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Lucky me. Along with my colleague Cameron MacNeil, I was sent to High Point, North Carolina for one of their semi-annual furniture market shows. I guess you could call it a pilgrimage of sorts, if you are into furniture. And if you are into blossoming dogwood branches, the spring show (which we attended) was also a bit of a pilgrimage. The fall show is scheduled for October 22-27. Yes, I drove Cameron crazy, for many reasons, but mostly by pointing out all the big dogwood trees, which are a local wonder. I think he was a convert by the end of the trip.

But other highlights from the show were many. I thought I would just share a couple here.

Favourite item: José Thenée sketches.

BoBo Intriguing Objects was a standout for both Cameron and I, with its showroom filled with mostly vintage and some repros. But one line in particular stood out to me. Somehow Bobo had acquired a collection of original ironwork renderings by José Thenée (perhaps his whole collection?), a world-renowned ironworker from Argentina. He was arguably the best of the blacksmiths in the 1920s and much of his work is seen throughout Buenos Aires. And if his sketches are any indicator, I can see why his work is so important. The showroom was filled with them, obviously for wholesale. And I have since seen them in a few advertisements for Atlanta and other U.S.-based retailers. These are definitely something I wish I could have bought.

Favourite display idea: Old rope.

Many of the showrooms do a great job of merchandising so that you feel like you're in a well-displayed retail space instead of (well, technically) a wholesaler at an industry event. Many of us love nautical in the spring and summer, when we're thinking of cottages and cottage decorating. Above is just one of many ideas on how to get a nautical vibe with minimal effort. A lovely pewter charger filled with old rope (probably new rope to be exact, that has been painted or stained) is the perfect hit of Shipping News style. It's also a great way to create a non-floral centerpiece. I think I would just beef it up with some pewter or wooden candlesticks with drippy candles. Loose and casual — this was one great idea.

Favourite new take on a tried-and-true look: Vintage sport added to industrial.

I'm a fan of the industrial look, and have been worried that it is on its way out these last couple of years. We've seen it in too many places, sometimes not well done. But a company called Halo masterfully mixed industrial with Brit sport to give it legs for longer. This was a great way to add some colour and some cheek to the industrial look. It's very masculine, but I love old trophies and rugby balls. It was a terrific merge of two strong looks.

Plus, Halo gave the best party of the show. To celebrate their British bent, they hosted a Clockwork Orange party (arguably one of Stanley Kubrick's best movies and a personal favourite of mine). The champagne was flowing, all the waiters were dressed like Droogs (punks) from the movie, and the film was running upstairs on a wall in the old firehouse they were using as their showroom. Now that was a highlight.

See part two of my favourite finds from High Point.

Photo credits:
1-5. Meg Crossley

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