While I always enjoy going to the High Point Furniture Market, the world’s largest home furnishings trade show, I’ve never enjoyed it more than this year! I normally go each fall. I had never been in the spring. However, I was selected as one of 10 design influencers and had the distinct honor of participating in the Design Influencers Tour. We had a whirlwind tour of showrooms over a two-day period. I loved collaborating with my fellow influencers and picking the best of market to share with you. So, here we go!
We started out bright and early with breakfast and a warm welcome from the High Point Market Authority. Within minutes we were at the beautiful Theodore Alexander showroom. This one was certainly a favorite of mine and I am so impressed by how they have honored their traditional roots while adding plenty of transitional and modern options.
Of special interest was their Catalina Collection. It had clean lines, nice details like cane backing and comes in a lighter and a darker finish – Dune and Earth. (Love those names!) Shown directly above is a beautiful dining set in Dune. What a fresh look this creates. It could work in so many different spaces.
I also loved this bed. I think the rounded trim detail on the base is so clever. It really updates the upholstered bed look. This was a lovely vignette. I liked the relaxed, neutral bedding with the bright bed scarf at the foot of the bed. Also, notice how beautifully the grain matches up on the nightstand on the right. It’s like a work of art!
I marveled at the glorious Althorp Living History Collection that is a collaboration between Theodore Alexander and Lord Spencer, ninth Earl Spencer and brother of Princess Diana. We were honored to have Lord Spencer with us, and he shared his favorite pieces and stories about the collection. Many of the pieces were very formal with George III, Sheraton and Louis XVI styling. However, a more casual piece, the Washington Chest, dates from circa 1650. The story was that the Washington family lived on the estate at some point and this blanket chest was in their cottage.
When I came down from my thrill of meeting a royal, I was able to concentrate on the great work Crypton does. You may recall that we are big fans of performance fabrics at Pamela Hope Designs! We like to specify them for many of our clients and are thrilled with the growing line of durable and cleanable fabrics for our projects. (See also “Low-Maintenance Décor”.)
We saw Crypton at many of our showroom visits, including Theodore Alexander, Fairfield Chair Company, Wesley Hall and Cisco Home. These manufacturers feature various styles, which indicates how well Crypton covers the need for performance fabrics for furniture of all kinds.
Here are some photos of when we watched the Crypton rep scribble highlighter all over a swatch and then use a mix of detergent and water to make it disappear. What was really cool is that the entire stain lifted off and transferred directly to the paper towel used to blot it. Wow!
Our next stop was Hooker Furniture, a brand we are quite familiar with at PHD. I’ve owned a few Hooker pieces over the years myself. We find that Hooker’s wide range of styles and design, good availability and attractive price points make them a great option for many of our clients.
Hooker Furniture had some new collections to note. The first, Big Sky (shown here), displayed earthy, rugged style with clean lines that makes it easily adaptable to today’s family homes. With special details on hard finishes, like a furrowed bark panel serving as the back on a dining chair or a charred timber finish on an armoire (yes, we saw armoires again!), the pieces had lots of texture and warm, woody details.
Below on the left is a close-up of the Hooker charred timber finish on the inside of the armoire. This reminded me of the crackle glazes that were popular when I first started my design career in the early 2000s.
Another new collection is Santorini. This celebrates a Greek Isle aesthetic with classical Grecian carvings, coastal details and soft finishes like Villa, White Cap and Ocean Breeze. Hooker is paying special attention to hardware, making it interesting and intentional. This translates into a metal finish named Oxidized Coin for the Santorini Collection. You can see the elegant details in the pulls on these chests.
We saw a lot of nice, leather furniture at Hooker and we’ve often bought leather sofas from Hooker for clients. I thought the twisted leather detail on the below sofa added a nice twist – literally and figuratively! Look at the close-up photo of the leather trim detail on the Hooker William Stationary Sofa.
I had spent some quality time at Hubbardton Forge the day before the tour so it was nice to go back and get the scoop on what’s new. We like to look at Hubbardton Forge when selecting lighting for clients. I’m ever impressed with their attention to detail and proud Made in America culture. They delight in partnering with American craftsmen as shown on this wall in the showroom. Many of their special features, such as a piece of leather on a fixture, were created through these partnerships.
Their finishes take on a softer, hand-rubbed glow and represented well in sterling, modern brass and black. There’s a lot less shine here that lets the light glow brightly. One of the things we discussed was how to make light bars and vanity lighting more innovative. I think Hubbardton Forge did just that with the Olympus Collection. The glass globes seem to float amongst the forged circles and you can mount many of the fixtures vertically or horizontally.
Look how fresh and hip the lights below look when used together in a woodsy bathroom design!
Jaipur Living was our lunch stop. They had a groovy little café in the back and catering at High Point was excellent. As you may recall, we are crazy about rugs at Pamela Hope Designs. I make it a point to visit the major rug showrooms like Jaipur every time I come to market. This year I enjoyed a special tour and learning lots of insights.
Jaipur is a trendy and colorful showroom full of happy vibes. Our visit was no different. We enjoyed the many rug collections, seeing so many layered rug options. Of special interest was Jaipur’s back story. I learned that Jaipur has championed the cause of women, providing labor they could do at or near their homes while watching their children and tending to their families. They also advocated for paying wages in markers, or when portions of the rug were complete rather than just paying for the weaving at the end. Since some rugs take a long time to weave, being paid in increments is much better for these women. An amazing 85 percent of the weavers for Jaipur are women.
They also have a special program where weavers have complete artistic freedom to design their own one-of-a-kind handmade rugs. These can be quite colorful and playful. In this photo, I am standing in front a few that were displayed at Jaipur.
This next photo shows one of the original rugs, along with the story of the woman who wove it.
There were also lots of great options for layering more colorful rugs over neutrals. Below on the left, these rugs could be combined nicely. Any of these would be pretty with the rug (below right) beneath them. This provides a rich, comfortable look in any room!
After lunch and the nice tour of Jaipur Living, we headed down to Fairfield Chair. I remembered this company as being lively. We learned that they are also using lots of Crypton fabric for beauty and durability. They said that senior living facilities are now 70 percent of their market, which definitely explains why performance fabrics would be a must.
This pretty chair was front and center when we entered the showroom. I loved the preppy blue and white striped cushion and the detailing on the back.
I also liked this pretty chair in a fun but subtle animal print in…you guessed it…Crypton!
We met designer Libby Langdon, who is so full of pep! She gave use some fun decorating hints that anyone can use. Here are two of my favorites:
1.) For a little extra punch, set your dining with pretty place settings even when not in use. People love seeing a well-set table. It’s so welcoming.
2.) For a quick punch, reupholster a bench. They are fun, easy, inexpensive to cover and can be moved around the house.
Here’s a photo of Libby speaking to us in a room full of her furnishings.
Our next stop was Wesley Hall. I hadn’t visited this showroom much in the past and I was really happy to be there. It was probably, front to back, the prettiest of all the showrooms I saw at market. I loved the different styles but enjoyed the feel that they were all quite livable.
Some key notes about Wesley Hall include that they are the longest lineage of North Carolina upholsterers. In a furniture town like High Point, those are bragging rights! They were also an early adopter of performance fabrics, thus, we found lots of Crypton there!
They stated seeing a resurgence of classical design in some markets. We saw a lot of natural and earthy elements in many of their designs. Although I haven’t brought it up much yet in this post, the color at market was GREEN and there was lovely use of it at Wesley Hall. Here are a few examples of green upholstery:
The Talia Swivel Chair at Wesley Hall looks great in this lively tropical print with leopards on an olive background!
The following room may be my favorite!
Another of my favorites was this next room. Wesley Hall deemed the chaises the 30-year marriage layout. It allows a couple to relax together while really having their own spaces. That said, I found it a delightful alternative to the standard sofa or pair of recliners that so many couples select. I also loved the long, narrow table between the chaises. That provided lots of space for lounging necessities like a drink, your phone, your glasses, the remote…
Our last stop was at the ever-so-chic Eichholz, a Dutch brand that’s compared to the RH of Europe. Eichholz boasts 85 percent levels in stock in the United States and 100 percent stocked in Holland.
I enjoyed this visit since I had seen the showroom but didn’t have a deep knowledge of the company. Eichholz is environmentally focused and believes people’s design preferences are inspired by their time off. To that end, you see a lot of modern yet comfortable styles, many similar to yacht design.
Oooohhh! Hello, comfort! I’m thrilled to find modern furniture that is comfortable as well! This poufy swivel chair looks inviting! It combines great looks with maximum relaxation.
Eichholtz is grounded in neutrals, even in the art. I liked the below grouping of coral prints. They look fresh in black and white rather than the traditional, coastal hues.
Eichholtz also has dramatic lighting and offers sconces to coordinate with many of its chandeliers. They champion using, multiple fixtures for added drama. This Wall Lamp Benini (below at left) and companion chandelier is a glamorous combination.
As shown below, coupling three of the Benini chandeliers unfolds a stunning look for a living space!
We ended our tour in the beautiful garden behind the Eichholtz showroom. We enjoyed drinks, bites and discussing our great finds. The spring weather was glorious and it was a fitting end to a fabulous day of design!
Wow! I can’t believe we accomplished so much in just one day! In the next week or so I’ll share all that we discovered on day two so please check back soon.