Room & Board

The first time I stepped into a Room & Board was on a trend shopping trip, where my manager took me around Minneapolis and taught me what to look for while shopping- from merchandising ideas to finishing details to country of origin to pricepoint… essentially, teaching me how to harness my obsession with shopping and turn it into something tactical and useful. (For better or worse – shopping with me is not really a fun activity anymore!:)

I was 22 and knew what I liked but had no concept or understanding of furniture or interior design (my husband still has better taste in furniture than me!) and Room & Board gave me my first taste of clean, modern design and well-made, built-to-last furniture. I spent the next several years designing fake houses filled with R&B furniture on pinterest, scouting the outlet on weekends (the company is based in Minnesota and we benefit via an incredible outlet) and seeking inspiration through the website and beautiful catalogs. I love that Room & Board was (primarily) American made and worked with small manufacturers long before it was cool to do so, and that they continue to do so in a thoughtful, conscientious manner today.

A few weeks ago I stopped by the Minneapolis showroom to see the new spring pieces. It’s always inspiring to see the collections laid out and learn about the people behind the products. Some of my favorites…

room and board hennepin made
Beautiful blown glass lighting by my friends Hennepin Made, made right here in Minneapolis.

room and board made in usa
The Wilder Table is made in Vermont – out of scrap wood! Galbraith & Paul textiles are typically only available to the trade, but R&B works with the studio to create a collection of pillows and lighting, all made in Pennsylvania.

room and board american made
The metal legs for the Bailey Endtable are made by a mother/daughter metalworking team in Minneapolis – I love finding products traditionally made by men made by women! The Streeter Lamp is made in Wisconsin… from experience, it can be quite difficult to find American made floor lamps, but Room & Board has been focused on bringing us more options – even working with vendors who typically do not make lighting to do so!

room and board lighting
Beautiful Grain Pendants made in Ohio… I’d like to see these hanging over a kitchen island.

room and board outdoor furniture
SO many customizable, American made options for outdoor furniture… I cannot wait to get back out on my patio, which happens to feature a table we picked up at the outlet last summer.

Photos for TAE by Victoria Campbell.

Podcast: Susan Connor New York

Have you ever wondered about the people who made your favorite mug, shirt or chair? In Why Do We Have Things?, Rita Mehta of The American Edit and Erin Husted of Hackwith Design House interview the independent designers, artists, small business owners and creatives behind our favorite things.

Today’s guest is Susan Connor, the self-taught pattern designer and artist whose eponymous collection features beautiful hand made, block-printed textiles. Susan & Rita talk about learning by doing, trends vs. design, and the differences between “makers”, artists and business owners.

susan connor podcast

“I want people who experience my products to know someone cared…the decisions weren’t arbitrary, or based on the bottom line, or the big trend.”

Susan’s collection
Susan is reading Wired to Create
Anti-Fragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Susan’s collaboration with Everything Golden

“…Really, what things are is evidence of our existence. Evidence of our minds. Things are ideas that we make real. … a vision that you have in your mind or an idea that you or a group of people have, and you manifest it in reality.”

susan connor podcast
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