Our Hanover showroom boasts a trove of treasure this week: 49 pieces of new furniture made by master craftsmen right here in our hometown. Their artistry is extraordinary. Every piece of hardwood has been meticulously matched for figure and grain. Every surface has been planed by hand, every dovetail cut by hand, every decorative element carved by hand.
Finally, each piece was signed by the artisan who made it, a personal pledge of pride in meticulous craftsmanship.
I thought a lot about the quality of those pieces this week. I was making my first pilgrimage to High Point, North Carolina, the furniture capital of the world. Diana and I were there to buy accessories such as lamps and art for our three showrooms. Diana was also picking out fabric for a new line of chairs we plan to offer in our store in Chestnut Hill.
To the uninitiated, High Point can be overwhelming: 10 million square feet of items for the home from frou-frou pillows to bedroom suites, oil paintings to faux plants, chandeliers to candlesticks, tassels to teapots.Over three days, I wore out the leather soles of my shoes trying to see everything.
What struck me hard was the questionable quality of the furniture. Much of it is mass-produced in pieces overseas now, shipped to our shores and assembled here in the U.S. Like those towns that once pocked the Wild West, featuring slapdash stores with fake facades, High Point seemed to me to be oversized and overpriced. In other words, it was all show, no substance.
What a relief to come home to quality.