{Photo above by Helen Norman featuring my English Arm sofa}

It’s kind of crazy to say it but we’re only one month away from releasing our new furniture collections with Woodbridge and Taylor King at High Point and it’s getting REAL around here.  I remember the first time I visited High Point Furniture Market – eight or so years ago- and being blown away by it.  If  you haven’t been there before, it’s basically a city full of buildings full of massive furniture stores.  Like picture many many shopping malls full of furniture brands.  It’s crazy.  And then there are buildings filled with booths with smaller displays for accessory and art lines.  (I also have ZERO sense of direction so it feels even bigger to me because I never quite have a handle on where I am and everything always looks new lol)  I remember being a little intimidated by it (and this year I totally am!!) because there is just SO much to see and no way to cover it all and everyone seems to be busy and important.

 

Woodbridge Furniture

 

I also knew, after my second or third trip there, that one day, I wanted to design a line of furniture. I didn’t necessarily go into interior design with the intent to design product, but over the years it started to feel like a natural progression…  you think about something you want and you can’t find it (or afford it) … so you want to make it and make it available.   Walking around all of the showrooms all those years ago in High Point and seeing these amazing collections by designers with strong points of view was totally inspiring.  I love buying but I love making a little bit more and so I couldn’t help but think about what  collection of my own might look like one day.

 

It’s hard to describe, but I like to organize and package things and create stories and work on making a bunch of abstract ideas into something concrete.  I get really excited about designing for different ways or life/ living and creating a whole lifestyle around it. I think that’s why I love designing houses and writing books- because you’re just sort of creating at everything from a unique perspective – often a client’s mixed with your own- and trying to make it as right as it can be for that particular situation.  Designing is like  a little step out of your current reality to create a new reality for someone.  When I feel like I’ve gotten an understanding of something, I like to share it too… I like to explain the “what” and “why” because I love hearing others’ “whats” and “whys” and I love hearing about favorites and unique things.  So just as my first book was this kind of collection/ brain dump about my why’s of decorating, product design for me is sort of this collection of my favorites- a favorite seat or a favorite smell or a favorite fabric flower… and it all has a “why.”  It’s kind of like taking what’s meaningful to me and trying to thoughtfully make an object out of it that I think will make other people happy.  The thought that other people will have things I helped make in their houses makes me giddy.

 

I’m really enjoying designing our beach shack, above, because it’s just this totally different way of life we get to immerse ourselves in and it’s fun to be trying on a different “hat” per se. The design of it will totally affect how we live when we’re there and what life will feel like there.

 

I’ve been making trips down to North Carolina and emailing/ texting with the Woodbridge & Taylor King teams as the prototypes were being made and we’ve been working on everything for so long, so this will really feel like Christmas morning for me….

 

I get pictures like this showing edits and tweaks that have been made on the pieces… here’s a peek at the Architect sofa which has a MidCentury bent and is SO incredibly comfortable!!!  (It might be my favorite 😉 

 

As I’m coming up for air on all of the product design, I’m feeling truly thankful to be given the chance.  It all started when the Woodbridge Furniture team got in touch last year about working together to create casegoods…  I had already met some of the team (partly made up of our good friends from home- Cass & Preston Key-  who had moved to NC years before to work with Woodbridge) and seen their product and, after talking with them, really felt like we could all make something cool together.  At the same time, they introduced me to the team at Taylor King Upholstery– whose showroom is right next door to the Woodbridge showroom- and we began discussing the possibilities of designing upholstery together, which would complement the Woodbridge line.  (You can’t have a living room without the soft stuff and the hard stuff! 🙂  It fell together weirdly well and easily, and for me, when deciding to work with a company, it’s really all about the people.  If you trust them and they trust you and there’s mutual respect and shared goals, you’re going to make good things happen.  (I have also had THE BEST time with these humans and feel so lucky to have been invited into the Woodbridge & Taylor King furniture families… I feel all the warm fuzzies for them all.)

We’ve been at work on trying to make these good things for the past year.  (It’s eye-opening to see how long it takes to get a product going!!) I have been wanting to design some of these products for years and I was given a lot of creative freedom, so the collections came together fairly easily.  (One of the hardest parts is deciding which pieces you are going to say no to or hold for the next market!!!)  Probably THE most difficult part of all is creating the products you want to make at an affordable price…  there were pieces we just weren’t able to do quite yet due to cost (hoping to find a way in the future) but I’m seriously excited about what were were able to put out there!!!

 

Here’s a peek at one of our Woodbridge pieces, the Modern Gathering Table.  I need this in my life!!!

 

Every time I think about this upcoming market, my stomach flip flops and I get SO nervous.  I want everything to turn out, and though I know I love what we’re making, I can’t help but worry!!! The thought of buyers and designers coming through and judging and seeing it all is FRIGHTENING!!!  I don’t want them to think of it as just “okay”… I want them to love it!!  (I also feel this exact way about my new book coming out, and generally do any time I’m putting anything out there- including a house for a client!! The nerves!! It’s like that feeling before you run a race!!)

I’m finishing up designing the showrooms for market right now and am selecting final pieces of lighting, rugs and art and  I CANNOT WAIT to be able to share it all with you.  The process has been like a lightning round of house designing… one room can have 6 or 7 “rooms” settings in it and you have to do the whole thing at once instead of over time, the way I would with a home.

I’m working with a couple of incredibly talented artists and have amassed a collection of vintage art and rugs for the showrooms and – if I can get it together in time- I’m hoping to be able to photograph it all for sale on our new online shop to create a sort of virtual market with things in the showroom being for sale both in person and -for those who can’t make it or aren’t members of the trade -online.  I am so honored to be working with these amazing people and to be able to help share their work with you all.

 

A snippet from our new shopping site with categories coming soon!!!

 

I’ll keep you posted on it all and my fingers are so crossed we’re able to get it all loaded in time!!  Either way, I’ll be sharing the reveal of the showrooms and all of our new pieces!!

And if you’ll be at Market, I’m doing a Q&A panel on launching a product line and a bit about the business of design with my friend & fellow Woodbridge designer, Tobi Fairly, in the Woodbidge Showroom at 10 AM on Saturday, October 19th (and am signing books after) and I’m doing a book signing at Taylor King on Sunday at 4:30 PM before the joint Woodbridge-Taylor King party with farm-to-table h’our dourves and drinks and live music.  Would absolutely love to see you there!!

Hope you’re having an amazing day!

xo