10 Oct

We all know the jokes making fun of Target calling it ‘tar-jay’, but over the past few years it has actually earned its more swank reputation. I first remember noticing it when they introduced the Michael Graves line of household products, which they still carry. (You can even buy a Michael Graves toilet bowl cleaner. I am not sure I need to be THAT stylish!)

I really took notice when Target introduced a line of Orla Kiely household products. Now I know we don’t need to revisit my Orla obsession, but I will say that the Orla line at Target is still influencing my choices. I wonder what it says about me that so many design decisions hinge on three ceramic kitchen canisters. In fact, her household line was so popular that since I didn’t buy the canisters when I first saw them, I had to buy them at a massive premium on Ebay. You can still buy them for the outrageous Buy It Now price of $159.99. I will say that I am glad I have limited my Orla household objects to just the canisters. I think things that are unique and very recognizable should be used in limited doses to have maximum impact. Also, my house could end up looking like pure Orla vomit if I don’t restrain myself.

Even more recently, Target really inspired the height of design frenzy with their Missoni line from the Missoni fashion house in Italy known for its bold and colorful patterns. Almost all of the Missoni products sold out within the first 6 hours in the pop-up store in NYC that spanned SIX BLOCKS and the Target website crashed for most of the day when it launched the line. People I know who bought the Missoni merchandise loved it, but some admitted it was more about the iconic patterns than the quality of the garment or product.

Aside from partnering with high-end designers, I’ve noticed lately that Target takes some liberties inspiration from other product lines. Because I’ve been pouring over all kinds of modern furniture catalogs and because I am unbelievably excited about the opening of their first Seattle store, I have become keenly aware of the ‘inspiration’ Target has taken from West Elm

Yesterday, Maeve and I were at Target for I-don’t-remember-what-but-I-am-sure-I-left-spending-$100 when a lovely gray felt woven basket caught my eye.  Super cute and perfect for the main bathroom (to hold I’m not really sure what) and only $19.99.

Then I remembered seeing almost the exact same thing on the West Elm site.  They were a little more square and came in more sizes, but the prices ranged from $29-49.  Hmmm.

Then we looked at pillows and I fell in love with this gray felt pillow ($24.99). I must be into gray felt these days. I also loved this fake fur pillow, which Maeve absolutely abhorred, that was only $14.99. 

Low and behold, whilst perusing the West Elm site yet again today, look what I found! A knotted gray felt pillow for $34.99 and a Mongolian Lamb pillow cover (just the cover, mind you) for $54.00. Wow, right?

And finally, in the rug section, Target had a version of my favorite Pebble rug from West Elm.  They call it the ‘Popcorn’ rug and the 5×7 was $179. The similar ‘Pebble’ 5×8 rug for $349 at West Elm.

And another.  Pin-Tuck king-size duvet cover at West Elm is $119.

And at Target it’s $99 for the king-sized duvet cover.

Target Home™ Puckering Comforter Set - Elephant Gray

Now, I have had furniture from both West Elm and Target and I admit straight up that the West Elm quality is absolutely superior to Target. But when it comes to pillows and accessories, I think I am okay with a slightly lesser quality. I know myself well enough to know that these trends of felt and fur and popcorn and pebble will pass and I will want new trendy accessories sooner than I should. Probably much sooner.


One Response to “Tar-jay”


  1. ‘Really tied the room together’ | mid-century MODERN LOVE - November 3, 2011

    […] to that the shag pillow from Tarjay I wrote about a few weeks back and the bookcase from the living room, voila! The room really comes […]

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