Creating Artisan Product in a Pre-Fab World

How many times have you heard, “it’s all about the mix?”  Well, in my world – both personally and professionally – I mix “high” and “low” every day.  I’ve been doing it so long that it’s more than just a catch phrase to me.  It’s how I live!

That’s why I specialize in creating beautiful interiors on a real person’s budget.  I know where and how to splurge … and when an eensy dose of DIY just might get the job done.  After all, we live in a world where it’s OK to wear Prada with H&M!   “Fast fashion” has its place, but so does handcrafted quality.  It’s becoming harder and harder to come by these days, but the popularity of Etsy shows that we truly value unique goods.

That’s what the name Maitland-Smith means to me.  For over thirty years, Maitland-Smith has created luxury, artisan-crafted goods.  In today’s pre-fab world, that’s a breath of fresh air!  This game table has a rosewood veneer and beige faux shagreen top.  Love!

At High Point Market, we designers try to visit as many showrooms as possible.  We always want to see our “regulars,” but it’s important to discover new favorites.  This market, I explored both Maitland-Smith and La Barge, and I came away in awe of the craftsmanship.



Maitland-Smith has been in the business of creating unique decorative accessories, lighting and accent furniture for over thirty years.  Using materials like leather, penshell and eggshell, Maitland-Smith’s artisans create treasures that are destined to become family heirlooms.  If you take a few minutes to watch their videos, you’ll be blown away by the skill their techniques – from detailed hand painting to beautiful inlaid marquetry and hand carved woodwork –  require.  It’s what you would have seen in a 17th or 18th century atelier!

Just as an example — are you familiar with lost wax casting?  It’s an incredibly complicated technique used by Maitland-Smith’s artisans to create custom hardware, fittings and decorative objects.

Oh, and verre églomisé? The term is French for “glass gilded.”  Because you paint on the reverse side of glass or mirror, you have to reverse the order in which you would ordinarily create a design.  Here, églomisé is used to create a faux tortoiseshell.

Maitland-Smith also loves a touch of whimsy, which keeps things from getting too serious!  Because everyone needs a brass clad turtle with rock crystals. I would name this guy, Don’t be Fooled by the Rocks That I Got!

Brass Art Easel:

As you can see from the photos, Maitland-Smith has products for everyone from the most traditional homes to a much more modern, yet still classic, environment.  Both Celerie Kemble and Henrietta Churchill-Spencer have lines with Maitland-Smith – several of the photos in this post were designd by Celerie – and it’s truly expanded the beautiful style in which Maitland-Smith operates.  To truly appreciate the detail in these products, I suggest you visit your local dealer!

Stay tuned for more about Labarge, but until then … what’s your favorite detail in casegoods (non-upholstered furniture)?


French Heritage

How could I turn down a French Heritage showroom tour and breakfast invite that included hot homemade croissants and decadent French pastries!?  (Jacques & Hennessy must have sensed my Louisiana French Heritage! Pun intended!)  Growing up with LeBlanc as your last name made it easy to identify unwanted telemarketers, and like many others from a small Southern town, my father spoke fluent Cajun French, which is derived from the original French spoken by French soldiers and settlers in Louisiana before the arrival of the Acadians.  But I, on the other hand, was busy conquering the levels of Super Mario Brothers and never made it past counting to 2o.

The lil’ “French Bistro”

Alas! A fashion-forward French furniture company is formed, (say that quickly 10 times!)  when the worlds of an American-born fashion-model & a well-traveled-antique-market-explorer collide! When co-founder Jacques Wayser was a child in France, he accompanied his parents & siblings on their weekly visits to the Paris antique market and throughout the French and English countryside. This early exposure of European quality prepared Jacques for a company he would later own with his wife Henessy.

A variety of collections are available to accommodate various design styles, budgets & time constraints.

Avenue: The Avenue Collection features beautiful handcrafted European made furniture with hand rubbed finishes on the finest hardwoods.  Furniture is made to order in custom sizes and finishes.  Design styles range from traditional cabriole French to Art Déco.

Maison: This collection is comprised of quality crafted eclectic furniture made in Asia and custom finished in the US.  Items are stocked in the USA for immediate delivery.

Urban: This modern collection is a clean, casual contemporary style with touches of  Mid Century and Industrial Chic.

Salon: Sofas, Loveseats, Chairs & Ottomans. Salon benchmade upholstery features hardwood frames, quality fabrics, down seating and customizable sizes. It is hand made in North Carolina, and available as C.O.M.

As you can see, French Heritage is no stranger to style and customization!  I just love the saturated color options and graphic patterns on these chests:

With a quick finish change, the Bizet Bombe’ chest takes on an entirely different look.  Gold, pewter & silver leaf for a flashy touch…antique cherry has traditional roots, but don’t underestimate its sass…and finally, an ebony sheen if you’re craving Parisian Glamour!

One chest, many looks:

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Thank you Gary, Jacques & Henessy, for introducing me to this wonderful new collection!


Drexel Heritage

I stopped dead in my tracks when I walked past this showroom! Who doesn’t know the name Drexel Heritage?  They were founded in 1903.  I love to study the showrooms and styling at market, because many of them are styled by some of the best talent in the industry!

When I first opened my design business 6 years ago, I froze at the thought of selling furniture, sight unseen & untouched.  Now, I carry a notebook the size of my hand phone.  I wondered what I was missing…are you supposed to know how a sofa “sits” based on the dimensions?  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.  Now, I literally sit on every piece that I think I would ever use for a client and make notes.  Is it too shallow?  So deep that your feet don’t touch?  Luxurious?  A quality sofa will sit more “formal” than the college-years-single-guy/girl-lounge-pit-can’t-get-out couch.  I can assure you…the sofa above is amazing!!!  Seriously, just look at that tufting!

Decorative storage coffee table:

You know I’m a sucker for upholstered casegoods! Look at this gorgeous upholstered coffee table with oyster shagreen leather.

Et Cetera Collection

The hardware is a lovely detail on this antiqued mirror chest:

“Inspired by the clean lines and soft elegance of couture fashion, Giasana exudes grace and glamour.  Detailed with geometric influence, swooping curves, and subtle linear designs, this collection offers contemporary styling through a soft focus, creating a look of understated sophistication.”

Leather wrapped desk, oh my!

I can’t wait to show you other goodies introduced this market!


How to Build a Home Theater on a Budget

Remember when I told you my husband Bryan owns Acadian Home Theater and Automation?  Bryan’s company specializes in luxury home automation and home theaters, which means I get a front row seat to the latest and greatest in technology!  I love the projects where we collaborate and create home theater rooms that are both gorgeous and high tech.   He’s opening a brand new office – designed by moi – very soon, and I’ll be sure to share those photos as soon as I can.  If you are in the Baton Rouge area, please come to the grand opening in January!

Some of those Acadian Home Video / Stacy Naquin Interiors home theater rooms can cost big bucks – and the title of this post is “How to build a home theater on a budget.”   You know what they say about fashion, though.  Shop first at high-end retailers.  Try on designer clothing and examine the details.  You’ll learn to recognize quality and how those exclusive brands look and feel.  Then you can re-create the look in your own price range.  That’s what I’m doing for you in this post!

I may be a bit biased, but I truly believe that the Tip #1 is to invest in professional help for your audio-video needs.  Bryan custom-tailors a room to meet any budget, from $5,000 all the way to $2 million (if you want an IMAX Home Cinema!), and he can tell you how to get the most bang for your buck!

Alright, I know what you are thinking.  It’s a home theater room.  Once the audio-video products are set up, what else is there? Well, it sure doesn’t sound very enjoyable to watch a movie in high definition surround sound … while sitting on a hard-as-a-rock, watch-your-posture armchair, now does it?   That’s why Tip #2 is to invest in comfortable seating designed specifically for media rooms.  Lucky for you, this is another area where you can get great value.

End Zone Theater Seating by Lane Furniture

While I was at High Point Market, I visited Lane Furniture to learn more about their theater seating.  You may know Lane as “the cedar chest company,” but they’ve specialized in motion furniture for over forty years now!  I had no idea they created such a range of reclining furniture – chairs, of course, but also sofas, sectionals and rockers.

You’ll be amazed at the features they’ve packed into their home entertainment seating!  Lane’s End Zone 2-Arm Recliner has a contemporary design, with a broad, generously padded back and a deep seat.  There’s a removable swivel table stored in the arm, which is perfect for snacks.  Pass the popcorn!


The storage arm is ideal for stashing the remote, magazines and more.

Oh, and the Power Recline feature is standard.  No need to over-exert yourself as you push back!  Plus, touch technology allows independent control of the recline function and the lighted cup holders.  This is a football fan’s dream come true!

Of course, the End Zone collection also includes “true” theater-style seating – packed with the same incredible features as the 2-Arm Recliner.  Contact your local dealer to choose your fabrics and get specific pricing, but I can promise you’ll be impressed by the value Lane Furniture offers.  Of course, you may never want to leave the showroom once you’ve experienced their Perfect Pitch adjustment, zero gravity mechanisms, extended footrests and more, but that’s not my problem, now is it?!

Do you know what else I love?  Lane Furniture is proudly made in America.  Lane employs over 1,700 people in its corporate and manufacturing facilities – just down the road from me in Mississippi.  They build, assemble and cover the frames of Lane recliners, reclining sofas and sectionals and stationary sofas, chair, ottomans and sectionals.

Great A/V + Comfy Seating = Media Room Dream Come True.  Now who has the best seat at the game?


I’m On a National TV Design Show!

I’ve been under the radar lately with client deadlines & secret projects, but finally, I get to share some really exciting news! Earlier this year, I filmed in New Orleans for a national design show with Antonio Sabato Jr.!  With a tight budget and the help of an amazing team, we were able to renovate a deserving couple’s bedroom in only one day.  Fix It & Finish It airs this Saturday on CBS!

David St.Romain (the contractor), me, Antonio Sabato Jr.

Depleted of energy and cash reserves, Craig & Meghan DeHarde still dreamed of the day they would come home to a calming master bedroom that invoked an island paradise, and when I landed on this color/texture combination, my vision was complete!  I’m still drooling over the aqua glass chandelier, but it would have killed the entire budget. As for the fabric, the picture doesn’t do it justice…the background has a gold shimmer and the pattern reminds me of a starfish, so… it had to land somewhere in the project.

Here’s a quick sketch and color study

Who knows, we may still be peeling off wallpaper if I opted to remove it! With only one day to complete the project, I decided that paneling over the paper would be the safer option.


Tune in to see their big reveal, and check back on the blog…I’ll tell you more about the design and show you several Do-It-Yourself projects that helped stretch the budget!



Thank you Antonio Sabato Jr, Kate Dermody, Robert Niederecker & the entire film crew for all your hard work and long hours, and thank you Florencia Turco DeRoussel for introducing me to the team! Thank you Craig & Meghan DeHarde for trusting us with your home!


I’m so blessed and grateful to have a support team to help bring my dreams to life! Thank you, thank you, thank you….

Bryan, thank you for always being there to support me & for working tirelessly to complete this project.

Cade, A type-A mom couldn’t be more proud! You’ve used more painters’ tape and held more cans of spray paint than any teenager around the globe. Thank you for having a cheerful heart toward my endless DIY project requests and for enduring the times you’ve heard, “Just one more coat!”

David, I couldn’t have pulled this off without you (and your tools!) Thank you for the blood, sweat & tears, literally. You worked your tail off until the very end, and I promise never to ask you to install wainscot again!

Travis, Wow! You did an amazing job on the electrical and jumped in without question to do anything we needed you for. When I asked if you could help, you didn’t even hesitate for a second. I’m overwhelmed by your graciousness!

Jaime, this bedroom wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful without the touch of custom pillows. Thank you for putting up with my crazy design ideas, that sometimes come with short notice!

Yvonne, I’ll blame you for my expensive taste! At the end of my budget,  The Rug Place was gracious to help get one last detail to complete and soften the room. Thank you for always being there to support me. You’re an amazing teacher and mentor!

Daryl & Sons, one of the first things the homeowner noticed during the reveal was the custom framed agate art! You never fail to exceed my expectations, and finding vendors like you is indeed, a breath of fresh air.


Wesley Hall…continued

I know what you’re thinking…”Oh those barstools look fabulous on the showroom floor, but within five minutes in my house, they’ll be a different color!” About 90% of my clients tell me during the consultation that they don’t want their house to look like a museum, and yes, they all use that exact phrase.  (In my head, I’m thinking “Why not? That’s crazy talk!”  But I’ve gotten really good with the ol’ filter.)  What they are trying to say is that they want to live in their house, for nothing to be off limits, and for their furniture to look just as good in 2 years. The good news: You don’t have to select dark fabric for seating or ban your family from the new sofa!

Wesley Hall barstools covered in Crypton Fabric

Because style and performance are important to most families, Wesley Hall has included 45 Crypton fabrics in their upholstery line.  The fabric is environmentally friendly, and won’t emit harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde.  It is stain resistant, odor resistant, and easy to clean.  And if you need even more protection, Crypton Super Fabric has an impenetrable moisture barrier.  (I wish I would have known about this fabric before getting a male dog. Sigh)

Even without a moisture barrier, liquid beads up and sits for a month before soaking into the fabric!  (I know many events where red wine wasn’t even served, and rightfully so.)

Mixing fabric types can result in an interesting contrast of textures.  For the furniture below, Wesley Hall selected a Crypton fabric for the top of the ottoman (where dirty shoes and kids will be) and a regular patterned fabric for the vertical portion.  The sofa and chocolate wing chair are also covered in Crypton fabric.  (I’m not naming names, but why are the white towels dirty? You just got out the shower!)

The Wesley Hall dining room chairs, covered in Crypton fabric, show how style meets function. Would you have ever known that this beautiful fabric could also be so practical?!

One of the other fabrics Wesley Hall uses for high durability furniture is Sunbrella. The company makes marine fabrics for outdoor use in boats and yachts, so UV protection is one of the strengths of their product. Their line also includes many fabrics suitable for both indoor and outdoor home use. Sunbrella fabrics offer the same stain resistance and durability as Crypton, but provide extra protection from damaging sun exposure.  Furniture placed near windows that get direct sunlight will eventually fade fabric and dyed leather!

Sunbrella fabric on the sofa & quatrefoil chairs

The hang-out where I got my daily market caffeine dose…too pretty to keep to myself!