April 30, 2013

High Point: The Details

One of the things I notice are details. I love seeing that little bit of extra effort someone puts in to make a piece that much more special. The right detail can elevate a piece to something really special.

Here are some details I noticed.

From the Keno Brothers’ collection. The pattern of the piece continues inside the drawers.
From Theodore Alexander, the incredible details on this table with dozens of types of woods.

From Aerin Lauder, this wonderful, but tiny anemone with brilliants at the tip of each tentacle.

From the charming B. Viz, these extraordinary pillows with antique embroidery and applique. The Taj Mahal is embroidered in silver threads which have tarnished over the years.

From Hooker Furniture, the mock croc detail on this fabulous chair.
Again from Hooker, the strap handle in metal, on this dresser. They’re doing the most beautiful hardware on their pieces.

From Wesley Hall, the detailing on the arm of this sofa.

From Scalamandré, the custom Stubbs & Wooten loafers that company president Steven Stolman was wearing.

From Halo, the piano top covered with candlesticks that were part display and part merchandise (and which the fire marshall wouldn’t let them keep lit!)A couple more posts about High Point coming – at least one will be about the amazing floral displays in the showrooms.

High Point: The Major Trends

Because I am not in the design industry, I think that it’s fascinating to wander around High Point Furniture Market and see all of the new trends, well before they appear in your local furniture store. You start getting glimpses of some of these trends in the shelter magazines, and somehow, all of the furniture companies, fabric houses and others in the industry are on the same page. If you hover over the images, you can see which showroom the pieces are from (look all the way at the end of the string of numbers and letters). Here are some of the major trends I noticed:

Black and white.

Lots of lush shades of blue, from powder to peacock.

Bright cheerful colours like coral, lime green, pink and orange.

Gorgeous purples of every hue.

Tomorrow, I will show you some of the amazing details and incredible workmanship that I saw.

April 29, 2013

And They’re Off!

One of the abiding traditions around here is attending the steeplechase races during April. They’ve been happening since the 1800’s when landowners competed against each other to see whose horse was fastest. There are three major and historic races: My Lady’s Manor, the Grand National and the finale, the Maryland Hunt Cup. This is one of the toughest horse races in the world, taking place over a 4.5 mile course, with more than 20 timber fences. In the UK, they’ve changed to brush fences, but ours are still timber.

My mother went to the Hunt Cup, and her parents probably did as well. My siblings and I grew up attending the race, and it’s part of the fabric of living in Maryland. In the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, more than 40,000 people would attend the Hunt Cup, but they’ve scaled back the numbers a lot, and now about 4,000 attend. They sell more subscriber and patron passes, and fewer general admission passes. Tradition dictates that people dress up for the races, and there was plenty of Lilly Pulitzer, patch madras, Hermes and other horsey attire in evidence.

The men usually wear coats and ties, and the ladies wear dresses. It’s always fun to see who’s new to the game, as heels are not recommended on the rough turf and it’s better not to try too hard in the dress department.

We watched with great entertainment as one gal wearing six-inch wedges tried to navigate her way across the grounds, and finally gave up and took her shoes off, rather than risk a broken ankle.

Our friend Sam Robinson had an easel set up in the paddock and was painting the scenery. Sam does a great trade in paintings of the Green Spring and Worthington Valleys, where the race takes place. He’s got an eye for the horses and hounds!

Another big tradition is bringing along a huge tailgate picnic. Ours was anchored by a trophy awarded to my host’s father in the 1930’s, but the trophy dates from 1913.Hunt CupAll of the flowers came from their gardens, and included cherry and apple blossoms, lilacs, tulips and much more. The food was terrific as well, and everyone in our group pitched in with something. Even the tablecloth fit in with the equestrian theme.Of course, there were drinks, including the local specialty, a Southside. You can just see one of my little jam tarts on the left side of the picture. I made them with delicious Stonewall Kitchen jams. All of the others had big spreads as well, including this fabulous one!And of course, there was a horse race to be won!

Lots of jumps.

Beautiful countryside.

All in all, just a perfect day! Great friends, great food, perfect weather and a long tradition. Thanks!!!