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

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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.  

thibaut-showroom.jpg

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

hancock-and-moore-chair-detail.jpg

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! 

taracea-bar-cabinet-wood-inlay.jpg

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.

century-furniture-bar-chrome-details.jpg

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. 

bernhardt-bed-nightstands.jpg

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. 

table-factory-metal-detail

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! 

natural-curiosities.jpg

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.

henredon-sofa-back-detail
taylor-king-nailhead-detail

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.

 

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You Say "Couch" and I Say "Sofa"

It's the age old question. What is the proper term for that large upholstered piece of furniture in your living room or family room? Well, both are correct. A sofa or couch refers to a piece of furniture for seating two or more people. It has a bench-like shape, comes with or without arms, and is partially or entirely upholstered. "Couch" is more commonly used in North America, Australia and New Zealand, while "sofa" is mostly used in the U.K. and Ireland.

But, what are the different forms of sofa? There are loveseats, sectional sofas, divans, fainting couches, canapés and chaises. Now when you're out shopping for the perfect piece of furniture, you'll know what to call them. Here are examples of each of these.

Loveseat. A small couch specifically designed to only seat two, thus the "love" part of the word.

Sectional sofa. A larger upholstered piece created by combining multiple "sections" that join at an angle (most commonly at a 90 degree angle. This configuration is perfect for outfitting large entertainment rooms.

A Divan has a long history, originating in the Middle East (most specifically Persia and the Ottoman Empire). It is best defined as a seat formed by placing a mattress-like cushion along a wall and a number of pillows to lean against. A divan may or may not be raised up off the floor. The example below is absolutely beautiful - I see many a Saturday afternoon curled up with a good book and a cup of tea.

A Fainting Couch (first picture below) and the Chaise Longue (we incorrectly call them "chaise lounge" by the way) are very closely related. The difference is in the placement of arms and back structures. A chaise longue is really just a long chair. It may or may not have arms. In contemporary times, chaises are sometimes attached to sofas, making a sectional sofa with a chaise. The fainting couch was most popular in Victorian times when women because of their corsets would have to carefully lounge so as to not faint (or in case they felt they were going to faint because of a too-tight corset). 

The last two versions of a couch are Settees and Canapés. Think of a settee as a bench with arms and a back. A canapé is a sofa with an exposed wood frame, most often with intricate carved details.

Well, I hope that clarifies everything! So, next time you're looking for a new piece of furniture or you're at a friend's house, you can really impress them with your new found furniture terminology.

And, of course, if you need any help navigating the furniture of world and picking out the perfect piece, feel free to call JASON BALL interiors.

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What Does "Custom" Mean?

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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.

cooper-mountain-dining-room.jpg

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. 

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High Point - Gold Paradise

Twice a year ten of thousands of interior designers converge on the little sleepy town of High Point, North Carolina to attend the International Furniture Market or High Point Market. This year the design team from JASON BALL interiors made the trip across the country to see the latest and greatest furniture, lighting, accessories and lighting vendors are bringing to market. For an interior designer, it's like being a kid in a candy store! We spent 4 days walking miles each day looking through a hundred different show rooms (maybe more). There is a definite move in the furnishings industry away from the "rustic French" designs we've seen come out of the main furniture retailers over the past few years. Furnishings are trending to more refined and sophisticated with a wider range of finish options. Besides this overall move across the board, there are two big trends we saw this year (that we're really excited about) - gold and color. I'm saving color for the next blog entry, so stay tuned for that.

The current incarnation of gold is not the bright brass we saw in fixtures from the 1980s and 90s (think "builder's brass), but instead is a sumptuous gold color in fabrics, metal finishes and metallic paints. This gold tends more towards a true gold in the 24 karat vane. The gold sometimes appears in brushed, antiqued, painted finishes, gold leaf applied to glass or in rich velvety fabrics.

The JBi view on gold - it's beautiful and sophisticated when used in the correct ways, amounts and settings. Here are some our favorites examples of the new gold.

gold-fabric-by-Thom-Filicia-at-Vanguard
gold-fabric-by-Thom-Filicia-at-Vanguard
gold-mirror-and-lighting
gold-mirror-and-lighting
antiqued-gold-console-by Bernhardt
antiqued-gold-console-by Bernhardt
starburst-mirror-by-Bernhardt
starburst-mirror-by-Bernhardt
peacock-blue-chair-with-gold-finish
peacock-blue-chair-with-gold-finish
antique-gold-velvet-with-gold-accessories
antique-gold-velvet-with-gold-accessories
gold-lighting-and-accessories-by-Studio-A
gold-lighting-and-accessories-by-Studio-A
classic-gold-and-black-bookshelves
classic-gold-and-black-bookshelves
gold-accessories-by-Gold-Leaf
gold-accessories-by-Gold-Leaf

Are you daring enough to bring this "new" gold into your home?

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Designing The Perfect Basement Bar

It might possibly be every guy's dream to have a bar in his basement - a place he can call his own to hang out with friends and just enjoy life, away from everything else. The interior designers at JASON BALL interiors have been working on designing a bar as part of a full basement remodel. When first working with our client, he really only had in his mind he wanted something really cool, different than the rest of the house and artistic (he's a stone sculpture by trade). So began the design process of understanding and interpreting his personal aesthetic. During the course of design meetings the space evolved from a game room/wine bar to a full fledged bar with gaming table in the same space. To help us along the process, we came up with a conceptual theme to guide our design decisions - a "chic nightclub lounge in Rome". We want the space to be a complete amalgamation of old-world and contemporary, rustic with streamlined, high design with fun. More so than other rooms in a home, a basement bar is a destination room. It is allowed to feel distinctly different than other rooms in the house. And, why not? It's a bar - let's have some fun creating a unique experience for bar patrons. Here are guidelines we came up with during the design process to help us put together the prefect space.

A theme is not a bad thing. For most interior designers, we try to avoid being a "theme" designer. We want  to create classic, timeless spaces that will serve our clients for years. However, a bar is one room that working within a theme can be a fun and exciting challenge. In this example, the designers/architects created a wine bar fitting of the region. The nautical details are carried throughout the bar - some less subtle than others.

Design by Siemasko & Verbridge

Consider the function for the person serving drinks. There are certain amenities required to make a bar truly functional for the person behind the bar. A small refrigerator, a bar sink, an ice source (either a freezer or ice-maker) and sufficient storage. Having all these elements will not only make it easier for the "bartender," but also a better experience for everyone.

Construction by Stephens Fine Homes Ltd

Comfortable seating is key. This one is so easy to understand, but probably easily overlooked. A basement bar is a hangout and not too many people will hang out for hours sitting on some uncomfortable seating. Spend a little extra on quality seating and everyone will thank you.

Include other activities for a well-rounded experience. Billiards, a big-screen TV, game table, etc. all help make the bar experience feel more authentic. It gives visitors multiple activities to do while hanging out.

Design by Island Architects

A bar can fit anywhere. For homes limited on extra space, especially single-function space, build a bar in a cabinet that can be opened when needed and closed off when not in use.

Design by Gonyea Home and Remodeling

Corollary: A bar doesn't necessarily have to have a "bar." Not everyone will want to sit on bar stools to hang out. Why not build a bar more as a lounge. Four comfortable lounge chairs next to a beautiful bar cabinet creates a super chic setting.

Design by Joel Kelly Design

Creating a bar in your home creates a special space for entertaining your friends. If you keep all the above in mind as your designing your bar, everyone will want to hang out at your house so much that you might have to start charging people for drinks. Guess that wouldn't be a bad thing though.

The designers at JBi would love to help you design your perfect bar. We'll await the invitation.

 

 

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