PERFECT PAIRING: THE COCKTAIL OTTOMAN, COMPLETE WITH A BAR TRAY

by Marisa Marcantonio

Often called cocktail ottomans,  the ottoman with a large tray for easy serving delivers the ideal dual-function piece. If you have a large scale square ottoman, there are great trays you can place on top, to create a surface area to hold a portable makeshift bar and all that goes along with cocktail hour. If you don't and have been searching for a go-the-distance piece that suits a family room well, here are a few varied suggestions to help you on your hunt.

From the just-launched partnership, decoupage artist John Derian has created a scallop-edge lacquer tray with The Lacquer Company, the highly specialized British brand that has worked with Rita Konig, Stephen Gambrel and Martin Brudnski on trays and small tables.  Available in pea green, vivid red and black, the substantial shiny piece is a statement maker, just the piece that can play bar and tray table, as seen above.

Photos courtesy of Oomph

With crenelated cut out details resembling a fortified castle, high sides and ample handles, the Edgartown tray from Oomph makes an impromptu bar an easy reality. Oversized with a generous surface area, the lacquer tray will look at home on a large ottoman or etagere shelf.

A tray this size can be slightly unwieldy to move around frequently, so the Chatham ottoman below makes a nice perch for it.

Covered in raffia with discreet nailhead trim, this new square ottoman, the Chatham,  from Oomph is an easy substitute when you need a space-friendly square upholstered piece to put your feet up rather than a rectangular one.  The carved bobbin leg adds an additional decorative detail with traditional flair.

Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Howard for Sherrill

A mid-century modern silhouette with an additional shelf for books, Mr. and Mrs. Howard's Un Deux Tray Ottoman has a streamlined walnut base, cut corners and upholstered top that holds a faux shagreen covered tray in a recessed section in the middle. 

Photo courtesy of Bunny Williams Home

With a built in tray, the Tray Chic Ottoman from Bunny Williams Home has the best of both worlds with a tufted edge and inset removable tray, it has versatility to be a workhorse.

Tailored and traditional, Hickory Chair's Bexley Otoman in leather with a sliding tray inside, has an x stretcher and tapered wooden leg on casters, ideal for a subdued chic look in a study.

STYLING AND STORYTELLING AT 2013 HIGH POINT MARKET: THE SHOWROOMS THAT INSPIRE

by Marisa Marcantonio

One of the highlights of visiting showrooms at market year after year, is seeing the evolution of styling.  The way a space is designed can reinforce as well as set trends.

Velvet upholstery, gilt and brass finishes, parchment, linen and leather-wrapped pieces were just some of the dominant design elements designers used when styling their spaces at this fall's High Point Market. Styling and creating relatable living spaces, showrooms put their best design foot forward. The benefits of a well-designed showroom are twofold. Buyers and designers can envision themselves living there, but they can also be inspired to buy into the complete package they see, and recreate a facsimile of this in their own spaces.  It becomes, if you will,  an idea incubator. The interior designers and stylists putting the room schemes together at market need to wear two hats, that of designer and merchant. The showrooms that have historically  set the tone for beautifully styled spaces at market-- Hickory Chair and Baker, are being joined by Bernhardt, under Ron Fiore, the former creative director of Hickory Chair, and the designer collections of Mr. and Mrs. Howard at Sherrill Furniture,  Celerie Kemble for Henredon, and AERIN at EJ Victor. The best style comes from the influence at the top of the market, where all eyes watch what is being done at the highest level. Luxury elements then trickle down, making their presence felt at every level of the market. Just seeing how many showrooms brought in Fiddle Leaf Fig Trees, the greenery du jour, you get the sense companies are taking their cue from what they are seeing used by today's best designer talent.  Enjoy the tour and pick up styling tips galore.

At E.J. Victor, the AERIN Collection included new pieces to round out last market's debut. I liked this streamlined chocolate sofa with handsome tufting and the gilded coffee table with bamboo detailing.

This season, she added light finishes, that included a chalky white leg option, as well as a chic parchment coffee table. I welcomed the lighter versions, they showed the collection growing in a nice direction.

A fireplace can help a showroom by providing a focal point. In this case, the seating arrangement is in a large space. The white finish is also used on her new lighting with Visual Comfort, seen here.

Bringing in greenery, fresh flowers and decorative elements bring a space to life. See the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree in the corner of the dining room area? Well, it adds a touch of green to bring the outside in. 

 This is just one of the many showrooms that used velvet upholstery in a rich color. A deep bottle green velvet added a sleek comfort to barrel-back dining chairs.

Gold on gold, a recurring theme of Lauder's,  in an area where the art ties in with the furniture. A 1940's inspired gold painted wood framed game chair with suede upholstery.

For comfort and additional seating, it is hard to deny the appeal of a sectional sofa. Note the window treatments- cream panels with tortoise matchstick blinds recall what you would see done in a pretty New York apartment.

It's the little details that make styling, in any setting, key. A seagrass basket, often used to hold logs, is used for sports equipment. I like a real-life moment.

The Baker showroom always wows. To launch their new Jacques Garcia collection, a striped fabric is shirred to create a patterned wall. A striking modern art piece makes the setting feel instantly livable.

In a smaller space, art plays a role, this time, a black and white abstract painting is the perfect foil for rich wood pieces.

A black lacquer console and white upholstery are related by framed circular butterfly art.

At Henredon, Celerie Kemble worked in color for the follow-up to her launch assortment. Using coral and blue through patterns and solid upholstery she showed you can go bold.  See the Fig Tree? Kemble designed a great chevron bone inlay planter for it.

Teal upholstery was big at market, which I was glad to see, since I have a teal blue velvet sofa, very similar to the  color used here.

Last market this mirror-backed hexagonal-section bookcase was more Hollywood Regency in black. This market, it was reinvented in gold with a bright coral interior.

Taking their cue from men's fashion and the current rage for all things brass and vintage, Bernhardt's Ron Fiore created a chic haven with chocolate brown upholstery and brass detailing.

The round cocktail table was a showstopping piece of last market. A zebra hair on hide rug and pale upholstery on a sectional lighten this look. Oh look, another Fig Tree here too!

Another area that encourages pattern and texture mixing, with navy, black and white. The bone inlay table is a busy pattern but if you increase the pattern scale in the chairs as shown here, it can work.

Teal and white, check.

This etagere has been added to my Greatest Hits list of all-time best etageres. The tree provides something pretty to fill a corner.

In Alexa Hampton's rooms at Hickory Chair, she infused the windowless area with vibrant color. Aubergine and chartreuse jazzed up her classic pieces, complete with wonderful design details. So is there a shortage on these Fig Trees since they are all at High Point?

I love Galbraith and Paul, so I was happy to see one of my favorite wallpapers used with velvet upholstery and Muriel Brandolini fabric pillows. I cannot say enough about this sofa.  A sheltering tuxedo arm with bolster pillows? So chic.

But wait, this sofa is a traditional work horse too, when you need a large 3-seater. I thought long and hard on this color green for my sofa, but instead decided teal velvet was more me. She covered the walls in geometric Quadrille and coordinated a Lee Jofa chintz giving it a fresh take with the geo mix.

Look at the skirt and upholstered leg on the Allen Chair. Not sure I have the space for this at Casa Marisa, but I might need to free up  some room.

When I entered the Sherrill Showroom last year, I felt like I was walking into a Phoebe Howard-decorated home. From wallcoverings to rugs, she transformed the series of rooms with decorative detailed touches and architectural work that had heretofore, not really been done on this scale. Not only did she make her Sherrill designs covetable, she brought her own antiques to layer in,  similar to the way she designs for clients.  Her experience as a shop owner and designer makes this sort of thing a natural extension of her work.

A faux finish resembles wood panelling in a living room space.

She created a seating area in a bedroom setting, with the palest blue upholstery mixed with crisp white accents.

Chinoiserie took the form of green and white at Century. Fretwork fabric on a kidney bean sofa and pagoda lamp coordinate this fresh vignette.

Pale blue will never lose its allure. Perhaps because it is soothing and like a calm oasis.

What a great color pairing in Century. Two large seating groupings are connected by French blue and red with pops of mustard yellow.

This market brought William Yeoward to High Point, where he debuted his collection with Jonathan Charles Furniture. I adore Yeoward's distinctly British take on design. His pieces, including quirky and classic details were inspired by antiques he owned and those he wanted to make available. The line included light cerused finishes, rich carved wood detailing, and was scaled well, to fit into smaller city and country settings. Nothing was on-steriods huge, thank goodness. Scale is so important when translating antiques into new designs. I was asked to remove the photos I showed, due to a pending magazine exclusive, so stay tuned, as I will be sharing his collection in detail, soon.

Mixing in some of his beautiful Osborne and Little embroidered fabric panels, a moment with a grey sabre-legged marble-topped table.

How could I resist a visit to Palacek, to see the newest additions to the Jeffery Alan Marks Collection? I missed seeing him at his book signing, but was able to take in his great styling, seen here. The thing he did so well with this line was to work with what Palacek does best- woven materials, textural woods, and rustic finish treatments. The pieces have a pared-down, casual California vibe. He added a darker wood finish this market.

Thibault, known first and foremost for their energetic color-infused preppy prints, has joined forces with my friends Oomph. The bright finishes of their mirrors, consoles and tables complement the comfortable upholstery and beds Thibaut has in their collection. It is a match made in color heaven.

I passed by Festoni, and they have made a feature vignette a signature. Here, blue and white artwork, grey and black upholstery is popped with bright pillows, a curvy metal coffee table and coral cushion on a  gilt bench tell their story.

 Mr. Brown has been into turquoise and orange the past few markets. This shade is just so uplifting. They had a great mix of materials, as always, and this Directoire-inspired chest of wood and metal won me over.

Vintage-influenced pieces are everywhere, and the white sideboard at Bungalow 5 gets down to details with graduated nailheads and round pulls on white linen.

Perfect for cabin and lodge decor, Currey and Company took things in a rustic direction with bark-covered pieces.

THE PEACOCKS OF HIGH POINT:

I also noticed another detail worth noting: peacocks. These winged creatures have become the It Bird, the preferred taxidermy to style with. I spotted the bird above is at Lee Industries.

He might like to know he has a friend across the street from Century over at Lee.

STYLISH SHOPPING: MRS. HOWARD ATLANTA

by Marisa Marcantonio

Walking into the retail and design shop Mrs. Howard in Atlanta is like walking into a gracious, beautifully designed home. I visited the shop last fall and am still mesmerized by it. I have to say I have never seen anything like it. It is genius. Spanning two floors, the rooms, stairways and nooks are styled to the hilt, in an elegant and traditional style that is move in ready. Classic architectural details and mill work make the spaces seem like they have existed forever and provide a sophisticated canvas against which everything shown is available for purchase. Phoebe and Jim Howard shop for antiques, decorative accessories, artwork and upholstery incessantly, and know their clientele well. I am a total convert to this kind of shopping experience, that where home and retail are fused as one, blurring the lines of commerce. I am sure I would not be the first person that has walked in saying, I want this for my home! To feel like I am stepping into Mrs. Howard every day, I read Leah Kennelly's Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper. If you are heading south, visit the wonderful gals that work with Phoebe, like Anne Patterson in Atlanta, at 425 Peachtree Hills Avenue Suite #23. Or, when in North Carolina, visit the Charlotte location a 1001 East Morehead Street. If south means Florida for you, Phoebe's style can be found in Jacksonville, at 4128 Herschel Street and at Jacksonville Beach 2400 Third Street South Suite #304. Enjoy!

Painted wall panels of climbing trees are a lovely natural element against this major mirror.

Decorative plaster walls and a rustic beam ceiling set the stage for a dressy elegant room that could work in a city and country locale. This was one of the first rooms I saw upon entering.

Incredible mill work in the entrance ties the flax hues together.

A grey painted bookcase seems to go on for miles. It holds rattan entertaining accessories and could do wonders in a home with lots of space.

Inspiring ideas are everywhere- the mix of artwork styles and frames on this wall showcase how effective artwork can be.

The fresh melon wall color balances the sage green upholstery in this seating area.

Marble inlay floors in a bold square pattern lead to a staircase where the second floor bedrooms await. The mirror sheathed armoire looked so divine there.

A corner cabinet in an antique white finish with beautiful pediment detail is representative of many of Phoebe's great antiques.

As you made your way up the staircase, the landing holds a more modern chrome book shelf styled with antiques.

Pops of blue in the wallpaper, artwork and hurricanes surround a French antique chest.

The piece de resistance- this bed! A cozy little serpentine love seat and side tables at the end of the bed are a great idea when there isn't room for other seating in the room.

A serene white bedroom with a metal bed ensconced with bed hangings. A celery colored settee sits at the foot of the bed, making a nice addition.

A bedroom done in pale blue and cream. I love the little antique stools at the end of the bed.

A pretty antique desk can also act as bar.

This painted secretary is charming and a little tufted slipper chair is a bedroom must. You see a section of the pale blue fabric window panel here and it adds a soft, tonal element against the seafoam green wall.

Serene shades of blue are present throughout the store- it is such an easy color to live with and it makes the dark wood of antiques look spectacular.

Antiques and reproduction pieces make for a move in ready mix.

An airy dining area upstairs with bird prints, a super long bench at the window for perching, and a taupe and cream color scheme.

Multiple sofas and club chairs surround a cocktail table on the second floor. The room is done in a moody, darker shade of blue with white trim.

A checked fabric on the walls with a white painted mirror have a certain charm. What a darling writing desk.

The architectural details in her shop are incredible. The beamed ceiling and window arches add to the feeling of a real home.

Light bleached wood floors and pale ceiling beams make the color in the room pop.

That staircase! Storage is no problem here, as the space under the stairs contains cabinets. This large room feels move in ready from the fab chandelier to the terra cotta tile floor. The seating dining area has a casual elegant feel with fresh white walls and pale blue accents.

This is a good seating plan for a large space, as it incorporates a dining area and multiple seating options.

A beautifully styled bookcase with white accessories. The ric rac edge on the piece is a charming detail.