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.

February 17, 2014

Hickory Chair University

One of our retail girls, Julia Caplan, spent a few days at Hickory Chair University last week to learn about all the details that go behind a single piece of furniture. While there, she was able to see both furniture and upholstery created from start to finish! “It was incredible to see how many hands touched one single piece of furniture/upholstery.” Julia said. “I have always known that Hickory Chair creates sleek, quality furniture, but I found so much more to appreciate about this company being at their University. They have a culture of continuous adaptation and collaboration, and while walking around the workshop you feel like you are walking among a large family. Each employee is joyful and excited to talk about their role in the creative process… Not to mention, the products are absolutely beautiful.” Take a look at some of the pictures Julia snapped while touring the facilities:

Look familiar? Hickory Chair workers were photographed in the middle of creating the frame for the Sutton Sofa that we have on our retail floor, pictured below!

February 3, 2014

Lucky to have you, Arevat

We are so grateful for Arevat Manucharova, our expert seamstress who has been making our design dreams come true for the past 17 years.  If you do not know of her, here is a quick intro. Arevat, a native from Armenia, has a workroom upstairs at our shop. She crafts all of our custom pillows for clients as well as for our shop. However, her talents don't stop at pillows! She is also a seamstress for bed skirts, table skirts, coverlets/duvets, shams, seat cushions, and more!  We can count on her for just about anything, including some personal alterations.  We appreciate her patience through everything that is thrown on her every day.  Come by the store to take a look at her expertise displayed throughout, as she is consistently keeping us stocked.  We have many more stock pillows that are on the way, from some of the prettiest fabrics Cindy has chosen.  Here are a few we have available today...

 Arevat hard at work upstairs

This Nancy Corzine silk fabric makes a gorgeous pillow backed with velvet

January 22, 2014

A Long Awaited Installation

One of our designers, Heather Smith, has been working extremely hard designing the Homesley house to be ready for them to move in at the first of the year.  Heather has developed a long standing relationship with the client, as she also helped do her home a few years ago, which was featured in the Charlotte Living Magazine in 2010.  Needless to say, her new home, right around the corner from her old one in Eastover, is an absolutely breathtaking and inviting home.  We all take any excuse we can to get the chance to go over there and admire the progress being made.  I have learned throughout this project that Heather does not skimp on details, which has clearly paid off. Below are several pictures of some of my favorite rooms to inspire us all.

Front Living Room.
Front Living Room.  How cool is that stool?!
The dark, yet inviting family room.  The TV drops down into the brick. Behind that are curtains that drape down two floors!
Another view of the family room connected to the kitchen.
 The Kitchen.  I am in love with the wooden panels!
 The Breakfast Room.  The sheer curtain trend is displayed throughout a few other rooms in the house.
The "Dungeon" with a custom made sectional.
 The Dungeon/ Man-cave with a pool table.  How fun!
The master bedroom.  Curtains automatically cover all windows with the touch of a button.

January 21, 2014

Italian Lamp Bases

Currently, we are stocked with many beautiful, unique pairs of Italian lamp bases, some of which are made into lamps already, while some are not. Below are some pictures to show how pleated silk shades can transform an old base into gorgeous, one of a kind, lamps.  If you are not in the market for new lamps, the carved wooden bases also work as candle bases.  Place two on a mantle place, dining table, or console.  The neutral colors would be a perfect antique- looking touch to any of your rooms.  You can be sure no one else will have the same ones in their house!

January 9, 2014

LEE Loves Local

One of our favorite upholstery dealers, LEE Industries and REstyle SOURCE are partnering with local stores for their newest campaign on local love, called LEE Loves Local.  As it states on their website, "we have built our business through our relationships and partnerships and our belief in supporting local.  We are passionate about our retail partners and believe in the mission of supporting local communities."  Being both a brick and mortar shop and a local store, we are doing all we can to make this a successful campaign for LEE and all who is associated. For those who are less familiar, LEE Industries is an environmentally friendly company based out of Hickory, NC.

 You will have to swing by the store the week of February 10th for many reasons! First, all LEE items in the store will be an additional 10% off.  On Friday, February 14th, we will be having a Valentine's Day party with some Holiday treats and drawings for 15 different prizes! Put your name in for a chance to win:
1 basket of Circa goodies
2 additional 10% off LEE Industries coupons to be used at any time
3 signed books of The Welcoming House
4 free 1-hour design consultations with different Circa designers
5 20% off a lamp shade purchase coupons

The gift basket (an $850 value) for some lucky winner!

Don't miss out on this opportunity! Spread the word to your friends to increase your chance of winning something! We can't wait!