Sunday, December 25, 2011

Coming full circle

It's a wrap.....

It seems that one of my  readers was highly offended by my last journal entry about gifting. I can only imagine that they looked at the pictures of all the outrageously extravagant gifts and did not bother to read the words which were very obviouly facetious .

Those of you who did read through and past  the photographs hopefully could tell that it was written tongue in cheek.  My intention was  not  to overlook the true spirit of the season, nor to make anyone dealing with  difficulties in these hard economic times feel badly.

The effects of this depressed economy are far reaching and very few have been  left untouched.
After 27 years in the business of manufacturing fine hand crafted furniture made in America- my husband and I have had to make the painful decision to roll up our Summer Hill tent .  This has involved letting people go,  who over the years have become tight knit members of our Summer Hill family. This has been  the  most difficult time in our lives.

The Summer Hill Barn
Original oil painting by Susan Watson

In 1985 we launched Summer Hill ltd in the loft of the barn behind our house.
We tended the fragile  sapling, watched it take root and grow
into a successful and accomplished company.
Our objective was to create bench made furniture of lasting quality and fine design.
We employed American workers on American soil.  

The iconic Brighton Bed 
Even our textiles were all domestically woven 
until the American mills began to shut down
faced with foreign competition. 
 Only then did we cross oceans to grow our textile collection.

The original Summer Hill  Fabric Collection
still remains a popular staple

The  Bar Harbor was the first chair in The Collection
Being a fashion business,  designs come and go, tastes change, and new styles evolve.  As Creative Director of The Company it was  my responsibility to keep pace with the times moving from the original overblown silouhettes to the more sleek and refined.  My objective was to  always maintain a classic, timeless sensibility and never sacrifice comfort and quality.

The Arno Chair

The Adams Bed
The Christina Sofa

These past  three to four years have been particularly challenging for  the home furnishings industry due to  a prolonged economic down turn coupled with a new customer demographic.  One month up - one month down- we have been on a roller coaster
but remained eternally hopeful.

Even the shelter magazines began dwindling down to a mere handful.

Thank heavens there are still those of you who are highly tuned in to the design world, love design,  and seek out quality and originality when furnishing your homes.  You are not satisfied with purchasing from a catalog of  'sameness'  just because the photography looks pretty good.

Distinguished interior decorators and architects will always be available to help  guide you through this priviledged process and maybe my journal will provide a few inspirations as well.

So all that said...
 Summer Hill has come to a cross roads.

We have been priviledged to work with a wonderful team on the  Summer Hill Staff in our corporate showrooms, our corporate offices and our workroom.  We have made good friends among our representative showrooms across the country, as well as our multi-talented suppliers, and it has been our pleasure to be a part of making  a house a home for all our many loyal customers.

If you own a piece of the Summer Hill legacy 
perhaps it will become a family heirloom passed from one generation to the next.

However, with profound sadness we have had to make the difficult decision to close our doors.
Despite the sadness I am reminded that when one door closes ...
                                                                                                                 another door opens.                                                                                                                                      

I look forward to what lies ahead as I relaunch my former career as an interior and architectural designer.  It's where I  first began designing  the products that became the Summer Hill Collection .

It seems that I have come full circle...
A feather wreath from Anthropologie

So until we meet again  ...
                        I wish you a new year of peace and prosperity.

Rela Gleason Design


Annie HK said...

Oh, Rela - Say it isn't so....!!! I know that you will do fabulously well in whatever you do... and I must applaud you for the work you did in encouraging the small workrooms with great vision such as David Iatesta, and my pal from London, Hector Finch. I wish you all the best! Still sad to see Summerhill go though...Sure you won't reconsider???

Anonymous said...

Rela, You are a treasure!!........and your vision of timeless furniture of high quality and fine craftsmanship was so evident in the Summerhil line. It is a loss for the finer things in life. It is a shame my generation (younger) doesn't get it....or doesn't know better....I will cherish the pieces we have and I feel lucky to have been made aware of you and your immense talents.

Laurence and Karen Russo