New Hampshire's Home Goods Giants
Famous decor can be found right here in the Granite State
New Hampshire may not be an upholstery mecca like North Carolina or an edgy-artisanal home décor haven like Brooklyn, but when it comes to quality and color, New Hampshire’s own Garnet Hill and Company C have home style nailed.
Franconia-based Garnet Hill began in 1976 in a humble sugar shed home belonging to Grant Dowse and Pegge Kirschner. Dowse and Kirschner had fallen in love with flannel sheeting while camping in England a few years prior, but were unable to find an American company that could provide a product of the same high quality and comfort they’d found abroad.
The two decided to start their own company as an importer of fine English flannel sheets and named it Garnet Hill after a nearby rise of land. Working out of their plumbing-less cottage, they placed a 1-inch ad in Yankee magazine and created their first mail-order catalog — a small die-cut brochure complete with flannel swatches to show how wonderful the fabric felt. Orders immediately began to roll in.
Garnet Hill’s success, fueled by Dowse and Kirschner’s charismatic leadership, started a small-town economic boom in Franconia. Sadly, both were killed in a small plane crash in 1985. The company was sold to HSN’s Cornerstone division (which also includes the brands Frontgate, Ballard Designs and Grandin Road), but has maintained its presence in New Hampshire, with 160 employees still at the headquarters in Franconia and another 40 employees in Exeter.
Since the company’s founding 40 years ago, Garnet Hill’s offerings have vastly expanded, but they remain dedicated to quality. The catalog still boasts the famous flannel sheets and pajamas, as well as a select assortment of high-end blankets, clothing, rugs and more made from cashmere, linen, and other unusual fabrics and textiles. New last year, Garnet Hill has also launched pop-up and seasonal stores to acquaint potential buyers, designers and marketers with this too-long-kept-secret source and give them the hands-on Garnet Hill experience that Dowse and Kirschner created with their first catalog all those years ago.
Eileen Fisher rippled organic cotton coverlet and shams: Machine washable, hard-wearing, yet oh-so-soft!
Block-print organic-cotton flannel bedding: The flannel sheets that made Garnet Hill famous in a fresh, boho style
Printed canvas storage bin: Fun storage solutions for toys or towels
Christine and Walter Chapin founded Company C, the manufacturer of colorful, handcrafted home furnishings, in Concord in 1994. It started as a one-room garage operation dedicated to “sharing the joys of colorful living.” In the 20 years since, Company C’s signature saturated colors and over-scaled patterns have become instantly recognizable, catapulting the company’s growth. It now has more than 1,000 wholesale partners worldwide and three retail stores, including its headquarters in Concord.
Social responsibility is high on the company’s list of priorities. Since 2005, Company C has been a member of GoodWeave, an organization that partners with rug manufacturers to ensure carpets are made without the use of child labor, improve working conditions and provide fair wages. Furthermore, Company C only partners with manufacturers that share its sustainable sourcing goals and use resources that have minimal impact on the environment.
While it is most famous for its exuberant rug collection, Company C also offers a select line of upholstered furniture handmade by factories in North Carolina and high-end bed and bath linens.
Ridgely throw: Soft and snuggly with killer color blocking
Cirrus stripe rug: This handwoven indoor/outdoor rug in a variegated blue stripe has my vote for a great mixed-gender playroom.
Wooster chair: I love the tailored style of the low-rolled back. The piping is a great opportunity for contrast color or pattern.