Gary Friedman, chairman and chief executive officer of Restoration Hardware, has been in retail for more than 30 years. But he said he’s never had customers want to live in one of his stores — until now.
Restoration Hardware introduced its massive, multilevel “next-generation design galleries” in 2014, and it currently has only five locations — Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Tampa, Fla., and a new one that opened Friday in Leawood’s Town Center Plaza.
The three-story, 55,700-square-foot freestanding store is on the site of the former 810 Zone at 4800 W. 119th St.
Customers enter through 10-foot steel gates and pass a small landscaped courtyard into the central hall with a 13-foot ceiling. A grand double staircase leads to the upper floors, and barrel-vaulted passageways lead to home furnishing showrooms — living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms and baths — seemingly move-in ready.
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Friedman said the goal is to “blur the lines” between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, creating spaces that are more home than store.
RH Leawood, the Gallery at Town Center Plaza, features:
▪ 10,000 square feet on the second floor dedicated to the RH Modern line, which was launched in fall 2015, and includes RH Contemporary Art.
▪ The 5,000-square-foot RH Design Atelier, a full-service design studio where customers can work with the RH Design team or their interior designers and architects. It has a library of RH fabrics, leathers and furniture finishes, as well as two 25-foot custom tables to work from.
▪ A Ben Soleimani rug showroom displaying the fourth-generation designer’s hand-knotted and hand-woven rugs.
▪ A 10,000-square-foot rooftop park showcasing RH Outdoor collections. Its lush landscaping and dramatic lighting had one customer wanting to try the “new restaurant” during a preopening event Thursday evening.
Friedman put the cost of the next generation stores at $20 million to $30 million. The stores can be housed in historic buildings and even in more residential areas. If the company can’t find a feasible building — and they had considered the former Halls building on the Country Club Plaza — they build their own, like in Leawood.
Restoration Hardware previously operated a 6,000-square-foot store in Town Center that opened in late 1996 and closed in early 2012. It also had a 21,271-square-foot Country Club Plaza location at 4704 Wyandotte St. that closed Friday in conjunction with the new Leawood opening.