Traci Zeller Designs

new designer resource: artisan & post

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Y’all, I am so excited to share a fantastic new furniture resource that is designer-friendly, well-priced and — stop the presses — in stock.  Seriously.  Take a minute to pick yourselves up off the floor.

Artisan & Post FurnitureI’ve never been to PreMarket before (hello, what have I been missing?!), but Vaughan-Bassett invited me to High Point for a sneak peek of their brand-new line, Artisan & Post.   Artisan & Post is focused on providing high-quality, solid wood furniture with on-trend finishes and 10 to 12 day delivery times.  It almost sounds too good to be true, right?!

Vaughan Bassett Made in AmericaWhile you’re still absorbing that zinger, take a moment to consider this fast fact.  Vaughan-Bassett has been proudly made in America for the ninety-seven years.  Let’s put furniture aside for a moment.  How many companies can say that they’ve endured and prospered through World War II and the Great Depression?  And survived the intense pressure to manufacture overseas?  I don’t know the answer, but I’m guessing it’s a pretty small list.

Artisan & Post Upholstered BedArtisan & Post was inspired by the quality of Amish-made furniture — coupled with a recognition that consumers are increasingly used to the satisfaction of our “buy it now” mentality.  Too often, I see homeowners happily (!!) willing to sacrifice style or quality, simply because certain large retailers can deliver in a short period of time.  Waiting ten to fourteen weeks can be a tough — and I mean, tough — pill to swallow, especially once you’ve written that big check.  Heck, I get it!  I’m addicted to Amazon Prime for the same reason.  But — unlike furniture — my Amazon orders are typically not the types of things that I keep for years to come.  Options like Artisan & Post combine the best of both worlds, which means homeowners finally won’t feel compelled to settle for less just because they can have it now.

There are two collections in the new Artisan & Post line — Artisan Choices and Maple Road.  Artisan Choices, the first (and larger) collection, is made of solid cherry and solid oak and offers five different finishes and eighteen hardware options.  Maple Road, the second collection, is made of solid maple and offers three different finishes.  Both collections feature beds and a variety of case goods, including dressers, chests and media pieces.  Best of all, the pieces are nicely scaled — offering alternatives for both smaller, cleaner styles and larger, more traditional footprints.

Artisan Choice FinishI’m particularly fond of the Classic Dark Oak finish in the Artisan Choices collection (shown above) and the Maple Syrup and Weathered Gray finishes in the Maple Road collection. I envision a certain large retailer — who shall go unnamed, but may already have been the subject of recent unpleasant news — getting a run for its money!  For my design projects, these pieces are particularly well-suited to secondary bedrooms and vacation homes.  It’s both the scale of the case goods and the price point that will work so nicely in those projects.

I was so impressed at the quality construction of Artisan & Post’s furniture, especially given the value price point.  When I’m evaluating quality construction, the first place I look is the drawers — because that’s where you can tell if a manufacturer has decided to scrimp or to invest.

Artisan & Post Drawer DisplayLet’s take a look!  Artisan & Post’s drawers use English dovetail construction, dual, ball-bearing undercount guides, and a piston-activated soft-close mechanism.  Dreamy.  Perhaps that is the answer to my children’s inability to close a drawer?!

Designers, take a peek during next month’s High Point Market.  For me, Artisan & Post fits a niche not currently in my little black book of resources.  The good news for everyone — designer or not — is that you can expect to see Artisan & Post on the floor of local retailers by Memorial Day!

All photos by moi.  Thank you to High Point Market Authority for the opportunity to work with Vaughan-Bassett as a sponsored blogger!  

my favorite photo styling props

Monday, January 25th, 2016

I think / hope / pray we all know by now that celebrities don’t actually look like their magazine photos.  Are they gorgeous?  Absolutely.  Are they flawless?  Of course not.  Everyone has a minor — and, in the case of supermodels and Hollywood’s leading actresses, very minor — “blemish” of some sort.  Maybe it’s a freckle or a hair out of place.  But that’s what PhotoShop is for, right?  Oh, and they were also made up, coiffed and styled within an inch of their lives.  Trust me, I am not judging.  This girlfriend will take all the help she can get!

Traci Zeller Lake Wylie Breakfast RoomBut did you know that the same thing is true in interior design?  Here’s a shocker for you:  That dog did not jump into the basket.  Au contraire.  There is so much that goes into making a beautiful photograph.  Sometimes what works well in a room looks awkward through the camera lens.  You may need to scrunch furniture together or move it farther apart, make a lampshade crooked so that it appears straight, and so on and so forth.  Plus, interior designers and magazine stylists often add props and other accessories before a photo shoot.  Those props and accessories shouldn’t change the look or the feel of a space, but they might add that final layer to help a room pop off the camera.

Juliska Harriet VaseNow that I have more than a few photo shoots under my design belt, I’ve developed a bit of a rhythm.  What made me laugh, however, is when I realized that I had a decorating “tell.”  In poker, a “tell” is some change in behavior or demeanor that gives your opponent clues about your hand.  Or at least that’s how I understand it; I don’t play poker.  Work with me here, m’kay?  

Traci Zeller Designs Breakfast Room Hydrangea ArrangementSo what’s a decorating “tell”?   In my case, it was a vase.  Namely,  this Juliska vase.  Floral arranging is not my strongest suit, but anyone — and I mean, anyone — can make flowers look good in this vase.  Gather stems together, tie with clear rubber band, cut to appropriate length, plunk in water, done.  See?  Four hydrangea stems et voilà!

Six Top Styling Props1. // 2. // 3. // 4. // 5. // 6

Fortunately, I realized my decorating “tell” … and I stopped using that vase in photos.  But there are several stylish essentials that I either pack or buy before almost every photo shoot.  Why?  Because they look great in photos, of course — and they are realistic for a homeowner to use and enjoy.  Not-so-coincidentally, I use many of these same things at home.  It’s how I style my everyday — and my photos.

How do you style your everyday?