As seen at the recent High Point Market, the new furniture styles are laid back and livable, with lots of options.


Growth Spurt: This Westcott Adjustable Headboard by Hooker can be extended 9 inches in height to match tall ceilings or otherwise fit a homeowner’s requirements.

The fall High Point furniture market could be called the market of the three “Cs” – casual, colorful and customized.

The romantic, European-inspired styles prevalent in some past markets have been replaced by more subdued, clean-lined, often American-based fashions.

Stanley’s American Perspective takes its cue from such traditional styles as Shaker and Arts & Crafts. “American Perspective has a relaxed, unadorned look. It feels familiar, but there’s a contemporary kick to it,” says Kelly Cain, vice president and product manager.

Besides bedroom and dining room furniture, the collection offers six home entertainment pieces and 10 home office pieces that accommodate everyone, from the homeowner balancing a checkbook to the home-based entrepreneur.

A Coastal Feel

In many instances, casual translates to a coastal look, sometimes relaxed “beach-y,” while other times upscale and sophisticated.

Martha Stewart and Bernhardt Furniture’s 52-piece Dunemere falls in the latter category. A white oak finish inspired by bleached driftwood is one of four finishes available, with the others being mahogany, maple and cherry. Two bedroom groups, two dining room groups, home office, occasional and accent pieces are included in this, Stewart’s sixth collaboration with Bernhardt.

Lexington Home Brands weighed in with Long Cove, giving traditional forms an update with two finishes, Shell, and the almost-black Midnight. To spice things up, it added accent finishes for occasional pieces in bright colors: Coral, Pacific Blue, Linen, Aquamarine and Moss.

At Century, the outdoors look is actually outdoors. The teak and faux-leather outdoor collection by Richard Frinier echoes Argentina’s vintage Spanish Colonial style. Teak frames are paired with tabletops of distressed teak, hammered copper, faux leather and mosaic stone. The collection is engineered to stand up to full-time outdoor use, the company says.

A serpentine chest from the DuPont collection at Winterthur Museum goes from tiger maple (top) to two-tone in Hickory Chair’s hands. The company, which emphasizes customization, also is expanding its range of choices in hardware.

Dressing Up With Color

With an informal look often comes an emphasis on color, and manufacturers frequently mixed painted surfaces with more traditional wood finishes for dramatic contrast. Broyhill’s Cross Creek bedroom features a painted two-tone cherry and linen white finish on cherry veneers with cherry knobs.

Hooker turned to black trim for several of its finishes, including Westcott, which mixes rosewood, walnut and maple veneers with black accents. A black-outlined Westcott adjustable headboard can be raised, in 2-inch increments, from 67 inches up to 76 inches in height. Personalization is the idea, says Kim Shaver, vice president of marketing communications. “These adjustable headboards allow you to customize the height of your headboard to the height of your mattress, the arrangement of decorative pillows, the height of surrounding furnishings and even the height of your ceiling,” she says.

That same emphasis on letting the homemaker make the design choices prevailed throughout much of the market. Drexel Heritage presented five groups of furniture, eight to 16 pieces each, in a collection called Mixers. All pieces, bedroom, living and dining, are deliberately designed to complement all the other pieces, and can be ordered in some 14 paint finishes with a choice of hardware.

Hickory Chair, which is known for offering more than 40 finishes, has extended its range of choices to include hardware. Now, a customer asking for items that ordinarily come with different hardware can request that all the hardware match. On many items, customers can request either an antique brass, antique silver or antique bronze finish. If a customer wants to supply his or her own hardware, the company will put it on.

“Consumers can order kitchen cabinets with optional hardware — they don’t understand why furniture typically does not have hardware options,” says Cathy Mitchell, director of merchandising.

This Emerson Roll Top Desk in Stanley’s American Perspective Collection is meant for bedrooms and other locations where work space may be limited.

Respect For Environment

Green also made a big splash at market: the concept, not the color.

Bernhardt introduced its 61-piece Cascade collection, which pays homage to the environment both in the manufacture and design. Made of plantation-grown rubberwood, its veneers are rustic walnut from sustainable-accredited U.S. suppliers, and its finishes represent a 47 percent reduction in VOCs, the company says. In the Cascade Display Curio, skeletal rubber tree leaves are pressed in a graphic arrangement on the center door.

It’s part of Bernhardt’s effort to have all its plant and office facilities and practices certified by EFEC (Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture) by 2008. The certification was developed by the American Home Furnishings Alliance to help members create environmental management systems. Bernhardt’s new measures this year resulted in a 9 percent reduction of electricity consumption and an 8 percent reduction in water use, the company reported, plus a 17 percent reduction in waste disposal and landfill consumption.

Kincaid Furniture introduced WestGlow, a collection of bedroom pieces made from eucalyptus. The company says that by “using wood from certified plantations where seedlings are replanted at a ratio of 4:1 for every tree used, WestGlow is a satisfying choice for savvy consumers.”

Century also has a green line. The company points out that the teak in its Estancia outdoor collection comes from a renewable plantation forest.

And also at the market, Vaughan-Bassett, one of the founding members of the Sustainable Furniture Council, announced its contribution of 150,000 tree seedlings to the Virginia Department of Forestry. In this “One for One” program, the company says, “the 150,000 maple, oak, pine, poplar, ash and applewood seedlings will replace every tree used to produce the wood used by Vaughan-Bassett each year.”

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