• Small Business Saturday! How do you Celebrate Local Designers?

    Small Business Saturday! How do you Celebrate Local Designers?

    In the afterglow of Thanksgiving arrives the madness of holiday shopping frenzies. Big box stores like Best Buy and Walmart have black Friday (dare we recall the horror stores of years past), and online retailers like Amazon have Cyber Monday deals with offers like free shipping. For the past two years, following American Express’s hugely successful original campaign, small businesses have Small Business Saturday. Call us biased (we are!) but we think it’s the best of the three. Because it’s in the immediate wake of Thanksgiving and looking toward the winter holidays, we really feel it’s the event that most relates to the spirit of the holidays; that is: giving back to our communities and reaching out with open arms and hearts. While we understand that Small Business Saturday is commercially, not charitably, motivated it’s still a way to participate in the betterment of your community. Small businesses have long been the backbone of the American economy and the birthplace of the American dream. And think about it, all you have to do is shop! Small businesses typically offer small batch goods–ensuring you’re getting something well-made and sometimes locally sourced (certainly so in our case!). So you’ve got nothing to lose! Get out there and support small businesses on Saturday. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing you!

    Below we’ve posted a few images of recent custom work–all of our custom furniture is made in North Carolina using the best local natural resources, and of course, is made by the most skilled local craftsmen.

    Like what you see? Check out our services and come have a chat with us this Saturday! 

  • Choosing the Upholstery Fabric to Suit your Lifestyle

    Choosing the Upholstery Fabric to Suit your Lifestyle

    When we talk about upholstery and reupholstery projects, we typically focus on the aesthetic effect–we want it to look good. But it’s also really important to consider how you’re using that piece of furniture, and how your lifestyle might affect its appearance and longevity. So by all means begin with what appeals to you visually, then consider how it might work in your home.

    These are the three lifestyle factors I think everyone should consider when choosing fabric for upholstery:

    1. Kids. Children are wonderful…and messy! It’s really no fun to have to ban children (or anyone for that matter ;) from using a particular piece of furniture in the home. So it’s probably wise to avoid: white or very light colored fabrics (as these will show every spill and smear of dirt), and delicate fabrics like many silks and suedes (these don’t do well with even small spills or oils–from sweaty basketball gear or post-snack fingers–because they don’t like soap or water, thus making a tiny little blot-up job nearly impossible.
    2. Pets. Let’s face it, regardless of how much we’d like to keep our pets off of our furniture, our constant companions have a way of earning their spot on our couches as easily as they won a spot in our hearts. They’re messy too! Even if you have indoor cats who aren’t tracking in mud from outside, they will still shed all over your lovely furniture! Dogs can be rough and tumble. In addition to dragging in dirt and muck from outside, they have a tendency to inadvertently scratch as they leap on and off of furniture. To avoid the pet hair issue, choose a fabric in the similar color to your pet’s coat. To avoid the wear and tear of larger pets, choose a durable fabric–some wools are great, as are (surprisingly) heavyweight leathers, and heavyweight woven textiles are often the best of all.
    3. The Room’s Function. It’s important to understand how you’re going to use the room when choosing a suitable fabric for upholstery. If you live in a home of only adults without pets, and you’ll be using the room for quiet, messless activities, then you’re just about free to choose whatever fabrics you want (though I do warn against certain fabrics like dyed leathers and silks that spend a lot of time in direct sunlight). But if it’s a room where you might snack in front of the TV, or a place where you do art projects, or entertain guests with wine, then maybe you’ll consider choosing your upholstery fabric carefully. I often think patterns are a great way to hide small stains or blemishes (and many textiles do well when spot cleaned carefully) so they’re versatile for all kinds of upholstery needs.

    Considering your lifestyle when choosing upholstery isn’t meant to limit your options, but better understand how to make the piece as beautiful and functional as possible. Below is a small sample of recent upholstery work that we’ve done. Many are patterned, as you’ll notice;) We’re also thrilled to be carrying a whole new line of Laura Kirar fabrics, too. Feel free to post questions, fabric inquiries, or feedback in the comment field below. We’d love to hear from you!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Why Upholstery?

    Why Upholstery?

    We’re a fabric and custom furniture store, so we’re upholstery enthusiasts by nature. We’re proud to spend so much of our time transforming furniture to suit the needs and aesthetics of ourselves and our customers. There are so many reasons to love upholstery. Here are just a few reasons why we think upholstery is the lifeblood of personalized interior design:

    1. The easiest way to achieve a personal touch in your furniture is through fabric. Of course there are tons of variations in design and structure for each piece of (non upholstered) furniture, but the easiest way to personalize furniture is to have it custom upholstered. Upholstery adds color and texture to decor, and the fabric possibilities are just about endless. You can make an assertive statement with bold patterns (above) , or you can go with a neutral color in swanky fabric (below) for a versatile and luxurious look. You can vary texture  (linen, raw silk, cowhide, suede, heavy cottons), and ultimately, you can change your mind down the line. While we recommend upholstery that you’ll want for a very long time–get high quality, durable fabric and use an upholsterer who knows what he/she is doing  (ahem!)–there’s no reason you can’t change as much or as little as you want.

    2. Upholstery adds COMFORT to your decor. It doesn’t really matter if something looks good in your home if it isn’t functional or comfortable. And there’s nothing like adding layers of cushion and fabric to a hardwood piece of furniture to make it more comfortable. Upholstery also works to protect furniture and ensure its longevity. Again, there’s nothing like adding layers of cushion and fabric to making sure furniture doesn’t get scratched, worn, or scarred.

    A craftsman in our Lenoir facility lays the foundation for a custom upholstery job.

    3. Upholstery creates interesting profiles and shapes to your home decor. If un-upholstered furniture is a tree in winter without its leaves, upholstered furniture is that same tree in full foliage. Touches like decorative nailhead trim (below) and buttoning can change the line of a piece of furniture to make it a much more dynamic player in your home’s interior design. Upholstery can soften hard edges and bolster the piece’s size for an impressive profile.

    What do you love about upholstery? Include links, success stories, pics, dream pieces in the comment field below! And for those of you who don’t already know, we’re having a huge sale right now, so we might be able to make your upholstery dreams come true! Visit the home page for details.

  • Helpful Tips if you’re Considering an Interior Design Change for your Home

    We see it all the time: you know you want to make a change in your home, but you’re not sure where to start. Interior design changes–whether that be redesigning an entire room, or looking for a custom piece of furniture or window treatments–can make a big impact on your life. If you’re uncertain or unprepared, the impact can sometimes be negative (the cost ends up too high, the design process disrupts your daily life too much, and you feel out of control in terms of the results). If you know where to start and how to manage the process effectively, then the impact will be (as it should be) positive–you’ll feel more comfortable in your own space, and the design will reflect your personal aesthetic. We asked our designers to compile some helpful tips and answers to some of their most frequently encountered issues.

     

    1. When you’re just beginning the process, how do you decide what you want and need out of a redesign? 
      Take a look at your current space and decide what you think will make it more functional for your particular needs. I think it’s important to think of function first. You’re living in the space, so think first about function then about style (color, patterns, etc.). You’ll often find that functionality will make certain demands on aesthetics. So think about your needs, then about your wants.
    We recently redesigned a living room to accomodate a new baby. They needed more space so we removed a sofa and replaced it with two chairs (easier to move in and out to accommodate play space, but still enough seating for everyone). So that handled the need. To update the room for fall, we changed the color scheme through pillows. We added reds, browns, greens, and golds. It was completely transformed.
    If you don’t know what your wants are, stick to your needs. If you’re going to be hiring a designer, they can help you discover your wants and you’ll have helped them narrow so much down simply by knowing what you need the space for functionally.
    2. How do you best research what you might want/need out of a redesign? 
        Depending on what you determine you’d like to redesign you may want to consider which aesthetic changes have the best resale or profit of return for your investment. Many bathroom and kitchen renovations tend to have the best profit of return. I would try to keep things neutral to appeal to any buyer in the event you’d ever like to sell your home so the change  doesn’t tie any potential buyers down to a particular color or theme. Similarly, if you’re not planning on selling your home ever, neutral, or at least classic, changes are best because they stand the test of time. I think just looking at tons and tons of options is the best way to determine what you might want. What you need, again, should be determined by what you use your room most for. If you’re an avid cook, you’ve got to make sure that your kitchen functions perfectly before you make any aesthetic decisions. As far as where to start, anywhere you’re inspired! Check out your friends’ places, check out design blogs (like this one;) and Pinterest. An image can really help solidify your design ideas, so it’s great place to jump off from.
    3. How to do determine the right price range for yourself?
        Don’t be afraid to do your due diligence. I would always recommend getting a couple quotes from different vendors and ask for references. Look at your budget and see what makes the most sense. I would have the vendors quote the best case scenario (meaning all the bells and whistles), then back off of that if price is a factor once you determine what your particular priorities are.
    4. How to decide who/what firm/designers you’re working with?
        I would say the best type of advertising is word of mouth. If you know someone who recommends a praticular person then you can look at what they’ve done in their house and build from that. Otherwise I would check out Angie’s list to get references and opinions of others.
    5. When is a good time to redesign? 
        Most people want things done before the holidays when they entertain the most company. That being said, depending on the extensiveness of the project,  I would say July is great for the plan-aheaders, and no later than September for the last-minute deciders out there.
    6. What should I expect during the redesign process? Do you have any advice for minimizing disruption in your life/home? 
        As always, planning ahead is best. During a summer vacation or when you don’t have too much going on in terms of entertaining. Keep in mind that sometimes it depends on when designers and vendors are available.  Try to give yourself and the contractors time. Nothing good comes out of rushing!
    If you have any further questions about starting a redesign project in your home that you’d like our designers to answer, feel free to ask away in the comment field below!
    (image source: http://www.ehow.com/info_8141855_elements-design-process.html)
  • Is DIY Killing Interior Design?

    In the past five years, there’s been a proliferation of DIYers. Spurred by the economic landslide, people have found numerous ways to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and do things for themselves–improving the look of their homes is no exception. Websites like Etsy and Apartment Therapy have championed these efforts. They not only show people how to do it and where to get it, but they inspire people to take design and redesign into their own hands, and even the mainstreamers, like Home Depot, have launched a hugely successful “more saving, more doing” DIY campaign. The icing on the DIY popularity cake has been Pinterest. Pinterest has really become the social media platform for the home, fashion, and DIY enthusiastic. It’s the perfect place to share your inspiration or to be inspired.

    So is all of this DIY design enthusiasm killing interior design businesses? You’re probably thinking, if people are taking matters into their own hands, how can our businesses survive? Well, it’s simple really! First of all, I’d like to flip the whole attitude of concern on its head. In fact, I think the DIY wave is actually GOOD FOR INTERIOR DESIGNERS. Hear me out!

    1. The “DIY wave” generates enthusiasm for design. So it’s reaching more people than ever. With its popularity and mainstream presence, the DIY craze is drawing attention to our interior spaces, and encouraging people to make changes.

    2. So you might think, yeah, they’re encouraging people to make changes, but to do it themselves, and that is certainly part of it. But I’m willing to forfeit a few pillow covering projects if it means this person is now going to pay attention to their home’s interior design more, because it means there will likely be a project that she/he will not be able to do  alone…and then we’ll be there to help. (Plus, if you sell fabric like we do, even DIY can be profitable.)

    3. Just because DIY generates a lot of enthusiasm around fixing things up on your own, doesn’t mean everyone is willing or able to do it. Many people (I’d say most) truly do not have the time to take on formidable design projects. Some people that maybe could find the time realize that once they track down and spend the money for the right fabric and tools, the project now costs nearly what it would have if a professional had done it. And others, while they enjoy perusing their friends’ Pinterest boards, and they too get psyched about new fall decor, simply don’t want to do it themselves.

    Ultimately, the DIY movement benefits interior design. What we may lose in small DIY projects, we gain in enthusiasm for design. The trend champions taking ownership for your space–evaluating it or re-evaluating, and making it exactly what you want it to be. If you can do some of it yourself, more power to you. We’ll be here to supply materials and take you on further and more difficult journeys in the future.

    Join in the DIY convo in the comments below. Any project stories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!