Wows from High Point Spring 2014 Market

Between Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, I've been vicariously experiencing all of the excitement that's been generated this week at Spring Market in High Point, North Carolina. Many of my fellow interior designers and design bloggers have been converging there, style spotting new home furnishing products and partaking in the occasional (inside joke) party. What I'm seeing in their feeds is fabulous, and with their permission, I'm highlighting some of the items that are trend-worthy and will take the market by storm.

First and foremost, I am in love with the collection introduced by Mary McDonald (of Bravo TV's Million Dollar Decorators' fame) for Chaddock. Mary has a way of reinterpreting classic forms and motifs to make them current without exaggerating them. Her designs are balanced and refined. The pieces she introduced at market have all the makings of best sellers.


                                                              Photo courtesy of Traditional Home Magazine

I mean, look at this composition: a symmetrically-balanced furniture arrangement (and note the sabre legs on the chairs and coffee table) accented by the painted floor, the triglyph and metope frieze, and the large-scale contemporary painting as the focal point. Such a nod to classicism and yet so streamlined and elegant. The gray color palette allows you to focus on form, yet the bits of scarlet add graphic punch. If Chaddock couldn't sell this suite as is, nobody could.

Subtle details reveal the collection's homage to tradition. For example, the carved Greek Key in the frame of the upholstery, below left and the brass sabot furniture legs, below right. I love it all!


                                                                         Photos courtesy of Mary McDonald Inc.

Mary turns a simple occasional table, where you might rest a book, a drink or a cup of tea, into a beautiful, yet functional accent. Two tiers, brass and red leather. Bam.



                                                    Photo courtesy of Jeanne Chung of Cozy.Stylish.Chic

From what I observed, brass was the dominant metal shown at market. Some furnishings seemed straight from the 1980s, like this "Vega" coffee table with smoked glass top from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.


                                               Photo courtesy of Clara Haneberg of Traditional Home Magazine

Back then, brass and glass tables were ubiquitous, and I'm seeing some from Market that are too reminiscent of the 1980s vernacular. I prefer this Mustique table by Mr. & Mrs. Howard for Sherill Furniture in brushed brass and agate. Its lines are more complex and the contrast of stone and metal more interesting.


                                               Photo courtesy of Style Spotter Gary Inman via Pinterest

Combine brass with the classic Greek Key and you surely have a hit. This riveted brass coffee table by Bernhardt Furniture was a favorite of many at Market.


                                               Photo courtesy of Style Spotter Nicole Gibbons via Pinterest

I liked what I saw of new furniture forms at Market. This waterfall wicker console by Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair uses a novel material to represent a draped form.


                                                       Photo courtesy of Marisa Marcantonio of Stylebeat

The striking star base of this Cosima table by Celerie Kemble for Henredon makes this piece a great center table for a foyer. Made of mahogany with faux bone inlay, it has a commanding presence.


                                                  Photo courtesy of Style Spotter Haskell Harris via Pinterest

Wood turnings, particularly spool and bamboo motifs, remain prevalent. They make silhouettes of otherwise typical furnishings more sculptural and interesting. Take this adorable occasional table by Dunes and Duchess. Without the spool motif, it would be rather ordinary. 


                                                  Photo courtesy of Style Spotter Haskell Harris via Pinterest

In soft furnishings, details never disappoint. I love the folds added to the dressmaker skirt on this chair by Mariette Himes Gomez for Hickory Chair. So subtle and so elegant. They add drama and interest to an otherwise simple piece .


                                                              Photo courtesy of Hickory Chair via Pinterest

This Thibaut bed was a favorite of many. I adore the pagoda canopy and would love to use it in a bedroom design. The bamboo detail on the headboard, so representative of chinoiserie, is proof that this style is so versatile and will always remain a favorite in residential design.


                                                                     Photo courtesy of Thibaut via Instagram


2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show Finds


The delight for me in attending shows like ICFF, Wanted, and the MADE section at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show is seeing the artisanship of studio furniture makers. What they do with wood is astounding. I have a latent desire to learn carpentry: I love power tools and I love making things, and wood working is an area that I haven't tapped . . .  Yet. (I'll let you in on a little secret: someday I want to take the carpentry program at the North Benet Street School in Boston and then continue on to its Cabinet and Furniture Making program). In the meantime, I'll just continue to marvel at the wooden wonders that others create.

At the MADE section of last month's AD Home Design Show -- the section that showcases the work of artists and designers of limited editions and one-of-a-kind creations -- wood furnishings were without question the show stoppers. I'm highlighting my favorites, and as you'll see, the variety of technique and design was enough to satisfy many tastes and styles.

The work of Paul J. Draine of PJD Woodworks made me think: Eames molded plywood chairs on steroids. The Eames revolutionized furniture by developing technology to create molded plywood seating. Watch the slideshow on PJD Woodworks' website of how Paul creates his 3-1/2 Leg Chair and you'll see a twist on that technology. Paul's work pays homage to wood's organic shapes and character. It's remarkable that he has been a furniture maker for just a few short years and is completely self-taught.

At left, PJD Woodworks 3-1/2 Leg Chair.
















At right, Barstool in cherry.

















Similarly organic in technique was the work of Daniel Oates of Daniel Oates Furniture and dbO Home. Daniel, a classically trained artist and sculptor, began designing furniture as props to showcase his wife's ceramics. Taking cues from wood's character and his sculptural sensibilities, Daniel's designs evolve organically. This live-edge sideboard of Ambrosia maple was a standout.                  

When I saw the work of Virginia Blanchard at the show, I thought I was looking at antiques. Her work has such classical references to Art Nouveau and Art Deco that I thought surely they were reproductions, if not downright antiques. This screen, displayed at the show, incorporates the sinuous curves and elemental forms emblematic of Art Nouveau furnishings.


                                                                         Photo courtesy of Virginia Blanchard

I loved this Art Deco-style stool Virginia displayed. How perfect in a master bedroom at the foot of the bed.


Completely opposite in style but as finely crafted was the work of Ethan Abramson. Committed to environmentally-conscious production, Ethan crafts his pieces of eco-forested woods and applies hand-rubbed all natural finishes. What Ethan's pieces lack in pizzazz, they make up in functionality. His Plateau Table, below, reminded me of telephone tables of the 1940s -- designed for function but equally suited for decoration. I actually couldn't photograph Ethan's table at the show because a neighboring vendor was using it to display printed materials.


                                                                           Photo courtesy of Ethan Abramson


2014 Architectural Digest Home Design Show Finds 


If you're redesigning your kitchen with the latest in appliance technology, you would have found last week's Architectural Digest Home Design Show a fount of information. If I were solely a kitchen designer, I would have too. But being more a designer of all residential spaces (among others too), it was disappointing to see a less broad array of home furnishings.

Luckily there was the MADE section which allows artists and craftspeople of unique works to showcase their wares. What an amazing display! But first, some of the finds from the main show floor.

Always a fan of Biedermeier furniture, I was excited to discover Gaisbauer Furniture from Austria. A family enterprise since 1888, Gaisbauer executes finely-crafted wood and upholstered furniture based on traditional Biedermeier style.

The early Biedermeier period produced furniture of lighter woods and simpler lines than the more ornate styles in mahogany that preceded it. Coinciding with Regency in Britain and Empire in France, this style, of all European traditions, appeals to my modern sensibilities and marries well with a variety of styles and tastes. Note the similarity between Gaisbauer's walnut desk with silver feet (below left) and Barbara Barry's Dressing Table for Baker (below right). I wonder where she found her inspiration? The fluting gives this Gaisbauer desk such graceful lines.



                                          Photo of Barbara Barry Dressing Table courtesy of Baker Furniture

Simple yet sinuous is this Gaisbauer blossom-back chair in the foreground below. With the sofa behind, it brings sculptural silhouettes to offset boxy conventional 4-walled rooms.


Speaking with Hannes Gaisbauer of the Gainsbauer Furniture family at the show, I was surprised to learn that the lead time on their orders is six weeks. And that's shipping from Austria! Truly remarkable.

Turning to more contemporary designs, Ligne Roset displayed their Cineline table. Great for smaller spaces, it has two fold-down leaves that store vertically, thus halving its surface area. The table could also be positioned against a wall as a desk making it multi-functional for apartment living. Adding to its versatility, Cineline comes in a variety of stain and lacquer finishes.

In lighting, treasures were to be found in the Made section of the show. But I caught up with one vendor I saw at the AD Show two years ago, O'Lampia. I loved the way they took a chandelier and turned it into a quirky wall sconce.


In a different vein, Koket displayed this curvy "Chloe" wall sconce. Shown in gilded bronze, it also comes in gold, silver and pewter finishes.


                                                  Close-up photo of Koket Chloe sconce courtesy of Koket


Coinciding with the AD Show is DIFFA's Dining by Design, a display of dining spaces by celebrated members of the design industry to raise funds for organizations that fight HIV/AIDS. The displays are magnificent and many bloggers post them who focus on lifestyle subjects. I just want to highlight the Kravet display, designed by Diane Von Furstenberg. The display launched Diane's new line of textiles for Kravet. This cheerful, colorful collection in bold geometric patterns and girlie floral prints is fantastic. I'm hoping that Kravet takes its cue and produces these prints for indoor/outdoor use.


Stay tuned for AD Show Part 2 which will focus on finds from the MADE section.


On the Road Again

Blogging has taken a back seat to work lately. As a designer who also blogs, that's the way it should be. But, like many bloggers, I always feel behind. This week my excuse is that I'm traveling. It's the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York. I went two years ago, and there was so much new product to see. Having missed it last year, I didn't want to miss it another year.

So stay tuned. There should be great stuff to feature here in the weeks ahead.


Put Spring in your Step

Temperatures hit 62 degrees Tuesday -- a welcome respite from the sub-freezing temperatures we've been having all winter here in the Boston area. Most of us have just had it, except for the skiiers, who may be the only folks who are celebrating this winter. I wore short-sleeves Tuesday, sans winter coat, simply because I could.

With the warmer temperatures Tuesday came a taste of spring at the Boston Design Center (where I do most of my sourcing) with the arrival of the fabulous design duo, Tilton Fenwick, and the introduction of their eponymous fabric line for Duralee. Suysel DePedro Cunningham and Anne Foster, the team behind Tilton Fenwick, joined Erin Gates, a designer and author of the popular blog, Elements of Style, in an informal presentation to a sold-out audience. The topic was using social media to elevate your brand, a technique Suysel and Anne have harnessed, AND mastered, to catapult their design firm to national prominence in the four short years since its inception. A lovely brunch followed, hosted by the Duralee showroom, to showcase their new Tilton Fenwick fabric line.

If you want a taste of spring, go no further than this fabulous fabric collection. It's filled with lovely florals, paisleys and stripes in spring shades like lemon, coral, sea green and lapis. Anne and Sysel worked with Duralee's creative team, re-interpreting document and statement prints in today's colorways. The line is a total reflection of the pair's aesthetic which is part traditional, part vintage and part contemporary.

I'm working on a dining room now with hunter green walls and ivory wainscoting that my clients previously furnished with dark Arts and Crafts-style furniture. I'm looking for fabrics for window treatments and seat cushions that will brighten the room and provide a counterpoint to the austere furniture, yet harmonize with Arts and Crafts style. Some of Tilton Fenwick's fabrics fit the bill!

At left is the Anne and Suysel's first creation, Rocat, a lovely floral in a vertical pattern that allows portions of the fabric to be used as a border. I've paired it with Soskin, a textured fabric, that I'd use for slip seats on the dining room chairs.











At right is another beautiful all-over floral called Sissy paired with Barlow, a sturdy upholstery fabric. Either of these combos would make this otherwise somber dining room feel spring-like all year round.

To see more of Tilton Fenwick's fabrics for Duralee, click here. To see more of Titlon Fenwick's designs, go to their Pinterest page or click here.