I am one of those fortunate people that are really doing what I love. As a designer, one of the most inspirational events is attending the International Highpoint Furniture Market in NC. This is a massive 10-city block show where anything and anyone related to the Interior Design business is on display! When planning my trip, Blue Ocean Traders Outpost is always my first visit. I get giddy and anxious to step into the warehouse, knowing that there will be rows and rows of unique finds. This year at market I picked up a favorite of mine , a very large antique pot from Greece that once held olive oil. I even fell upon a beautifully colored oil jar from India, colored with shades of the ocean. I literally think I jumped up and down for a second. I am pretty sure my husband recognizes now when I feel I have found a gem. I was told these large pots are becoming harder and harder to source for a reasonable price and I feel lucky to have located another to bring home.
Once inside I found the most amazing rare pink amethyst. It was very large at 16” long, 16” high by 4” deep. I discovered it actually only contains 10% of amethyst, but due to exposure to a mold or contaminate, has literally created a piece of art. I had to have it! We also found large Chinese millstones that once were pulled by donkeys to crush grain. My husband and I took bets as to what they would have been used for…we both were wrong! It is like a slice of history hearing the story behind every item. We also found very large white abstract geodes on stands. Perfect for just about any space. As many of the items at Blue Ocean are antiques from all over the world, they all have a very unique story, like the two metal olive pails used on a Turkish farm. Three and a half hours later and a van full of treasures, we drove back to the hotel to prepare for tomorrow.
We arrived at IHFC in comfortable shoes with our plan of showrooms we want to visit. Having a plan is very important as there are literally hundreds of buildings and thousands of showrooms. Thankfully three of my favorites are right inside the doors at IHFC. Inside Noir, I sit in every chair and open every cabinet door and drawer. That way, when I select items for my clients I know the quality and comfort of each item. Noir has very unique furnishings and lighting that are full of interest and texture. Every item a piece of art. There sister company, CFC makes most of their furnishing out of reclaimed wood. Another favorite of mine.
The next showroom, Selemat Designs has really expanded their look and number of pieces. They have creative lighting great for vacation homes and those wanting to add some charm. I decide to bring this fun and unique furniture line into my list of “go to” companies for clients wanting a relaxed island feel with stylish pieces. Next door, Regina by Regina Andrew not only has the most amazing lighting and furnishings but, has created a line of very organic jewelry, belts and purses. I admit I left with several pieces for myself! It’s not market without a new Regina Andrew jewelry item!
After several hours visiting new showrooms and discussing new products with current vendors we walked over to Market Suites. This is a great place to see many different vendors quickly. Well maybe not quickly if you get stuck in awe at all the beautiful things. You have to stay focused or it gets difficult to get to everywhere you planned to go. Too many beautiful things all in one building!
We make sure to go to all of my current vendors to see new products. This way I can see everything first hand before it is delivered to a client. I am like a kid in a candy store. Literally. I am always impressed with Four Hands furniture. The quality and great price point make this a go to for many projects. They have an extensive amount of furniture to chose from and represent many different styles. They also have the most delicious lunch to offer two tired, hungry people!
At Market Suites we were lucky enough to get to chat with the owners of Artesia, Eddie and Anna. They have introduced some really high quality outdoor furniture that has a very streamlined island feel, with amazing detail and great price point. I must admit I had to swing in the two awesome egg shaped hanging chairs in the showroom. I really would love one of these in my home.
Towards the end of the day, we stumbled upon a rug company that was selling unique, one of a kind, authentic antique Persian rug that had been shaved down, acid washed and recolored into more modern designs. My favorites were saturated in Turquoise, celadon and orange colors. I could have taken everyone of those rugs home. My husband gives me the glance as if to say, they won’t fit in the van. I text some images of my favorite rugs to my client and she agrees we should use one in her Florida Keys home. I take the information and move on to find a husband and wife team making custom lighting and chandeliers out of recycled wood and beams. They are each completely custom and each piece of wood comes with the location and story behind each wood used in the production. The history behind each piece of wood is really what is most interesting. Who thought you would one day be able to purchase a custom light that was removed from a historic building in Boston that was going to be demolished. The history lives on and you get to tell the story to every guest that visits.
At the end of the day, we stumbled upon Verona Prive’s booth. She owns a mine in Mexico where artisans mine hundred million year old onyx and sculpt it by hand into beautiful vases, large bowls, sinks, furniture and simply art. Not surprisingly most items are sold out. I find two beautiful medium bowls that are still available. Before leaving we talk with the owner about her line. It was fascinating. She also is doing something she really loves. I make note to make her booth a priority to go to first next year. One of those really large bowls would be a wonderful addition to a client’s home. These artists take something beautiful created by nature and make it even more beautiful!
The final day, Universal Furniture is on the top of my list to visit before heading home. I have just begun to order from the line and have been impressed with the quality and magnitude of offerings in their lines. The showroom was very impressive. The company has several different styles offered such as traditional, transitional and coastal. One important feature is how many upholstery items are now offered in Crypton fabrics. I have for years selected Crypton fabrics for my client’s main upholstery pieces due to the inherent durability and stain resistance. We were lucky enough to make a video of the demonstration of the removal of wine, Gatorade, ink and crayon from a fabric. It is almost like a magic trick. See the attached video and be prepared to be astonished. Universal has also just launched a Coastal Home line that I look forward to using in projects. One of my favorite chairs from Highpoint is from this line.
We have only an hour or two left and we run over to Showroom to see Surya, a rug company I utilize due to the hundreds of different styles ands price points of rugs they offer. On the way out of the showroom we see some beautiful art in a showroom and walk over. We discover the artist, John Beard, is a Jacksonville local! Who would have known such talent was right in our back yard. We take a quick picture together and make plans to connect in Jacksonville.
After loading the van with today’s purchases and great finds we head back towards the highway and homebound. We take the 7-hour drive as an opportunity to reflect on everything we saw and all the great people we met. Another successful visit to Highpoint. I take a quick glance into the back of the van and remind myself how lucky I am to be a part of this story.