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Cindy Crawford touts her mom-approved furniture line

Cindy Crawford touts her mom-approved furniture line FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Supermodel Cindy Crawford boasts about one key attribute that helps Rooms to Go designers create her namesake furniture line for children. "I'm a mom," Crawford said dur...

Cindy Crawford touts her mom-approved furniture line

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Supermodel Cindy Crawford boasts about one key attribute that helps Rooms to Go designers create her namesake furniture line for children.

"I'm a mom," Crawford said during a recent visit to a new Rooms to Go store in Royal Palm Beach, Fla. "I want a living room where kids are welcome. I prefer kids' bedrooms that are practical and stylish and can take a beating."

Introduced in fall 2005, the Cindy Crawford Home line boasts more than 100 pieces that she describes as fun and non-intimidating. Rooms to Go chief executive Jeff Seaman predicts they will generate $250 million in sales this year.

Cindy Crawford Kids, which represents about 10 percent of those revenues, came out in mid-2006 and includes bedroom sets named after the model's two children, Presley, 8, and Kaia, 6. The youngsters didn't contribute design ideas, "but they think it's pretty neat to have collections named after them," Crawford said.

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"It's hard to get a sense of what children want because they're constantly changing their minds," she said. "So it's probably a good idea to consider their personalities and their needs." And, she added, get furniture that's washable and durable.

Practical, functional

Crawford said her daughter likes to have her bed as the centerpiece of her room. That inspired the Kaia Ivory four-piece set, including a full bed, dresser, mirror and nightstand that retails as a package for about $1,500.

But her son spends a lot of time playing on the floor with his Hot Wheels and other toys, so Crawford chose two beds that hug the walls of his room. That floor plan inspired the Presley three-piece platform bedroom with two twin beds and a corner cube that can hold a television, priced around $1,580.

Crawford, 41, has promoted a variety of products - Omega watches, Revlon cosmetics, a Guthy-Renker skin-care line and Pepsi, to name a few. But with furniture, she plays an active role in suggesting and approving designs, Seaman said.

"The partnership has worked out great," he said. "Cindy has a very good eye and approves all of the designs in her line. She makes a lot of very good, practical suggestions. She always wants to know about the functionality of a piece, its strength and what would happen if you spill something on it."

Designing from her styleWhen considering a celebrity line, Seaman put Crawford on the short list for a collaboration after he saw her in an Omega watch advertisement.

"She looked elegant - with an all-American appearance," Seaman said. "At the same time, she had this down-to-earth image as a mother who represented good taste and practicality."

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Crawford, a veteran of hundreds of magazine covers, millions of copies of her exercise videos and seven years of hosting MTV's "House of Style," had never heard of Rooms to Go when Seaman called.

"They don't have stores in California or New York or the Midwest, where I grew up, so I didn't know anything about the company," Crawford said.

But the company did have a store in Grapevine, Texas, and Seaman and Crawford agreed to meet there. They chatted for two hours and adjourned for lunch to a Chili's restaurant. There, they continued to discuss a possible partnership.

"We hit it off really well, and I knew from her intense interest that we would strike a deal," said Seaman, noting Crawford was intrigued about how Rooms to Go could sell its furniture, much of it made in Asia, at prices lower than she expected. Before long, the two inked a deal.

"I think they saw me as a way of bringing a more fashionable aspect to Rooms to Go," Crawford said. "They sent their designers to my house. They wanted to see how I live and to check out the textures and colors of my furniture."

When they arrived with sketch pads and cameras at her oceanfront home in Malibu, Crawford showed them her casual decor she and her husband, restaurateur Rande Gerber, enjoy. She showed the designers photographs of her previous homes and also gave them pages torn from magazines showing furnishings she liked.

"They came away understanding I wanted beauty and luxury, but the furniture had to be affordable and practical, too," she said. "As the mother of two children, I have to ask, 'Can my kids throw up on this fabric?'"

Crawford admitted she's partial to love seats - there are 17 of them in her line that coordinate with sofas, chairs and ottomans. They include such eye-catching designs as blue Beachside Denim, Colorado Khaki and Avenue Red Leather. Prices range from $680 to $1,180.

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She rejects some designsShe said she initially was turned off when designers presented a living room set in robin's egg blue.

"I asked them 'Who would want that? It will get filthy,'" Crawford said.

But when the designers explained that the material was a microfiber - resilient, durable and stain-resistant - she changed her mind.

"Many of the potential stains bead up and roll off, and others are easily removed with soap and water. It's really an amazing material, and I'm very happy it's part of my line," Crawford said. She said, though, that she does reject some ideas if she doesn't like the designs.

Crawford's furniture is available at Rooms to Go stores in nine Southeastern states and via the Internet in 45 states. It's also sold at a dozen retailers where Rooms to Go doesn't compete, including R.C. Willey, Art Van and Raymour & Flanigan.

Crawford said she'll be working on new designs, spending part of that time augmenting the kids' line as her children enter their 'tweens and teens. And she'll be making more store visits like the one in South Miami and Royal Palm Beach at which she drew hundreds of fans.

Asked why Crawford hadn't been out promoting her line until recently, Rooms to Go CEO Seaman said, "In retrospect, I wish we had. We never knew the need to do P.R. before."

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