• 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! 

  • 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.

  • We’re saying goodbye to summer with a huge sale. Much of our in-stock inventory is 50% off! Check out the flier below for details. Sale ends August 31st! 

  • Behind the Scenes with Designer, Ashley Pace

    Behind the Scenes with Designer, Ashley Pace

    We took some time this weekend to sit down with one of our most talented in-house designers, Ashley Pace, to get an in-depth look at how she got started in the design business, what motivates and inspires her, and what design tips she has to offer.

    Can you give us a little insight in to how you got started in design? 

    Growing up fabric and design was always a part of my life. My mom was always sewing something for the house. She worked at a fabric store for as long as I can remember. In fact while most kids would ride the bus home from school, I rode the bus to my mom’s work at the fabric store where I would assist in cutting samples for customers. Eventually my family branched out and decided to open their own fabric store in Wilmington, NC. I worked there most days after school and on weekends, depending on my volleyball schedule. After high school graduation, I decided to play it safe and major in Business Management at UNCC. At that time, my parents had opened a store in Charlotte, which allowed me to continue working throughout college. After completing two years in Business Management, I knew that an office job was not going to be for me. I knew my passion was in design. So I transferred to the Art institute of Charlotte to study Interior Design. I continued to work for my parents until I was finished. I am so grateful for the learning opportunity it gave me. I helped in setting up as well as closing stores,  moving stores, and selling fabrics. Although the family business had lots of benefits, I still felt as though I was restricted in terms of what I could do design-wise. I saw an ad for Distinctive Fabrics and Furniture and thought I would send in my resume– not really looking to make a change but open to it. I have been here four years next month. I love being able to work one-on-one with customers in their homes to make their personal spaces reflect their particular style and functionality. I enjoy working with the workrooms in the process of making new furniture and window treatments. I feel like I have found my place in the design world and I’m loving it!

    Who are some designers that inspire or inform your work?

    Candice Olsen and Christopher Lowell. I really like their diverse styles. They can keep things ultra sleek and modern with a splash of color to cater to the traditional/transitional consumer as well. Everytime I watch their shows I am intrigued by their unique styles.

    What outside of the design world inspires/informs your style of design? 

    Really anything can inspire me, depending on where I am and what I’m doing. I’ve pulled colors together based off of a funky shirt or from a bowl of candies–bright orange skittles look great with their blue and green companions! The color wheel presents itself in many different forms throughout any given day, particularly in natural forms. The gray, rainy sky and the bright green trees against its backdrop make a great color palette for a modern, cool feel.  My surroundings play a big part in my design styles. This past weekend I was out with my family and the colors in my three-year-old’s bathing suit (pink, green, orange) against the teal blue of the pool inspired me to update the colors in her room to help make the transition to a “big girl” bedroom. Being inspired isn’t a problem for me at all, I enjoy picking up on the elements around me daily and using them in my design styles.

    How would you define your aesthetic? For example, do you consider yourself contemporary or classic, or a little bit of both? 

    I would consider myself a little of both. My house has a Mediterranean feel throughout. I’ve used a lot of warmer colors to create a cozy living space. I also love mixing styles together for an eclectic look. I have some modern barrel chairs that I had upholstered in green chenille that provide a mixture of styles, and flow well with all the colors in the living room. Functionality is also super important to me, and these chairs create extra seating space, which with a growing family, is a must.

    What current design trends do you love? 

    I love the natural look of all things linen right now. Modern to traditional–I love them all! They can make an elegant statement in a dining room, or look ultra casual in the living room. There are no limits with what you can do. A simple band down the leading edge can give plain, everyday drapes a dramatic effect in any room.

    Do you believe in mixing design styles, or do you think keeping things coordinated is essential to achieve balance?

    I absolutely love to mix things up. It’s amazing what a contemporary piece of fabric can do to an antique piece of furniture. I think contrasting eras and styles can actually achieve balance in a piece or a room more effectively than keeping patterns and styles coordinated all the time (which can get monotonous and boring).

    What is your most requested room to redesign? 

    I would have to say either the master bedroom or living room. That’s where people spend the most time themselves and entertaining others, so they want to make sure those rooms are highly functional and comfortable and that they’re able express their personal style in those rooms.

    What is your favorite type design project?

    I enjoy working on all kinds of projects, especially those that are color-focused– from the crisp classic colorways of cream with a splash of color, to the people who love bright, bold color. It’s always interesting because everyone has a unique design perspective and color palettes they favor, so each project is different and that keeps things interesting and refreshing for me.

    Any advice to our readers who want to change the look of their home or office, but don’t want to do a complete redesign?

    Pillows, pillows, pillows! You can change the whole feel of a room with some funky colored pillows for spring, or you can use warmer tones for the fall. Re-covering pillows is a versatile way to give your room a fresh, new look each season!

    Ashley is a regular contributor to our Pinterest page. Check out our boards here: http://pinterest.com/distinctiveff/

     

  • What Does Quality Really Mean?

    What Does Quality Really Mean?

    In the furniture and design business we hear a lot about quality. It’s an adjective thrown around with more or less reckless abandon, and of course, it’s used to sell pieces and services. But what does it really mean? When we talk about a custom upholstered chair, for example, this is exactly what we mean:

    1. We’re using the best raw materials. In our case, we use 5/4″ kiln dried hardwood. Hardwood resists warping and is infinitely stronger and more durable than other materials that mass producers often use (like pine–about as bendy as a trampoline, and particle board–believe it, Ikea fans). Hardwood is also a sustainable and locally available resource. We also use superior construction methods to improve durability. So, we start with exceptional materials then we assemble the piece with double dowel joints and corner blocks glued and screwed for additional strength, stability and structural integrity.

    2.  For the seating and spring system, we use an eight-way hand tied seating support, which is double cone coil springs supported by polypropylene webbing and steel bands fastened directly to the hardwood frame.  Steel bands provide strength and prevent sagging. Springs are then hand tied together in eight different directions to permanently secure coils in place and allow for superior comfort and durability. No sad slouching or sagging seats here. What you can expect from imitators in big box stores is just that: imitation. They typically use prefabricated spring coil systems that are tied to one another (not affixed to the frame), so the springs have no support and start to fail quickly, compromising the comfort and lifespan of the piece.

    3. For the upholstery process we use 360 tailoring. First we hand cut and sew all of our fabrics to ensure the pattern’s consistency and accurate placement on the piece. Our skilled craftsmen make sure the pattern of the fabric matches from every vantage point, and that the fabric is taut and smooth throughout.

    And ultimately, it’s the craftsmen who determine the quality of a piece of furniture. It’s through their skill and experience that they’re able to translate quality so effectively and consistently to a piece. Quality, to us, is something expertly and carefully made, and something that endures.

    What does quality mean to you? Have you had any experiences with custom-made furniture that you’d like to share?  Feel free to post in the comment field below.  

  • We Love Local: North Carolina’s Furniture Comeback

    We Love Local: North Carolina’s Furniture Comeback

    Over the past few years, the “local” movement has gained serious traction. North Carolina proudly boasts local food–both in their bustling farmer’s markets and their seriously delicious farm-to-table restaurants–, a spate of local breweries, local wineries, local coffee roasters… the list goes on. But local woodworking and furniture is no new phenomenon. In fact, North Carolina used to be the epicenter of furniture manufacturing until global manufacturing took over, and like so many American-made products, furniture manufacturing was moved overseas where labor and materials were cheaper. Read more