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Thomas Russell

Fine Furniture Design to produce Biltmore Estate line

HIGH POINT - Case goods and upholstery producer Fine Furniture Design will unveil its first major licensing partnership this spring with the Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in the United States.
Biltmore for Your Home will include 80 pieces of wood and upholstery in three collections. There are roughly 60 bedroom, dining room and accent furniture pieces and about 20 pieces of upholstery.
These aren't reproductions, but rather are inspired by the pieces collected by shipping and railroad magnate George W. Vanderbilt and his wife, Edith, over the years. Built in 1895 by Vanderbilt, the 250-room estate in Asheville, N.C., is a French Renaissance chateau that houses the family's original collection of furniture, art and antiques.
Fine Furniture signed a five-year licensing agreement with the Biltmore estate in July and has developed the collections in partnership with the Biltmore Home Products Division.
The line will debut at the spring High Point Market, April 20-25. It is expected to ship in July and hit retail in late August.
Other licensed Biltmore products include rugs, lighting, outdoor furniture and indoor furniture with Habersham that includes mostly custom, high-end case goods. The estate also has a license with Belk Department Stores that includes home textiles, cookware and silverware, bath, bedding and holiday products.
Fine Furniture officials said the licensing agreement gives the company an opportunity to align itself and its products with one of the most visited estates in the country. Biltmore has an estimated one million visitors per year and has a website that officials said draws three million unique visitors each year.
For Biltmore, the license agreement positions the estate with an upper-middle-priced case goods and upholstery resource that has a dedicated factory in China run by parent company Fine Furniture Shanghai.
The last time Biltmore had a license for a case goods collection was with Magnussen Home, from October 2005 to November 2007. However, that line was at a lower price point than the Fine Furniture collection will be, and didn't include upholstery.
"To sum it up we are proud to be a partner with Fine Furniture," said Donnette Miller, Biltmore's licensing director of home furnishings. "The core values are so strikingly similar in that both (organizations) are family owned. When you layer that with Fine Furniture's understanding of quality goods that are represented with case goods, upholstery and accents, it allows us to communicate with the consumer a complete story. We have not done that previously with our partners."
She said the three collections present lifestyles that can stand independently, yet also complement one another.
"You could literally do an entire home with this collection," Miller said. "Because it flows so easily, that is what makes it unique."
The line includes a 20-piece collection of bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture called Salon. Made with okume swirl veneers, the group has European traditional design influences and comes in a relaxed finish called Okume Swirl. There is also a silver finish available on a bed, a mirror and a nightstand.
Antler Hill is a 20-piece collection of bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture with American traditional design influences. Made with cherry veneers, it has two cherry finishes. There is also a textured black finish with gold rub-through elements on select pieces, as well as oak and walnut finishes.
Terrace is a 20-piece collection of mostly accent furniture that also includes a metal bed, a bamboo settee and a writing desk in Mozambique veneers. It features five finishes, for a total of 15 in the three collections.
Retail pricing is still being determined, but the line will be towards the top of the Fine Furniture line, said Jim Adams, vice president of product design and marketing.
He said the groups were designed to have eclectic pieces in diverse finishes that can be mixed and matched. In addition to its core retail customers, he anticipates the line will have broad appeal to designers and other retailers outside its traditional base.
"Biltmore is a one of a kind place, filled with amazing furnishings and décor from Europe, Asia and other far corners of the world," Adams said. "This new collection will take inspiration from this masterful mix, drawing on the unique furniture, architecture, art and other design elements found throughout Biltmore to create a collection of exquisite designs perfectly suited for today's lifestyles."

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