Galatea is launched
A sailing vessel's revamp revealed
Jamie Sorcher -- Casual Living, 10/25/2011 6:03:09 AM
FOR THE INTERIOR, MASON AND HIS WIFE WENT WITH LINEN SESAME CUSHIONS AND DECORATIVE PILLOWS IN BAILEY DAFFODIL, DUPIONE CORNSILK, PANGO CREAM AND SPECTRUM COFFEE.
But there was a surprise, said Mason. "The original material had buttoning fabric," he said. "There were buttons on the back and on the seating as well. It just seemed like a dated, older style. Gina wasn't thrilled with it and neither was Pam. So we had the cushions redone without any buttons. They were completely refabricated and installed - and then we realized the cushions looked kind of plain. The buttons had added contour and depth to the cushions themselves. So we realized that what we didn't like was that there were just too many buttons. We just needed the buttons to be strategically placed. Without them, it almost looked institutional - too flat and too plain. So we ended up compromising and what we have now is fabulous. We have just a series of three buttons on the backs themselves. It made all the difference."
Wicker, whose work is predominantly related to residential business, appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with Iverson and Tregoning for their different perspectives in approaching a project. "Our furniture manufacturers think the same way, but I really enjoyed working with Jason and Pam because the way they approached the design was so different."
For example, Wicker had been thinking of big, fluffy throw pillows that were 18-20 inches for the interior. "Pam came back to me and told me that we simply couldn't do that," said Wicker. "She said to me, ‘You would have to have a place to put them in if the seas got rough.' And I realized, she was absolutely right. She told me she was thinking of 14- to 16-in. pillows which seemed tiny to me and not very functional. But she is the expert and I told her to do what she wanted. It turned out they are beautiful and properly scaled for the interior of the boat."
Working with Iverson was also refreshing, said Wicker. "He just thought of all these little details," she said. "There's a pocket in the dodger with a little flashlight. What a smart idea. A lot of times you're out on the sea at night and it is really dark. This is something Jason knew would be helpful - to have a flashlight in a handy place. There's also a pocket on the inside of the dodger for your sailing gloves. But the coolest thing I think he did was engineer these grab rails. If you're out on the water and it's getting rough, you automatically want to grab onto something. Well, the dodger is just metal tubing covered in fabric, so grabbing hold of it won't give you a firm hold. Jason created these grab rails at all these different places on the dodger so that you can lift yourself from a seated position or hold on if the boat is turning to one side or the other. He really understands the sailing lifestyle and he designs his dodgers with that in mind."
So what can casual furniture retailers take away from this makeover? Plenty, said Wicker. "The outdoor furniture market from a retail standpoint is not a lot unlike the marine marketplace, in that it is disposable income," she explained. "When people are afraid to spend money, maybe they're not going into your store because they don't want to drop $4,000 on a full set. But maybe this is why you make it easy for them to get their cushions recovered. Maybe you can offer fabrics by the yard so they can do throw pillows. There are things you can offer your customers as a service, particularly the specialty stores. Everything for Pam and Jason is a custom job. Every job is different. Every boat is different. When you do custom work, you will get paid for it.
"You can make sales without selling a whole new set, but offer something that allows customers to freshen up a space and not feel bad about spending the money."
For Mason, the marine makeover has transformed his time on Galatea. The structural changes added a full enclosure to the exterior, and the neutral, carefully chosen fabrics above and below deck feel fresh and updated while honoring the boat's classic lines and timeless look. This is all tangible work that will enhance the wonderful times he'll enjoy with friends and family for many years to come. But in the end, the whole sailing thing for Mason is about something that has nothing to do with the boat itself, or the fabrics, or the wheel, or any of the extras, but more with the experience of being out on the water.
"I have a lot of amazing memories from adventurous sailing trips and I've been out in the middle of the ocean alone, but what attracts me is that feeling that you have when the sails go up and the engine goes off and you are propelled forward," he said. "It's a sensation. It's just a feeling that comes over you as the boat takes off."
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