Going to the huge Highpoint Furniture Market is a highlight of my year. I can’t wait to see what fresh looks are emerging onto the interior design stage, and spending time in this creative oasis always revs me up for the new year.
What am I loving for 2016? Timeless classics reimagined through subtle changes in silhouettes and reinterpreted with exciting new fabrics. I firmly believe in investing in high quality furniture – made of the best materials, using the top craftsmanship – because it will look lovely for decades. And I opt for pieces that are so stylish, they transcend trends.
Here are my top picks, the sofas, chairs and ottomans that are making my heart thump hard: (All of which is 20% off now through Feb. 15 during Nell Hill’s huge upholstered furniture sale).
Sometimes you just can’t improve on perfection. That’s how I feel about this ageless classic, an English rolled arm sofa made popular years ago by British designer George Smith. You can pull out a copy of Architectural Digest from the ‘60s, and see this lovely sofa staring in a beautiful room scene. And, you can find it still turning heads and winning hearts in the world of design today. The features that make me swoon? The turned legs with castors on the front legs, the two- or three-cushion seat and the tight back. If you have a pet that likes to sleep on the back of your sofa (like my cats do), this sofa is a great pick because it won’t break down under the furry weight.
Chesterfields have been turning heads for a long, long time. Any why not? These sheltered arm sofas provide the perfect little corner where you can prop up with a few pillows and watch TV or read. I have one in my living room and adore it.
I really like this current rendition of the Chesterfield because the arm is not too wide and it has just the right amount of tufting on the back. If you get too many tufts on a sofa like this, it starts to look like a Victorian piece, too fussy for my taste.
When I’m designing a larger room for customers, I often pair this Chesterfield with the English rolled arm sofa above – they look lovely together, similar enough so they harmonize, but different enough that they each bring a different voice to the grouping.
With its clean lines and loose back pillows, this gorgeous sofa is the right pick for any style home. A timeless classic, it can go traditional to contemporary, depending upon the upholstery fabric you select. It’s not just its good looks that turns heads and steals hearts – this is one of those magical pieces of furniture that fits everyone who sits in it. Often, sofas are too deep for those of us who are shorter. But this sofa is comfortable for people who are petite and those who are taller. No wonder it’s our biggest seller at Nell Hill’s.
Ok, I admit it. I had a prejudice against motion chairs when they first starting making an appearance at market. Recliners, rockers, swivels – I had seen so many bad examples through the years that I didn’t think this style would ever be for me. But our younger customers started asking for swivel chairs. So I took another look. Now, I’m crazy about these super comfy, lovely chairs and have two in my own home. Mid-sized and wonderfully shaped, the Holly chair in the photo above is a go-to chair for our designers when they are creating a comfortable, stylish space. It’s the kind of super-comfy chair everyone in the family will fight over.
Here’s another motion chair I adore for 2016. It’s smaller than one above, which makes it ideal for spaces where a larger motion chair just won’t fit, like a hearth room. If you are downsizing or live in a smaller square foot home, like a condo or cottage, this chair gives you all the comfort and look without eating up any extra floor space. I ordered several upholstered in depicting American artist Hunt Slonem’s bunnies. Love!
Those of us who are sentimental at heart always want a few pieces of furniture in our homes that have a warm, cozy, vintage feel to them. My mother in law had a pair of these chairs in her home, and I always adored them. That’s why I was draw to this Allerton chair, with its S leg and classic lines.
When we are helping customers design large living rooms, our goal is to make the lofty rooms feel cozy. So we often start with this wonderful 53 inch square ottoman, placed in front of the fireplace, surrounded by sofas and chairs. It’s amazing how adding this beautiful ottoman, with its tufted top and turned legs, instantly warms up a big open space. It also comes in different sizes, so will fit any room.
My granddaughter has learned to walk by cruising around an ottoman just like this one. It’s just the right height for babies to hold on to, and super soft to protect little heads, making it my pick for young families. Disclaimer: Cheerios love to roll into the tufts, so if vacuuming out breakfast cereal will make you crazy, go for the non-tufted option.
Some of us prefer a world without so many straight lines. This oval ottoman is just the ticket. It’s graceful and elegant, soft and sensual. We carry it in several different sizes, with different leg options, like straight or turned.
The very first person I sold this pair of half-round ottomans to, years ago, was a very dear friend. I can still see it in her sun room, a room as full of warmth as she was. I lost her a few years back, so this versatile and striking piece of furniture will always have a very special place in my heart. What’s cool about this ottoman is it is sold in half circles, so you can get one or both. When the two sides are pushed together, they are 48 inches round. Slide a half under a console table, place it against the foot of a bed or in a long hallway. Use two to make a round ottoman, then split it when you need extra seating or several foot rests. The ottoman transforms with the fabric you select, and the legs can be ordered in any wood color or painted.
Next week … In January, it’s gray outside, and for many home interiors, it’s also gray inside, all year long. I love gray because it’s such a fresh neutral. But if you’re looking for ways to bring your gray rooms to life, I’ll have some ideas.
Doris wilson saysJanuary 18, 2016 at 8:34 am
Do you have the “bunny” fabric in stock? Or the all-ready-made bunny pillows?
franki saysJanuary 18, 2016 at 1:36 pm
Looking forward to your critique of High Point!! franki
Sharon saysJanuary 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm
Do you carry the half moon ottomans??? NEED them!!!
Mary Carol Garrity saysJanuary 21, 2016 at 3:01 pm
Yes, we do! Give us a call at 816-746-4320.
Jim Weishaar saysJanuary 18, 2016 at 8:42 pm
MC – I can attest to buying high quality furniture and that it will last a lifetime. I still have the one and only sofa I bought from Nell Hill’s in 1996 (you personally showed it to me in the green NH warehouse in Atchison :)! It’s been with me for 20 years and through three moves across the country. The cushions and pillows are still as plump and firm as when I bought it. I reupholstered it in 2014–only because the puppies love it as much as I do!
Linda saysFebruary 10, 2016 at 9:39 am
Can you tell me who makes the rabbit chairs? I love them but i live in Alabama so hard to see you in Kansas.
Mary Carol Garrity saysFebruary 12, 2016 at 10:55 am
Linda, give us a call at 877-746-4320 for all the info.
Beth Wagner saysMay 22, 2016 at 9:35 pm
I have followed you for years and purchased several items. wondering about the chairs with rabbits and pillows. still available?
Myranda Kosmerl saysMay 14, 2017 at 8:03 am
I’m looking for the bunny pillows/fabric too! Adorable!!!