More Info on The New Tommy Bahama Royal Kahala Collection

We are delighted that our newest collection from Tommy Bahama will soon be hitting the floor.   The Royal Kahala Collection is a true, upper end eclectic collection that features some of the most unique blendings of organic materials. Born of the fusion of fiery lava and the ocean surf, the captivating black sand beaches of Hawaii and Polynesia are among nature's most remarkable collaborations…and serve as inspiration for the exotic fusion of elements in Royal Kahala , the latest introduction from Tommy Bahama Home. The collection made its debut in October 2010 at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point in the Lexington Home Brands showroom. Carolina Rustica was one of the first North Carolina furniture retailers to buy into this new group, and it will certainly bolster our continued success in marketing the Tommy Bahama collections such as Ocean Club, Island Estate, Kingstown, and Tommy Bahama Original.

While Royal Kahala's design theme reflects a Pan-Pacific sensibility, the sophistication of the lifestyle is found in the mix of eclectic design influences – Ivory Coast , British Campaign and Colonial, Caribbean and Safari. The collection evokes a sense of romance and intrigue through the convergence of diverse design elements, exotic materials and rich finishes. The Tommy Bahama brand is known for its ability to capture the essence of inspired destination living, and translate that lifestyle, through distinctive furnishings, into a consumer's home decor.
Royal Kahala designs are crafted from Ribbon Stripe and Quartered Mahogany in a rich dark Kona finish. Select items are styled in leather-wrapped split rattan, and finished in an exotic Tortoise Shell finish. Other natural materials include Penn Shell, spilt bamboo, sugar cane, nail-trimmed leather, Coco Shell, woven wicker, and Raffia. Custom hardware is finished in antique brass with an aged patina. A signature item in the collection is a mirrored-front night stand with custom pulls made of Australian Blacklip Abalone Shell. This unique shell features an iridescent mother of pearl inner surface with a distinctive black lip around the outer edge, making an elegant statement.
The upholstery offering showcases five new color stories, ranging from a fresh take on Colonial blue and white patterns, to tropical groupings in jade, magenta and white, to dramatic correlations featuring signature Kuba-patterned textiles. Exquisitely carved frames in the deep Kona finish offer a striking contrast to the ivory-colored body fabrics and pops of bold color in the decorative pillows. Raffia is upholstered on key silhouettes, highlighting the role of natural materials in the interpretation of this lifestyle collection.

Some Words on Aico Furniture by Michael Amini

Last High Point market, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Amini, the visionary behind the Amini Innovation Corp (or AICO, as it is known). Mr. Amini has grown this company from humble beginnings into a hugely successful furniture design and manufacturing source. His is an incredible story, really the epitomy of the American Dream. Mr. Amini is a creative person who loves fashion, design and innovation. He is deeply devoted to his family, his employees, his customers and the ability to make a difference in today's world with both his beautiful furniture designs and his compassionate philanthropic efforts. Also, he is perhaps the best dressed man in the furniture industry. When I saw him, he was wearing a cranberry-colored suit with a yellow tie and kerchief. It makes the rest of us suits feel rather dull!

AICO specializes in upholstery, bedroom, living room, dining room, and entertainment furniture.  These pieces are created for homeowners who demand the very best for their homes. Through careful planning and the exceptional ability to balance line and design, AICO makes certain that every element from Michael Amini’s travels is gracefully incorporated in each collection. From intricately carved headboards to velvet and cedar-lined drawers, AICO takes extra steps in highlighting design, style, and detail in each of its pieces. The unique mix of modern production techniques, craftsmanship, meticulous concern, and constant refinement ensure the integrity in construction in every Michael Amini product.

AICO has been a huge success for us here at Carolina Rustica. We have a seasoned AICO expert on staff who can answer just about any question you may have with regards to this company, its products, and of course, pricing and availability. Three of our best-selling collections are Cortina, Lavelle, and Chateau Beauvais.

Aico Cortina Collection Aico Lavelle Blanc Collection Aico Chateau Beauvais Collection

Shop each of these collections above, or click here to shop all of AICO Furniture by Michael Amini

From Retail Online Integration: A Carolina Rustica Forecast for 2011

From Retail Online Integration
2011 Cross-Channel Trends : Clear Skies Ahead: Recovery and Growth Forecasted for 2011
A panel of cross-channel retailers share their predictions for the year 

January 2011 By Meredith Cunningham

As we ring in a new year, many retailers are wondering what's in store for 2011. With an economy that's still bouncing back from the Great Recession, it's hard to predict the future (yet we're going to try anyway). For many retailers, 2010 proved to be a year of recovery. They're hoping to continue down that path again this year. To help you get a feel for what lies ahead, Retail Online Integration surveyed leaders in the cross-channel and e-commerce retail space in the fall of last year to get their predictions for 2011. Here's what we learned.

Marketing Best Practices for 2011
“Focus. It comes down to basics: What do you offer/sell at what price points so that you have a competitive advantage. Think about your competition as much as your customers. Rethink your business plan if you’re one of 100 other websites doing the same thing.”
— Richard Sexton , Carolina Rustica
“Understand the basic math behind your business. What’s your rebuy/retention rate? What’s your average yearly spend per customer? If you understand those, you understand how many new customers you need to fuel growth and hit your one year-, two year-, five year-sales goals. What’s the lifetime value of those new customers? How much can you invest in a new customer? How do these numbers differ between channel, media and program? Risk is unavoidable, but understanding the variables for the growth of your business allow you to take much more educated risks — and win more often.”
— Scott Drayer , Paul Fredrick
“Look for as many ways to extend your reach as you can. Don’t get fixated on one method or another. Innovate, try new things.”
— Brad Wolansky , The Golf Warehouse

A Positive Outlook
Richard Sexton , president of Carolina Rustica, a cross-channel retailer specializing in handcrafted iron and wood furniture, echoed Chesman's sentiments. "We're finishing up this year at about 30 percent over last year, and expect to see gains next year of about 20 percent to 
30 percent." the entire article here

Furniture Takes Center Stage at Currey & Company

Although we recently posted about some new product introductions by Currey and Company, we are so excited about their new furniture offerings hitting the floor this spring.  Natural materials and handwork bring a unique character and charm to this selection of unique furniture.  The beauty of solid woods and fine veneers, hand carving, cast metal hardware and hand applied finishes make these pieces strongly appealing.  They stand on their own, or integrated with some of Currey's existing lighting groups.
The new Currey and Company furniture collection has all the character that the use of real materials and handcraftsmanship can bring. Finishes run the gamut from a simple wax on beautiful wood to a twenty step finishing process with exotic veneers. There are heavily distressed painted finishes covering the entire piece as well as sandblasted finishes that reveal the grain of the wood to the touch.  Many pieces have a look that mimics the patina of age.  The variety in this collection is unparalleled, which includes solid woods of European beech, mango, mindi, acacia, and certified Indonesian mahogany.  You’ll also find veneers of Macassar ebony, ash burl, English brown oak burl, Anhico, Satinwood, Lacewood and Mozambique. 
This is also furniture whose elements blend well with each other. At the same time, each piece may stand on its own, bringing something unique into the environment.  Design references draw on history, updated for today’s preferences.  And it is the perfect accompaniment to Currey & Company’s lighting and accessories.   One such example is the Pompadour Settee (shown at right), from this collection of fine upholstered seating. Double caning and multiple pillows make this a special addition for anywhere where smaller scaled seating is required. It may be small in scale, but the seat itself is extra comfortable with an extra thick down-wrapped foam cushion. The medium grey, hand applied finish has been antique washed and features gold leaf accents to bring out the details of the hand carving.
These new pieces are joined by Currey and Company’s collection of classic seating, introduced last spring, which delivers a distinctive look with premium finishes and exquisite tailoring. These seating pieces use hand carved wood frames from Italy and Indonesia, which are finished and upholstered in North Carolina by skilled craftsmen and women.  Some particular favorite pieces are the Rochette Console Table.  This piece evokes a feeling of discovery when you first set eyes upon it with its fine details of hand carving and a “nearly naked” (actually a lightly waxed) finish.  You can imagine it being discovered out in the barn and instead of going to the woodpile, it has become a highlight of the foyer or living room.
We also like the Cranbourne Tall Cabinet is aptly named and its height and narrow width make it useful in many spaces.  A pair of them would be very dramatic in a library, dining or media room. Taupe stain and wax bring out the natural beauty of the mango wood.  One of a kind, heavily antiqued mirror instead of wood panels for the doors adds to its unique look. . In the same style and finishes as the Canbourne Tall Cabinet is the Cranbourne Cabinet, which is a most practical piece because of its size. This is the extra storage (25”wide x 16” deep x 48” tall) that will fit in almost any space - including the bath -and provides that extra bit of storage required for books, towels, CD/DVD’s and a multitude of other items.
The Astrid Occasional Table is a sweetheart of a small table with a clean wood oak finish top and painted base. Hand carved detail on the pedestal base and trim detail around the top add interest to its function as it sits perfectly beside a chair or as a display table anywhere in the house.
Currey and Company’s Cecil Adams sees himself as “the curator” of this new furniture collection.  He describes himself as having worked with a talented group of designers and resources in selecting a definitive group of items that reflect the Currey & Company aesthetic and that complement the other product categories. Cecil also gives credit to Brownlee Currey for the role he played in a “global shopping trip” for the initial development of the collection and his support in bringing it to market in a fairly short period of time.   

Which Tiffany Lamp Pattern Should You Choose?

Today we have a guest post from a Tiffany Lamps Specialty Site.  We hope you find this information useful!

The original Tiffany lamps were created late in the 19th century by Tiffany Studios, and unfortunately are no longer being manufactured. That doesn't mean that you can't enjoy one of these lovely, richly color lighting fixtures in your home, however, because there are many, many reproductions available of the original Tiffany lamp patterns. Let's take a look at some of the more popular patterns so you can choose the one that's right for you. Tiffany lamp shades were originally divided into several groups: Favrile glass (a patented invention), geometric glass, floral design, cone shaped, globe shaped, and irregular lower border. The floral group also encompassed other aspects of nature such as dragonflies and butterflies.

One of the most popular of these patterns through the years has been the dragonfly design. The dragonfly appears to be suspended, and its head and wings form the lower edge of the lamp shade. They were originally created in shades of blue and green, but these days you will find Tiffany style lamps that feature dragonflies in colors to match any decor. Another popular choice in Tiffany lamp patterns is the wisteria. This is a true work of art, as each lampshade is produced from over 1000 individual cuts of glass. The resulting pattern forms the appearance of vines and wisteria blooms in lovely purple hues. Traditionally, the shade features a lower border of still-closed blossoms and the wisteria vine encircles the upper portion of the shade.

Floral patterns are a favorite of many people who are seeking to add a Tiffany lamp to their decor, and apart from the wisteria you can find other lovely blooms such as roses and tulips. These patterns are most effectively presented on a globe or cone shaped shade, and tend to feature multicolored backgrounds with an array of intricately detailed flowers. These lamps are often designed with an irregular lower border.

Remember you can also find Meyda Tiffany lights at Carolina Rustica, too!