Home office in dining room? New SLF line adapts to that
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, May 20, 2013
HIGH POINT - Case goods resource SLF says it has reinvented its office furniture category to better address how people live and work at home.
The company recently launched Homework 2.0, a flexible office concept that the company says adapts to today's lifestyles. In developing the concept, the company studied the habits of Millennial or Gen Y consumers who are starting to buy homes.
As part of its research, it found this group wants to better utilize living spaces such as living rooms and dining rooms as multipurpose entertainment areas, said Roland Maddrey, vice president of sales.
Maddrey said this group also values technological features more than curb appeal of a home, and are adept at using technological gadgets and gaming devices. He said the concept addresses their needs on two fronts.
The first is office furniture designed for the dining room, a concept previously introduced by resources such Sligh and the former Signature Home Furnishings, albeit on a lesser scale.
Homework 2.0 offers a workstation that is available as a 60-inch or 84-inch-long table. Starting at $499, this can be used as a desk that offers a storage drawer on both sides of the apron. It also comes with an optional $299 hutch that can float on the center of the table.
The table can be used for dining when it's not used for office functions. The set includes folding desk chairs that double as dining chairs, retailing from $99 to $299.
There is also a $799 credenza that can be used for serving food or for wine storage. But its four file drawers and pull-out printer tray in the center drawer also allow it to be used as an office piece.
The second part of the concept is "Build A Desk," which lets consumes create workspaces with various desk top and base options. Starting at $799 retail, options include a 56-inch or 68-inch desktop with center drawer and three bases, one with an open shelf, one with a door and one with a file drawer. Also available is a 56-inch or 68-inch hutch.
"You can build the size and function you need," said Lee Boone, SLF president. "It is very adaptable to all the different spaces that people live in today."
Pieces in both concepts have built-in charging and docking stations.
Maddrey and Boone said the concept was well received at the April High Point Market.
"Rather than a one-size fits all, this is much more lean, nimble, adaptable and modular," Boone said. He said retailers usually only take a few minutes to see SLF's home office, but many were spending 30 minutes in the office area of the showroom this market. He added that many retailers still selling home office are looking for a fresh approach.
He said the company still offers inline desk and hutch configurations, including a bestseller shown in a new finish. However, while there are still customers buying conventional home office groups, he expects sales in that area to slow.
"We see Homework 2.0 as revitalizing the category and showing the customer that they don't have to buy single purpose furniture," Boone said. "They can buy multipurpose furniture that is more adaptable to the home and whatever they are doing in that space."