While fashion trends often migrate downstream to the home sphere, one influencer goes viral by taking things in the opposite direction — creating maximalist outfits from a variety of household items (from door hinges to electrical outlets). Stay up to date with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches, events, recommended reading and more.
Mortgage rates topped 7 percent for the first time in two decades. NPR The weekly average for a 30-year fixed-rate loan is reportedly 7.08 percent — the highest since April 2002. According to mortgage giant Freddie Mac, rising rates (which have more than doubled since the start of the year) have fueled stagnation in the housing market, with sales falling steadily over the past eight months. Still, most analysts believe that an ongoing housing shortage and the fact that most homeowners are currently tied to fixed-rate loans will protect the market from a more serious crash.
Made completed its formal sales process, deceen reports. The UK-based online furniture and homewares retailer was unable to find a buyer after asking a number of companies to submit bids by the end of October, and said late last week it had no reasonable prospects. The news comes just over a year after Made reported record results in the first half of 2021, when sales rose 61 percent. Just a year later, the company’s success had taken a turn as there was a “significant drop in demand” in the first half of 2022. Along with last week’s announcement, the company said it plans to issue another update if necessary and is now not taking any new orders. Corresponding TechCrunchthe company hired New York-based consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as its liquidator to prepare for bankruptcy.
Online real estate marketplace Zillow laid off around 300 employees TechCrunch reported, citing an internal shift toward technology-related positions. The Seattle-based company broke the news to employees early last week, with the job cuts affecting Zillow Offers consultants, professional association sales and back-end staff at Zillow Home Loans and Zillow Closing Services, among other teams. Though the move isn’t quite as impactful as Zillow’s decision to lay off a quarter of its workforce last year, the new round is estimated to affect about 5 percent of employees.
Buy-It-Now providers found sudden popularity in the early days of the pandemic as consumers were drawn to a short-term credit system with no interest and little to no fees. Now, Bloomberg Many of these companies are reportedly facing higher default rates as inflation dampens spending habits – and younger borrowers in particular are facing balances they can’t repay. According to a Federal Reserve report, 18 percent of consumers aged 18 to 29 defaulted on payments in 2021, with some users claiming that BNPL is aimed at borrowers new to managing their own finances. While leading companies Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm all in all Bloomberg that they offer more consumer protection than credit cards, it is also true that BNPL companies have reached out to Gen Z consumers particularly through partnerships with social media influencers and offering BNPL services at online checkouts.
Furniture giant Flexsteel Industries has agreed to pay a $9.8 million settlement to the Lane Street Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site in Elkhart, Indiana, where a district court found the company’s former manufacturing facility responsible for to have contributed to the contamination of the site. As furniture today The payout will also reportedly reimburse the Environmental Protection Agency for some of its earlier costs incurred at the site, where about 65 acres of residential and industrial property were affected when a groundwater plume was contaminated with solvents and degreasers from Flexsteel and allegedly two other parties . Flexsteel refused furniture today‘s request for comment, but stated that it plans to make its position public in an upcoming document to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Amazon is recalling 11,400 office chairs after receiving more than a dozen complaints that the chair legs had broken under the users’ weight. Home News Now reports. The US Commission on Consumer Product Safety issued a recall last week affecting the Amazon Basics executive desk chair. The Commission has advised consumers to stop using the product immediately and contact Amazon for disposal instructions and a full refund.
Market launches and collaborations
Lulu and Georgia have tapped Los Angeles interior designer Jake Arnold for a new rug collection. Offered in nine different styles, the pieces from the selection – available in neutral earth tones – are designed to be layered in a room, taking inspiration from Arnold’s own interior style.
Luxury online marketplace Chairish announced a new partnership with The Kairos Collection, a UK-based platform for vintage and antique furniture and art. The move brings a new group of UK and European retailers to the Chairish sales community, whose wares will now be accessible through Chairish’s Pamono website.
Designers Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent have teamed up with PetSmart for a new collection of pet habitats and decor – not aimed at cats and dogs, but at the overlooked category of small pets like fish, reptiles and rodents. Fast company reports. The new collaboration will offer items such as mini leatherette sofas for guinea pigs, stone water bowls for reptiles and aquatic ornaments to be placed in aquariums.
Americans went on a furniture-shopping frenzy during the pandemic, boosting sales of desks, chairs, and patio equipment by more than $4 billion from 2019-2021 — though many of these new items will end up in landfills in just a few years. As Debra Kamin writes The New York Timesmany decorative items and furnishings made by brands such as Ikea and Wayfair are designed to last only around five years, ushering in an era of ‘fast furniture’ that has dangerous environmental impacts.
Victorian homes feature prominently in many horror films and serve as the central setting for spooky activity in all of them The Addams family to Psycho– but why exactly is the 19th century style so often referred to as a haunted house? To the The Washington PostRachel Kurzius explains the architectural and historical factors—including labyrinthine spaces, darkness-inducing curtains, and cultural influences of the time—that contribute to an overall sense of eerieness in such buildings.
Call for applause
The Black Artists + Designers Guild debuted its inaugural awards show, the BADG of Honor, last week, presenting five awards to black creatives in art and design. The Collective Circle Award, which honors organizations that provide space for Black artists and designers, went to Mashonda Tifrere, founder of ArtLeadHer, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that provides opportunities for women in the visual arts; the Founder Award went to landscape designer Walter Hood of Hood Design Studio of Oakland, California; the Education Award went to Dori Tunstall, Dean of Design at the Ontario College of Art & Design University; the Legacy Award went to Franklin Sirmans, director of the Perez Art Museum Miami; and the final award, the BADG Maker Award, went to Jomo Tariku. The organization also plans to commission a different maker each year to design and manufacture the awards themselves – this year’s maker was glass artist Leo Tecosky, who created five unique glass sculptures for each awardee, with an additional piece also awarded to Tiffany Farney for hers Contribution to the organization and implementation of the event.
Thermador announced the winners of the fourth annual Kitchen Design Challenge, which invites designers, builders, architects and students to submit designs for cash prizes totaling $110,000. Winners were selected in the categories of exceptional kitchen design, compact kitchen suite, original innovator/out-of-the-box space, student concept kitchen and more. For the full list of winners click here.
Homepage Image: Lulu and Georgia’s new rug collaboration with Los Angeles interior designer Jake Arnold | Courtesy of Lulu and Georgia