Thursday, July 16, 2009

Inspirational Atlanta Designers

Every year I like to attend the home furnishing market at AmericasMart in Atlanta. It is fun and fascinating to see the new designs by the furniture and decor lines, see what trends are emerging, and generally soak in the atmosphere of a place devoted to furniture, decor, and design. I almost missed the Mart as I was in Colorado, but I got back just in the nick of time and was able to go on the last day. This year, the Home Furnishing market seemed to have a special focus on design as an integral component of the Mart, and to my delight there were rooms designed by six of the top designers in the country, all based in Atlanta: Suzanne Kasler, Bob Brown, Carole Weaks, Stan Topol, William Peace, and Matthew Quinn. The home design showcase was called 'b.inspired', and each designer had 10 'Things That Inspire Me' listed next to their rooms. I spent over an hour admiring every detail of the rooms. Here are the rooms from Weaks, Brown, and Kasler - I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Carole Weaks has long been on my radar, as she was mixing contemporary art with more traditional furniture and antiques many years before I started to gravitate towards this look. She designed a bedroom for her room at the Mart, and it was lovely. The bed is one of my favorite designs, made by Lewis Mittman, and the benches at the base of the bed are by Amy Howard. The chandelier is by Niermann Weeks.

I particularly liked the black cabinet, which is available through Smith Grubbs (to the trade only).

The next room was by Bob Brown. I always love seeing his work; it is comfortable, elegant, versatile, and clean lined. I appreciated that one of the things he listed in his '10 Things That Inspire' are the design blogs! Although this room is not really my personal style (it is a bit too masculine), it is beautifully and masterfully put together and a pleasure to look at. It takes a great eye to create a gallery wall like this, and I love how Brown used hanging lights instead of table lamps. I also like the contrast welting on the sofa and pillows.

The other side of the room has another wonderful gallery wall. It is amazing what the designers were able to do with their rooms; there were unique challenges given that the rooms did not have natural light or windows.

As much as I liked all of the rooms, my favorite was, of course, by Suzanne Kasler. Her style really speaks to me, and this room was a great reflection of her style. The room featured many pieces from Kasler's collection for Hickory Chair and Visual Comfort, as well as a few antiques. I love the dining table; if I could redo my own dining room, this table would be on my short list. Without its leaves, it is a small oval; with its leaves, it is quite long and seats 12. The chairs are antique, from Kasler's own collection. Her popular 'Alexandra' chair can be seen in the back - the quatrefoil shape is a classic form that she listed as one of the things that inspire her. I really like how she arranged the wood in the fireplace - quite sculptural.

Here is the room from the other side. The Swedish writing desk is antique. The slipcovered chair is from Kasler's Hickory Chair collection. I found the wall display to be quite beautiful, despite the fact that I am not an antler fan (although I do find European mounted antlers to be slightly more interesting). The room information said that Kasler used items from her personal collection to round out the room....

...and look what I spy. The bench that sat in the entry of her old home was used in the room at the Mart! The fabric is so distinctive with its custom embroidery. This antique bench was the inspiration for the 'Woodward bench' in Kasler's collection for Hickory Chair.

I wish I could have taken pictures of the other rooms, but the batteries in my camera died. The other rooms were also quite striking! I hope this is the start of a new tradition at the Mart. I found it to be very well done and quite an unexpected surprise.