High Point Art, Antique and Design Center comprises of Antiques and Interiors and 44 local vendors selling a mix of antiques, reproductions, accessories, fabrics, books, artwork, costume jewelry, pottery, glassware and metalware. The 275,000 square-foot space offers local and international items. Though it could take hours to peruse the entire content of the building, each showroom is optimally accessible and maneuverable. If you ever feel like you have been turned around in these sprawling showrooms, John says just look for the exit signs!
Antiques and Interiors came to High Point in 1994 showing at the bi-annual furniture markets. They became an instant success with their antique country furniture and accessories from a showroom in Hamilton Market. The acquired 517 West Green Drive in High Point situated in a 2-acre lot and converted the 30,000 square foot warehouse into custom showrooms in the country style. They even have an old English pub in the building. The outside lot is stocked with a vast array of architectural and rustic pieces. John calls it a garden center without the plants.
Having won The Best of High Point award for the last four years, John felt they had taken the 517 West Green showrooms to their maximum. Then in November 2011, the property formally known as the Henredon, Ralph Lauren and Barbara Barry showrooms, and more recently the Gates on Ward, became available; so in conjunction with Wayne McDonald, a well-known and respected local property developer, they set about restoring, renovating and cleaning the property at 641 West Ward Ave, High Point. After six months, the property has regained most of its former glory with ongoing projects being completed daily. Now open Monday-Saturday 9-5, High Point Art, Antique, and Design Center is a destination worth a visit.
John Aspley prides himself on trying to be on the leading edge of shifts in design in the furniture market. He started out as an antique dealer in 1976. Having previously been a cabinet-maker, antique restoration came naturally to him. He specializes in stripping and restoring antique pine furniture, mainly for the American market. By the late 1970s, his customers were looking for pieces that were not readily available. So John decided to go into a semi-manufacturing mode by using antique pieces and old components to make large-scale furniture, which is what the American market was looking for at that time. By 1980, the pine antique supply was diminishing while the market demand was increasing, so he started to manufacture antique reproductions out of old reclaimed lumber. This was an instant success. His customers loved the product, but in the antique trade, you cannot keep a secret for long. Soon other antique dealers had seen the niche. After several successful years, the next natural progression was to start manufacturing in new lumber, still making the furniture in the antique style. At this point, the larger American furniture companies started to produce their own lines of furniture in the antique theme. Many of these companies were manufacturing in the Philippines and Indonesia.
In the late 1980s, John decided to visit Indonesia to investigate the depth and quality of the furniture manufacturing industry. After a visit to Japara and Semerang, it was evident that the antique reproduction business was going to be massive. So, it was time for a rethink… He noted that everyone was focused on mahogany antique furniture and all the trees were being cut for this industry. The natural waste was, in fact, the limbs and roots from the felled trees. Time to move on yet again… so he began working with a few local artisans designing and making furniture from these elements. The product went largely unnoticed for several years in Indonesia, which gave John time to develop the knowledge and designs to create many unique pieces. Alas, again, secrets do not last long in Indonesia. However, by keeping the business small and exclusive with ever changing designs, it was difficult to copy in mass. And to this day, both High Point Antique, Art and Design Center and Antiques and Interiors of High Point still offer one of the most varied and unusual teak, root, hand-crafted terracotta and driftwood collections in the USA.