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Trends Seen In Our Workshop

March 26, 2009

Our world seems turbulent right now, and people are making every penny count. So I’ve been watching how they are spending their money at Niermann Weeks on:

· Silvery, shiny finishes

· Comfortable, traditional furniture

· Wild and crazy upholstery

Part 1, Silvery, shiny finishes.

For many years now, silver has been the dominant finish in our workshop. Silver on tables, lighting, cabinets, whatever. In our three decades in business, we’ve seen finish popularity wax and wane, but silver has been on top for almost ten years. From a designer’s point of view, it’s a wonderful chameleon finish. When uncrated on site, the product looks all shiny and new; and when it’s put into the décor, it reflects everything around it.

Our mirrored Monaco Chandelier almost vanishes in this heavily patterned black and white room, prepared for a DIFFA showhouse in 2006.

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Photo courtesy of James Druckman, The New York Design Center.

We rejected this view for our 2008 ad campaign, but it does a good job showing off our mirrored Valois Bed and the mellow silverleaf finish of the Carlotta Commode. The overall look is light and airy.

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In 2002 Washington, DC designer Joseph Paul Davis used the mirrors in our Quatrefoil armoire with lots of light tones to make a small corner room look like an inviting nook. I could settle right in there with some friends and some drinks.

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Another Washington, DC designer, Brenton Bacari, placed our Venetian Console in the middle of this placid front room. This console is finished with both silverleaf and antiqued mirror, both of which give this space quiet zing.

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Photo courtesy of Brenton Bacari

My final photo pays homage to the now-defunct House & Garden Magazine. For their Christmas party Niermann Weeks decorated a table in tones of silver on the tabletop and the chairs. Joe even designed the New York skyscape in slightly mirrored glass panels. When your eye scans this room, however, it is clearly a red room for the winter holidays.

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Part 2, Comfortable, traditional furniture.

The second trend I’m noticing right now is a return to pre-twentieth century furniture forms, but often dressed up in a silverleaf finish. This Hollywood renaissance finish crisply dresses up the traditional forms.

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Joe was inspired to create our Carved Italian Commode by classic Venetian chests of drawers. In addition to the custom finishes, we’ve made this style as to hold sweaters, to protect a wine rack, and to hide a tiny refrigerator in an office. Normally, this commode holds three drawers and has a chinoiserie finish in browns and pale blues.

Customers are also asking for simple metal beds, which they may or may not swag with fabric. Personally I like them better as architectural forms in a room, but that’s because dust caught in fabric makes me sneeze. We make them so they’re study enough for adults to roll and play in, and the testers hold racks of clothing really well. I also hang my freshly ironed linen towels on the teesters to air-dry.

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Our Loire Bed in Queen; silverleaf finish         Our steel 4-post bed in Full; natural steel finish

However our beds do look smashing with lots of fabric on them, which makes my alternative uses more difficult. Look at how the incomparable Mario Buatta used our Loire Bed in a NY showhouse several years ago. A better view of this room was published in Architectural Digest.

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Loire Bed

Part 3, Wild and crazy upholstery.

As we all know, people are being much more conservative in their spending habits right now. I think that has let them express their inner wildness in some wonderful mixing of traditional upholstery forms with wonderful fabrics. Look at these pictures, and wish happiness to the houses that own them. This COM makes the furniture ever so much more fun than the plain fabrics of years past.

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