Room In a Box

This month debuts an exciting – and entirely new - concept at Windsor Smith Home:www.wsroominabox.com. You send me your room specs and a few other needs, and I’ll custom design a room, just for you. All you’ll need will fit inside this special box, proving that good – and even extraordinary - things still come in small packages! I also wanted to make the packaging itself an exciting part of the concept, because the idea of colored signature boxes have always fascinated me since I was a girl.

We all know about thinking outside the box, but when are the prized boxes themselves wonderful and important all on their own? What makes our pulses quicken when we see them, and what can make them worth keeping, even when they’re empty?

Usually it's an iconic color; the two great ones we all instantly associate with timeless elegance, taste and refinement are Hermès orange and Tiffany blue. In Le Divorce, a gift box containing a Kelly bag is described as being as alluring as "a cake on an altar"; in Bride Wars, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson discover a distinctive blue box with a white ribbon and instantly know Hudson's boyfriend will be popping the question.

Both of these dedicated retailers opened their doors in the same year (1837) on two completely different continents, but the concept of color as merchandising came to Tiffany & Co. first. The unusual boxes were soon quite sought after, especially as the firm refused to sell them independent of their merchandise – an exclusive policy that continues today. But retail color signature didn’t really come into its own until the 1930’s, when the great avant-garde fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli staked out “shocking” pink as her own territory. She even named her famous perfume for the exotic shade, calling it: "life-giving, like all the light and the birds and the fish in the world put together, a color of China and Peru but not of the West." French lingerie shops still refer to the color “le shocking.” At least, I think it’s the color they’re referring to! With some of the lingerie I’ve seen recently it’s hard to be sure.

Color is such a subliminal thing that, regardless of the quality of their goods, these companies could easily have had a major merchandising misfire if they’d chosen something along the lines of, say , UPS brown. All good designers know that their clients respond intuitively to color, as they do themselves, but while Tiffany selected a subtle and gorgeous robin’s-egg hue, Hermes and Schiaparelli both went to the extreme end of the spectrum, choosing strong, bold - and almost unwearable - colors; ones that are evocative of passion and daring.

Veuve Clicquot has also pushed the envelope in color merchandising, which is why they’ve now got me firmly in their clutches. Their new Ponsardin Rosé box is such a gorgeous and fresh berry pink color, and since it’s coupled with their familiar lush honeysuckle orange, I find myself responding by wanting to buy lots of their champagne and find reasons to throw a party! And now, with Room in a Box - I have one!

Say hello to the new kid on the block…………the peacock blue box and gray wrappings encasing the very exclusive design services of Windsor Smith www.wsroominabox.com.