4 crucial questions for your Design Associate

I can think of another caption for this New Yorker cartoon: Louis XIV thinking, "I told the designer I needed furniture fit for a King’s mission, not mission furniture. "

Keep this little cartoon in mind when you start shopping with your design associate in High Point. The assistance is free and some designers are so good you'd pay them hundreds of dollars an hour to work with you.

The following 4 questions can help you find the right associate for your project.

How long have you worked here? More than one year is a good sign. Some stores may have high associate turnover and that’s an important consideration.

If your associate is new to the place, ask about previous experience with other stores. If they tend to jump around a lot, that's not a great sign.

One caveat: The recent economy has closed a lot of showrooms, and some associates may be moving around with the economy.

What is the most important thing to you about design? Scale is everything. Sometimes a few inches don't matter, and sometimes they really do.

For example, a cocktail table should be at least 18 inches from the edge of the sofa to the cocktail table, and a minimum of 3 feet in a heavy traffic room (such as an entrance in a family room versus a door to the library that no one uses).

A good designer knows you need to make room to navigate among the furniture. The best designers understand scale, proportion and color.

Do you have experience in design? Listen for a response that includes a solid design background, or someone who has been a designer on their own or in some other capacity.

Design degrees tend to be rare, so if you find someone with a degree, that's a great sign.

Finally, ask if they can show you pictures of projects they've recently completed.

Once you start working together, you’ll want to watch for the following:

Customer service and follow-up. Do they get right back to you? Do they jump on the issues before it becomes a bigger problem?

Are they listening to you? If you're car shopping and looking for a family car and the salesman keeps showing you sports cars, or a Lexus Sedan, it's pretty clear that you're not on the same wavelength.

Are they paying attention to your priorities? Not just trying to sell furniture? Are they showing you things you actually like, of the quality, and price range you desire.

If you don't like your associate's answers to any of these questions, you can request to work with someone else. Also, feel free to give me a call before you come here. I'd be happy to help you find the right one.

- Carole (336) 404-1040

Create your home's "Year of Style"


Plan a year's worth of beauty projects for your home and plan to save in February. With a little French inspiration and historic furniture discounts starting next month, you can create your home’s “Year of Style.” Here’s how.


One of my favorite books is Frederic Fekkai’s “A Year of Style.” The French stylist shares his monthly self-care and beauty ideas - a different set of ideas for each month - that are simple, practical, and luxuriously self-nurturing.

Suggestions range from “paint the inside of your closet a cheerful color,” to “make a cup of hot chocolate the Swiss way.” Such seasonally-inspired ideas inspire me to take better care of myself all year long.

My home is an extension of my year-round self-care. Each season inspires different desires: January makes me crave cozy floor rugs and July inspires family time on the patio with comfortable chairs for sunset dinners.

When it comes to styling and designing these moments for my family -- finding a good value tops the list of self-care.

Plan a year’s worth of projects and purchase during February’s furniture savings

February is the still one of the strongest month's to get the best price on quality furniture. Think Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale, when you get a personal invite from your favorite associates to view upcoming styles. Their sales associates know that July is the time to buy the best at the best price. And the sale is legendary.

In the furniture industry, February is to furniture what July is to fall at Nordstroms. In February, manufacturers want to clear the aisles for new designs. But when you're buying from a quality furniture maker, these styles don't fall out favor or fashion.

Create your home’s “Year of Style”

Take a look through this list of ideas. Send me an email with your project list and I can create a personal style calendar to help you find the right design - and best value - for your vision.

Warm, cozy rugs in January

A sweet heart gift in February--such as a love seat or dining set

Create a cozy reading nook in March

Let there be light, lamps, and chandeliers in April and May

June weddings and special “first home together” gifts

July patio furniture

August means Mohitos on a southern-inspired front porch

In September, suit up and organize your home office

Update the family’s entertainment centers for fall sports

Upfit the guest room in November

Upfit your bedroom in December

In January, relax and reflect on the year in something special -- like a chaise lounge

Email me at with ideas for your home’s “Year of Style” and we’ll make it a beautiful, nurturing, New Year.

Where to stay in High Point

There are several places you could stay in High Point and I have a few recommendations based on my own personal experience and what I’ve heard clients say again and again. Here are three of my favorites:

Pamper yourself: Grandover Resort Elegant and relaxed, with a friendly, attentive staff. Rooms are well appointed and quiet, furnished with plush beds and 200 thread count sheets to help you relax and get a good night's rest.

The resort also has a golf course, excellent bar and restaurant, and a full spa featuring facials and massages. You'll appreciate the easy drive from the resort to many of my favorite furniture locations. Room rates are discounted for furniture clients, and upgrades may be available. Let us make the call for you.

Smart choice: Marriott Courtyard High Point This is a great practical choice. It's inexpensive, clean, and convenient. The room rate includes a good breakfast with several restaurants nearby.

As a top choice for travelling professionals, the Courtyard also features updated amenities such as an exercise room. I’ve recommended this hotel dozens of times and clients are always pleased.

B&B: JH Adams Inn This is a charming bed and breakfast on Main Street in High Point. I love gracious old homes, and the Adams Inn is exactly that: An historic property beautifully restored in gracious southern style. "Luxury abounds ... Egyptian Cotton linens, premium Sealy mattress, plush robes, lavish bathrooms, and elegantly decorated two are alike," per the Web site.

Warm and relaxed, the Inn also has a great restaurant and bar on site. Sit outside in the courtyard if the weather permits.

Advisor tip: Furniture clients can get special rates. Let us make the call for you.