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custom furniture

Designer Notebook: High Point 2015, part 1 - Details Abound


Designer Notebook: High Point 2015, part 1 - Details Abound

Twice a year, tens of thousands of interior designers and home decor store owners descend upon the small, sleepy town of High Point, North Carolina for High Point Market. The event brings together more than 2,000 exhibitors across 180 buildings in one location. It's a designer's dream! For me and JBi, this is an opportunity to see the latest products from the top manufacturers in the home product industry. I'm looking for new furniture, lighting, accessory and art I can use to put together great rooms for my clients.

While attending a trade show can certainly be fun with numerous parties and meeting leaders in the industry sounds, it's also a ton of work. On average, I'll visit 100 or more showrooms over a 5 day time period - that's 20 or more showrooms per day. It's a lot of walking, talking, sitting (trying out all the furniture from trusted and new manufacturers so I can be assured the highest quality for my clients) and learning about all these products.

And, yes, there are certainly some great moments. This year I had the privilege of meeting Gary Inman, a distinguished designer in the resort and hospitality arena. He gave a great talk on the Art of Collecting (look for something on this topic in later post). Previous years gave me the opportunity to meet Thom Filicia and Barclay Butera, two amazing designers and founders of great brands of products I use on a regular basis.

So, back to Market. Each year, I look for a common thread in the products manufacturers are showing. A few years ago, in the midst of the recession, I noticed that furniture had a distinctly simple feel. Manufacturers had simplified their profiles and used more reclaimed materials. Everything appeared very modest, even for the higher end manufacturers. As the economy continues to improve and the furnishings industry is seeing a great rebound, manufacturers are starting to be bold again in their design choices with an increased use of patterns and finer details in casegoods. I believe these trends will continue for a years to come as the industry continues to bounce back and homeowners want to fill their homes with the finer things in life.

In this room by Thibaut, the wallpaper and chair fabrics  (three different ones, by the way) fill the room with color and pattern. I saw this over and over in manufacturers of all levels and types of products.  


This beautiful use of ribbon by Hancock & Moore is another example of details done the right way. 


Over and over, casegoods are moving away from the overly simple and rustic look to a more refined aesthetic with beautiful details. Taracea's small bar cabinet is created using wood inlays in a houndstooth pattern. A contemporary use of the inlay technique and simply stunning! 


Another example of detail in casegood by Century Furniture shows a bar with stunning chrome details as metal inlays and other details on the base.


And, Bernhardt, one of my favorites, dare not be left out of the game with this stunning aged brass bed and lacquered capiz shell nightstands. 


Even the live edge movement is getting into the groove. This maple table by The Table Factory has a metal zipper detail down the middle that would be the talk of any dinner party or gathering around this table. 


Even art is getting into the game. These screen prints of geodes by Natural Curiosities are highlighted with gold leaf details that make them shine! Literally! 


Upholstered furniture is seeing an increased use in details as well. These two pieces, one by Henredon and one by Taylor King, show the level of detail possible with upholstered furniture.


So, where does this leave us? Well, I believe in a good place. Designers have more and more great products from which to choose and homeowners will likely start desiring an increased use of details in their own homes. That sets us all up for some great design to come down the road in the coming years. 

And, of course, if you're ready to start bringing some extra detail to your home, you know who to call (that would be me, right?!) - go to this page to get started redesigning your home.



What Does "Custom" Mean?


What Does "Custom" Mean?

When you hear the word "custom furniture," what do you immediately think? I bet the first thought drifts above your head in a thought bubble and is either a cash register making a cha-ching sound or is just a bunch of dollar signs. The second thought might be either "expensive" or "I can't afford it."  Was I right?

For interior designers, custom means something completely different. When we specify something custom for a project, we are simply using something in our design that is made to fit the needs or requirements of our clients (that's the official dictionary definition by the way). Using custom pieces in our designs allows us to create rooms that unique to our clients - no two rooms should look the same since no two clients are the same. Isn't that why someone hires a designer in the first place? To create a room that isn't the same as their neighbor's? So, let's talk about the different types of "custom" to help dispel any misconceptions.

Their frame, your fabric (or finish). If you go into a furniture store and purchase something off the floor (just as you see it), you are not buying a custom piece of furniture. However, if you order the furniture with a different fabric, then you officially are buying custom furniture. Most upholstered furniture purchased these days fits in this category. Even many of the popular online retail websites allow for customization like this. Additionally, many designers work with manufacturers that allow for customization beyond just the fabric selection. We have the ability to change the finish color on legs or even entire pieces (like dining tables, etc.). This most basic level of customization gives you so many options from which to put together the perfect look.

Different fabrics selected for the inside and outside of the two chairs for a unique look

Different fabrics selected for the inside and outside of the two chairs for a unique look

Their frame, your fabric, your size. The next level of customization is a little more rare, but still available. And, again, this is something to which designers have access, but rarely consumers. Sometimes we might need a piece of furniture to be longer, shorter, taller, etc. The modifications always start with a manufacturer's frame style and are then altered to our specifications. 

Something completely new just for you. For any interior designer, this is where real design happens. The ability to design a piece of furniture and have it produced for a client is an extremely rewarding experience. And, this isn't just reserved to furniture. Custom lighting, commissioned artwork, one-of-a-kind custom rugs all provide us the opportunity to truly personalize a space for our clients. 

The nook table and sunroom sofa were both designed by JBi and made locally for truly unique pieces

The nook table and sunroom sofa were both designed by JBi and made locally for truly unique pieces

The big question now is what does all this mean for your decorating budget. In reality, the first level of customization is well within the reach of most people who either purchasing mid-level quality furniture or have hired an interior designer. There are distinct cost implications for the second and third levels. However, if custom pieces are mixed in with "off the shelf" pieces, you can still achieve a look unique to your particular style. The room below is a great example. The table, chairs and sideboard are all "off the shelf" pieces. But, combined with original artwork and you have a truly unique room.


The big take away - custom doesn't have to be scary or expensive. It just gives you (or your designer) an opportunity to put together a room that is you - all you. 



Before & After - Remodeling A Traditional Home


We all love the Before & After pics of projects. They show what is possible with a space. The story of this one is simple. A couple with school-aged children contacting JASON BALL interiors to update their new home - what they are considering their dream home. The project included completely remodeling the kitchen, opening up a wall between the kitchen and family room for a great room feel, redoing a fireplace in the family room, and new furniture in the living and dining rooms. Because the home is more traditional in nature, we wanted to keep the large brush strokes also more traditional. Contemporary touches were brought in through wall coverings, lighting, fabrics and accessories. The resulting design aesthetic is a perfect marriage of the two styles. Living room - As you can see from the "before" picture, there is nothing structurally wrong with the living room. All it really needed was a fresh coat of paint and new furnishings. The JBi team brought in a nice mix of transitional and contemporary styles for a more collected feel. Accessories range from Phoenician glass pieces to found architectural objects. The mix adds age where appropriate. Fabrics used throughout are neutral based but with bold patterns and textures. The two chairs have an elegant gate work fabric for the outside of the pieces with a mink-colored velvet on the inside for true comfort. A couple of contemporary lights flank the seating area and fireplace.



Dining room - While the "before" picture is set up for staging the home, it is again clear that there is nothing inherently wrong with the space. The JBi designers presented to the clients a bold wall covering for added drama in the space. The black, silver and taupe wall covering from Wolf-Gordon added the necessary drama and provided a perfect backdrop to the clients' colorful art trio. The overall styling is clean, simple and again focuses on the broad strokes of color and texture. An antique granite trough on the table brings in a hard stone element to balance out the softness of the space. There's one small detail to make note of. If you look carefully in the doorway that leads to the kitchen, you'll see another door. That small half-bath was directly off the dining room (a very awkward location). To help improve the flow of the spaces, we converted the bathroom to a wine closet, with access from the kitchen. We also changed the door leading into the kitchen to just an opening with the appropriate millwork to fit the rest of the home.



Kitchen - More so than the other rooms, the kitchen of this home had some more serious deficiencies. The layout of the kitchen cut it off from the rest of the room and felt under-sized given the home's grandness. The design team focused on two main elements: flow and style. We wanted to the space to feel contemporary, but with an old-world aesthetic. A beautifully set herringbone floor, traditional backsplash pattern and "stucco" treatment on the range hood canopy all add to the design. By opening up the space, we were able to bring in a nice-sized kitchen table for family meals. Besides the flow within the room, we also opened up the space between the kitchen and the adjoining family room. This small architectural change creates more of a "great room" feel, but without completely changing the traditional flow of the home.





More than anything, these clients wanted their new home to be a reflection of their personal styles, molded by international travel and importance of family, while respecting the traditional nature of the home. Goal accomplished!

About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.




Major Motif - Playing with Pattern on Your Sofa

bold pattern

Okay, let's talk pattern. We're not talking some soft, barely noticeable pattern, but something bold and daring. Open up any furniture catalog or peruse home design websites, it's difficult to find good examples of sofas with strong patterned fabrics. Are we afraid of pattern on larger pieces of furniture? Is it too much commitment or too bold for most homeowners? The lack of examples is most likely caused my some combination of these reasons. I know for my own furniture, it was important to have pieces that "would go with anything" or "would last a long time." But, where's the risk? Where's the leap of faith to get a really great and eye-catching design. Bold pattern doesn't have to be scary. It just has to be done correctly, with forethought on everything else that's going on in the room. Put too much pattern in the same room and it can be overwhelming. As interior designers, we want to create environments that are beautifully put together and work for the lifestyle of our clients. Here's how to work with bold patterns on the largest piece in your room and make it look like a million bucks!

Work within a theme. Any good be beachy has to have some ticking stripe, somewhere. While the sofa doesn't have the boldest pattern in the room, it is a good example of how to use pattern on the largest piece. The tones are softer with an almost washed out look. And, it sits on top of and next to other bold patterns in the room. It's all just the perfect combination.

  Pattern as central feature. This room really works from an interior design perspective because the simple, yet bold pattern is the central design element with any real color. All other pieces in the room focus on shape and texture over pattern. This combination helps keep all the pieces in harmony with one another.

  Bold and monochromatic. First off, most rooms couldn't handle a piece this large. That's what makes this use of patterned fabric even more of a feat. Secondly, the pattern on such a large piece doesn't feel overbearing at all. This room is about subtle changes in tone, all within a natural and subdued palette. Greens and creams are the basis of the design scheme, with espresso stained wood tones adding the real punch.

  Use pattern strategically. Out of all these rooms, this room speaks most to the interior designers at JBi. There is something about the mixing of eras (old world with modern and contemporary design thrown in there) and the bold use of color and patterns that really makes this room sing. It's the use of the suzani print on the backside of these modern chaise lounges to turn these pieces from furniture into art. It's also coincidence that we just designed a similar piece for a JBi client - different fabric, different furniture, but just as fabulous!

  It's your turn now. What pattern would you want to use on a sofa or chaise in your own home? And, most importantly, what's keeping you from taking that step out of the expected to something extraordinary?



Designer's Notebook - A Before & After Case Study

Like the general public, interior designers get just as excited about "before & after" pictures, especially when they're from one of our own projects. It's rewarding to look back at where we started on a project and where we ended up. Today's design world is inundated with websites and magazines showing beautiful, glossy photos of extravagant interiors, but usually just the "after" pictures. Seeing what a space looked like before the remodel, re-decoration, re-furnishing really shows how interior designers put together a space. Well, the designers at JBi want to give you a sneak peek into our design process. We've talked about this project previously (here) showing our design boards and install day when all the furniture arrived. Now, some months later, the custom drapery is all installed, accessories are placed and the rooms are complete. More than anything, we are excited about the interior design of this home. Our clients approached us because they wanted a family friendly space, filled with comfortable furniture, textures and color. The design needed longevity and flexibility to change down the road, if necessary. We aimed for a timeless, classic look, focusing on rich colors, interesting textures and classic furniture shapes.

before picture of dining room

dining room design focuses on textures and statement pieces

portland interior designers show after picture of new dining room

before picture of living room

living room design with new furniture, candle wall and custom drapery

Stacked stone used as backdrop for candle wall


To be honest, our favorite part of this project is the chaise and candle wall combination. There is something so special about that corner of these rooms. The contrast between the stone and elegant fabric, and the romantic intention behind the design is an element we hope to replicate (in different ways, of course). So, what is your favorite design element in these two rooms?


About JASON BALL interiors. We are a team of interior designers based in Portland, Oregon serving residential clients throughout Oregon and Washington and beyond. To see examples of our design work, visit the Portfolio page. For an evaluation of your upcoming projects, contact Jason Ball at (503) 267-2352 or via e-mail at We look forward to being your interior design team.