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High Point Furniture Market: April 2011

High Point Market this spring, while much smaller than previous years, had plenty to offer.  With showroom space more available, many new vendors are entering the marketplace at High Point, and we saw a large selection of antique and few-of-a-kind artist-produced pieces, as well as the usual manufactured lines.  There was a lot of focus on American made goods, which we really appreciated since we have always looked specifically for the Made in USA tag and it makes our job shopping so much easier.  It’s always fun to see what kind of gimmicks showrooms employ to entice buyers, from prizes to free cocktails and catered lunches.  I think they were more creative this year, as there seemed to be an abundance of very charming and extremely attractive British young people manning the showrooms – making me wonder if they were in fact models hired for the show! At any rate it made for a lively atmosphere, with an air of youthful energy that was a breath of fresh air after the last few difficult years.  In addition to catered lunches and cocktails, there were fun creative enticements too – at Cyan Design, cute young guys dressed in pink shirts and white jeans, manned a cotton candy machine at the entrance to the showroom.

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In the showrooms, glam looks are still going strong with accent pieces in mirrored in silver finishes.

Handcrafted items and unique artsy pieces had a strong showing, as consumers are seeking things that are timeless and personal, for an eclectic look in their home that won’t need redecorating in a few years.  There is a sense that the marketplace is moving beyond large trends into mini-trends and unique, boutique style merchandise. Quirky accessories bring personality to a space, such as this fun little turtle footstool:

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The Green movement has really hit its stride, with consumers being educated enough to demand greener goods and manufacturers responding with recycled, reclaimed and eco-friendly furnishings and fabrics.  We added a selection of organic cottons to our shop for slipcovers, and are sourcing eco-friendly fabrics that are produced with little or no pollution in the dye process, which is a big step for the industry and a welcome one.  Interior design fabrics feature nature themes such as abstract leaves, fossils and branches, and there were birds and flowers everywhere, often in large scale and bright colors.

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While furnishings made from reclaimed or found materials are not as refined because the natural imperfections in the wood are included, manufacturers have found creative ways to use wood that in the past would have been discarded – their beauty is apparent in these tables, made from reclaimed woods.  A dining table with a live edge (meaning following the original tree shape instead of being squared off) has a beautiful organic feeling.  And a large dining table made from an upside down tree root, with the root system supporting a glass top, is a magnificent way to appreciate nature indoors.

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We did have an opportunity to do some shopping at the fabric showrooms also, and were enamored of the large scale botanical prints and abstract nature images presented in a modern way:

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The color palette of bold jewel colors such as persimmon red, teal, aqua, yellow and lime was very strong, both in bright cottage tones and deep, Oriental rug colors, with rich teal blue velvets and silks adding a touch of Bohemian Chic.  In the neutral palette, Belgian Linen and Oatmeal tones were still going very strong – combined with French details, Coastal accents and painted furnishings, we see it as the Nouveau Shabby Chic of this generation:

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Indigos and denim blues are a continuing trend, along with the ethnic and Ikat fabrics that become more mainstream each season.  Customers in our shop are asking every day for navy and cobalt blue, and I think they are happy to see the return of this classic color used in a fresh way:

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Lastly, one of the things we really noticed was cushiness and comfort creeping back into home furnishings.  After so many years of hard edges, it’s nice to see some softness, which is easy to live with and definitely not a trendy look.  A big sofa with a chaise section is what’s selling at Posh Living right now, and we did see them on the showroom floors again:

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Of course, we encountered some things we just didn’t like – wall art made from molds of cow snouts? A huge rug made of used sweat socks? French side chairs with digitally printed photos of your dog? Some things have to be seen to be believed – but that’s what makes High Point Market an entertaining experience, and proves that there’s something there for just about anyone.

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Kerry Ann Dame is an interior designer and co-owner of Posh Living, an interior design, fabric and furniture shop in Surfside Beach, that specializes in slipcovers.  She can be reached at (843) 238-0078    Copyright 2011 Posh Living

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