Living in Our Pet’s Home

For those of you who know me, you know my softest spot is for animals.  Without them, life just wouldn’t be the same.  We develop a relationship with them that isn’t defined by language, age, race, or gender.  We communicate with them as members of our own family because they are.  And although their time here seems limited, the love and memories they give us stay with us forever.

So while other people are writing about how to make your home pet-friendly, I think it’s more appropriate to think that pets have made their home more people-friendly.  They open our minds to the world through their eyes.  They allow us in their home, to share their days and nights, to play with us when we are happy and to be there for us when we are sad.  They hold a gift that can only be opened by letting them into our lives.  One look at their faces and we’re butter.

"Sam"
“Sam”

Sadly, friends of mine lost their Sam this week after 15 ½ years…a heartbreaking day that will take time to pass before their memories are filled with all the love and good times they shared together.  Unfortunately, most of us have shared a similar day.   In Sammy’s honor, I’d like to take a look at some other pets who have shared their homes with us.  This is a collection of pictures I’ve collected privately over time out of my love for animals.  They show us just who the king (or sometimes queen) of the house is.  Some of them come from some amazing websites which, if you hover over the image, you will be able to visit. My favorite sites are Interior Design Sense and Desire to Inspire which has a weekly posting every Monday about pets on furniture.  Others are my own pets or those of friends.  Notice how comfortable they seem lounging on their furniture. Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Impact-Making The Right Impression For Whom?

It’s not really something you learn in school, nor is it the kind of thing most clients would be willing to admit when furnishing their home.  But believe it or not, other people make their first impression of your home within 10 seconds of entering it.  And sometimes that impression is difficult to change   So the question is…should we be concerned with what they think?  To answer the question, we have to look beyond purely our own ego.

Drawing on my previous years of doing some high-end model homes for a couple of Florida’s leading builders, one of the key elements in home sales was the point of impact.  What does the potential buyer see as soon as they open their door?   This created one of the contributing factors to what has become a standard in home design…the open floor plan.

The open floor plan can easily make a home feel larger and customers can immediately envision a family-gathering lifestyle.  The cooking/eating area exposed to the entertainment area speaks of family meals and movies, weekend BBQ’s, birthday and holiday parties, and a place where the world is safe.  These are powerful mental images that turn lookers into buyers.

Keeping that in mind, it’s important to plan your furniture layout not to obstruct the view, especially if your pool or view lies in the background.   Furniture with it’s back facing the entry should be the smaller, lighter pieces such as chairs, and not your sofa.   Brighter homes give a sense of good health and well-being.  Colors, textures and styles all play an important role.  And don’t forget to dress the windows.  They are the frames for your picture.

So, first impact has an affect on sale/resale.  It also has an affect on value.  A home that has been well designed and furnished, more often than not will sell faster and for a higher price.  When people are buying a new home, they are not looking for the added expense of renovations or trying to figure out how to use the space.  It’s more than just a kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms to them.  It’s how they imagine living in it.  Or what it will be like to wake up to it on the weekends.  And trust me, the more beautiful and interesting it is, the more desirable it becomes.   So while you may think it’s not important to you what other people think, the day will probably come when you may want to rethink your position.

With the price of homes being what they are, who wouldn’t want their investment to look like more than they paid for it?

So it’s not really caring what other people think about your home but rather how they will subconsciously respond to it.  And if they can feel it, trust me, you can feel it.  And if there’s one person you should care about how your home makes them feel, it’s you.

 

 

Mix It Up-Contemporary Gets Interesting

Most people still think of choosing an interior design theme as one style or another.  Some prefer the sleek minimal effects of contemporary while others enjoy that warm, cozy traditional look.  Of course nothing is just that simple any more.  Style-bending is quickly becoming the norm.

Contemporary furnishings still seem to dominate the furniture market and consumer sales in the South Florida market and it was still the main attraction at the Fall High Point Furniture Market.   However, the hard edge design that used to be the hallmark of contemporary seems to be getting a little fuzzy.  It is being influenced by the desire for something more comfortable and relaxed.

An example of this mix can be seen in one of Bernhardt’s new bed introductions.

While the design and structure of the bed is very linear and contemporary, it has been softened by its covering in fabric and nailhead trim.  This allows the consumer to pair it with almost any type of night stand and almost any style.

The bed is a new interpretation of a poster bed and the only one like so far on the market.   Currently, it’s only offered in one fabric.  The construction of the bed is rock solid.

The bed will be available around March, 2012.

The reverse is also true where traditional items are being modernized with the use of finishes as is the case with the this chow leg cocktail shown in chrome.   Maybe your living room is starting to look a lot like Grandma’s house and you want to spice it up.  Or maybe you’re getting tired of your sparse contemporary living room and want to add some less rigid pieces.  Either way, they’re your rules and it’s your game.  Jump into the pool of creativity and express yourself.

The finish is a high polished chrome and should be available early this year in limited supply.  The price is surprisingly affordable compared to other higher priced contemporary manufacturers and the quality is just as good.

For those wanting a little more of a statement, this Georgian-inspired chair was a show stopper.   Instead of using the expected stain finish, EJVictor lacquered the frame black and then applied the fabric to make a contemporary statement.  This would be a great combination with something very contemporary such as a chunky lucite table.  The fabric and finish choices from this company, not to mention the handcrafted workmanship of each piece,  keep EJVictor regarded as one of the finest furniture lines made in the USA.

The same held true for upholstery and textiles.  Many of the new sofa styles were larger in scale and more on the contemporary side but more often than not, the fabrics that were shown on them were mostly in solids, and usually in a woven texture of some type.   Rugs, which always seemed extremely traditional, seemed to be simpler and more geometric, also a response to the demand for contemporary and more understated interiors.

Of course, these are only the appetizers for what lies ahead on the furniture menu.  Some of the other companies that introduced exceptionally original products were Four Hands, Raymond Waites Couture, Global View and Design Institute Of America.

 

 

 

 

 

High Point Market Is Here!

There are a few different furniture markets during the year that everyone in the business attends to find the latest and greatest but I still prefer the High Point Market.   It’s the original furniture market, primarily because of its geographic location to where most of the furniture in the United States used to be made.  Even though a lot of our goods are now imported, the big companies still maintain their major presence at this market.

High Point market begins in one week.  I’ll be there scouring the showrooms for some of the best design finds and values.  In my next blog I’ll bring you some of my favorite purchases but I thought I’d give you a little background on the market before I go.

During market week, any manufacturer who has the means puts out their best displays and products to lure buyers and designers into their spaces.  It’s a fast paced week and to explain it as “sensory overload” is a huge understatement.  It covers 180 buildings and 10 million square feet of display.  It represents over 2000 manufacturers from 106 countries.   Attendance is usually in the area of about 800,000 plus buyers.

Buses, transports, taxis, rental cars, shuttles, and streets filled wall to wall with people rushing from one space to another, make for long days.  Food is fairly scarce except for light snacks and possibly a sandwich stand.  No one is eating much or enjoying the beautiful scenery outside.  Everyone is fighting the clock and trying to cover as much territory as their feet will allow.

So why do we put ourselves through this torture?  Because hidden away in a remote new showroom, lays the promise of an amazing new discovery.  And that one item can lead to an entire market trend over the next few years.   It also gives us a chance to see the new products that everyone is introducing and gives us a chance to put in our orders and become the first showrooms to have the products for sale.

In High Point you see everything.  From Indonesian imports to Christmas trees, from loungers with built-in sound systems to tables made from petrified wood.  There is no shortage of originality and it all depends on the buyer’s taste if it’s the right thing for them.

The market is only open to the trade and if you think you want to try to sneak in, you better have some pretty impressive credentials.  Most people are pre-qualified with entry passes before the week starts.  Security is everywhere and people are turned away all day long.  And if that isn’t enough, most quality showroom spaces have added another layer of security at their front doors to screen buyer’s qualifications.  Yes, there is that much business.

High Point is only open two weeks a year.  Buyers from every store in the country need to make their purchases for the next 6-12 months during that single week and the results can often determine the future of a manufacturer.   Everyone is under pressure and it’s sort of like Wall Street at 8AM on a Monday morning.  Every elevator is packed 100% of the time.  Hotels are booked up to 30 miles away and everyone is getting a premium for everything from rental cars to food.   Advertising is everywhere…the sides of buildings, buses, windows, street poles, shirts, you name it.  Companies are determined to get your attention and your dollars.  Basically, it’s insane.

Every market is a little different.  But each one brings styles, new products, and new trends.  Some people find what they’re hoping to find, some go home disappointed.  And even though everyone leaves with  really sore, aching feet, there’s that feeling of satisfaction knowing that once again you’ve conquered the beast and you’re heading home.