November 27, 2013
It’s that time of year again . . . a time for wonderful gatherings of family and friends, centered around beautiful tablescapes that bring the season to life. It was a delight to recently connect with Debbie Huffman, both friend and fine linen expert, for her insight on what’s new in holiday table décor. As the owner of Dolce Dimora, located in Greensboro, Debbie has regularly provided Readers of North Carolina Design with up to date ideas for beautifully dressing tables and beds with fine linens from across the globe.
Images Courtesy of Dolce Dimora ©
Debbie notes that while classic table settings are always popular, there is a fresh new holiday look that even those who tend toward the traditional seem to be embracing. “We’re seeing a lot of glam this year,” she explains. “People are looking for a vintage Old Hollywood style, straight out of the recent Great Gatsby movie. A lot of subtle opulence, with gold and silver accents for just a bit of shine.”
Color is another fresh element in the mix this season. “People are favoring non-traditional colors like turquoise, teal, plums, and grays. These colors are very versatile and functional, as they transition well from Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year’s.” Debbie feels that plums in particular are a beautiful complement to traditional Thanksgiving décor, as they work wonderfully to offset the browns, golds, yellows and oranges that grace many tables each year.
For Christmas and New Year’s, Debbie favors balancing pops of color with white, while adding some gold and silver touches for a refined touch of elegance. She notes that there are many options for adding metallic accents this season, from table linens trimmed in gold and silver to dinnerware marbleized with genuine gold, silver and pewter.
Debbie also suggests a fresh take on the classic centerpiece. “Amaryllis and cyclamens are the traditional choices,” she affirms. “But I find that orchids add an exotic touch that’s really eye-catching, and fits into the glamorous theme.”
While the newer options are certainly lovely, there’s something to be said for the classics. “I just love a traditional red, green and white Christmas table,” Debbie notes. “And there are some really wonderful traditional pieces available right now.”
Whether you choose a traditional table or try something new this year, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season.
Click here to view the North Carolina Design Directory of quality professionals, artisans and retailers for all areas of the home.
November 25, 2013
Without a doubt, every great house starts with a great set of plans. I previously reported my excitement in being asked earlier this year to be a judge for the 2013 North Carolina’s Finest In Residential Design Competition. The “big reveal” of winners occurred during the recent quarterly meeting of the North Carolina Society of the American Institute of Building Design – and it was my pleasure to be invited. From traditional to contemporary styling and from urban destinations to mountain retreats as well as coastal and lakeside getaways, the entries covered the gamut.
The meeting was held at Smith Millworks in Lexington, NC. Everyone in attendance took an inspiring tour of their facility. The company is known for their custom mouldings and custom door jams and can create or match virtually anything. Oh, and they make some pretty nice doors also. No trip to Lexington would be complete without mouth watering barbecue. Much thanks to our hosts from Smith Millworks for delighting everyone’s taste buds.
As residential designer Kevin Holdridge handed out awards, he remarked about how outstanding the quality of the entries was – and I would definitely agree. The criteria by which each was judged included: objective difficulty, design solution, overall flow of design and curb appeal. Each project possessed challenging site conditions and a lengthy client wish list. If it was on water, the requisite for every room in the house was a view. No small feat.
I was pleased to meet many entrants in the competition. Both Pippin Home Designs from Mooresville and Mountainworks from Cashiers were multiple award winners. Pippin Home Designs also received the Best In Show Award from the judges. A few weeks ago I offered the readers of North Carolina Design a glimpse of many of these entries. It seems only right that I now share the identities of the firms responsible for designing these incredible homes. I must say congratulations to the winners and job well done to all the entrants. The work of each is exceptional.
Click here to view the North Carolina Design Directory of quality professionals, artisans and retailers for all areas of the home.
November 4, 2013
In late October, the Fall 2013 High Point Furniture Market came alive with an energy and excitement that interior designers and The Trade hadn’t seen in a long time. Charlotte interior designer, Anita Holland of Anita Holland Interiors checks in with us today, confirming the enthusiasm she saw and felt in the showrooms she visited. As she has for the past several Markets, Anita shares with North Carolina Design her impressions of the High Point Market, as only a designer can do.
Two full days and beautiful weather allowed us to take our time to absorb the vibrant and contagious energy, while exploring showrooms old and new. Highlights for this year’s Market were Hickory Chair, Visual Comfort, and Sherrill Furniture. All three destinations reinforced the design trend that I love at the moment – classic, timeless, and elegant traditional designs with beautiful detailing and finishes.
A visit to Hickory Chair is always a staple in my trip to the High Point Market. Two of my favorite designers, Alexa Hampton and Suzanne Kasler have outstanding collections for the company. Both take a fresh interpretation of classic shapes and antique reproductions.
The living room above by Alexa Hampton confirms how the designer is a master of mixing bold patterns and bright colors. I find that the geometric wall covering is the perfect unifying element and background in this room. The symmetry of the framed prints allows them to work well without being overbearing.
In the above dining room, also by Alexa Hampton, I really love how the designer juxtaposed the geometric print with floral chintz by Lee Jofa. Chintz is predicted to be making a comeback (words that I never thought I’d hear myself say). I used this exact same Lee Jofa chintz back in the late 1980’s. This revival of chintz works so well here because it is used selectively and mixed with the classic and colorful geometric pattern.
I find that every design element in Suzanne Kasler’s dining room speaks of understated elegance and grace. The brass details of the table are truly exquisite. The chair was inspired by a vintage modern chair and it is my favorite in the line. It is ultra comfortable and is suitable for dining or as an occasional chair. Detailed with nail heads, this chair looks good from every angle.
Design trends follow apparel trends, therefore it is only natural for us to see a return to classic, sophisticated design. (Fortunate for everyone, the saturated, abundant mix of patterns and overly scaled furniture was short lived.) Suzanne’s calm but playful bedroom has a tranquil and soothing atmosphere. It is an oasis for relaxing by the fire or settling into at the end of the day.
It’s said that lighting is the jewelry of design and I believe that Visual Comfort is the trend setter in the lighting industry today for chandeliers, lamps, and sconces. Wall sconces are extremely popular today, having moved out of the powder room and into formal and casual décor. From traditional to selections that are more contemporary in styling, I very much liked the presentation throughout the showroom.
While we saw the Spring Market trending with warm grays, the Fall Market was alive with the return of blue. The Mr. & Mrs. Howard Collection, which is brought to us by Sherrill Furniture is evidence of that. The blue, taupe and white of this sophisticated living room work well together – a space that easily seats six people around the beautiful carved mantle. Phoebe Howard has done well in creating an intimate and cozy atmosphere.
Who wouldn’t like this peaceful bedroom? The chamfered poster bed is striking and is available in different finishes. I very much like the size and scale of the posters, which fit the scale of the bed as well as the room. Blue once again makes an appearance in a handsome shade of navy in the decorative pillows and the bedding. The warm fruit tone of the bedside stands is a good choice in completing the inviting atmosphere, where the creamy white of the poster bed would not have achieved the same result.
I look forward to sharing details from the next Market about what is new and alive in the realm of design and home décor.
October 30, 2013
Last week, so much in North Carolina was abuzz with the Fall 2013 High Point Furniture Market. I know it was an exciting and busy week for my friends over at Hooker Furniture. I was delighted prior to the Market when Hooker Furniture asked for a guest blog from North Carolina Design. No problem, I said! I am thrilled to be posting today over on the Hooker Furniture Blog. Just click the link to them and check it out! Kitchens are my favorite room of the home, so it was a no brainer deciding what room the article would be about.
Images Courtesy of Southern Studio Interior Design, LLC ©
For design expertise, I turned to one of my favorite Raleigh interior designers – Vicky Serany, of Southern Studio Interior Design, LLC. Vicky wonderfully detailed her tips for designing a kitchen that will stay beautiful, elegant and functional for many years to come. Great advice and great images. It’s a must see (and read) for anyone who is inspired by kitchens the way I am, or is thinking about updating theirs any time soon.
Click here to view the North Carolina Design Directory of quality professionals, artisans and retailers for all areas of the home.
October 29, 2013
I’ve said before that my pulse does quicken when my email contains unseen images of home interiors and exteriors, just waiting for me to open them. A few weeks ago, it was visually like Christmas and my birthday all wrapped up in a bow together. My cup, or my email, runneth over. I’d been asked by Charlotte residential designer Kevin Holdridge to be a judge for the 2013 North Carolina’s Finest In Residential Design Competition. – an exciting first time competition put on by the North Carolina Society of the American Institute of Building Design . The entries he sent me were numerous and the quality was truly outstanding.
Each entrant shared details about the existing site conditions, client guidelines, design objectives, project difficulties and design solutions. There were several categories and identities were of course anonymous. It’s too bad that I can’t show you pictures of all the entries, but I thought that I would share several of them here on North Carolina Design. I hope you enjoy. Winners will be announced at the organization’s November meeting. After that, I will update these with the names of those responsible for the projects. This competition will continue as an annual event for the organization.
The dining room above has such nice architectural details. It is part of the first home pictured above which is situated on a golf course, but I know not where!
This family room is part of a home that is less that 3,000 square feet. The designer’s clients were European and asked for a contemporary feel to the home, much like they would experience in their native country.
This is a Cotswold styled guest cottage designed on a steep site and was constructed prior to the main house being built on the property. It has all the amenities – which is wonderful since this is where the client will be living until the main house is built! Small and lovely.
I like the rustic charm – inside and outside – of the mountain home in the two pictures above. My favorite room in any home is the kitchen – and this one is very upscale, but the wide plank boards with the rough hewn beams in the ceiling really take that mountain feel to the next level.
Here’s a view from inside and outside of this lake home. Great views from most every room were a must for this client, along with ample room for entertaining. I think the goals were achieved!
This house above just has a welcoming feeling about it. The client wanted a home that would function as a large house, but in as small a package as possible. No rambling feeling to this one. Just nice!
If one of these homes particularly attracts your eye, let us know which one, and why.
October 18, 2013
The High Point Furniture Market is upon us once again, and if you’re like me, you’re more than a little excited to see what wonderful things await us. Eddie Merrell, of E.F. Merrell Group, in High Point, has years of experience in the furniture industry, as well as a finger on the pulse of what’s new. North Carolina Design sat down with him to collect his thoughts on what’s in store for furniture this season.
Images Courtesy of E.F. Merrell Group ©
Eddie notes that we can definitely expect to see something fresh and new, for some interesting reasons. First is a closer connection between furniture and apparel design. “The furniture industry usually tracks behind the apparel industry,” he explains. “Lately it’s keeping a closer pace. We can expect to see a lot of whites, off-whites and soft blues and grays, as well as a lot of layering of textures and patterns, all reflective of what’s going on in apparel.”
Another reason to expect to see something new is an expected influx in new designers. “A lot of new names are beginning to surface,” he notes. “People who have been successful in other industries are bringing their talents to furniture design.”
Part of the changing furniture landscape is the changing lifestyles of homeowners. “People are choosing to live in smaller homes and townhouses, so the scale of furniture items is shrinking,” he explains. “When it comes to function, versatility has become a critical component in furniture design. We’ll likely be seeing a lot of single pieces that can be mixed together and used in multiple ways, as opposed to furniture sets.”
With style, the less-is-more theme continues. “People are tending toward a look that is classic — vintage reproductions with simpler, cleaner lines and no heavy carvings,” Eddie notes. “They’re also choosing items with a natural look and feel. I expect to see a lot of wood that’s not lacquered or heavily painted, so that you can really see and feel its natural characteristics. We’ll also be seeing inlays with natural, softer-looking elements like mother-of-pearl and eggshell, as well as the introduction of metallic elements.”
The furniture lines Eddie represents embody the style direction the furniture industry is taking. Alden Parkes, for example, features versatile, distinctive pieces with a vintage flair and a timeless quality. Meanwhile, Orient Express features casual furniture with a rich classic appeal, balanced by clean lines, natural wood finishes and textured oatmeal fabrics.
Whatever the High Point Furniture Market holds, it’s sure to be a great showing, and we look forward, along with Eddie, to seeing the amazing craftsmanship and artistry the new season brings.
October 14, 2013
It’s official. As I walked my dog, Macbeth, yesterday morning, I felt the first hint of a chill in the air. The coolness had me wistfully thinking that this would be the perfect time of year for a getaway to Western North Carolina. I’m a highly visual person, and the images my mind was conjuring up included scenic views as well as beautiful interiors. There are countless pictures on North Carolina Design, but when I think of an image, I tend to know who’s responsible for it. This mental mini vacation I took early yesterday morning in the Blue Ridge Mountains was courtesy of the Hendersonville interior design firm, Cheryl Smith Associates. It seems only right that I share the images that floated through my head, and perhaps a few others.
Images Courtesy of Cheryl Smith Associates ©
As I considered the leaves changing in the mountains and how beautiful it would be to take in this sight, the images above were the first ones that I thought of. In both of these pictures, the views are defining elements in the rooms. I believe that in the first room above, the architectural details such as the wood beams and the fireplace likely influenced Cheryl’s selection of fabrics and furnishings as she and her staff created a very warm and comfortable environment. What I like in the immediate image above is that they used the expanse of windows and their color selections to successfully bring the outside in. They made nature a part of their design.
When it comes to interior design in the mountains, the sign of an outstanding design firm is one that works to make the architectural details and exceptional craftsmanship truly stand out. Cheryl and her staff do exactly that. In the above picture, the movement in the fabric of the sofas works well with the arching details of the ceiling, just as the fireplace is nicely matched by the color of the two side chairs.
I recognize that the interiors of Cheryl Smith Associates properly reflect their mountain settings. I also like that the placement of quality artwork and client collections very often elevate the overall the design. In the dining room above, the landscape painting placed between the natural tree columns adds greater authenticity to the area. The living room, above, has an absolutely wonderful view, yet it is the painting over the fireplace and the cabinet containing the homeowner’s collection of artifacts that truly personalizes the space.
If you want a great view of the outdoors, then why not step outside? In my mind’s eye, that mini vacation I wish I had time to take would have lots of time spent relaxing on a porch. Whether I would be turned facing the mountains and the lake or turned toward a roaring fire with my feet up – either of these spaces shown above would be an excellent choice. I do appreciate Cheryl’s interior design efforts which allowed me to drift in thought … if I only had the time to take that vacation.
October 4, 2013
Has the moment for your dream kitchen arrived? Realizing your goals for storage, function, budget and overall design are just some of the reasons that working with a professional makes a lot of sense. Kitchen design is about far more than selecting cabinetry and countertops. Add in the coordination of the contractor, all the other materials involved in the project, and the process can quickly become overwhelming. For more than 30 years, Durham kitchen designer, Mary Liebhold, of The Kitchen Specialist has taken the stress out of the process while also helping her clients satisfy their needs from a functional and lifestyle perspective.
Images Courtesy of The Kitchen Specialist ©
What do all exceptional kitchen designers have in common? They possess a true talent and knack for thinking outside the box. From the ground up, indoors and outdoors, in traditional, contemporary and modern spaces, Mary will often move past the initial and most obvious idea as she achieves a design solution. While some spaces present interesting challenges, each environment must uniquely resonate with the personalities of her clients. What follows is a kitchen in which function and aesthetics rise to another level.
You know those people who you have an initial conversation with and it becomes immediately clear that they love what they do? Mary definitely falls into that group. In meeting with each client, Mary and her staff focus on the vision that they have for their kitchen. Creating that “dream kitchen” means uncovering the big picture as well as the smallest of details – things like the placement of lighting fixtures and the number of outlets. By coordinating all aspects of the project, they know that their clients can focus on other aspects of their lives.
One strong plus about the Research Triangle area is its ability to attract a wonderfully diverse population. It’s clear from the firm’s portfolio that they readily transition from classic traditional lines to contemporary as well as modern styles. As long as the area continues to grow, Mary and The Kitchen Specialist will continue to respond to their needs.
October 3, 2013
There’s no doubt that living rooms, family rooms and dens are the rooms we live in which convey a real sense of place. They have the ability to let us feel immediately at ease at the end of a long day and greet our guests with a warm welcome as they enter our homes. Each entry presented in our 2013 Living In Style Readers’ Choice Contest is a visual demonstration of outstanding creativity. As you have voted over the past month for your favorite room, you have wondered who was responsible for these spaces. North Carolina Design is delighted to reveal the remaining identities of the designers responsible for these beautiful interiors. Kudos to all who entered!
There’s Room For Us All
How to design a large living room? Asheville interior designers Sharon Allard and Talli Roberts of Allard & Roberts Interior Design definitely have the answer to that question. Known for their collaborative approach to design and their view of a home as a place of refuge and relaxation, these designers brought wonderful life, warmth, and definition to this open space. Their use of brick and reclaimed wood accents gives the whole room a cozy lived-in feel, balanced nicely by colorful modern artwork and sleek metal lamps. This room is part of a house that just recently garnered interior design awards from the North Carolina Home Builders Association as well as the Carolina Chapter of ASID. Congratulations ladies!
Images Courtesy of Allard & Roberts Interior Design, Inc. ©
Orchids In Bloom
Charlotte interior designer Anita Holland, of Anita Holland Interiors, has a passion for creating designs that have a fresh look and feel, but are richly enhanced with traditional and classic elements. In her entry, “Orchids in Bloom,” she creates a warm and inviting space enlivened by pops of gold and rust hues, which are balanced beautifully with soothing blues and greens. I personally love the painting above the mantel, and how it echoes the color and “movement” in the fireplace surround. I also adore the classic rug, and how it adds such a sense of grandeur to the space.
Images Courtesy of Anita Holland Interiors ©
Won’t You Sit Down
Greensboro interior designer Laura Redd, of Laura Redd Interiors, specializes in creating designs that are elegant, bold, and completely expressive of who her clients are as individuals. In her entry, “Won’t You Sit Down,” she creates a rich and inviting space abundant in color and warmth. Laura’s attention to detail is evident everywhere, from the exquisite woodwork to the strategically placed pops of color. The built-in cabinetry is a wonderful touch, adding both beauty and function to the space.
Images Courtesy of Laura Redd Interiors ©
The Accents Of Nature
Known for her timeless and beautiful designs, Vicky Serany, of Southern Studio Interior Design, showcases her wonderful ability to balance form and function in her entry, “The Accents of Nature.” This inviting space by the Raleigh interior designer evokes a sense of warmth and natural beauty, while being perfectly situated to enjoy a lovely view and great conversation by the fire. The beautiful artwork above the mantle blends seamlessly with the space, inviting you to imagine a pleasant walk through sunlit woods. Meanwhile, the rustic wall façade and rich wood accents further bring the outdoors in for a space that’s sublimely serene.
Image Courtesy of Southern Studio Interior Design ©
October 2, 2013
Creativity abounds in these living rooms, family rooms and dens. Like our Readers, I truly loved every entry in this year’s 2013 Living In Style Reader’s Choice Contest. You’ve seen the winner and runner up. Today, North Carolina Design is excited to reveal the identities of the first group of amazingly talented professionals behind the other rooms we have showcased throughout the past month. Our next article will feature the remaining outstanding designs. Enjoy!
For over 20 years, Winston-Salem interior designer June DeLugas, of June DeLugas Interiors, has brought her passion for organically incorporating patterns, textures and art into her designs. In her entry, “Pillow Talk,” she shows her love for traditional style with graceful built-in cabinetry that features beautifully detailed molding. Meanwhile, bold and colorful modern artwork adds life and color to the space. The best thing about this room is the seating—all of those plush and inviting pillows make the perfect cozy spot to enjoy the view.
Images Courtesy of June DeLugas Interiors ©
Blue Ridge Vista
Amy Connor Murphy, of ACM Design, and her Asheville interior design staff are well-known for crafting designs that are warm, homey, and reflective of the surrounding natural landscape. In this entry, “Blue Ridge Vista,” they use warm gold tones and rustic elements to add a cozy, inviting feel to a large space. They also beautifully and harmoniously bring the outdoors in with a spectacular stone fireplace and a majestic and richly colored wood panel ceiling, the scale of which perfectly complements the impressively high walls.
Images Courtesy of ACM Design ©
Blue Pops and Cool Comforts
Minta Bell, of Minta Bell Design Group, is dedicated to client-driven designs that are fresh, original, and pair perfectly with a home’s architectural design. The entry of the Chapel Hill designer, “Blue Pops and Cool Comforts,” reflects a cool tranquility enlivened by strategic strokes of color. Mellow creams, crisp whites and bursts of blue combine to create an atmosphere that’s both serene and stimulating. Meanwhile, clean lines and simple styling draw the eye to the wonderful detailing in the artwork, accessories and fireplace.
Images Courtesy of Minta Bell Design Group ©
Enlivened with Color
Always a fan of incorporating rich textures, vibrant colors, and elements that shine into her designs, Kitty McCammon of BlueRidge Design in Western NC brings us “Enlivened with Color,” a bold and beautiful design that wonderfully balances rich traditional elements with a fresh, contemporary feel. The tangerine wall color is a bold choice, but one that truly works, perfectly offsetting the crisp white of the trim, pillars, and fireplace. Some of the things I love best about this room include the gently arched entryways, the fabric selctions, and those spectacular windows.
Images Courtesy of BlueRidge Design ©
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