May 13, 2015

The Nuances of Transforming a Room

Few can argue that interior design completely alters the character of a room, but we’ve seen transformations recently that shake a space down to the bone and rebuild from the ground up.

Sometimes, the slightest changes completely alter the way a nook feels and how a home “lives,” as we like to say here at Circa Interiors& Antiques. Other times, a new countertop and paint cause decades to vanish, seemingly overnight.

We wanted to show a small series of before & after shots for you to decide for yourself! We’d love to hear your thoughts, what you love, and what you may not feel as strongly about in the comments section below! 

Before (top), After (bottom)
Before (top), After (bottom)

May 5, 2015

Catbird Collection: A Three City Tour to Kick Off Circa Interiors' New Upholstery Line

It has been a whirlwind of excitement at Circa Interiors & Antiques these days! We launched a 19 piece upholstery line in Houston, TX, Charlotte, NC, and Birmingham, AL. We are truly grateful for the support received from our community, our contemporaries, and our friends. 

Catbird Collection was created by what can only be described as Cindy Smith's tribe: a circle of inspirational talent in architecture and interiors, who are also dear friends. The collection's designers, who all, to our great joy, were able to make it to our official launch in Houston, TX, are: Cindy Smith & Jane Schwab of Circa Interiors & Antiques, Bobby McAlpine of McAlpine Tankersley, Susan Ferrier of McAlpine Booth & Ferrier Interiors, Jeremy Corkern & Paul Bates of Bates Corkern Studio, Ken Pursley of Pursley Dixon Architecture, and Emily Bourgeois of Bourgeoisie Inc. 

We were thrilled to have an exclusive story featured by MILIEU Magazine in their most recent issue. Many thanks to our lovely friends at Chateau Domingue and Milieu who hosted our Houston celebration in the most spectacular, elegant setting. (To read more on the event through Chateau's blog, click here: CD Blog).

Photo Credit: Erica George Dines

In typical Circa fashion, we worked extraordinarily hard to make the final product and events seem effortless. For those of you who were very much missed - and those who want to relive every moment - here are a few glimpses of the party by Wilson Parish Photo.

The immaculate scene at Chateau Domingue. Pictured: Catbird Collection's Margot, Olive & Townsend bar stools next to the Chateau's iconic lavender roses. Stools designed by Emily Bourgeois for Catbird.

The Circa Interiors family came to support the Catbird launch in Houston from Charlotte & Birmingham! 

(L) Marielle Smither, a dear friend and travel companion of Cindy Smith's through years of European antique shopping,  introduced Cindy to Ruth Gay, Owner of Chateau Domingue, many years ago in France. What a wonderful moment to bring them all together stateside!

Catbird designer, Emily Bourgeois, with her son, John Bourgeois, Owner of B. Whittington Construction.

Cindy Smith (Center), Owner of Circa Interiors & Antiques, with her two children, Whitney Johnson and Chad Smith. 

February 21, 2015

In Loving Memory of Terry Reitzel

It's not often that we pay tribute on the Circa blog, but we recently lost a wonderful contributor to our profession and an immense friend. Today, as friends and family gather to celebrate the life and talent of this kind soul, we wanted to take a moment to share our memories. 

Photo Credit: Tony Griffin

Terry Reitzel died last week and the world lost a true artist;  calling someone an artist invites subjectivity and there are many interpretations freely passed around.  From my perspective, an artist is someone who makes the world new and different and better, whose gift leaves a mark that will last and doesn’t care who likes it or not.  It’s not about the approval or opinion of others, it’s about a creative energy that has to come out and tortures the artist until it does.  Terry Reitzel was a tortured artist in every sense of the word.  Those who knew Terry loved him and even though he frustrated many over the years no one could say he wasn’t a great talent, and an all-around lovely guy.  Everyone is fighting a hard battle- some are just more obvious than others.  Terry’s was alcohol but it didn’t define him.  His humor, heart, and brilliance will be truly missed by everyone at Circa and I bet, everyone who ever had the privilege to know him.  

-Chad Smith

Terry’s paintings are far more than simply beautiful. In a way they are the Phoenix that can only rise from torment and sadness. For all of us lucky enough to have them in our homes, I hope we will see the miracle in them. He was a gift to all of us. Yes, let’s bask in his work forever. But more importantly, let’s learn true beauty from his greater gift of humility.

-Emily Bourgeois

Terry was like a brother. His talent, intellect and wit were unmatched. His last years were hard on him and on those who loved him most. 
He will be missed but never forgotten. 
Rest in Peace my friend.

-David Purser


Terry Reitzel was, by far, the most unique individual I have ever met. Extremely intelligent, staggeringly talented, generous to a fault and a sweet kind man. He loved his family and talked about them often. He loved music and reading. My introduction to him was at a house we both happened to be working on about 25 years ago. He was painting a large mural in the front entry room. We became close over the years. I am a woodworker and had the pleasure of collaborating on a number of projects with him.

Walking into Terry's studio was always an experience. Artwork was everywhere, ranging from small paintings to charcoal sketches of his family to murals as large as 11 feet tall and 70 feet long. European landscapes, low country landscapes, The Charleston Harbor, monks, portraits, people in and out constantly. I can't even begin to say how many times I've seen clients of his stopped in their tracks after viewing what he had put on canvas or a finish that he had put on a piece of furniture. I will also always remember asking him, early on, just how he does all this incredible work and he said, "I just turn my brain off and go". Terry was a character!

He would always ask about my family and was so excited that my daughter was getting ready to graduate Art School and pursue a career in the Art World.

He was loved by so very many and is so missed by so very many. I love you my friend.

-Steve Morgan 

Terry was a kind hearted, brilliant talent with the ability to harness the beauty of the world through his art. He was a wonderful friend and will be greatly missed.

-Anne Corley

Photo Credit: Southern Accents, Jan/Feb 2009

Several years ago I was in Europe on a buying trip with Cindy, where we found the most beautiful painting of a monk.  It was so moody, dark, and humble, and the image always stayed with me.  

Emily Bourgeois later saw it at Circa and was so moved by it that she revisited it several times before eventually purchasing it for her own collection.  It made me very happy that it found a home with someone who appreciated it as much as I did.  Years later, I was given the opportunity to have my house published and asked Terry to commission a similar painting which I planned an entire room around.  I knew he would get it - all I needed to say was "moody, dark, humble" and let him go...after all, those words described his own style perfectly.  

Pure Terry, after months of my waiting and badgering him, he finally completed the painting 2 days before the photo shoot.  He hitched a ride and arrived with drink in hand to deliver the painting and all of the feelings I experienced from the one in France were surpassed.  He had that way of inducing intense emotion - first making you crazy with the urge strangle him, not knowing whether or not he'll follow through, then being blown away by his artwork as he apologetically presents it and you forget all of the madness because it was so worth the wait... it becomes apparent that Terry is a modest, lumbering vessel of a gift that could only come from God.  

The next day our house caught on fire.  As I sat in the driveway and watched our home go up in flames all I could think about was saving that painting.  One fireman strong-armed Chad as he tried to run in and grab it.  When the last fire was put out and the whole thing axed and drenched, we went in to survey the damage - unbelievably the painting was left untouched in a room full of soaking char.  
Two years later our renovated home appeared in Southern Accents magazine and I received more phone calls about that painting than anything else.  Dozens of people have begged to buy it from me, but it's far too priceless to ever let go.  I'm so fortunate to have known Terry and own just a small token of his incredible gift.  

A few days ago I was speaking to Steve Morgan, who was also a close friend of Terry's and witnessed many of his works in progress.  I was talking about my painting when he recalled with a grin, "if you had an X-ray machine you might see the sneakers underneath that cloak." Terry was an original;  his humility, kindness, humor, and talent will be forever missed.  We love you, Terry.

-Heather Foster Smith

Mr. Terry Lee Reitzel , age 58, of Charlotte, North Carolina passed away at his home on February 11th, 2015. Gone but never forgotten, may he rest in peace. 

February 4, 2015

An Upcoming Event and the Start to 2015

We hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful holiday with their family and friends. We are looking forward to what 2015 will bring us at Circa Interiors & Antiques, starting with a visit from Gena Knox tomorrow!

Gena Knox at Circa Charlotte on Thursday, 2/5 at 11:30AM
It all started in August of 2013, when Cindy Smith and Jane Schwab had The Welcoming House book signing at Francie Hargrove Interior Design & Shop  in Cashiers, NC. Francie Hargrove was an incredibly gracious host and Jane returned again to support her last summer for a book signing with Gena Knox and the idea to bring this vibrant, talented author to the Queen City was born.

We are thrilled to join Jane in hosting her fellow author for a day of learning & enjoying Southern-style recipes with a healthy, seasonal and (perhaps most importantly) easy twist. We are serving a light lunch full of Gena's delicious creations and hope you are able to visit with us!

In light of tomorrow's exciting event, we wanted to share one of our favorite recipes from Gena's most recent book, Southern My Way: Food & Family: White Cheddar-Wrapped Pecans! We love to entertain and these small bites are perfect for all kinds of events. Our very own Leigh Falkner made them for her cousin Catherine's wedding brunch and they helped to make the day even more memorable and special.

PREP TIME: 20 Minutes
COOK TIME: 15 Minutes
YIELDS: About 45


1 (10-ounce) block sharp white Cheddar, room temperature
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
About 45 pecan halves


FIRST: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grate cheese using a food processor or hand grater. Combine shredded cheese, butter, flour, salt, and pepper in a food processor fitted with blade attachment. Process until dough forms a ball and separates from side of processor.

NEXT: Using hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Place 1 pecan half in center of each ball and press gently so that pecan is embedded in dough.

LAST: Bake for 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Allow to cool before serving.

November 20, 2014

Circa Autumn Recap and the Future of Our Blog

It's been a fantastically full Fall in 2014 for Circa Interiors and Antiques! We have had much to be thankful for as we move towards the Holiday season and we wanted to share some of the highlights since our last post.

High Point Market, ELLE DECOR and Hearst Design Group
We visited all of our dear friends and partners in High Point for market. It's always an exciting and exhausting whirlwind of a week, but we look forward to seeing everyone and the beautiful work they do. We especially loved visiting with Bobby McAlpine and seeing his new line with Lee Industries - such talent is overwhelming to experience all in one room!

Circa Interiors's Cindy Smith and ELLE DECOR's Editor in Chief Michael Boodro

We also had the pleasure of catching up with ELLE DECOR's Editor in Chief, Michael Boodro, as well as the Hearst Design Group's Market team. We love their work (and their aestheticism) and were honored to sit down with them amidst the flurry of High Point market and the launch of their new book, The Height of Style, by Michael Boodro to mark ELLE DECOR's 25th Anniversary.

India Hicks, The Mint Auxiliary Room to Bloom, Heather Foster Smith
India Hicks, the highly acclaimed interior designer (and former fashion model/goddaughter to Prince Charles), came to the Queen City for The Mint Auxiliary's "Room to Bloom" kick off event as the keynote speaker. We were fortunate enough to be able to provide the setting for the stage and book signing, as well as to host India and her partner, David Flint Wood, at our Charlotte location.

India Hicks (Photo Credit: @indiahicksstyle)

Later that evening, "Room to Bloom" threw one of their spectacular parties at the home of Natalie and David Homesley designed by our own Heather Foster Smith with architecture by Pursley Dixon. It was a night to remember and we are very much looking forward to what 2015 will bring with the Mint Museum.

Catherine Walters in the Symphony Guild's "Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour"
Circa was honored to have one of Catherine Walters' styled homes in the first annual "Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour" to benefit expanding symphonic music in the Charlotte metropolitan community.

 A view of the kitchen on tour - Interiors by Catherine Walters of Circa, Design by Ruard Veltman Architecture, Floral by In Bloom LTD

The kitchen design and staging was an absolute pleasure for us to work on, particularly for such a great cause and especially when it's with the teams at Ruard Veltman Architecture & In Bloom LTD.

Patrick Gets Married
Designer Patrick Lewis tied the knot this Autumn in a private ceremony. We are over the moon with happiness and excitement for him! We couldn't help ourselves in celebrating the occasion, so we surprised him with an office full of silver and white balloons one morning when we knew he was coming in early to prep for a meeting. In a beautiful, quiet moment, Patrick released the balloons into the early morning sky.

A room full of love and surprises to celebrate Patrick's happiness.

Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier - Dinner and a Book Signing
Saving the best recap for last! It was with immense joy that Circa welcomed Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier to our Charlotte store for their newest co-authored book, Art of the House: Reflections on Design. The book is a piece of art, from the masterful and beautifully descriptive words to the exterior's silver edge paired with navy.

We threw a small dinner party in their honor in the home designed by Bobby and Cindy Smith. It was an elegant nod to the past that brought Bobby, Cindy, Susan and Jane together, as well as a celebration of the present and future to come.

 The dinner setting - Tablescape and seating designed by Cindy Smith,  Florals by Jay Lugibihl of In Bloom LTD

It was a delicious evening full of warm laughter, friendship and delicacies courtesy of Porcupine Catering. 

The next morning, Susan and Bobby came to Circa to sit down and have an open discussion with each other. With autumnal floral designs by In Bloom LTD and candlelight to set the ambiance, the conversation developed into quite a vulnerable, philosophical endeavor that was inspiring to all those present. We are so grateful to Susan and Bobby for going above and beyond a book signing by allowing us a glimpse of their hearts and helping us better understand what drives them as creative beings. 

Back Row, L to R: Circa Interiors' Cindy Smith and Jane Schwab
Front Row, L to R: Susan Ferrier and Bobby McAlpine

The Future of Our Blog
As we look to the new year, we have decided to take this blog and all of our social media communication to a whole new level. Circa has many exciting adventures ahead in 2015 and we will begin to use this place as our home platform to share a look behind-the-scenes, all of our news, and what inspires us personally and professionally. We hope you will enjoy the ride with us and always let us know what you love, hate, and want to hear more about on the blog! Stay tuned...

August 15, 2014

Style Me Pretty Blog

Style Me Pretty Blog did an excellent job capturing the beauty of our very own Addison Kon's wedding in June at Figure 8 Island. It is full of gorgeous pictures taken by Anne Liles, as well as an emotional video. It lets the readers truly get a sense of their love for one another, as well as their support system that was at the wedding. If you weren't able to make it, you can live vicariously through the elegant weekend and be inspired through this blog that captures all the details. 
There were many different traditions that tied these high school sweethearts together that day, such as the lovely interfaith ceremony. Another one of my favorite details from the wedding was that Addison wore her grandmother's lace veil, and was married in her grandmothers vintage ring. 

A lovely Figure 8 wedding- indeed!

June 11, 2014

Oprah's Blog

This blog post is about another blog post. But not just another blog... Oprah's blog! She blogged about "Prints Decorator's Love-and How to Use Them in Your Own Home".  Jane and Cindy's work are featured in picture 5 and 6 in the blog.  

Just like in fashion, we have to be careful where we put patterns, and how to prevent them from clashing. Check out her blog to learn how!

"Avoid putting a very expensive print on an item that will get day-to-day wear, like the family couch. It will need to be replaced often and that can get costly. Save those patterns for rarely-handled drapes or use them in small scale, like on pillows," Jane and Cindy commented in reference to Jane's guest house pictured above. 

"Print rugs are very forgiving in high-traffic areas, and they don't show dirt the way a solid carpet would," They both commented about the above house, which is pictured several times throughout The Welcoming House. 

June 9, 2014

Janelle & Mike's Engagement Party

Last Friday night, Cindy was kind enough to throw our sweet Janelle and fiance Mike a very magical engagement party.  The house was full of friends and family there so show their support for the couple, as I'm sure they were overwhelmed with love.  We had a Mexican food truck and margarita machine in the front driveway, as well as other food and beverages dispersed throughout the house.  The talk of the night was over the big block letters spelling "AMOR" that several creative friends had handmade out of cardboard and tissue paper earlier that day. It was very impressive how store-bought they looked!  

The beautiful couple plans to get married in Grandfather Mountain on August 16th. 

June 5, 2014

Southern Living

Not only was Jane's front porch on the cover of the Southern Living Outdoor Living edition, but her back yard is also featured inside the June issue of Southern Living.  If you have a copy, her spread is from page 17-18.  

 The article, titled "Bring on the Sunshine", discusses how Jane Schwab prepares and designs for a summer affair.  "Designer Jane Schwab maintains an enviable reputation for fashioning elegant, approachable Southern spaces both indoors and out. She applies this same gracious philosophy every time she sets the table for friends and family."  As shown in one of the pictures, Jane layered different natural materials to start the setting.  The mix of polished silver and casual linens is very appealing.  Jane also layered a trimmed burlap table skirt underneath her patterned Indian quilt to create a more luxurious  indoor look.  

May 13, 2014

Add Gets Konned

Congratulations to the beautiful bride and groom Addison and Jason! The long anticipated wedding this past weekend was just as breathtaking as you would think a beach wedding could be.  The ceremony took place on the lawn overlooking the peaceful sound in Figure Eight Island, right outside of Wilmington, NC.  Thank goodness the heavy rain Charlotte received Saturday missed us at the beach!  Addison looked stunning in her strapless lace gown with her grandmothers lace veil.  

After 11 years of dating, Prince Charming proposed in June of 2013.  Almost one year later, the couple made their dream a reality at the alter.

We welcomed Addison back to the office this week before they will be taking off on Friday to Bora Bora for their honeymoon. We can't wait to see those pictures!
 I do!
It was quite a tear jerker!
 Emily, Maggie, Julia, Caroline, and Brigid before the ceremony.
The circa family supporting Addison on her big day!

April 4, 2014

One Man's Folly

This past Tuesday, Jane and Cindy were in NYC attending a book signing event for One Man's Folly, a new book by Furlow Gatewood, authored by Julia Reed.  The Foreward and Afterward were beautifully written by Bunny Williams, who also did the Foreward for The Welcoming House.  As stated inside, "A gifted designer, antiques expert, and longtime associate of legendary dealer John Rosselli, Gatewood has a talent for discovering singular pieces with a poetic patina, composing custom-paint finished and subtle palettes, and knowing how to incorporate distinctive architectural elements into his singular interiors."  One of the most influential members of America's design community, Furlow has maintained a relatively low profile. The Southern gentleman was born 92 years ago with an eye for both architecture and interior design.  Bunny stated in one of my favorite chapters of the book, "Lessons learned", "The real lesson learned from this supremely gifted man is to educate your eye and look at the best of everything, be it architecture, furniture, or design. And may you too have the joy that Furlow has had over the many years of doing what he loves." Another piece of advice he has offered is to never decorate in a way that is so precious, it intimidates animals or people!

While at the party, Jane and Cindy had the pleasure to meet Gil Schafer, author of The Great American House.  They also met the charming Newell Turner, editior of House Beautiful.  Jane and Cindy highly recommend looking through this book, to admire the spread of distinctive pieces he has chosen, all with a strong personality.  
 Furlow Gatewood and Bunny Williams
 Jane Schwab, Newell Turner, and Cindy Smith

March 31, 2014

House Beautiful

At the very back of the April issue of House Beautiful, you will find an article entitled "You Found $100-What's Your Splurge?" Ten designers were interviewed on how they would indulge their design obsession if they suddenly had a little extra cash on hand.  Number one is our very own Cindy Smith! She stated, "I'd swap out a worn lampshade. It's amazing how a new shade refreshes everything."  Isn't that the truth!

Other designer's choices included items from an orchid, to a scented candle, to a cotton throw.  

Here are some different shades we offer in the shop, available to purchase right off a lamp, from our back stock, or special order in other sizes or colors!

Paper, linen, silk? You choose! 

March 6, 2014


Yes, we are dedicating an entire blog post to one fabric, because it is just that special! Heather Smith  just got this beauty in straight from Paris for a local client.  "The entire room is going to be designed around this fabric," Heather stated.  It is a hand made gauffrage fabric, which is just a fancy word which means to emboss.  In other words, this fabric was embossed over a plain textile with a hot pressure cylinder, which melts the pattern onto the textile. This technique is mainly used with velvets.  So first they hand paint the gilt, and then press it to make it permanent.  Now-you can add this new word to your design dictionary!

We can't wait to see how Heather uses this throughout the client's dining room.  Do not worry- pictures will be up to follow!

February 26, 2014

Lee Academy

Julia and Caroline have spent the last couple of days expanding their knowledge at Lee Academy, a trip designed to help dealers learn about the Lee Industries products we are selling.  We knew they were a great company before we went, but now we realize exactly what went in to making them a special, eco-friendly company, separating them from other industries.  Planting about 10,000 trees a year is just one of their many sustainability initiatives. They also recycle all of their leftover materials to be used for insulation in cars.

Lee Industries runs a first-in, first-out business, meaning that they produce products in the order that they were placed.  Today, their lead time stands at just under 4 weeks!   It's hard to believe they produce 15,000 finished products per week.
 Lee consistently has about 400,000 yards of fabric in stock.
 In the leather plant, we learned how their fabrics are aniline dyed, which is a non-toxic form of coloring the leather.  We also learned the difference between leathers coming from different countries, and why leathers vary in color, even within the same hide.  They use only the top 5% of hides in the world.
 Tuesday, we took a trip to Valdese Weavers, where we learned how fabrics are woven.  It's amazing to see the process of a design on a computer being translated onto bolts of fabric. 
 We even got a sneak peak into what the April Market is going to look like for Lee! We were the first group to admire the new Spring fabric lines coming out soon, and the new pieces of upholstery currently being designed in product development.
 Julia enjoying herself the first day of the trip in one of the Lee showrooms.
 They demonstrated the 8-way hand tying technique to us.  As stated on their website, "This keeps your springs from shifting and creating uncomfortable lumps and bumps."  (Each sofa requires 300 ties)
 This is just a small portion of the sewing section in one of their 5 plants.  Their head quarters are in Conover, NC, so we had the easiest trip out of everyone there. 
One of the experienced workers at Lee Industries. Most of the employees there have been there for 20+ years! That really says something about the company, and how they treat each of their employees.  They try to create a family environment as much as possible, which was evident walking through there.