the benefits of benchmade … in canada, no less

Traci Zeller and Kimberley SeldonRemember the branding seminar with Kimberley Seldon and Brentwood Classics that I was fortunate enough to attend at High Point Market?  For my designer friends (and any other business owners), I promised a recap on the blog, so here are my top three takeaways.  (1) Be professional in every aspect of your business, including your business name and email address.  This is not the time or place for cutesy!  (2) Would you rather have a Mercedes-branded toaster or a Home Depot-branded toaster?  Tailor your presentations accordingly.  (3) As a designer, it’s impossible to deliver Mercedes service without top quality, reliable vendors — so choose your partners carefully.

Brentwood Classics VignetteSee?  I told you Kimberley was fabulous!  Just as interesting as Kimberley’s advice, however, was the gorgeous furniture at Brentwood Classics — including Kimberley’s own collection, of course.  I particularly loved the clean, classic lines of these pieces, and I tried soooo very hard to capture the beauty of the fabrics.

Brentwood Classics Fabric SheenCan you get a sense of the subtle sheen and precise stitching on this pretty chair?   If the limitations of my iPhone camera and the harsh showroom lights were just a bit too much, please take my word for it!  I definitely couldn’t do the mohair justice, but just know that it was so divine that I may have been drooling in my champagne.  Kimberley did not mention overuse of alliteration and exclamation points in blog posts, so thank you very much.

Brentwood Classics FabricsI mean, hello?  Look at this incredible cut velvet.  As Twin B would say, that comes with “extra yummy sauce!”  And where does one find all of that fabric fabulousness?  Shortly after High Point Market, Diana Sisto, Brentwood Classics’ creative director, was headed to Lake Como, Italy to source new fabrics.  Insert happy sigh here.

Brentwood Classics Benchmade in CanadaWhen I evaluate upholstery vendors, my top criteria are quality construction, exquisite fabrics, excellent customer service, and compelling value.  Kimberley shared how valuable it is to her business that Brentwood Classics is family-owned and operated.  Because the owners are involved in the day-to-day operations, she is always able to get a quick answer and prompt follow-through with any questions or concerns.

Here in North Carolina, we tend to get a little myopic about our furniture being made “just down the road” … but Brentwood Classics is benchmade in Canada with the same quality and attention to detail that we expect here.  Thanks to the benefit of video, you can see where the magic happens from the comfort of your own laptop.  It’s impressive!

Plus, one of my core values is stewardship, so I’m especially pleased to report that Brentwood Classics is a member of the Sustainable Furniture Council.  All of Brentwood Classics’ upholstery products are made with soy-based poly foam, which assures you the utmost in sustainable comfort.  Oh, and guess what?  That pesky little thing called an “exchange rate” is totally working in our favor right now.  

A quick review of my top criteria?  That’s a Check, Check, Check and Check.  In other words?  I may see mohair in my future!

Thank you to High Point Market for pairing me with two companies, including Brentwood Classics, as a sponsored blogger. 

five easy ways to update your bedroom

Did you catch my latest appearance on Charlotte Today?  It’s so much fun chatting with Colleen and Eugene!  This time, I shared easy ways to update your bedroom … and I promise they are easy with a capital E.  Importantly, my tips address both function and form.

It doesn’t get much easier than putting a colorful throw or blanket at the bottom of your bed … plus, the layering is a perfect solution for in-between seasons like these.  Get it?  We’ve added both form and function!

John Robshaw Tie Dyed ThrowsI’m not usually a tie-dye girl — as in, ever — but these John Robshaw throws are fab.  Lucky for my Charlotte girls, Isabella, one of my absolute fave home boutiques, has these in stock now!

Anthropologie Equestrian KnobsPainting a piece or two is a perfect way to break up that boring five-piece bedroom set,  and chalk paint is a DIY Dream Come True.  Hello, no sanding, no prep?!?!  Annie Sloan created the original chalk paint over 20 years ago, and it’s available both online and at Black Lion in Charlotte.  Updated hardware will make those newly painted bedside tables or dresser even more personal and should be as simple as a screw or two!  Anthropologie has a fantastic selection of trendy and reasonably priced knobs and pulls, including the equestrian-inspired pieces I brought on the show.

Caldrea Linen SprayLinen spray infused with lavender is supposed to bring sweet dreams … but, at the very least, it brings fresh smells!  My studio partner Lisa Mende is a big fan of Caldrea’s Lavender Pine Linen and Room Spray.

Kathleen DiPaolo Lamp Finials Exclusive to Studio 202Do your lamps have built-in dimmers? Soooooo much better for relaxing at the end of the evening!   If not, it’s as easy as plugging into a separate lamp dimmer.  After you’ve taken care of the function, back to the form!  Let’s jazz up those plain lamps with decorative finials.  Studio 202 is the exclusive retail outlet for Kathleen DiPaolo’s signature line of finials.  Most of her designs feature semi-precious stones, and I looooooove them.

See?  Told you it was easy.  You’ll find even more tips in the video segment … including the no-fail way to check if it’s time to replace your bed pillows!

traci zeller