Sunday, October 21, 2012


Notice the title above says Day 4, Part I. That's because this is a huge marketplace, and Cabana Home Buyers probably cover more than the average furniture store owner or Interior Designer, by far. So today is focused on our appointments at Baker Furniture, Bolier & Company, an interesting find at Artitalia, and of course, Worst in Show. Photo below, the entrance court to the Baker Showroom in High Point, NC.

First, a Color Forecast Update: Light purples and I mean every shade of it from the palest lilac to berry pinks continue to dominate this falls color story. Baker Furniture had a version of this paint called Tempest by Benjamin Moore—have a look at it!


 Thomas Pheasant used what looks like a darker shade of Tempest on his Kent Sofa which was at the Entry of the Baker showroom.


For showrooms that didn’t have product in the new color shades, they used lighting and fixtures to convey their hipness.


Another color also began to show itself: Emerald Green (more on that later).


Today we started out with our annual appointment with one of the major Cabana Home suppliers, Baker Furniture. This venerable firm, never disappoints with spectacular collections and new introductions created by their stable of designers, Thomas Pheasant, William Sofield, Laura Kirar, and of course the most charming and talented, Barbara Barry. The largest new collection, 60 pieces, introduced this year is by Thomas Pheasant, the Washington, D.C., based Interior and furniture designer.


Pheasant’s work is rather contemporary, references the past without copying it, in almost an art deco way. Thomas Pheasant calls his reference, moving forward, not retro. I have to agree.  Some of the new intros were just a finish change, say from Brass to Polished Nickel, especially on his (and ours) bestselling occasional tables.


Where other designers in the marketplace are just starting to show leather or parchment clad furniture, Pheasant has been showing it for a few years now. Photo below, Parchment is inset in the Thomas Pheasant Dining table tops.

Other favorites are the new Modernist style Patricia Chaise, the textured metal on his tables, lighting, and cabinetry and even on his occasional chairs.


The Patricia Sofa and Chaise lounge, above

Pheasant slipped an suede upholstered and tufted Ottoman under his cast bronze Cocktail table, above.

In the Entry Hall at the Baker showroom, Thomas Pheasants Center Table with Bronze finished brass top, and Brass trimmed chandelier.

My favorite new chair is the Athens Chair, shown in both wood stain and in the Cameo painted finish. I see the chair as a Klismos style chair, Elle Deco Magazine refers to it as Greek inspired, though I’d always understood Klismos to be Egyptian. Pheasant found it in an antique shop in Italy….go figure.




I also loved the new Bevel Chair, made with beveled wood detailing around its barrel back. It reminds me of the coffered ceiling in the dome above the David in theAccademia in Florence, above.

The faceted Amanda Light in hand cut crystal with forged bronze link chain, is a wonderful smaller hanging light, above. 

I’m not sure I get the pieces Pheasant does that have floral details in bas relief which appeared on several of his new casegood pieces.

Loved the Arcade Table, with limestone top, which is great in either stained or Cameo finish. In an interview with Architectural Digest Magazine, Thomas Pheasant told them that the table was, “inspired from a panel on the bronze doors of the baptistery across from the Duomo in Florence.”  



Nostalgia reigned, with the reintroduction of several early Baker furniture pieces:  McGuire (now owned by Baker) showed a vintage Lacquered Rattan Officers chair design with cowhide seat and back.


The 1950's expandable Butlers Table, below

The 1960s Paul Tuttle Friso Bench.


Baker put a new twist on its impressive, though stodgy, Stately Homes Collection: Set it up on white marble floors; add contemporary art and sculpture, Italian cast bronze lighting and a zebra rug and pow! Stately Homes never looked so cool!


Design Idea: In a Laura Kirar Dining room setting in the Baker showroom, the walls were painted a lilac tinged in blue/grey, with yellow upholstered dining chairs and white hand painted (actually splatter painted) linen curtains! The curtains were cool, and something you can do with your own curtains when you’re ready to ditch them!
I also liked a French style chair by Barbara Barry upholstered with the stripes running horizontally.

Next we toured the new collection at BOLIER & COMPANY, a company owned by a former Baker Furniture President, who himself was the person who hired Bakers first celebrity interior designer as a furniture designer, Barbara Barry.

The BOLIER line is much more contemporary in style, exercising restraint in their every detail of their furniture styling. The stunning statement in understatement, the Bolier Showroom, above.


We loved their two new Slipper chairs styles, one a straight back and the other a curved back. Both of them have exquisite wood detailing inset into their fabric back and sides, shown above.


We also loved the anniversary edition of the Rosenau Estate Chair in burled wood, which we bought for Cabana Home the minute we laid our eyes on it. Show above.

Bolier’s classic cocktail table built of quartered oak, the Domicile Arch Coffee Table, is now offered in two sizes and in an additional finish, Grey Cerused Oak finish, shown below.

Lastly, we spotted a great looking Dining table, with a live edge, at Artitalia Group. Typically this group is known for heavier, more formal traditional Italian and European inspired furnishings, so this is a huge departure for them, and a great one at that! A huge slab of French walnut is left with its natural spilt and is butterflied with wood to make it a solid piece.



Worst in Show: Several candidates in todays lined up today!
First there is the “Sign Waver”, and attempt to make a bombshell mannequin with bleached blond hair/wig, dressed in tight clothes to sit outside your store or on a busy corner. This mannequin is motorized and waves your sign back and forth… your mom would be so proud!

Next was from the Italian Moroso line, which makes the Diesel Furniture Collection (yes, from that Diesel fashion house). Perhaps they should stick to clothing, because this was beyond interesting: A sofa named Mr. Softy, in a jacquard weave fabric depicting a photorealistic tromp l’oeil scene of ancient Roman ruins. 

This was only half our day, so look for Day 4, Part II.


Goodnight moon.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Here’s a photo of the daily chaos we're a part of each morning in front of the International Home Furnishings Mart building in High Point, NC. I just thought you should see the action!


Rugs, rugs, everywhere! The two most important categories at this show are the Ikat patterns (Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye), and Flat Weave rugs (flat weaves are typically wool and made on a loom, and includes Soumak, Kilim, and Duhrie styles).

The Ikat’s (shown above) were mostly in bright colors with elaborate tribal or ethnic patterns generally over scaled in size.
The flat weaves were sometimes in brights but we prefered the more muted tones with simple geometric and striped patterns. The most shown pattern was a chevron pattern. Both categories were dominant in the marketplace.

Purple Reign? Yes purple reigns and all shades of it soft (cool) and hard (warm), and reigned supreme yes it did. A color board for the color purple, below.

Sunflower Yellow was a close second, virtually tied with soft greys. The same colors were present in soft goods (throw pillows, throws, top of bed linens, hassocks), tabletop accessories, and furniture. A color board for the color Butrer Yellow, below.

I mentioned hassocks, which Wikipedia defines as, “a piece of furniture used as a footstool or low seat, distinguished from a stool by being completely covered in cloth so that no legs are visible”. And hassocks were aplenty throughout the marketplace. We saw them in every conceivable cover and style. We saw them detailed with oversized whip-stitched details, covered in cowhides and rugs, and even in knitted covers, knitted with oversized yarns.


And speaking of oversized yarns, several rug vendors showed very large scaled yarns in large patterns, making for unusually large textured rugs, shown below. 

Cabana Home buyers were invited by some of the larger rug manufacturers/wholesalers to review their lines (to hear their spiels), including SURYA and LOLOI. A sales representative of SURYA stated that they sell $80 million a year in rugs at wholesale, and maintain a stock of rugs valued at $30 million. That’s one heck of a lot of rugs! The showroom window of the SURYA Rug showroom, below.

Switching gears, we had some fun at the Genesee River Trading Company, who specialized in antique and vintage camp decorative crafts and rugs. The owner, a colorful and charming hostess bedecked in all things turquoise, shared her vast knowledge and specialty in “Old Order Amish” furniture and crafts.
She had more than one full size canoe in her booth, including a museum quality, full size spilt-bark canoe with decorative carved detailing and old tar covered seams. There was also a fully restored 1940’s Old Town Canoe from Maine built on a traditional cedar form with cane seats, hanging above the entrance to her booth.

Lighting trends included lath turned wood, metal and blown glass. COUTURE lighting, a newcomer at the High Point Show, offered highly polished wood that resembled porcelain, in fresh shapes, topped with very interesting “double tiered” shades. 
Another company specialized in hugely over scaled lamp bases in a copper patina finish, and burlap shade.
We loved a pair of brass “dog” lamps, a cross between Jonathan Adler’s ceramic dogs and the “Balloon Dogs” of artist Jeff Koons.  See all of these table lamps and more at Cabana Home stores starting at the end of October.

The Mexico based company Pol Art, offered up Grandfather Clocks and bookcases in the shape of classic furniture pieces, whereby the voids appear to be the solid and the solids appear to be the void.

Seating was as interesting today as yesterday. A woven cane chair was made interesting with spilt bamboo trim on its base. Another chair with a “stripped” finish made from reclaimed teak was in the mid-century style.
A noteworthy bench at Lexington was a shapely pair clad in leather with nail-head detailing and contoured reclaimed wood seats, pictured below. 

The highlight of this show for me was our meeting with the famed furniture building family of Alfonso Marina. This Mexico City based company is considered by many of the most important professional interior designers to be the crafters of the world’s best made furniture. After touring their High Point Showroom, I absolutely agree.
Above: My favorite piece was the smallest piece we purchased, a highly detailed table top chest detailed in bone, tortoise shell and carved ebonized wood.     
We first worked with the furniture, not the firm, through their former United States distributor based in Los Angeles. A distributor is a layer between the manufacturer and the retailer, and the opportunity to intimately know the furniture maker can be blurred. Now there is no longer a distributor between the company and the retailer, and we are thrilled to be working directly with the Alfonso Marina Company.
We were greeted warmly soon after our arrival by Carlos Marina of the renowned family of ebanista’s (Spanish for cabinet makers). He was lovely in his enthusiasm in presenting his family’s furniture, explaining how it’s made, how the inlay pieces are cut and applied, even how the hardware is poured and blacksmithed. The pieces are so authentically designed and finished. What appear to be centuries old patinas are made in their factories by skilled craftsman who have handed down their trade skills from one generation to the next.
The furniture line is expensive, but now that we are able to work directly with the manufacturer, we expect to be able to offer our customers Alfonso Marina furniture for as much as 60% less than we were able to offer it to them a few years ago. We are excited to have Alfonso Marina back at Cabana Home.
Cabana Home stores sell a lot of small tables and our team of Buyers was not disappointed in what we found here. We bought this set of Gold leaf-finished Nesting Tables with coral shagreen inlay top, picutred below.

A Klismos style round table with marble top and steel base, pictured below.
Worst in Show: Wasn’t going to do this today, but couldn’t resist!
A gargantuan wing chair large of for your biggest nightmare:
The worst of the worst:
The Life Chest booth, a company who manufacturers the box to house your personal remains after cremation, and the memento’s from your life. The elaborate wooden box shown was open and featured a photographed of Marilyn Monroe in the attached photo frame, the same place your pic will be if someone buys this treasure chest for you. Creepy!!
All for today. Join me tomorrow for the fourth day of the High Point Furniture Market.


Goodnight moon.