Thursday, October 31, 2013


When it comes to furniture design, it is easy to think it has all been done and you have seen it before. That is, of course, until you  cover a market such as High Point, where innovation is all-important. Newness, for an editor, is increasingly important. For companies, it  helps attract a new audience, and maintain an existing one.  To stay relevant, companies must continue to evolve. Home trends are starting to move at a quicker pace, and newness is expected. Most design is derivative, meaning it is tweaked and adapted for today, but rooted in a design vernacular of the past. Searching for sparks of innovation and newness, I look for eye-catching things that have not been done before.  When I came across these personality chairs, seen below, I realized they each had something unique to say, in their own way. Try adding an interesting conversation piece to a seating arrangement.  It is like inviting a really interesting gregarious guest to dinner, they make life more fun, less expected.

Barry Dixon created some upholstery pieces in his follow-up collection for Arteriors. This unique Ceylon Dining Chair, inspired by British Colonial India, has a pointed back, tight seat and curvaceous sides, supported by a painted white frame and nailhead trim. The stark contrast of white upholstery and white frame highlights the strong lines.

This feminine metal upholstered chair from Global Views won me over. I was instantly drawn to its painted metal finish resembling plaster and the sinewy curved lines. Both elegant and interesting, this chair can take on a completely different look depending on how it is upholstered.

Small side chairs are useful and can be used in a bedroom, dressing room, seating area or flanking console tables. A low profile kidney bean shape make this a charming  chair new by AERIN for E.J. Victor.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Photo courtesy of Vogue
Each season fashion collections are inspired by art, travel and interiors- there is a wealth of design influence to be culled by Burch. Could furniture be far off?
Photos courtesy of Harpers Bazaar 
Designed alongside Daniel Romauldez, one of the all-time great interior designers working today,  Tory Burch's color-filled sunny New York apartment.

Shades of bottle green and cream in the living room, where deep sofas and inviting seating create a cozy but formal setting.

 Blue and white Arbes de Matisse from Quadrille covers walls and upholstery creating a terrific enveloping effect.

With a love of beautiful things, including interiors and decorative accessories, it makes sense that the latest collection to debut from Tory Burch is home accessories.  Fall is filled with entertaining opportunities, and gift giving season is around the corner, so here is a place to start your list making. Comprised of accent pieces inspired by those she has grown up around or lived with, the barware, metal picture frames, understated decorative boxes, and needlepoint pillows capture the sense of fun as well as glamour design had in the 1960's and 70's.  When explaining her design impetus, she says, " I love finding interesting pieces whether in a flea market or an antique fair or bazaar, and this new collection is partly inspired by that." As someone who appreciates understatement,  I like that the designs do not scream with brash logos, there is a quiet subtlety to the assortment.  Given the amount of detail that goes into the design of her retail stores, home decor is a natural progression.
I wonder what decor collections will follow? I am hoping to see vases and garden accessories, especially those inspired by her love of color. But before I get ahead of myself, take a look at the just-launched well-designed collection. Brass enthusiasts beware: there are some covetable pieces here.

Photos courtesy of Tory Burch
The Baily Box, made of resin and bone inlay in a graphic black and concentric square pattern with brass pull on the lid.

Lined in wood, the Rand Brass Box will develop a patina with age. A bit of shiny brass adds a nice sheen to a tablescape.

A modern, toned-down gold TB logo on the side of the clear lucite Rae Ice Bucket keeps it looking sleek and refined.
A well-stocked bar requires a great looking wine bottle opener. The Madison, resembles an oversized screw bolt, and looks like something Gucci would have created as an objet in the 1960's.

To round out the lucite offerings, a simple lucite tray with just- enough- detail brass handles, and stackable coasters in a linear case.

I almost bought a ratty vintage nut I came across recently, but I glad I held out because I would rather have a shiny brass one that actually does something. A house can never have enough nuts, especially when people come over for drinks, so the Robinson Nutcracker is great to have around come Thanksgiving. We always have large bowls of walnuts around, so this would be a welcome addition.

As a child of the 1970's, I remember everyone having tons of great homemade needlepoint pillows on every piece of upholstery in the house. What a treat Burch is creating needlepoint pillows with similar themes. Animals, graphic geometrics and funny sayings are easy to love.
My grandmother has a bench she needlepointed with a similar patchwork pattern. What nice luck that this pillow matches my blue velvet sofa to a T. I have been hunting for pillows, so this is the perfect match.
I love the whimsy of the Margaux Pillow, a little deco, a little crazy.

An animal menagerie...

Monday, October 28, 2013


One of the highlights of visiting showrooms at market year after year, is seeing the evolution of styling.  The way a space is designed can reinforce as well as set trends.
Velvet upholstery, gilt and brass finishes, parchment, linen and leather-wrapped pieces were just some of the dominant design elements designers used when styling their spaces at this fall's High Point Market. Styling and creating relatable living spaces, showrooms put their best design foot forward. The benefits of a well-designed showroom are twofold. Buyers and designers can envision themselves living there, but they can also be inspired to buy into the complete package they see, and recreate a facsimile of this in their own spaces.  It becomes, if you will,  an idea incubator. The interior designers and stylists putting the room schemes together at market need to wear two hats, that of designer and merchant. The showrooms that have historically  set the tone for beautifully styled spaces at market-- Hickory Chair and Baker, are being joined by Bernhardt, under Ron Fiore, the former creative director of Hickory Chair, and the designer collections of Mr. and Mrs. Howard at Sherrill Furniture,  Celerie Kemble for Henredon, and AERIN at EJ Victor. The best style comes from the influence at the top of the market, where all eyes watch what is being done at the highest level. Luxury elements then trickle down, making their presence felt at every level of the market. Just seeing how many showrooms brought in Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees, the greenery du jour, you get the sense companies are taking their cue from what they are seeing used by today's best designer talent.  Enjoy the tour and pick up styling tips galore.

At E.J. Victor, the AERIN Collection included new pieces to round out last market's debut. I liked this streamlined chocolate sofa with handsome tufting and the gilded coffee table with bamboo detailing.

This season, she added light finishes, that included a chalky white leg option, as well as a chic parchment coffee table. I welcomed the lighter versions, they showed the collection growing in a nice direction.

A fireplace can help a showroom by providing a focal point. In this case, the seating arrangement is in a large space. The white finish is also used on her new lighting with Visual Comfort, seen here.

Bringing in greenery, fresh flowers and decorative elements bring a space to life. See the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in the corner of the dining room area? Well, it adds a touch of green to bring the outside in. 
 This is just one of the many showrooms that used velvet upholstery in a rich color. A deep bottle green velvet added a sleek comfort to barrel-back dining chairs.

Gold on gold, a recurring theme of Lauder's,  in an area where the art ties in with the furniture. A 1940's inspired gold painted wood framed game chair with suede upholstery.

For comfort and additional seating, it is hard to deny the appeal of a sectional sofa. Note the window treatments- cream panels with tortoise matchstick blinds recall what you would see done in a pretty New York apartment.

It's the little details that make styling, in any setting, key. A seagrass basket, often used to hold logs, is used for sports equipment. I like a real-life moment.

The Baker showroom always wows. To launch their new Jacques Garcia collection, a striped fabric is shirred to create a patterned wall. A striking modern art piece makes the setting feel instantly livable.

In a smaller space, art plays a role, this time, a black and white abstract painting is the perfect foil for rich wood pieces.

A black lacquer console and white upholstery are related by framed circular butterfly art.

At Henredon, Celerie Kemble worked in color for the follow-up to her launch assortment. Using coral and blue through patterns and solid upholstery she showed you can go bold.  See the Fig Tree? Kemble designed a great chevron bone inlay planter for it.

Teal upholstery was big at market, which I was glad to see, since I have a teal blue velvet sofa, very similar to the  color used here.

Last market this mirror-backed hexagonal-section bookcase was more Hollywood Regency in black. This market, it was reinvented in gold with a bright coral interior.

Taking their cue from men's fashion and the current rage for all things brass and vintage, Bernhardt's Ron Fiore created a chic haven with chocolate brown upholstery and brass detailing.

The round cocktail table was a showstopping piece of last market. A zebra hair on hide rug and pale upholstery on a sectional lighten this look. Oh look, another Fig Tree here too!

Another area that encourages pattern and texture mixing, with navy, black and white. The bone inlay table is a busy pattern but if you increase the pattern scale in the chairs as shown here, it can work.

Teal and white, check.

This etagere has been added to my Greatest Hits list of all-time best etageres. The tree provides something pretty to fill a corner.

In Alexa Hampton's rooms at Hickory Chair, she infused the windowless area with vibrant color. Aubergine and chartreuse jazzed up her classic pieces, complete with wonderful design details. So is there a shortage on these Fig Trees since they are all at High Point?

I love Galbraith and Paul, so I was happy to see one of my favorite wallpapers used with velvet upholstery and Muriel Brandolini fabric pillows. I cannot say enough about this sofa.  A sheltering tuxedo arm with bolster pillows? So chic.

But wait, this sofa is a traditional work horse too, when you need a large 3-seater. I thought long and hard on this color green for my sofa, but instead decided teal velvet was more me. She covered the walls in geometric Quadrille and coordinated a Lee Jofa chintz giving it a fresh take with the geo mix.

Look at the skirt and upholstered leg on the Allen Chair. Not sure I have the space for this at Casa Marisa, but I might need to free up  some room.

When I entered the Sherrill Showroom last year, I felt like I was walking into a Phoebe Howard-decorated home. From wallcoverings to rugs, she transformed the series of rooms with decorative detailed touches and architectural work that had heretofore, not really been done on this scale. Not only did she make her Sherrill designs covetable, she brought her own antiques to layer in,  similar to the way she designs for clients.  Her experience as a shop owner and designer makes this sort of thing a natural extension of her work.

A faux finish resembles wood panelling in a living room space.

She created a seating area in a bedroom setting, with the palest blue upholstery mixed with crisp white accents.

Chinoiserie took the form of green and white at Century. Fretwork fabric on a kidney bean sofa and pagoda lamp coordinate this fresh vignette.

Pale blue will never lose its allure. Perhaps because it is soothing and like a calm oasis.

What a great color pairing in Century. Two large seating groupings are connected by French blue and red with pops of mustard yellow.

This market brought William Yeoward to High Point, where he debuted his collection with Jonathan Charles Furniture. I adore Yeoward's distinctly British take on design. His pieces, including quirky and classic details were inspired by antiques he owned and those he wanted to make available. The line included light cerused finishes, rich carved wood detailing, and was scaled well, to fit into smaller city and country settings. Nothing was on-steriods huge, thank goodness. Scale is so important when translating antiques into new designs. I was asked to remove the photos I showed, due to a pending magazine exclusive, so stay tuned, as I will be sharing his collection in detail, soon.

Mixing in some of his beautiful Osborne and Little embroidered fabric panels, a moment with a grey sabre-legged marble-topped table.

How could I resist a visit to Palacek, to see the newest additions to the Jeffery Alan Marks Collection? I missed seeing him at his book signing, but was able to take in his great styling, seen here. The thing he did so well with this line was to work with what Palacek does best- woven materials, textural woods, and rustic finish treatments. The pieces have a pared-down, casual California vibe. He added a darker wood finish this market.

Thibault, known first and foremost for their energetic color-infused preppy prints, has joined forces with my friends Oomph. The bright finishes of their mirrors, consoles and tables complement the comfortable upholstery and beds Thibaut has in their collection. It is a match made in color heaven.

I passed by Festoni, and they have made a feature vignette a signature. Here, blue and white artwork, grey and black upholstery is popped with bright pillows, a curvy metal coffee table and coral cushion on a  gilt bench tell their story.

 Mr. Brown has been into turquoise and orange the past few markets. This shade is just so uplifting. They had a great mix of materials, as always, and this Directoire-inspired chest of wood and metal won me over.

Vintage-influenced pieces are everywhere, and the white sideboard at Bungalow 5 gets down to details with graduated nailheads and round pulls on white linen.

Perfect for cabin and lodge decor, Currey and Company took things in a rustic direction with bark-covered pieces.


I also noticed another detail worth noting: peacocks. These winged creatures have become the It Bird, the preferred taxidermy to style with. I spotted the bird above is at Lee Industries.

He might like to know he has a friend across the street from Century over at Lee.