The Traditions design team – Casey, Sarah, and myself – just spent the last 5 days in the furniture capital of the country. In High Point, we visited many showrooms and met with representatives from our current suppliers as well as potential new ones. There was so much to see and do in those 5 days we left with that elated-but-exhausted feeling. When having such a rich experience, you start to identify common themes and by the end you’re able to make sense of what just occurred. So here’s what I saw, from the Traditions Interiors and Accessories’ point of view.
Furniture styles are in transition. It seemed as if the major manufacturers of casegoods were still doing it all. There was a wide range of styles on display, from Traditional to Mid-Century Modern, from rustic to painted. Some buyers may have opted to get a sampling of everything, but for us it made sense to continue to bring back pieces that will fit in either a traditional environment or update to a transitional look.
Accessorizing should take on a “less is more” attitude. Plenty of the 90′s look was still prevalent – glazed plates, Asian influenced urns and vases – which wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. We look for and buy accessories as if we’re trying to find as many good answers as we can to questions like, “What should be in the center of the dining room table? How should a mantel be decorated? What can you use on a console? How do you make a bookcase look updated?” We scoured each showroom looking for anything unusual but practical. We found some beautiful blown glass bowls and platters, lovely teak organic objects, painted buckets, and sculptures that on their own can make a big statement.
At the same time, a layered look is also good. This isn’t contradictory to the “less is more” philosophy, because a proper layering approach is focused and is meant to tell a design story. There’s a photo on Mark Phelps’ design website that is a good example of layering. If you look, there’s a chest that displays a collection of blue and white accessories.
It takes time to gain a high level of design acumen. At market this year, Casey and Sarah were spot on when it came to what looked good. This isn’t just having knowledge of design styles and techniques, but having a depth of knowledge and proven ability in selecting the right items to fit a store’s offering, to serve a client’s particular taste or to expand their own unique styles. Witnessing this helped me further realize how talented these two designers are.