5 Reasons I Trashed The RH Teen Catalog

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Restoration Hardware

When Lionel Richie and Jimmy Fallon appear in your Facebook feed singing, “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?” you know it’s a sign. It’s like you forgot you were looking for something and then along comes Lionel to remind you. And there it was, sitting in a pile of mail: Hello, premiere issue of RH Teen!

In my defense, there was no reason to be looking for Restoration Hardware’s new teen catalog. I’m an ’80s teen. Back then, our understanding of teen decor came from John Hughes movies, friends’ rooms, and the lava lamp section of Spencer’s.

My one and only bedroom makeover was limited to a new rug, mirrored sliding closet doors, and walls plastered with The Outsiders posters (Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold).

My lucky kids, on the other hand, can choose from a variety of teen decorating options. Our family tends to favor Ikea and cool secondhand finds for bedrooms, but someone at Restoration Hardware is betting there’s room for a little RH Teen in our lives. So I took a peek. Here are five of my observations on RH Teen products:

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1. Restoration Hardware lets the pieces do the talking. The “Perfect Somewhere” bedroom (above) warrants no introduction beyond identifying it as “the one place where you write the rules.” So, “you” is teens, right? But where’s “the one place where you pay the bills”? Who’s the “you” in that case? Because a combination of that furniture, mirror and the always necessary crystal chandelier costs $12,000. My tip to RH Teen: Include a mandatory exit plan in that perfect desk drawer, because teens whose parents spend serious cash on their bedrooms become young adults with no desire to leave the house.

2. Might as well throw in the $3,419 for the Rylin Tufted White Velvet Chaise and Loveseat Lounge Set. One problem with the material: Do RH Teens not eat in their lounge spaces? Because the teens I know are big fans of both lounging and snacking. But wait, the white velvet chaise totally works if your teen’s diet is limited to milk, plain yogurt and yogurt-covered snacks sold by Whole Foods. (You’re welcome RH Teen. You really should include this stuff.)

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3. This “All Good Things Are Wild And Free” quote art ($139) is confusing. Assuming this art is a good thing, why isn’t it free? Or is this art a mediocre thing and thus deserving of a price tag? How does this sentiment apply to the “Perfect Somewhere” bedroom, which must be good if it’s perfect and costs $12,000—kind of wild but definitely not free. You mean free to wild teens but not their exhausted parents, right? Getting it now.

4. And what about the “perfect is boring” sign ($199). Did you just call your “Perfect Somewhere” bedroom boring? You’re messing with us, aren’t you?

5. For buyers in search of less costly and/or complex messages, the “I Want It All Pillow” ($49) is just the thing. What better way to prepare our teens for a life well-lived than a pillow that tells them to want it all? (Just please don’t want the Orbit Faux Fur Chair, as that’s $1,799.)

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And that brings us to this crucial point: You forgot some stuff, Restoration Hardware. No worries, we get it. Teens are new to you. For years, you appealed to well-heeled adults, then their babies and toddlers. Teens are the last frontier. As an actual parent of a teen and tween, here are my suggested next steps for RH Teen:

First, if we adults could be treated to that magnificent 17-pound set of 13 Restoration Hardware sourcebooks last summer, shouldn’t teens get at least two catalogs? Wait for it. The newest sourcebook in the RH Teen collection: Trough and Hook.

Parents of teens will agree with this unfortunate fact: When presented with their laundered items, many teens do nothing. Those stunning dressers in RH Teen? They’ll sit empty while clothes are strewn about the room (occasionally in an artistic fashion, though usually they prefer to go all-out pigsty).

Enter the trough, the essential must-have in your beloved teen laundry goods line.

Trough aficionados know these long, shallow containers were initially designed as feeding receptacles for animals. But they need not be limited to slop. Their length, depth and homey charm suggest practicality with a hint of whimsy, which is exactly what teens need when searching for their “every day is a spa day” pin dot spa wrap ($49). The magic of these pieces? Troughs (starting at $599) provide an open receptacle without the bother of opening a drawer. Lovingly crafted by passionate trough-makers, they’re the perfect item for the teen who can’t be bothered.

But what about the teen who also can’t be bothered with hangers?

Voilà, hooks. Envision the weathered hook, crafted by artisans from reclaimed metal (Restoration Hardware must refuse to use unclaimed metal, despite the cost savings). Just think, no more removing hangers, adjusting hangers, and worst of all, hanging up things on hangers. Instead, teens can toss items of clothing in the general direction of the hook, leaving them more time to lounge. RH Teen hooks will retail at a mere $120 each.

Okay, here’s the hard part: There’s one kind of parent you’re probably never going to reach. It’s the kind of parent who makes this kind of thing ($4 from stuff found in basement).

Kristin O’Keefe

Also, there’s that saving for college thing.

To those rebel parents, we say, stay gold. And speaking of gold, when your teen insists they need an RH Teen bedroom, show them this “It Is What It Is” metallic gold foil art ($179) and together, walk that catalog over to the recycling bin, smile and say “Carpe Diem” ($399, salvaged shadow box quote art).

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Really, check that last one out. It’s a crumpled piece of paper for $399. They are definitely messing with us. Although on a positive note, it’s nice to know RH recycles too.

Kristin O’Keefe

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