As You Like It
October 19, 2011 | by —MERLISA LAWRENCE CORBETT | Pursuits
A Vastu showroom
Jason Claire detests the word “customized” when it comes to his furniture. As the co-owner of Vastu, on 14th Street Northwest, he prefers the term “personalized,” especially for upholstered pieces like the high platform bed and Madison ottoman, side-by-side in the store’s sleek showroom. “When people hear customized, they think it’s too expensive and that you just get to select fabric and leg style,” says Claire. “We have a seven-step process to personalizing upholstery.”
By personalized, Claire points out that the item is designed to fit the needs of the customer. In the same way a tailor makes a suit, the bed and ottoman are built by hand and can vary in length, width, height, color, fabric, and firmness. Along with standard considerations such as space restrictions, Claire also evaluates lifestyle, including how often his clients read in bed or whether they use hair products. (After all, no one wants to unnecessarily dirty an expertly tailored silk headboard.)
Nothing at Vastu is pre-fabricated. Pieces are made-to-order in the factory of Steven Anthony Inc., a family-owned furniture manufacturer just outside of Los Angeles that has enjoyed an eight-and-a-half-year relationship with Vastu dating to the showroom’s opening. “We help you conceive it. We design it, and he builds it,” says Claire of Anthony. Peruse the Vastu website and you will find the images of the bed and ottoman are of mere skeletons, awaiting infinite design possibilities. The bones are classic-modern, but the fabric and finishes dictate whether the perceived style is traditional, contemporary, or modern—the better to reflect the individuals who buy them.
The platform bed and the ottoman are constructed using eco-friendly materials: The frames are certified sustainable alder hardwood, and the foam padding is made from renewable resources such as organic fire retardants. The bed base is built platform- or box-spring-ready and is made to support either an Eastern king, California king, queen, full, or twin mattress. There are hundreds of fabrics and leathers to choose from, and the dimensions of the headboard, footboard, and legs are all negotiable. No detail is too minute to overlook: Even the type of seam—self-welt, knifeedge, double-stitching, or square-tufting—is yours to choose.
Despite the seemingly limitless possible outcomes, the pieces and their timeless, clean lines all share one common bond. “They will never go out of style,” said Anthony. “You will never tire of looking at them.” 1829 14th St. NW, 202-234-8344
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GREG POWERS
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.