Thursday, February 10, 2011

NY Gift Show, Our Picks: Furnishings

Last week we braved the icy wintery mix of slush, snow, freezing rain and black ice that's been plaguing the East Coast to head into the city for the New York International Gift Fair. Nothing was going to keep us from seeing the latest and greatest in home furnishings and accessories!

The NY Gift Fair runs twice a year, in August and January. The "gift" portion of the fair (small accessories, gifts and products) is held in the Jacob Javitz Center, but the home furnishings vendors are all located in Pier 94 (West 55th Street & 12th Avenue/Hudson River), which makes it much easier for interior designers and store buyers to focus on the product lines appropriate to their work.

Our favorite new find at the Gift Show is COUEF, founded by Chicago-area interior designer Jamie Schachtel. And what is a COUEF, you ask? Well, unlike the Thneed in Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, this really is  a fine something that all people (and their houses) need! COUEF stands for: Chair Ottoman Upholstered End-table Furniture...It's a simple concept, with several thoughtful details and a ton of customization options. The basic ottoman/foot stool can be made rectangular or square, can include a pull-out shelf, and has a top that can be removed to reveal a storage area inside. The base can be clad in a variety of materials, from fabric to leather to wall paper to mosaic tile (yes, tile!)...And the top has options too, fabric, leather, even terry cloth for the perfect bathroom stool. It's a clever piece of furniture with great versatility.  Our favorites are below...Go buy one right now!

Mosaic tile base with terry cloth top and pull-out shelf
Ultrasuede with applique and nailheads

Mosaic tile base with mohair top and pull-out shelf

Wallpaper base with nailheads and velvet top

We discovered Oomph last spring, just as we were starting to design our room at the Hampton Designer Showhouse. They were kind enough to lend us a beautiful Fairfield coffee table for our room, and we've been fans of theirs ever since. Oomph was founded in 2009 by Amy Rice, Patty Hopple and Louise Brooks, three long-time friends from Fairfield County, Connecticut...And what started out as a small collection of pretty lacquered tables has now blossomed into a thriving business producing these must-have tables. We've included our favorite new pieces below, starting with their stunning Backgammon table that we loved so much, we ordered one for ourselves on the spot for our Lake George house that we are in the process of renovating (more on that next week...). The Fenwick Chart table is another great addition to the Oomph line...It features a real National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration nautical chart of Nantucket, Martha's Vinyard, or your choice of any of NOAA's available navigation charts. A perfect addition to any beach house.

Backgammon table in Club Navy

Fenwick Chart table

Tini tables with Fez & Marrakesh marble tops

Tritter Feefer
We have been ordering furniture from Tritter Feefer for a few years now. Their hand-crafted wood furniture works perfectly in many of our projects, and their pieces are available in a wide variety of beautiful finishes (we like St. Moritz, Sausalito, Hamptons and Sand Dune). The collection is rooted in Gustavian design, but with a more casual finish to it. Some pieces are traditional, while others have more of a transitional feel to them...Overall, we call their style garden chic! We love their new San Blas desk, and  their Laura cabinet side table will also be making an appearance in the guest room of our Lake George house. Tritter Feefer is based in Georgia, and all of their furniture is made on site. Owners Bill Aultman and Mary Louise (ML) Littlefield are very accessible and easy to work with, and they are very collaborative. And in case you're wondering, their company is named after their grandchildren's nicknames: Tristan (the Tritter) and Faith (the Feefer)!

San Blas wood and metal frame desk

Bella side tables, available in round, square, and rectangle

Laura cabinet/side table

Mr. Brown from Julian Chichester
Mr. Brown is a new spin-off from noted British designer Julian Chichester. As opposed to the highly stylized (and high end) Julian Chichester products, The Mr. Brown collection is a more retail-friendly line...But even at the lower price point, you still get plenty of style. Out favorite was a  casual gray cerused oak chair, very beach house chic. They also have a great lighting collection (more on that next in part two of our Gift Show round-up).

Dunstans Chair in Old Gray oak & linen cushions

Roost has become one of the most talk-about home furnishings and accessories vendors in the last few years, probably best known for their modern carved wooden deer heads (you couldn't open a design magazine or read a design blog without seeing them a couple of years ago). They also have a small but well-designed collection of furniture with an industrial yet natural edge to it. Their new industrial picnic table & bench and round cafe table & stools are great (And we still love their aluminum-top table with wood base).
Industry dining table & bench in recycled teak & cast aluminum

Industry cafe table & stool in recycled teak & cast aluminum

Aluminum desk with wood base (Dining & coffee table also available)

Bungalow 5
OK, we say everything is our favorite, but Bungalow 5 really is one of our favorite vendors, and has been for years...We use their furnishings in almost all of our projects, and we have their cerused oak Alexa chairs in our own kitchen. Aside from their cerused wood furniture, they are best known for their painted lacquer pieces, and the new smaller version of their Brigitte dresser is just delicious in pale blue. The also have a great selection of grasscloth-wrapped furniture, which takes modern-lined pieces and relaxes them with a lacquered grasscloth covering. The look is very Mabley Handler, so it's no surprise why they are one of our...Favorites! The also just opened a Bungalow 5 store in NYC, so pop in and see them.
Brigitte 3-drawer dresser in Light Blue

Frances A/V Cabinet in White Lacquered Grasscloth

Luna Bella
The style of the Luna Bella collection is on the shabby chic/romantic side, and probably a bit more formal than we usually do. However, we love this sofa and daybed...And when you love something, you find a way to make them work! They also had a bed with an amazing built-in overhead light option...Unfortunately, we didn't get a photo of that, but we wish we did! Oh well, something to look forward to next time...

Fiano Sofa in vanilla chenille

Madrid Sofa in blue velvet

One of our go-to vendors is Worlds Away...Their combination of reasonable price point and great style makes them a designer's best friend. They are probably best known for their beautiful iron frame and glass top side tables, which bring a touch of glamor to any room. They also have a great selection of cerused wood pieces, and brand new this year is a stunning collection of faceted glass furniture. Now we just have to find the perfect client for these ice-blue glass bedside tables...
Farrah night stand in Ice

Lynda mirrored console table in Limed Oak

Curly demi-lune cabinet in Limed Oak

This vendor was new to us...Zentique, what a great name! The have a great collection of cottage-style Gustavian-inspired furniture, very cozy and comfortable, and perfect for a Hamptons house, or any kind of cottage, Hamptons or otherwise. They show their Aubert sofa as a dining option with a kitchen table, but that looked a little too forced to us...We would rather see it in a sitting room, or even in an entryway or hallway. And their Napoleon Half Wingback chair is more like a chair-and-a-half wingback chair, super comfortable.

Aubert sofa in gray linen with brass nailheads

Napoleon Half Wingback chair in natural linen with brass nailheads

Halo Styles
Probably better known for their bold Union Jack-adorned furniture and artwork, Halo Styles also has some more subtle pieces that are beautifully designed, like the zinc-topped pine farmhouse trestle table and Thonet-inspired X-back bentwood cafe chair that we saw at the show...Perfect for a farm house, or your house. We'll feature their nautical semaphore flag pillows (great for lake houses and beach houses) next time.

Pine dining table with zinc top and Bali Cross chair in Antique Oak

Chelsea Textiles
Chelsea Textiles has an interesting mix of furniture styles, a Gustavian collection, a Mid-century modern collection, and a high-style, high gloss lacquer collection...But what unifies them all is their stunningly gorgeous color palate, soft grayish hues of blue, green, cream (they also have some punches of color in burgundy, red, navy and aqua). Our favorite piece of theirs was the elegant two-drawer bedside table in the prettiest shade of gray-blue called Almond, which is not a tan color as you would have imagined...Apparently, it's named for the color of the inside of an almond shell. We'll be checking for that the next time we crack open an almond!

Two Drawer bedside table in Almond

Design Workshop
If you like industrial furniture, look no further than Design Workshop...They are your one-stop shop for it all: Parsons tables, drafting tables, school desks, architect stools, and an assortment of rolling carts. Their furniture looks equally great in a modern Hamptons barn as it does in a Brooklyn loft...Our pick of the litter is their nickel chrome faux-bamboo chair: Industrial design meets old-school Southampton!

 Nickel chrome Bamboo chair with linen cushion

Design Legacy by Kelly O'Neal
Design Legacy has been around since 1989, but they are new to us. They have a broad range of vintage fabrics (in nautical, animal, floral/topiary, political/flag patterns, and many others) that you can use to customize anything in their vast range of products, including picture frames, trays and upholstered furniture. They also have a well-curated collection of accessories, but our favorite piece was this very simple iron frame chair with vintage coral fabric seat.

5 Square iron chair with vintage coral linen seat