Warren Fluharty talks accessories and antiques
Asheville interior designer Warren Fluharty shares his tips on how to make a room "pop."
“I’m an interior designer,” proclaims Asheville-born-and-raised Warren Fluharty. “I create spaces.”
That’s evident from the moment you walk into the Warren Fluharty Designs 15,000-square-foot showroom in the Biltmore Village area. Fluharty provides design consulting, retail services and staging with an array of furniture and accessories in an impressive variety of styles. “There’s something here for everybody,” he says. “We don’t have a set ‘look.’”
However, accessorizing a room can be done correctly or incorrectly, according to Fluharty. And getting it right is what’s going to make it pop.
CH+G: What does Warren Fluharty Designs specialize in? WF: We mainly do high-end showroom samples. More custom lines like Ralph Lauren, Hickory Chair, Bernhardt, Thayer Coggin. We buy directly from showrooms so that we can sell it at more discounted prices.
Do you buy much from overseas?
There isn’t much that isn’t from overseas these days. We do carry some antiques. European antiques occasionally, but mainly from the States.
How would you describe your personal style? Do you feel that it is reflected in your showroom?
Totally. We’re much more of an eclectic showroom that specializes in a more diverse look — a little more of a magazine look.
What do you think of the prevalence of the “cabin look” in WNC? River rock and such? It’s pretty prevalent in this area. I have a lot of clients that have high-end houses in the Cliffs and Mountain Air, and they’ve all kind of strayed away from the log, twig, horn — because there’s so much of it out there. I think that people are kind of coming up with their own style now.
So you think that people are moving more and more away from the mountain look?
I think so. I’m doing a house in the Cliffs and we’re going all Country French. They didn’t want any of the mountain look. The house is a mountain house and it’s beautiful, but it’s going to have a little bit more of the casual, restoration-hardware, Country French feel to it, mixed with contemporary and more stylized furniture.
You’re a native of Asheville. What do you think of the explosive growth the region has seen in the last decade or so?
In terms of design I see it as an asset, the introduction of new styles to the area. People are coming from other parts of the country, some of whom have already worked with designers and want to make that look happen in their new home.
What’s the biggest mistake a designer can make?
Everyone makes mistakes, but the biggest one is not listening to your client.
What do you recommend that people working with a designer always do?
If someone hires a good designer, they should listen to that person and take the guidance that they are paying for. Sometimes people try to interfere and then the whole look is gone, and they don’t understand why the design didn’t work. They tried to interject their own personality into it and it ended up not coming out the way that they wanted it to.
What’s been your favorite project so far?
A high-rise condo that had to be done in one week. One week!
Was that a little hectic?
It was very exciting. I just had to have a crew that was on the ball and make it happen. We did. It was a blank palette when we got there, and he wanted to make it look like a magazine because he gave it to his wife for a present.
Did you think you might not make it on time?
No, we had to make it happen. I had everybody scheduled tightly, and everyone was on time. When the client walked in on Friday, he was very excited. It cost more than he thought it was going to, but he didn’t care. It was fun.
What are some tips for people working to change the look of a room on a budget?
If you can’t do the whole thing, decide what piece will make the most difference in the room. Is it a new sofa? Is it a paint color? Is it a certain object or look that you want to go with? Make that be the important thing.
What do you think are the biggest trends in design right now?
Since real estate is in such turmoil right now, people are reworking their spaces that they can’t sell and realizing that they need to make the nest better.
Any parting design tips?
I would not like a room that didn’t have antiques. You always need an antique in a location to make it happen. It’s like putting a piece of history in the room.
Warren Fluharty Designs is located at 6 Fairview Road, Asheville. For more information, call 828-273-1101, or visit warrenfluhartydesigns.com.