New design trend starts, and stays, right here at home

Published 7:36 pm Thursday, April 25, 2019

Those behind the fabric at Watson In Homes know trends. They see interior design trends shift from year to year, in textures, patterns and color. But the newest trend these decorators are seeing is less about upholstery and curtain styles and more about sustainability.

Headboards, ottomans, built-in banquets — the team at Watson In Homes is not just upholstering these things anymore, they’re building them, either on their own or drawing on the assistance of local designers and artisans with their projects.

“It’s custom furniture, custom-made by local artisans. People are keeping it local,” said Susan Sizemore Watson.

HANDMADE: Jeremy Watson poses with a customer’s finished handmade and upholstered headboard. (Watson In Homes)

Watson works alongside husband Jeremy Watson, and mother-in-law Gayle Watson, owner of Watson In Homes. Over the past several years, they’ve seen customers’ desire to buy local and support local businesses spread to their industry.

“Every now and again, we would get a request: ‘I’m looking for an ottoman; I can’t find what we’re looking for; can you make it for me?’ So we’d done that here and there, hit or miss,” Susan Watson said. “I think the trend of people trying to buy things local is nothing new. They started with produce and people wanting to buy fresh food, and then keep their business at downtown shops, keeping their dollars in the community, and I think people are realizing that they can buy furniture right here. … This is kind of what we’re trying to get into more and people are realizing we can do it.”

BUILT-IN: Built-ins are a growing trend in homes. Watson In Homes upholstered this kitchen banquet. (Watson In Homes)

Susan Watson said instead of ordering online from entities such as Pottery Barn or Wayfarer, people are growing increasingly supportive of local artisans, even it means they may spend more money on a locally made piece. But it’s worth it to many, according to Gayle Watson.

“There are people who still want touch things — they want to see them before they buy,” Gayle Watson said.

“When you order it local, you can custom make it, maybe a little taller, a little wider. You can kind of make it your own, and nobody has one just like it,” Susan Watson said.

A recent project involved recreating what was essentially a hospital bed into a piece of furniture that passed as a daybed because the customer was no longer physically able to climb the stairs to his home’s bedrooms.

“It looked like it belonged in the living room,” Susan Watson said. “It looked like a piece of furniture.”

“That’s the wonderful thing about custom furniture,” Gayle Watson added.

COLLABORATION: Upholstery by Watson In Homes combined with design and frame by Washington-based Van Collier makes for a unique, and uniquely local, piece of furniture. (Watson In Homes)

The Watsons have worked with designers Beth and Chris Collier, owners of the Washington-based Van Collier, to create unique pieces for clients, from frames to upholstery. They’ve engaged woodworking artisan and furniture restorer Mark Hamblin, also in Washington, to hand-make the legs of ottomans. Even their fabrics are North Carolina-sourced.

“So we collaborate with all these local people, and we can create anything you can imagine,” Watson said. “I think people are unaware that there’s even a market for that or that it’s even available. I hope people realize they don’t have got to High Point anymore.”

For the Watsons, the trend represents a return to basics.

“What they said about food: know your grower? This is know your maker,” Susan Watson said.

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HEADS UP: A tufted headboard, this one tufted in a jewel tone, creates a colorful focal point of a bedroom. (Watson In Homes)