Working the Wakefield

Tucked away in an industrial park in Stamford, CT is a wonderful design resource. Last week I attended a fun cocktail reception for the reopening of the Wakefield Design Center co-hosted by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens magazine. They were unveiling their updated trade showroom and new art gallery featuring local and regional artists. It’s such a great idea since there are so many designers in this area. It offers them an opportunity to shop for a full range of to-the-trade lines without having to always go into the city.

The products include fabric and wallpaper, upholstery, case goods, lighting and accessories from most of the major manufacturers. Art, both original and prints is now available as well. And there is a cash and carry option for items such as these that are or have been featured on the floor.

The center includes studio space that designers can use for client presentations – so handy for those who don’t have formal offices – as well as an in-house art consultant if needed.

Art by Harold Garde

Janice Restler standing in front of her acrylic on paper finger paintings.

Their most unique and popular service is the Makeover. Many designers had complained that their clients never seemed to totally finish their projects – they had difficulty approving all the individual items and imagining how they would look in the final space. So for clients who already have their major upholstery, Wakefield previews the project with the designer and assists in selecting items from their large warehoused supply of artwork, lamps, pillows, small chairs etc. They then do all the rest – bring the merchandise to the customer’s home (for free), arrange it and even hang the art! This “in and out” service usually occurs in a single day. It’s instant gratification, no charge to designer or client, and no risk with a three day approval period. Their rate of return is a low 15% – a real indication of how much the clients usually love their completed rooms, a few of which you can see below.

George Snead is the creator of the Makeover service as well as lead designer and principle buyer at Wakefield. He has been on The Today Show with Matt Lauer, Oprah and in O Magazine explaining their unique services. Here he is with designer Carey Karlan, of Last Detail design, who has an office at Wakefield and recently participated in the CFDA showhouse at the Aldyn (room pictured below).

Many other local designers made an appearance at the party as well. And I finally got to meet some online friends in real life such as the adorable Liz Orgera of Shorely Chic (on right), shown here with Laura Newman and Beth Dempsey of public relations and marketing/communications firm Images & Details, Inc.

It was a fun evening and I think other suburban areas that have a plethora of design activity could take note of Wakefield’s convenient and substantial offerings.

23 thoughts on “Working the Wakefield

  1. love Carey’s black and white jacket! looks like a great evening and how nice to know such a great source nearby…well then we do have the internet at our fingers for proximity and the ups truck to deliver!

  2. How fun for you to meet fellow bloggers and press in such a beautiful space. I wish I would have been there to see Carey and Beth, again, and I love the concept of finishing a space for a client – good design is all in the little details, isn’t it?

  3. I think that Stamford has some of the best design shops on the east coast. I spent days there buying for a client last year and constantly hear nothing but good things getting better in this town.

  4. fun event and great concept….I like the ideas of delivering the merchandise to the home owner and hanging the art…service is essential to the success of any business endeavor…

  5. How fun for you and the other bloggers meeting at the event, which looks like an outstanding function. The Harold Garde art is new for me and it looks wonderful, I love the bright colors.

    Sending you greetings of the day!

  6. Customer service and a helping hand will never go out of style! Those client homes are looking quite dashing!! I was able to sit next to Liz at the Nate Berkus show…she’s adorable :) XO, Kelly

  7. What a great idea. Must be a wonderful resource for decorators in the area. I went to high school in Stamford and was back there two years ago for a big reunion. Thanks for letting us know about this, wonder if they have anything like it in Los Angeles?

  8. I love those nestled tables, a witty combination of modern and classical. What a great resource!

  9. Sounds like a fun evening and that first room image is wonderful, they all are, what a great idea!

    Don’t forget no blogging tomorrow in honor of Japan it’s a day of silence.

  10. Thank you for highlighting this great “local” resource! The finishing touch design service is such a clever idea. As much as I would literally love to start anew, (it’s almost impossible not to want a more contemporary aesthetic), it’s not in the budget at the moment. Do they or someone you know, provide the type of service where they can help you freshen up with accessories, de cluttering and rearranging, instead of starting from scratch?

    Thanks Q.!

  11. This post brings me back good memories. Did you know that I had two antique showrooms in two different spaces on Canal St. (Hiden Galleries and Hamptons Antique Galleries) respectively before I got pregnant? That was 2 and a half years ago. Every time I went down there I would stop at Juliska for coffee and a sandwich; such a beautiful shop. I’m glad they reopened the Wakefield Design Center. It seems like a great space to go to for inspiration and resources.

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