High Point Market 2017 - A Newbie's Takeaways

Last week, I took the plunge into what is a right of passage for any interior designer: attending High Point Market in North Carolina.  It's hard to describe just what High Point is, but in a nutshell, it's a town built up entirely around the furniture industry, consisting of over 11 million square feet of showrooms featuring the latest in furniture, lighting, art and accessories. To say it's mind-boggling is an understatement.  To say it's an eye-opener in terms of the business of interior design is yet another.

High Point Market with  Alison Giese Interiors

High Point Market with Alison Giese Interiors


I was grateful to have seasoned professionals as my guides, who were able to help me whittle down (to some degree) the enormity of the endeavor, so I could focus on meeting with vendors who's products I will likely go to for projects.  Although there's certainly the benefits, nearly the requirements, of strategizing, I was also glad to stumble upon things I hadn't necessarily planned on.  

I followed the leader of our group to a panel discussion at Aidan Gray on Global Resourcing.  Let's just say designers who specialize in antiques and imports have seen it ALL!  Hearing the wild stories about treasure hunting in foreign countries for that amazing piece or artifact, learning about the crazy logistics involved in managing projects abroad, and all the inherent things that get lost in translation was delightful AND insightful!

Not having any prior exposure to what's "hot" at Market, I can't speak to what looked new, but I can tell you the things that caught my eye, and are likely to catch yours in the near future of interiors:

- Global Influences:  From tons of rattan furniture (the pinnacle being from Palecek) to African textiles and baskets, to Indian block prints, the World was on display...and I LOVED it!

- Size Matters:  There were several items and details where scale was exaggerated.  I saw table lamps that were nearly 4 feet tall, and beautiful cabinet hardware of a Seuss-ian size.  All to dramatic, and maybe a little tongue-in-cheek effect.

- Industrial Style - I was a little surprised to see the Industrial/Steampunk style still going strong, but it is.  Word of Caution:  I believe this trend has the shortest shelf life of any I saw.


Easily the most delightful aspect of Market was meeting people I've only known by social media. Nothing inspires me more than hanging with creative souls, and I'm so excited to now actually know some of my old "Insta friends," and to have made some new ones!  So, yes, I survived, and yes, I'm ready to go back!

Warrenton Warriors

We went, we saw, we CONQUERED! (and yes, I'm still in gestation mode)
To be honest, my expectations for the excursion were low for a few reasons:
a) We only planned to shop for 2-3 hours (you could easily commit 2-3 DAYS to covering this, and the surrounding antiques festivals)
b) We had Mini-Me in tow. (need I explain?)
c) We had Me (waddling, water-retaining, dilated, Me)

On top of all that, the last couple of times we've been to Warrenton, it seems we see the same 'ol stuff, over and over. It's one of those places where the wind blows in a trend, and EVERYONE seems to hop on it. Since we're attempting to outfit Mary's semi-formal living room in a way that appears it's been culled over the course of years, not weeks, we certainly don't want a lot of look-a likes.

Having prefaced with all that, I'm thrilled to report it was one of the most successful trips we've ever had! You know how shopping karma often works: when you're looking for something in particular (for us, a coffee table, as well as unique accessories), you never find it, but when you have no shopping goals, you find everything you love.

Perhaps we had beginner's luck, as it was Mary's first trip to the antiques festival, but we found an awesome coffee table for her at the very first booth we stalked. Can you say, Done and DONE!?! After that, everything else was just icing on the proverbial cake!

There were also several new vendors carrying a unique selection of wares. Most said they were based out of Atlanta, so thank you, Peachtree natives, for sharing the shopping love!

Quite a bit of Swedish, Belgian/Industrial-Chic was on display... Giant angel wings as statement art? Yes, please!
Half-way reasonably priced Mora clocks and tons upon tons of demijohns. (I especially loved the giant bottles converted to lamps)
If only I had a great bar or table to surround with these fab industrial stools.
One of the new vendors whose booth I could've done a lot of damage in, had I a way to get anything back to Brazil. Check out that terribly impractical gorgeous, white settee! Or that jade green little bureau! Mix those in with some non-trad pieces, and you've got one hell of an interesting space!

There's Mrs. Mary, the Lady who's mission we accomplished (oh, and a linen and nailhead chair-and-a-half my Mom was drooling over!)
Well, what d'ya know - we even ran into my cousin, Lindsey and GF's! Linds is in the first trimester of her first pregnancy, so we had to take a requisite Belly Shot.
And then a fam pic: Mini-Me, Preggo Pumpkin, Linds, and Mom
And, at last, the pièce de résistance: the coffee table. Kind of a strange pic, as they were still unloading the booth, and had random things stacked, but that's it in all it's industrial, zinc-topped glory! It's the perfect foil to Mary's french-ish settee, and works amazingly with the cowhide! Can ya picture it? Then, hold that thought and stay tuned, because this room is shaping up nicely!