The Art of Furniture

Charleston Forge has a long history of hand-building beautiful, high quality, steel, wood, and leather furniture. We have an extensive catalog of products and do a large amount of custom work and have built product for retailers such as Room & Board, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdales, just to name a few.

Charleston Forge is getting dressed for furniture market

Charleston Forge - Thursday, October 10, 2013
Andy and Ernie, seen here in the forge, put the final touches on the new Charleston Forge sign, which will be highlighted in our showroom at the High Point Furniture Market October 19-24th.

We will follow up with a photo of the finished showroom very soon!












The World's Home for Home Furnishings

The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 75,000 people to High Point every six months. Serious retail home furnishings buyers can be found in High Point twice a year because if you can’t find it in High Point…it probably doesn't exist.

Current Demographics

  1. 180 Buildings
  2. 11.5 Million Square Feet of Showspace
  3. 75,000 Attendees Each Market
  4. More Than 2000 Exhibitors
  5. 100+ Countries Represented
  6. Tens of Thousands of New Product Introductions
  7. Approximately 10% of Attendees Are International





Getting to know designer Holly Carter: Holly Carter Design

Tara Jackson - Thursday, February 23, 2012

1) Did you always want to be a designer? 

No, I wanted to be a professional horsewoman but lacked the talent (even though I still have the desire.) Design runs deep in my genes. My family on both sides is filled with artists, inventors, engineers, and the like. My parents, as a hobby (that was really an obsession,) bought and restored old stone farmhouses in historic Bucks County, Pa. The very essence of architectural integrity was a daily experience as they did project after project bringing these magnificent homes back to their original splendor. They would then go to antique auctions in the surrounding areas and furnish these houses. 

I can remember my mother on her hands and knees using Johnsons Paste Wax to polish the old pegged floors. When she was done, she would always ask me to hop on her electric buffer and get a “ride” while she buffed the floors up to a shiny patina. She said she needed the extra weight for a good shine.   

 2) What’s your design philosophy? 

As a tag line: Creating environments that nurture the soul! My Design philosophy is really simple; there is nothing new under the sun… just another viewpoint on the already well-known wheel so to speak. So it has to be beautiful, it has to have a purpose and it has to be justifiable.  I use as many organic materials as I can. And if the project dictates...I have to have the inside of the home transitioning with the outside, or I go mad! 

It's not about me...its about my clients. I want it to look like their home and feel like it’s them. if it’s a commercial project, I aim to give it a shot of soul.   

 3) From where do you draw your inspiration? 

My Inspiration comes from God. The master creator… look outside yourself and your questions will be answered. 

Then of course my family and all of my memories and experiences [bring inspiration].  I think a lot of personal life experiences play into developing your taste and style. I had a Grandmother that painted and gardened daily. Her home was always a great inspiration to me. She had this greenhouse that opened into the foyer in this redone carriage house in Yardley, Pa. It smelled like turpentine and hot dirt. It was quirky, but cool. Then she had a studio in the back of the house where the light was best with a hallway that connected the two areas; so when you would enter you got that whiff of turpentine and dirt. It sounds weird, but it’s comforting to me. She always had fresh flowers and lots of light streaming in everywhere. Her husband, my grandfather was an inventor, very much a southern gentleman; birds would sit on his hands and take seed when he fed them. He was very gentle... He impressed me a lot. 

My inspiration also comes from being an equestrian, along with many trips abroad foxhunting in Europe and seeing the world.   

4) Is there a specific design feature you like to use or feel fits in almost any situation? 

Oh yes, I would say a signature piece for me for an interior would be something antique ... every room should have one; even if it’s a book. An exterior signature piece could be a serpentine wall of some organic composition such as brick, stone or a fence line. It just undulates with the lay of the terrain.   

5) Tell us a little bit about your first solo design job, was it smooth sailing, or a nightmare? What did you learn? 

My first project was a dream project. My clients had just purchased a home and it needed a lot of cosmetic renovations along with an addition, and then total furnishing. The wife wanted to keep the wallpaper and save money. The husband didn’t give an opinion but eventually asked me what I thought. I was afraid to give my honest opinion. I was sweating the idea of having to tell them what I thought because I simply wanted the job. I finally advised them to do it right the first time and to get rid of the hideous wallpaper. He said, “Good, the jobs yours!” 

To be honest, clients are paying me for my opinion, and if a designer is afraid to give an honest opinion than they aren’t being true to themselves as a creative individual or to their clients. If that happens, then the integrity of the project can become compromised.


6) What other profession do you think you would love or be good at? 

There are quite a few: Set design, the old fashioned way (they never told us about that at career day in school.) Loving history as I do, I wanted to be an archeologist at one point. Honestly, if I could go back in time, I’d love to be an architect; one who draws by hand not in a cad program, which I feel takes the design evolution away from the process.   

7) What’s your greatest achievement to date? 

My greatest achievement would be still having a business after the horrible recession we have all been through. I’m still young enough, energetic enough and passionate enough to get out of bed each day and enjoy my work and the many wonderful friends I have met in this business (whom I am so grateful for and to!) 

Having your own business is a challenge. When I would complain about the trials of having your own business, my good friend Randall Tysinger would say to me “H, if it was easy, everybody would have their own businesses.” I am grateful to be self-employed. I never ever would have believed it if anyone had told me that one day I would have my own firm.  


Holly Carter is a designer located in Aiken, South Carolina. She offers complete interior design services...as well as the finest American and English furniture, European antiques, luxury gifts, and accessories. 

www.hollycaterdesign.com   phone: 803-226-0025   facebook fan page 




Charleston Forge Furniture and Hurricane Katrina

Tara Jackson - Wednesday, February 08, 2012

We love to hear it when people love our furniture (I mean, who doesn't like the occasional pat on the back?) Yes, it tells us we're doing a good job, but it also lets our customers know that we have built a piece that was meant to last. Recently, we have received calls and e-mails from multiple different customers who purchased a Charleston Forge product 20 years ago and want a couple more. They had looked at replacing them with brand new product, simply so they would have matching pieces, but the quality and durability just didn't match what they had grown to love. So, our team custom makes a piece or two to match their current barstool, or table. 

However, this story really kind of tops them all. Our marketing director had a chance to speak with a husband and wife who had first hand experience with the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina:

Despite being raised 13 feet off the ground, the first floor of Kay and Chris Harris’ home in Pascagoula, MS found itself under 4 feet of water for days after Hurricane Katrina’s hit the southern US in 2005. Only half a block from the Gulf of Mexico, the Harris’ home had in fact faired far better than many of the homes around it – homes that weren’t raised up on concrete piles.

“They were gone,” Chris said during a visit he and his wife, Kay, made to the Charleston Forge factory in Boone, NC recently.

“The house was severely damaged,” Kay told company co-owner, Susan Barber. “Everything downstairs was destroyed except for your tables and an antique dining table that had been recently rebuilt.”

Despite sitting in salt water for days Chris said that the steel table bases needed only a light sanding and touching up with paint.

“The wooden tops were fine,” added Kay. At the time they owned four pieces of Charleston Forge furniture — two end tables, a sofa table, and a coffee table.

The Harris’, who no longer own the Pascagoula house, now split their time between homes on Beech Mountain, near Boone, and their home in Chocowinity, NC near the Atlantic coast. The furniture is now part of the décor at the Beech Mountain property.

“It’s lasting furniture,” said Chris.



Rich and Radiant

Tara Jackson - Friday, January 13, 2012

     

Mountain Sky by Tara Michelle Jackson  (TaraMichellePhotography, Boone, NC)    

So many furniture manufacturers are located in areas of the country like Upstate New York, and Hickory or High Point, NC (the furniture capital of the world,) yet we are one of the few who are not. Instead we call the mountains of NC home.  The area is the home of magnificent views, such as those from Grandfather Mountain, and the often-photographed Linn Cove Viaduct on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Home to all kinds of artisans and craftspeople, some of whom focus on tiny details when creating lovely jewelry; while others follow family traditions when building delightful handcrafted mirrors or hand wrapped traditional wedding brooms.

Boone, Blowing Rock, and the surrounding areas are steeped in history and beauty. The winters bring fluffy white snow (often just in time for the Holidays,) decorating the mountains and valleys in a white silence. The spring and summers are lush and green, full of life with beautiful light streaming through the trees, the temperature rarely rising above a comfortable 78 degrees; and the area during the fall is one of the most spectacular places in the country to see the changing of the leaves. Bright oranges, yellows and reds stretch for miles, creating a splendid golden hue, especially during the hours of sunrise and sunset, where one can just bathe in the warmth of the golden light, while cuddling up to a loved one with a favorite oversized sweater and cup of rich hot chocolate, warding off the crisp cool nip in the fall air.

Quaint little downtown areas welcome shoppers and diners, the stores catering to a wide array of visitors, yet very few sell by corporate names or product.  During a weekend visit to the area, a shopper can pick up a cute little metal knickknack creature, with charming buggy eyes, sweetly named “doodlebug” (a fond childhood nickname) as a gift for their mother, or a scenic canvas by a local artist whose talent recorded the splendor that is the area. They can dine at a restaurant whose menu changes day to day, only serving gourmet dishes made from local seasonal items, and then attend a winery for a “grown in the High Country” wine tasting. They can take a day hike to a beautiful waterfall, or an afternoon drive armed with a picnic basket filled with delicious local meats, cheeses, wine, and skillfully hand decorated, made from scratch cupcakes.  They can ride on horseback and tour the trails and mountains, and during the warm summer evenings, catch a show by a community theater production.

While Boone and the High Country does not have the amount of steel, concrete, shopping malls and name brands that cities like New York, Atlanta, Dallas or even Charlotte does, it does not lack in culture or beauty. There is far less traffic and far more nature, far fewer crowds and far more distinct seasons.  The area cradles our craft, our design and our people, nurturing its growth while reminding each of us to enjoy the beauty set out in front of us, rich and radiant.  We’ve never found a place we’d be happier to call home.

  

 


Tara Jackson          

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Cookie Cutter Repeats

Tara Jackson - Monday, January 09, 2012

Handmade. We tell our customer and our partners that we are “Handmade… American Made.” It’s our motto, it’s on our business cards, it’s on our website and we constantly refer to it through facebook and our blog. We use the terms as if they mean something, as if they were important…. an ideal to live by. But in a world full of “Made in China,” “send the work over seas so we can make more money here at home” and cookie cutter repeats, we wonder if our consumers truly understand what we mean.

Back in October, our CEO shared a story that he received in an email with a photo of a ship containing 15,000 tractor-trailer loads of product from Asia. The Journey took just 4 days and the ship was emptied so that the product could be sent straight to companies who get their product quickly and cheaply, just to increase the price for something that you will walk in to your neighbor's house next week finding the exact same item.  And while this seems to be the norm, the fact is that the cost to produce and ship product from China is on the rise, while much of the quality remains the same.

And for a dose of happy news, published in an article by Florida Today (www.Floridatoday.com), 2012 is a year where more people are looking for furniture specifically with the label “Made in the USA.” According to the article, “The demand for American-made products has created record prices for American antiques at auction houses.” And apparently, this trend is expected to influence many of the furniture manufacturers and all of the industry in one way or another (which is great to hear after so many companies followed the trend after 9/11 of sending much of their furniture manufacturing over seas. And all this during a time when total patriotism was shouted from the rooftops.)

So to us, “Handmade… American Made” is a phrase we couldn’t be more proud to use or to live by.  Our people put their hearts into their work, from concept and design, to spending time by the hot forge twisting a chair leg into a glorious swirl, to meticulously painting a side table in a bright peacock teal as per a custom request. When it’s custom made, you can bet your neighbors won’t have the same barstools to entertain by. Your boss won’t have the same bench in his office that your kids sit on to tie their shoes in the morning. And your four-poster specially designed bed for your newly remodeled master suite will be special to you, and you alone.

And not only will it be unique, but it will also last for years and years. It won’t be put together with brittle plastic clips that refuse to hold the weight of your favorite book collection, nor will your favorite bar stool shatter into pieces when an excited brother-in-law knocks it over while tripping over his feet trying to get to your home made dessert (which he swears is better than any “from the box” mix you can buy.)

Handmade still means something. American made still means something. Quality.

                                 

                       Tara Jackson                                 

We would love to hear back from our readers. Feel free to post a comment or feedback below.
 



251 Industrial Park Drive, Boone NC 28607 USA

info@charlestonforge.com

p. 828.264.0100

f. 828.264.5901