Thursday, October 29, 2020

Truth Never Dies.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Chase Street

"Chase Street" is being heralded as the "Hottest new political crime drama this century!" The story is all too true to life in the city of Camden, NJ. A city referred to as "One of the most dangerous cities in America," The series was created by Denny Brown and it stars John DiRenzo, Michael Everett Johnson, Melanie DiPiero, and Taral Hicks. writes, "The Interstate Media producers have been shopping the series to Netflix, Amazon, and the Urban Movie Channel, along with other production companies. They met last year with entertainment executive Suzanne de Passe, the cochair of the de Passe Jones Entertainment group, who helped develop the Jackson 5 while working as a creative assistant to Berry Gordy at Motown in Detroit."

I'm so fortunate and grateful to be able to play a role in the series as an FBI Agent. Prior to this I've only done a couple of extra roles, so this is a huge thrill for me! I have to admit the most fun I've had so far was a stunt driving scene in a pursuing FBI van.

You can follow the series as it comes to life at the Chase Street website. You won't want to miss this hard hitting real life drama. Stay tuned for some really exciting stuff!



Friday, September 29, 2017

Universal loves my work!

Apparently, Universal Furniture loves my design work. To be more specific, they really love my "Marcel" sofa design.

In fact, they love it so much, they decided to help themselves and copy my vision, design, and intellectual property without even as much as a post card from China! Take a look at their "Hartley" sofa. Even the pillow shapes and placements are exactly the same.

So what do you think? Do you think this is fair? This company happens to be one of the giants in the home furnishings industry. It's all too common to see copies everywhere in this industry, and it's just sad for the little guys like me.It takes food from my children's mouths. It hurts. Especially when a company this big, with such resources, just helps themselves to my life's work. As one of my social media friends put it, "They didn't even have the decency to change the colors!"

Universal Furniture, what say you? Will you do the right thing?

Artist friends and designers, you know all too well what this is like. Please drop them a note and tell them what you think.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A really fun year...

What a challenging year this has been so far. I'm so grateful I took my true path back into my own hands starting in the beginning of this year. It's been a powerful mix of liberation, growth, pain, healing, determination, and now a happy refocus on what's truly important. Back to a joyful close proximity to my children and happiness. Now, I'm so excited to walk each step through the rest of this year. 

There's so much to look forward to. Some highlights from the past months, I recently got another production design gig on a very powerful short film. We finished filming almost two weeks ago, and it should release as early as this Fall/Winter.

I also found my first tiny acting role on a new Sonny Vellozzi film called "Without You" coming in 2018. That was so fun! And it gave me my first IMDb credit for acting. Until this, all my work has been behind the cameras. I got to play a character named "Pete", a mafia wiseguy playing dominoes outside of a social club. Much to my delight, my character gets into an argument with another player, and my ad lib lines were full of curse words!

Now, it looks like there is a lot more production work on the horizon. I feel so grateful I get to follow one of my true passions in life. But, next month there's something even more exciting! I'm relaunching my seating designs at the High Point Furniture Market. The "never give up no matter what" business plan will finally begin to pay off this October, and I could not be more excited! This particular journey to my own collection started back in 2008 in Shanghai.
What a long road it's been. The miles nor trials could never break my passion!

My collection has been launched in High Point before. The initial launch was a very successful one for orders and placements. Over 14 retailers around the country ordered the collection for their stores. However, my manufacturing partner at that time took 33 weeks to process the first order. It was euphoria turned nightmare. Well, this High Point Market is very different. I have partnered with a very solid and long established manufacturer. Founded in 1959, Elite Leather Company is a trusted brand in the industry, and among consumers as well. Starting this Fall season my designs will come to life again, and actually be able to populate some very cool spaces out there.

The journey has been long and challenging to say the least. This year I learned about letting go. It's all about the journey far away from what just wasn't real. I'm living the confirmation that when we are truthful, (first and fully with ourselves) walking life's journey authentically becomes very natural, joyful, and peaceful. True soul peace. No blame. No validation necessary. I'm looking forward to these next few months and closing out this year of valuable growth. Continuing the walk forward. And, I'm wishing everyone truth and happiness along your walk as well.

Hey! before I go, if you're attending this coming High Point Furniture Market. Click here to let me know, and keep up to date on all the mod information. It's going to be a very fun Market! I hope to see you there!

October 14 - 18


Friday, July 21, 2017

It's about a passion!

My vision is going back into production and back to High Point Market

Stay tuned for many exciting details to come!

 See us at High Point Market, October 14-18


Monday, May 15, 2017

In the sea of the same...

Why is the base blue on this sofa? I say it's because everyone else puts a brown base on theirs, and my passion begins when the old rules get broken!

I often get asked, why don't we just do our version of what sells the most out there. My answer is always the same. That's why furniture is not important enough! There is a sea of the same brown couches out there! I'm about putting the passion back into relaxing and living at home.

Color changes everything! It stimulates us. It rejuvenates us, and elevates our moods. It's real simple. I believe that furniture should be and can be fun. And I'm setting out only to design some of the coolest places to sit on the planet!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A little bit about the journey...

High Point, NC 2014
When I was a kid I dreamed about growing up and flying rockets, or at least some job where I would get to push all kinds of cool buttons. Well, you know what happens - the real world and destiny reveal themselves. At least I get to push all kinds of buttons on my smart phone now!
My father was a sales rep in the furniture business. As a child of the industry who was writing messages on the chalkboard in the kitchen (right before answering machines) for my father from retail salespeople, my destiny was set very early.

My professional path started in the factories. I worked in every department from the lumberyard to the loading dock. Then I went onto floor sales in a furniture store. From there, I eventually became a sub-rep, a lead-rep, and finally a top ranked VP for the largest leather furniture manufacturer in the world.

 I had found financial success and a really cool title. Traveled the world and learned more about the industry than I could ever imagine. There were two problems I discovered within all that I was learning: 1) People hate buying furniture; 2) None of my work had much to do at all with my real passion in life.

Altamura, Italy 2003
People in just about every financial bracket clamor for the latest new technology, automobile, or new gear, but not furniture! Sorry but the truth is, we as an industry do a terrible job of exciting people. It’s been my passion for many years now to do my little part to change that. Now I actually get to do that!

Over 10 years ago when I ripped off my tie, and left the world of sales to follow my true passion in creating things, the journey to my own collection began. Now, the mission is very simple, to break every paradigm that makes sense to break. To follow a new vision of fun and exciting new products that people will clamor for. We live on our couches. And yes, we do call them couches!

So now the long wondrous journey has brought me to the beginning of a whole new one. Mod Life Collection launches in less than two weeks. I can't believe it's finally here! Let's Rock!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Girls Allowed! (Nor any outsiders for that matter!)

Whenever I hear it said that the “Boy’s Club” still rules and “women need not apply,” I feel compelled to share my experiences in this industry. It’s true, if you walk into most showrooms in High Point during the beginning of the Furniture Market, you will find a huge group of older men in their new market ties getting ready for the sales meetings. Soon the company leaders (mostly all men) will get up and address the sales force.  He will tell them why these products will sell and give them the marching orders for the upcoming season. Some of those leaders will even talk about how more women are needed in influential positions in our industry. I’ve heard the same empty rhetoric for 30 years now! The problem is, some say it because they believe it, and some because they think it’s the right thing to say and it makes them look more progressive. However, they’re still saying this to a huge group of aging men.  Some in really great ties, too. But the truth is there’s no plot against women or anyone else. The only plot is to desperately keep their jobs.
To begin to go to the core of the problem we have to back up and understand how this industry was built. I, myself, am a perfect example of how the industry has evolved. I’m a pure nepotistic traveler into the wide world of furniture. My father is a retired 50 year veteran of the industry, and he brought me in through the worm hole called “who you know.”  Here’s the dirty little secret.  In the good ole days, you didn’t have to possess the truly applicable talent nor education to make a lot of money in the furniture business. You needed to have a father in it! Then you needed to learn to talk the talk and take the right people to lunch without saying something stupid. And to this day, the same crop of individuals cultivated over the decades is still in many of the same positions. The only difference now is they are holding on for dear life! So few are there because of their training or deep connection to what really applies to today’s home or the real consumers’ design sensibilities.

Women of the industry please listen carefully. You are the primary consumers of our products. These jobs are there for your taking! The “Boys Club” is weak. Actually, it doesn’t really even exist at all. A club implies organization and a team working together for a cause. Trust me, most of their wives still pick their ties! They can’t compete with you head to head. You got this! The biggest obstacle today is the fear, insecurity, and the misunderstandings stemming from the years of the smoke and mirror show perfection.
The reality is, the industry is ripe for takeover on every level. And, it has to be on every single level.  If we really look around, there are some amazing bright spots and real progress is happening. Take a look at Meredith Younger at Younger Furniture. She’s leading a great upholstery company and she’s kicking ass and taking names! Watch Julia Rosien leading the charge at Restonic
Along with the obstacles to women (and just as lethal to our industry) is the complete disregard of real recruitment efforts. Only through interior design does this exist at all. Over the years I’ve been in hiring positions for meaningful jobs. Early at one point, I worked for a very well known furniture company and I advertised a very high paying sales position. I was flooded with resumes from those same men in ties and their sons from the same showrooms I mentioned earlier. Not one resume was from a woman. Not one from someone in retail or a design firm or anywhere else. In hindsight, I also did a terrible job of targeting my recruitment efforts towards a new and innovative direction. At the time I was young, scared, and inexperienced. I hired from the safe stack of resumes in front of me. And the list go on!
Wait it gets even worse! To even begin changing recruitment efforts we have to address another huge core problem. It’s the investment in Research and Design. When money goes into R&D, students and young talented women and men have something with which (and for) to work. But that’s a whole other critical subject. Bottom line is, the world has changed. We need a real gender, age, cultural, and investment balance. We need new talent and new blood in our industry and we better hurry! We’ve been behind for decades and the world is only moving faster and faster. So, women, men, gays, straights, and green Martians, let’s go to the core and make things happen one bite at a time. Because if we don’t our kids will soon be sitting on their new Apple and Samsung sofas!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tai Kung Lu

Photo by Robert Petril
I took this very simple photo (above) a few years ago in Shanghai. At that time, it symbolized change or transition to me. I loved the contrast of these two walls coming together. It seemed to fit how I felt about my own life path. I was well into my transitional journey through the world of design and creating things inspired by my own unique visions.

These walls are located in a back alley near a place I loved and frequented when I was living there. A street called Tai Kung Lu. A place where you can find many artist's studios, outdoor cafes, quaint little restaurants, and boutiques. It was one of my favorite inspirational hangouts.

Tai Kung Lu (Photo by Robert Petril)
I can remember so many days there dreaming about where I wanted my life path to lead. I was doing what I loved, but I still felt that part of me was stuck in a different life. Like I really didn't belong there, and my dream was reaching towards nothing but more uncertainty. Yet the urge to continue reaching has never diminished. And today I know exactly where it was all leading.

Back to the photo at the top. While the contrast of the two walls coming together is so beautiful, the stucco represented the norm or the way everyone says things should be. The brick on the other hand displays a wonder of texture, depth, variance, and contrast within itself. It's much more beautiful to me. The multitude of flaws make it feel much more authentic than the stucco to the left.

Tai Kung Lu (Photo by Robert Petril)
I'm so grateful that I saved this very simple photo in my collection. I feel I was guided to save it and use it today. I'm on the verge of realizing some really important dreams. Ones that I fought through so much negative feedback, uncertainly, and sacrifice to achieve. And most recently I've met the love of my life. A person beyond all my dreams. Now I know why I saved this photo. It's the perfect canvas for those life wisdom quotes...

Click photo to enlarge


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mix It Up: Your Artwork Doesn’t Have to Match the Sofa

There’s nothing better than finding the perfect piece of furniture for your home. It’s comfortable, it fits the dimensions of your space, and best of all, it fits your personality. But sometimes it can be a struggle to find artwork to match your furniture.

The solution? Don’t worry about matching! Here’s a little design secret: There are no rules that say that your art has to perfectly coordinate with your interiors in color, size, or aesthetic. In fact, when your artwork has an oddity to its size, or is displayed in a nontraditional way, or even if the subject is unexpected, that’s what makes your home a real home!

Your artwork should reflect you, your personality, your family, and your lifestyle in a way that creates a treasured home environment. Here are a few ways to bring the unexpected into your home art gallery.

Break away from the traditional. Remember when artwork would always be hung according to rigid standards? You may have chosen a patterned sofa or set of chairs and tried to find art in the same color palette. However, there are plenty of ways to style a look without being overly matchy-matchy. Imagine a black-and-white striped chair with a bright red and orange abstract print above, for example. Colors can be complementary, or you could have just one color in common to tie it all together. 

Stay under budget. Just because you sprang for an investment rug doesn’t mean you have to buy an original painting to match. No matter how nice your furniture is, you can find inexpensive artwork to match. Instead of choosing a pricey painting, why not display your favorite prints? Calendars are a great source for multiple prints that can be arranged together using uniform frames. It’s really all about expressing your unique style so that when you look at it all together, you can’t help but smile.

Choose your locations wisely. It’s a good idea to consider the function of each room before deciding which art will live in it. Start out by grouping your artwork together and determining which rooms you want to display which pieces. If you’re worried that small children or rowdy guests will disturb your artwork, consider pieces that are not breakable for common areas. A few long hanging wires spray-painted with plastic coating or a grouping of long picture shelves could hold your children’s favorite books or Lego creations. Or if the kids are older, you can pair artwork from your latest travels with cherished photos of your kids to give your room a new focal point.

Add an air of eclecticism with a gallery wall. The great thing about gallery walls is that they fit in with just about any décor. If you have boxes of treasures hidden away, look through them and pick out meaningful pieces to display, from your kids’ artwork to favorite family photos and beloved prints. Think outside-the-box by mixing colors and patterns. Robert’s own bright and multicolored furniture designs work so well with a mix of old and new accessories, and a gallery wall is the perfect way to accomplish that look.

Make your kids the star of the show. Family photos look great anywhere when done with style. Skip the photo studio and have a few of your favorite snapshots printed as over sized black-and-white photos… perhaps one of each family member sticking out their tongue out or blowing out their cheeks? This look is so much more personal than posed studio shots and will remind you of special times together.

So, if you think your artwork has to match your furniture perfectly, then consider these ideas to give your interiors a fresh look. You will never look at artwork the same!

Laurie Laizure is the CEO of Customized Walls and founder of the largest online community for design pros. Laurie’s work has been featured on various cable networks as well as top publications in the interior design world such as New England Home and Country Living magazines. She also writes on her own blog, William Sonoma Designer Marketplace and for Connect with her here: Google+