Ever since Jennifer Mabley and Austin Handler started their interior design business in 2002, they have dreamed of launching their own furniture collection. Now, they’re finally making it happen.
With their Hamptons-based firm Mabley Handler Interior Design, the married couple spent two years partnering with the home furnishings distributor Kravet to create a licensed 35-piece collection that is heavily inspired by their Hamptons roots.
The collection will debut at High Point Market, a furnishings industry trade show in North Carolina that brings together vendors and designers, from April 22 to 26. It then will be available in Kravet showrooms across the country, and directly through Mabley Handler.
“It’s so nice to be able to express your style through a product, and it’s so satisfying to see something from a conversation turn into an event. It’s really exciting,” Ms. Mabley said. “It’s absolutely something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but we were waiting for the right moment, the right partnership.”
The collection features upholstery, occasionals and casegoods in a mix of wood and metal finishes, along with grasscloth paper that is incorporated in some pieces. It offers seven new wire-brushed and cerused-oak wood finishes in shades ranging from light to dark that have a “very organic, coastal driftwood feel to it,” as Mr. Handler described.
Living in Water Mill for the past 15 years, the couple wanted their furniture to reflect the aesthetic and people of the surrounding community. “It feels very appropriate for the area. A lot of our clients and the people who live here and visit here because of the proximity to New York City have a level of style and sophistication, and the furniture, we think, really balances that relaxed, coastal feeling of the Hamptons with the sophistication of the people who are in the Hamptons,” Handler said.
They even decided to name the items after well-known locations or roads in the area: Bridge Lane, Deer Field, Edgemere, Flying Point, Hayground, Howell and Lily Pond.
“The inspiration is from our life living here. So it made perfect sense to pay tribute to famous locations in our towns that help relate the product to a destination,” Ms. Mabley said. “I think it’s nice to attach it to its origin, which is the Hamptons.”
The design duo has been Kravet customers for a while, familiarizing themselves with its furniture and fabric products over the years for their projects, and they said they believe that Kravet would make a good partner for such an undertaking. They said they also appreciated the local connection that Kravet shares with their design firm.
“That’s another thing that really made this collaboration work, is partnering with a family-oriented company that’s based on Long Island,” Mr. Handler said of the Bethpage-based company. “You know, in a perfect world, we would love the furniture manufactured right out here in the Hamptons, but that’s obviously very difficult to do. Because we live here and we work here, working with our local resources is very important to us.”
Along with the Kravet partnership, the firm is currently trying to partner with a local retailer to sell pieces from the collection as well. Since the deal has not yet been settled, the retailer’s name cannot be released, Mr. Handler said, but they are hoping to settle the partnership this month.
One thing that they wanted to stress with this collection was versatility. Although there are only 35 pieces, each can be customized in different ways to accommodate many styles and settings. They intend to use the furniture in many of their projects, so it was important for them to find a way to keep it fresh and avoid repetition.
“We hate when you walk into a room and it feels like everything is part of the same set out of the pages of a catalog,” Mr. Handler said. “So what we tried to do is create different pieces that had some commonalities to them, so that you could mix two, three, four of these pieces of furniture in a room, and they would feel like they belong together without feeling like they’re a part of a set.”
While they plan to use this collection in many of their clients’ homes, they can’t help but bring some pieces into their own home as well. Ms. Mabley said that the Howell Bed, one of the line’s larger items, was something that they’d dreamed of making for a while and will go in their bedroom. Mr. Handler added that just looking at the prototype of the Flying Point Club Chair made him say, “I have to have this in my house.”
“It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. It really feels like a signature piece of the collection,” he said of the chair, which is upholstered on the front and has a wooden faceted frame that wraps around the back.
More information about the Mabley Handler licensed furniture collection for Kravet can be found at www.mableyhandler.com, or call 631-726-7300.