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Jamie Coffey of Williams & Sherrill speaks with a representative from BoBo Intriguing Objects. Photo by Susan Winiecki
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Sunnylife's waterproof speakers Photo by Susan Winiecki
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Lamps from Emporium Home Photo by Susan Winiecki
Jamie Coffey has served as creative director for Williams & Sherrill for 15 years. He is the man behind all those room vignettes that transport you to your dream home. Six times a year, Coffey hits the home furnishings markets. They include those held in Atlanta, New York and High Point, N.C. In January, he attended Atlanta's International Gift and Home Furnishings Market that ran from Jan. 9 through Jan. 16.
I followed along on a Saturday scout that started at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 8 p.m. The day was spent cutting through a lot of visual clutter, looking for those items that will make Richmond shoppers stop in their tracks — at the right price.
R•Home: Why do you like coming to the winter show in Atlanta?
Jamie Coffey: All markets have their strengths, but this one allows me to buy for the garden and for holiday at the same time. And at this market, we get a lot of retailers making their Southern "introductions." These are small, new companies starting out. Plus the weather isn't as much an issue as going to New York.
R•Home: Who are you buying for?
Coffey: She's my sister. She is my mother. She's my best friend. She's the person I want to influence. She's the person who influences me.
R•Home: What do you do the first day you arrive?
Coffey: I just walk it the first afternoon I get here. I get the feel and taste of the show. You're seeing color introduced in a sophisticated way. You are seeing an edited hand. Things aren't overdone. If something has a bell or whistle, it's one, only one. I go back to the words graciousness, beauty, sophistication. Companies that demonstrated that included Pine Cone Hill, Bella Notte, John Beard's paintings, Emporium Home by Ashley Childers from Little Rock, Ark. and Shuglove [gourmet candy company from Salt Lake City].
R•Home: What cool accessories can we look out for in the store now?
Coffey: Fun, colorful pillows from Australia, amazing hand-painted silk curtain panels, old books cut into alphabet shapes.
R•Home: As far as furniture pieces, what caught your eye?
Coffey: I loved the pieces that were a mixture of mediums — stone and metal, wood and metal, old wood mixed with lacquer or acrylic. Things that brought a new and interesting texture.
R•Home: Who/what was the most interesting new retailer you met?
Coffey: I did not meet that many new retailers, but I always love meeting with retailers. I have many friends in the industry and always gain so much energy and insight from them.
R•Home: What is the one item you found that you want to put in your own house?
Coffey: Stikwood [peel-and-stick wood paneling strips]. What it brings to the abilities of a homeowner and designer alike is so much fun. Again, it's all about new textures and layering to create your own story.
R•Home: You purchased a number of paper goods — letterpress cards, stationery. Why is there such a return to the tactile?
Coffey: I think because so many of us spend time on computers. It is a great way to connect that is personal. I love that there are so many unique new papers and cards to help you say what you need to say in a personal way