Corrections or additions?

This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the December 21, 2005

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Vintage Hotel Furnishings: In the Galleries

Now a piece of furniture is hard to wrap, surely, but this furniture

would be a fabulous gift – for someone on your list or better yet,

yourself. Mercer Corporate Interiors, at 2901 Route 1, recently

purchased the contents of the famed 1904 Beaux Arts landmark St. Regis

Hotel on Fifth Avenue in New York. All the pieces were manufactured in

Europe, in the luxurious, Louis XVI style – draperies, marble-topped

tables, entertainment armoires with mahogany inlays, lamps with

crystal and silk shades, custom-made feather down sofas with matching

side chairs, and headboards.

"This is very opulent stuff," says Mercer Corporate Interiors general

manager Ralph Finaldi. "We even have the mini-fridges and wall-mounted

cabinets for plasma TVs with Louis XVI fronts." It is on view "until

they kick us out," says Finaldi, in display windows at Princeton

Forrestal Village, along with artwork from Cody Eckert Fine Art, a

division of Cody Eckert and Associates Architects.

Finaldi says the major part of Mercer Corporate Interiors’ business

for the last 35 years has been liquidation, primarily office

furniture. "However, in the last few years, we’ve had opportunities

with hotels, such as the Grand Hyatt in New York, and the St. Regis

this year. Hotels don’t want to close during renovation, so they just

close one floor at a time, and we acquire the furniture. The St. Regis

website has some photos of typical ‘old’ rooms, that’s what we took

out." In addition to the displays at Forrestal Village, the furniture

is stored in two New Jersey warehouses, one in Newark and one in

Fairfield, as well as at the Lawrenceville location.

So who’s buying this stuff? "We’ve sold to B and Bs and some smaller

boutique hotels, mostly in New England and the Cape Cod area. We sold

15 rooms to someone who is completely redoing a big old house," says

Finaldi. Mercer Corporate Interiors will also sell to individuals. And

we are talking amazing bargains. The entertainment armoires, which,

says Finaldi, cost about $6,000 each when the St. Regis purchased

them, are selling for $600 each. Finaldi says that interested

individuals should go to Forrestal Village and check out the window

displays, where signage will direct them to contact Cody Eckert Fine

Art at 206 Rockingham Row in Forrestal Village, 609-716-8500. They

will make appointment for you to visit one of the warehouses or the

Lawrenceville location.

"What’s interesting," says Finaldi, "is that as soon as this furniture

started to arrive at our locations, the response was absolutely

phenomenal, because the St. Regis was a landmark hotel." He shares a

little high-end hotel trivia. "You know, the St. Regis really has an

Old Guard who stay there on a regular basis or even live there. When

the St. Regis decided to re-do the rooms, they had some photographs of

the new look, which they shared with these guests, who were not

thrilled. So the hotel kept certain pieces for each room just to

retain a flavor of the old, but the rooms, by and large, now have a

lighter look, still very beautiful."

Finaldi has just finished acquiring the furniture from another hotel,

the Sheraton Russell, a boutique hotel in Chelsea in New York City,

which someone bought to convert to condos. And in about a month,

Finaldi will get the goods from a hotel in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

He’s even got his eye on a few pieces for himself. "You come across

some really beautiful pieces," he says, "like a bombe chest with

ormolu (gold metal embellishment)."

– Jamie Saxon

Display of Louis XVI-style furniture and artwork, throughout Princeton

Forrestal Village, Route 1 south. Furniture from the Beaux Arts

landmark St. Regis hotel in New York. Watercolors by Cody Eckert, as

well as artwork by several Princeton artists including Rosemary Miles

Blair; Walter Marz, a professional photographer whose work has been

featured in Audubon, New Jersey Outdoors, People, Reader’s Digest, and

Nature Photographer; and Oriental-influenced landscapes and floral

paintings by Phyllis Lifschutz of Princeton. 609-716-8500.

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