This year Palm Beach, Florida-based interior designer Leta Austin Foster launched a revolutionary new “room in a box” design concept – PREtty FABulous Rooms (PREFAB). Leta’s luxurious “rooms for purchase” are perfect for those who desire the ease of shopping online but also want custom interior design from one of the nation’s top designers…. at almost half the retail price! Clients provide a rough sketch of their space with dimensions and choose a pre-arranged room scheme. (All currently available rooms may be viewed and purchased at prettyfabulousrooms.com.) Leta and her team will then design a floor plan and offer advice on paint and any needed additions, such as blinds or another sofa. The PREFAB rooms includes American-made furniture and beautiful fabrics from top brands including Quadrille and Sister Parish, accents from Oomph and Mecox Gardens, and carpets by Stark. Each room is assembled for the client and delivered via truck with white glove service. The designs can be mixed with cherished antiques, vintage finds, or modern pieces that express the client’s personal style.
Today, I am delighted to welcome Leta to The Glam Pad for a Q&A on this groundbreaking new option in interior design… Welcome, Leta!
Q: What was your inspiration for creating PREtty FABulous Rooms?
A: I DON’T REALLY THINK I CAN TAKE THE CREDIT FOR COMING UP WITH THE IDEA OF PRETTY FABULOUS ROOMS. ACTUALLY THE IDEA CAME FROM SALLIE GIORDANO AND ALEXANDRA WERNICK IN OUR NEW YORK OFFICE. THEY THOUGHT — AS DO I — THAT THE WEB WOULD EITHER HELP US OR DESTROY US. BUT BASICALLY, BUYING ONLINE IS SO OFTEN BUYING LESSER GOODS, AND WE WANTED TO HAVE A WAY THAT WE COULD SELL ROOMS—DESIGNED BY ME AND MADE IN MY WORKROOMS—OF REALLY GOOD QUALITY. WE NEGOTIATED FOR OVER TWO YEARS —FINDING COMPANIES THAT WE LOVED AND HAVE WORKED WITH OVER AND OVER, AND TALKING WITH OUR OWN CRAFTSMEN — UPHOLSTERERS, CURTAIN MAKERS, RUG MAKERS. IT WAS ALL RATHER CRAZY AT FIRST, BUT WE CAME DOWN TO A GROUP OF REALLY COMMITTED PEOPLE AND COMPANIES WHO DECIDED TO JUMP IN WITH US.
FOR OUR CRAFTSPEOPLE, IT WAS ALSO A WAY TO HAVE WORK IN A MORE STEADY FASHION—WE, AFTER ALL, LIVE IN A SEASONAL COMMUNITY, SO FOR THEM, WORK IS ALWAYS DONE IN A FEAST-OR-FAMINE SCHEDULE. ANYWAY, WE HAVE THEM GATHERED TOGETHER IN OUR “BIG TENT” NOW, AND HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE GREAT FOR EVERYBODY. WHAT I AM TRYING TO STRESS BY THIS RAMBLING IS THAT WHAT WE ARE DOING IS MAKING CUSTOM-MADE FURNITURE OF THE BEST QUALITY AND WITH THE BEST FABRICS. WE STARTED WITH QUADRILLE FABRICS AND SISTER PARISH DESIGNS AND NORBAR, ALL COMPANIES WE HAD USED OVER AND OVER. NOTHING IS JUST STUFF WE COULDN’T SELL — WE MAKE IT FOR EACH JOB! AND NOW, OTHER COMPANIES WANT TO JOIN IN. YOU WILL SEE BRUNSCHWIG AND FILS TAPES AND TRIMS (SOON TO BE FABRICS); CLARENCE HOUSE — ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE COMPANIES — HAS SUGGESTED THAT WE COME UP WITH A ROOM USING THEIR FABRICS; STARK CARPET HAS JOINED. OUR PROBLEM IS THAT IT IS EXPENSIVE TO CREATE THE GOODS FOR THE ROOMS, SO WE HAVE TO GO SLOWLY. OH, HOW I WISH I HAD MORE MONEY, BUT I CAN’T GO TO SOME COMPANY THAT WOULD WANT TO TAKE OUR ROOMS TO ASIA AND GET THEM MORE CHEAPLY—I CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH THAT OUR GOODS ARE MADE IN AMERICA—AND MEXICO FOR SOME THINGS SUCH AS OCCASIONAL TABLES AND LAMPS (DESIGNED IN AMERICA AND MADE BY OUR FRIENDS SOUTH OF THE BORDER) AND THE PHILIPPINES FOR THE BASIC RATTAN SINCE WE DON’T GROW RATTAN, BUT FINISHED HERE IN VERO BEACH, FLORIDA.
Q: Please tell me about the design and installation process.
A: WE DESIGN THE ROOM—WHICH CAN BE WIGGLED AROUND AND ADDED TO FOR ANY ROOM ANYWHERE, MAKE IT, AND PHOTOGRAPH IT. WE HAVE USED MY APARTMENT IN PALM BEACH FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHS, SO YOU MIGHT NOTICE A STRONG RESEMBLANCE IN THEM, BUT ONLY IN THE CEILINGS, WINDOWS, AND WALLS. EACH OF THE ROOMS HAS ITS OWN FURNITURE AND FABRICS AND CURTAINS. WE DON’T PROVIDE THE ACCESSORIES, BECAUSE WHAT WE ARE DOING IS HELPING PEOPLE HAVE A BEAUTIFUL SHELL—IN OTHER WORDS, WE ARE MAKING A KIT FOR YOU TO HAVE A GREAT ROOM. YOU COULD DO THE WHOLE ROOM WITH US, OR IF YOU HAVE THE SPACE, ADD TO IT WITH MORE THINGS SUCH AS ANTIQUES OR VINTAGE FINDS. AND WE DON’T PROVIDE THE MATTRESS AND BOXSPRINGS FOR OUR BEDS, BECAUSE PEOPLE HAVE VERY INDIVIDUAL DESIRES THERE. BUT IF YOU GIVE US A NICE CLEAN AND EVEN PERHAPS NEWLY PAINTED OR PAPERED ROOM, WE WILL BRING THE ROOM TO GO IN IT, AND INSTALL IT AND HANG THE CURTAINS. OF COURSE, SHIPPING IS NOT INCLUDED, SINCE WE DON’T KNOW WHERE ONE LIVES—OBVIOUSLY IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE TO SHIP TO CALIFORNIA THAN TO WEST PALM BEACH, BUT WE ARE INTERESTED IN ALL OF THOSE PLACES. WE HAD A WOMAN CONTACT US ABOUT DOING HER CASITAS IN ARIZONA BECAUSE SHE HATES TO DECORATE, BUT SHE WANTS NICE ROOMS. SO WE GUIDE AND WILL INCLUDED—IF DESIRED—PAINT OR PAPER COLOURS AND PATTERNS WHICH PEOPLE CAN THEN GET. WE PROVIDE THE WHOLE BASIC ROOM—THEY CAN ADD TO THEIR HEART’S CONTENT.
Q: How much customization is possible with PREFAB rooms?
A: NO REAL CUSTOMIZATION IS POSSIBLE WITH THE ROOMS. AFTER ALL, I DESIGNED THEM, SO YOU ARE GETTING MY DESIGNS THROWN IN, BUT WHAT ONE CAN DO IS CHOOSE DIFFERENT ROOMS FROM THE BEGINNING. FOR INSTANCE, ALL THE LIVING/DINING ROOMS HAVE THE SAME ITEMS—I.E. CURTAINS, RUG, SOFA, END TABLES, STUFFED CHAIRS, LAMPS, AND SO ON—THE LISTS OF WHAT’S INCLUDED ARE PUBLISHED ON THE SITE—VERY CLEARLY, AND EACH ONE GETS THE SAME AMOUNT OF STUFF—AND THE SAME BEST QUALITY, BUT THE FABRICS AND COLOURS OF FURNITURE CHANGE FROM CHOICE TO CHOICE “BERMUDA” IS GREEN WHITE “SANTA BARBARA” CAN BE EITHER BLUE AND BROWN OR ALL BLUE, AND SO ON. NEXT WEEK WE WILL BE ADDING 3 MORE ROOMS TO THE LINE, AND WE ARE EVEN DOING A BEDROOM WITH BILLY BALDWIN STUDIO SHOWPIECING THEIR FURNITURE WITH OURS—AND ALL OF IT MADE IN AMERICA—OOMPH FURNITURE IN NEW ENGLAND, DAVID FRANCIS IN, AS I SAID, VERO BEACH, AND THE LUCITE LAMPS OF ONE OF THE LIVING ROOMS ARE MADE BY ONE OF OUR OWN VENDORS IN WEST PALM BEACH.
Q: Why would a client choose this option over your regular design services?
A: WELL, THERE ARE SEVERAL ANSWERS TO THIS. NUMBER ONE: IT’S CHEAPER TO DO THIS BECAUSE SINCE WE ARE NOT ALLOWING MAJOR CHANGES, WE ARE GETTING BETTER PRICES ON OUR HAND MADE GOODS (CURTAINS, SOFAS, CHAIRS, HEADBOARDS) AND BECAUSE WE ARE LIMITING OUR FABRIC CHOICES, WE ARE GETTING BETTER PRICES THERE TOO. SO BASICALLY, WE ARE ABLE TO OFFER SUPERB QUALITY ROOMS FOR A FAR BETTER PRICE THAN USUAL—FAR, FAR BETTER. AND THEN, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO DON’T WANT TO DECORATE!!! HARD FOR ME TO BELIEVE, SINCE I LIVE AND BREATHE DECORATING, BUT SOME PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE DESIRE, AND THEN, MANY PEOPLE DON’T HAVE THE TIME. WE WILL BE MAKING A BEAUTIFUL ROOM, AND IF ALL GOES WELL, DELIVERING IT UNDER THREE MONTHS.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: I BELIEVE IN THIS CONCEPT, AND I AM HOPING THAT BY HAVING A ROOM IN THE HAMPTON DESIGNER SHOWHOUSE, PEOPLE WILL SEE HOW DIFFERENT IT CAN LOOK WHEN THE FURNITURE IS ARRANGED IN A DIFFERENT WAY AND THE WALLS ARE PAPER INSTEAD OF IN MY WHITE ROOM AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ADD A LANTERN, A BLUE CEILING, AN ANTIQUE CHAIR AND LOTS OF GREAT—VERY GREAT—ART—IN THIS CASE BOTH UNSUNG YOUNG ARTISTS AND SOME OF THE BIGGIES.
Thank you, Leta, for joining us today! I would like one of each, please!! For additional information, please visit www.prettyfabulousrooms.
- PALM BEACH REGENCY – AN EXCLUSIVE HOME TOUR WITH LETA AUSTIN FOSTER
- AN EXCLUSIVE HOME TOUR WITH LETA AUSTIN FOSTER
- LETA AUSTIN FOSTER’S 10 TIPS FOR TIMELESS INTERIORS
- A FLORIDA CLASSIC BY LETA AUSTIN FOSTER
- CLASSIC FLORIDA STYLE BY LETA AUSTIN FOSTER
- LETA AUSTIN FOSTER DESIGNS A 1930S OCEANFRONT MASTERPIECE
- LETA AUSTIN FOSTER REVITALIZES VIRGINIA’S HISTORIC MILBURNE
- TRADITIONAL INTERIORS BY LETA AUSTIN FOSTER
- PALM BEACH PERFECTION ON PENDLETON
This is a great idea…and fabulous taste. Thanks for posting such beautiful content. This is, by far, my go to website that far surpasses all others. I wish Leta the very best in this endeavor! I am heading to Colonial Williamsburg for a teacher’s workshop and know I will be drooling over much of what I see. However, I always come back inspired. I do think that in the Pacific Northwest we don’t have much exposure to those beautiful traditional interiors in the South and North East.
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the kind words! You just made my day. 🙂 Isn’t Leta the best? I just love everything she does!
The Glam Pad