“First of all, everything we do emanates from my interior design practice,” Peter Dunham tells me. The “we” he’s referring to is his team at Hollywood at Home, the furniture, textiles, and decor purveyor he opened in 2007 after years of working as an interior designer. Now he heads Hollywood at Home and his eponymous design firm concurrently, a position that allows him a more nuanced view of the industry and the savvy to adapt his business accordingly. A prime example: This spring, Dunham launched a collection of outdoor furniture, responding to the massive growth in that category and associated performance fabric lines. At the same time, the company offered these pieces for quick (and comparatively inexpensive) shipping, adapting to today’s Amazon Prime–primed audiences.
“In my interior design projects, we were not finding outdoor furniture that we really liked,” Dunham says. “The big box stuff is fine until you look at it closely. In the luxury market, though, there wasn’t much.” As a result, Dunham found himself constantly creating custom pieces. Of course, those don’t come cheap. “In America, teak production is almost prohibitively expensive,” Dunham says. “And while my interior design clients can afford to buy eight-foot custom sofas, the people who come into the store want a much lower price point.”
So he went directly to the source. Indonesia, to be precise, where much of the world’s teak originates. Dunham purchased a bulk of materials and is overseeing production there. The result is what he refers to as an “upper-middle price point” collection, with chairs falling in the $1,000 to $3,000 range. The line features both new profiles and adaptations of some of Hollywood at Home’s most popular indoor styles (like the cheekily named How to Marry a Millionaire chair).
“It’s a little better than the big box furniture and a little more stylish because it doesn’t have to appeal to such a wide audience,” Dunham says. “Those companies have to have something that I’m going to like, that my granny is going to like, that my auntie is going to like – I don’t need to.” Instead, he’s widening his audience gradually: “We went from couture to prêt-à-porter,” he quips.
Outdoor versions of the How to Marry a Millionaire chair.