Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams not only know the word, they live it.
That much is apparent in the sofas, chairs, ottomans and beds they make at their Taylorsville, N.C., furniture company.
And it's the crux of their two design books: Let's Get Comfortable (Meredith Books, 2007) and their new The Comfortable Home: How to Invest in Your Nest and Live Well for Less (Clarkson Potter, $35).
Gold, head of marketing and sales, and Williams, the firm's designer, were at Being, on Fourth Street N in St. Petersburg, recently to sign books and promote their furniture line.
We sat down and asked them some questions about furniture and decorating.
Have you noticed an increased interest in homes and design in the past 20 years?
Gold: "Yes, there is an increased interest in homes because people see them as an investment. I actually noticed it in 1989 (when the company started) and we introduced upholstered dining chairs. We did beautiful florals and stripes. We made them really popular and fashionable.
If you could give people one piece of advice, what would that be?
Williams: "Plan. Do a little homework — not only for the product you are getting but what you want the room to do. Get a piece of paper and pencil out the space."
Gold: "All told, it takes about an hour."
If people have a limited budget, where would you tell them to put their money?
Gold: "That's one of the reasons we have a sofa company: Put your money in a good sofa. You can make a house a home with your own photography."
What's the biggest mistake homeowners make?
Gold: "Color. They get too jumpy. They don't keep it an oasis and cozy."
Williams: "People get caught up in a theme and stuck in a theme. A home should be constantly evolving."
Do you think everyone can design a room?
Gold: "No. Go to a store that can help you or hire a designer. Our book tells how to hire a designer. Not everybody has great taste."
What's the No. 1 question you are asked?
Gold: "How do we get your look? Elle Decor or House Beautiful will publish one of our rooms and people copy them."
What do you see as the next color trend?
Gold: "Gray with yellow now is really pretty. We do have a trend. We believe in soft, calming colors. We don't believe in mixing primaries. A room shouldn't have more than four colors."
What's the most important design element of a house at the beach?
Gold: "The same thing you find in a house in the mountains — casual, comfortable and easy to take care of."
Patti Ewald is a freelance writer based in Gulfport. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.