnevie Sculpture and responsible for some of the intricate, geometric tables you’ll find scattered throughout Consign Design.
Karlito was born in Puerto Rico, which he attributes to his disdain for the Puget Sound winters. He’s lived in Seattle since he was two, however, and says that the summers here almost make up for the abysmal winters. When he’s not working at Microsoft or sculpting, he’s spending time with his wife and daughter.
Although he’s only officially been designing and sculpting for three years, Karlito’s passion developed during his days at Ballard High School. Karlito was able to take classes through Seattle Central Community College while still in high school, so he spent his school day afternoons welding. He took a quarter of MIG welding at a community college along with some math, which led to physics and programming. He eventually earned a degree from Evergreen State College and has worked at Microsoft for eight years.
But it was his daughter that help turn his passion for welding and math into an art form. “When my daughter was old enough to draw and play with crayons, I’d sit down with her and draw along,” Karlito said. “I started playing with circles which led to a table design (this one). I then decided I actually wanted to build it, so I bought a little 110V welder (which led to various other welding machines and tools), and the rest is history.”
“The rest” has included a variety of different tables and other sculptures for the modern home. Some are intentionally mathematical, some unintentionally become mathematical and some are designed to have nothing to do with math. All of them are intricate, unique and eye-catching, and most of Karlito’s unsold pieces are currently available at Consign Design.
His favorite piece to date is the Elliptic Torus, which is held together with nothing but itself—no fasteners, no welds.
“What’s more, it technically can’t exist,” he said. “It only fits perfectly together if it’s fully assembled and it can’t be assembled unless it’s already together. Let’s just say that many large hammers and my super-strong next door neighbor had a lot to do with actually assembling this piece.”
Bonnevie Sculpture is currently a part-time project. But as the sculptures continue to gain popularity with local art lovers, it’s only a matter of time before we’re saying “we knew him when.”
Posted In:furniture finds at Consign Design / seattle artists