Baker Signature Event

Linda meets Jean Louis Deniot at High Point Market

I couldn’t believe my ears when an executive from luxury brand Baker Furniture Company called and said “Linda, we would like to invite you…”

Thus began my whirlwind visit to Baker’s High Point, North Carolina showroom during the spring market. As one of only twenty designers selected from across the country to be a part of their very first “Signature Event,” I was excited by the opportunity not only to experience the market, but to meet Baker’s new design star, Jean Louis Deniot.

After all, who would turn down a chance to meet such a talented and charming Frenchman? Deniot, an architect by training, has created homes from Aspen chalets to a palace in New Delhi. He had always dreamed of designing a line of furniture, and his gorgeous new collection for Baker is very much in keeping with his jet setting lifestyle. It is elegant and luxurious, perfect for an apartment in Manhattan or a Parisian pied-a-terre.

Upon arrival at Baker’s newly repainted showroom (Farrow and Ball’s ‘Nightshade’), Deniot greeted our group under the American and French flags.

We then went inside to tour the collection led by a sneaker-clad Jean Louis himself. His lighting and wallcovering had a beautiful organic quality and a distinctive French Moderne flair. Also stunning were his upholstered pieces. Their subtle details—cut arm rests and double legs—reflected his background in architecture. Deniot is one of the Architectural Digest’s ‘AD 100’ top architects and designers, and his work has been described as the epitome of French style.

Deniot has also created fabrics to compliment his furniture line. The grouping includes wools with beautiful drape and subtle texture, buttery leathers, and a super silky velvet with a non-directional nap—something I’ve never seen before. The color palette ranges from ice to a dark, stormy gray. The designer uses lots of mauve as a highlight. It felt somehow retro and absolutely new at the same time.

The affable Deniot agreed to take photos with our whole group.

Baker executives showed us around the rest of the 33,000 square foot showroom while Jean Louis slipped away to have promotional photographs taken on a stunning white horse in front of the building. While I’m sorry I didn’t get to see that, I was very impressed with the work other designers are doing for Baker, including the rough-luxe Kara Mann pieces and my all-time favorite line by McGuire.

That night we went to dinner hosted by Deniot and Baker at the Proximity Hotel. I sat with Tristan Butterfield, Baker’s Chief Designer and a creative powerhouse. Butterfield, a Brit, has worked with clients that include Tom Ford, Nobu, and members of the Royal family. He is also responsible for the chic changes the Baker showroom unveiled at this year’s market. Not only did Butterfield repaint the showroom’s exterior in the moody dark charcoal, he also mixed up the way the brand displays its furniture. For example, he paired chinoiserie from the Stately Homes Collection with modern pieces from Baker’s other lines making it all so much more relevant for the way we live today. I believe Butterfield will usher in many more exciting updates in the coming months.

Our table was decorated with striking vases created by Jean Louis Deniot as a part of his new collection for Baker.

The next morning we were up early for a visit to the Baker upholstery workroom. It was fascinating to see the earliest stages of the pieces that we designers order all the time. Many of Baker’s staff has been with them at the North Carolina plant for 30 years or more, lovingly cutting patterns by hand and proudly putting the furniture together to the brand’s exacting standards.

And then finally…a few free minutes to rush around the market to find other treasures.

My Baker ‘Signature Event’ experience was amazing. And exhausting!

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