Last week I attended the High Point furniture market. This is essentially fashion week to the interior design world. In addition to going to market for my own projects, I was selected by Esteem Media to cover the Design Bloggers Tour, where sixteen showrooms sponsored 10 of us to check out what their new line has to offer. (Think of New York fashion week where the coveted place to sit is front row.)
For three days we got front row seats to view new manufacturers, up and coming manufacturers, and well-established manufacturers who showcased the best the industry has to offer. These front row seats gave us direct access to the people behind the brand, everyone from the CEO, to the factory workers who assemble the goods. And putting faces to the brand helps to better understand the passion, the blood, sweat and tears, and shows their drive to put out the best product for you the consumer. That part was truly awe-inspiring. Something not available to those who simply walk into a furniture store a plop down on a sofa amongst many.
On our first day of the tour we visited five showrooms. And as we visited each space I found myself pulling pieces from each space to create a rad bohemian vibe for a curated look. Here’s my top pieces from each space.
5 furniture pieces to help you create a curated home
- The first showroom we visited was Kenian home. Coming from California, this line has all the right moves. I love creating a mixed look, and rattan furniture is exactly the way to do it in a fun way. It adds texture and color to any space and can instantly add that unexpected wow factor – which is perfect for a sitting room, dining room or guest bedroom.
2. Next up we headed over to Vaughn-Basset. Now I’ll be honest, this wasn’t a line I would have normally considered for my projects. As an interior designer I deemed it more middle America, and not a look I’d be interested in for my high end clients. But you must check out their new collection, Artisan and Post. Like me I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! It’s a totally custom line that’s made right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A! Plus a company after my own heart, it’s sustainable. With their custom options, you choose the style, finish and hardware to get a look all your own; which is perfect for that collected home.
And another fun fact, they have created their own boxes for the line and made them white – to indicate that these items are special and should be handled with care. Love that! Also, stay tuned as HBO is making a movie starring Tom Hanks called Factory Man that chronicles the life and story of the Basset furniture company. Cool right?
3) After enjoying a lovely handmade cappuccino from the Vaughn-Basset showroom we headed over to the Berhardt showroom. This is where all the ooooh’s and ahhhhhh’s start. Bernhardt is definitely one of my favorite furniture lines. They create quality furniture that has “that” look. You know, the look of high style and sophistication that says an adult lives here and has great taste. Full of cool ideas, this showroom lent itself to tons of inspiration. And no matter your style preference they have a look that will whet your design palette. One of my favorite pieces was this jet set side piece shown below. Without a doubt this will up level any home and give you a terrific high style look. And I love mixing high style pieces with more casual to get that curated over time look.
Bernhart definitely has a vibe to it, don’t you think? And it’s all about the details. Look at the metal trim on the chair above, or the amazing hardware on the chest below.
And how about this great vignette with burnt orange shown below? I think this would look great with the artisan and post bed above from Vaughn-basset and the kick-ass rattan chairs from Kenian Home in a black or cream color. Love the mix!
This vignette was a little too traditional for my taste, but I loved the mix of accessories, gallery wall and colors. Great beach house look.
4) So when I first got into interior design I worked for a very high end design showroom in Northern California. They carried lines that were family owned and made with incredible detail. One of those lines was Hurtado. They are a line out of Spain that I know a lot of people have not heard of. In fact, in this day and age of mass produced, homogenous design, a skill set such as marquetry is almost lost on today’s consumer. But once you walk into the Hurtado showroom it’s clear the level of quality, craftsmanship and care that goes into each piece.
For example, this tea cart, which I would make into a bar cart would mix beautifully with our curated home. It’s funky yet sophisticated, and let me tell you, you haven’t seen quality until you’ve seen a Hurtado piece in person. The craftsmanship is impeccable – so much so that the average consumer, who’s accustomed to poor quality as the every day standard, would be pleasantly delighted at how beautiful and unique each piece is and how well all the moving parts work with ease.
The table above and the console below are examples of marquetry. Delicately laid veneer to create beautiful patterns and designs, this is all done by hand and it’s beautiful in person. Photos don’t nearly do it justice. But something like the cart above would mix beautifully into our curated home.
5) Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better we ended our first day at Ambella Home. I thoroughly enjoyed their new look. Ten years ago when I worked at the high end showroom in California we sold Ambella. It was heavily carved furniture that was perfect for the Mediterranean look that was so popular at the time, but not popular now. Fast forward to now where the trend is all about transitional – a modern updated mix of traditional looks with softer lines – and Ambella has nailed it. Their look is fresh, fun and on trend. Plus a fun fact that many people don’t know, is that George Moussa the president of Ambella, helped keep the number one cushion maker in Highpoint by buying the company and keeping the jobs local. A company that’s made in the U.S.A, and has heart is yet another thing you wouldn’t know just by sitting on a random sofa in a showroom. One of my favorite things about Ambella was the color, and the amazing style with sexy lines – perfect for a curated home.
Trend alert! Something I saw all over highpoint, Big-Ass-Hardware! And why wouldn’t you embellish it and play it up? It’s gorgeous!
Yet another trend alert! GOLD! It’s back and better than ever. Based on the curated home we’ve been building, this console above or this amazing bench below would certainly add to our collected and stylish look, don’t you agree?
Some more Big-Ass-Hardware. This piece would be perfect as a side piece in a living room, entryway or nightstand. And you can’t tell me that it wouldn’t give you instant wow factor!
When creating your curated look here’s my top 5 ways to achieve it:
- Choose pieces you love, first and foremost, never choose by price
- Even though certain trends are hot, don’t choose items based solely on that. Choose for their beauty and functionality for your lifestyle
- Always choose items with color. Color is imperative to our well-being
- Choose items with incredible lines – it gives the room sex appeal!
- Choose items of quality even if it takes longer to save up. You’ll appreciate it more and get exactly what you want
So there you have it. When it comes to creating a curated look the goal is to make it look collected over time, or handed down and not rushed. That signifies care and thought has gone into each piece. A curated home is one that stands the test of time. Quality will always surpass cost, and there are no excuses for cheaply made, ill-fated furniture and accessories. It’s become an epidemic in our culture to have a disposable mentality towards furnishings. But those cheap items are made poorly, are often crooked, eat through bulbs, have mites, off gas into your home and a whole slew of other outcomes. Choose American made when possible, and if you collect with care, you’ll have your items for decades and it will look smashing!