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Paula Deen Talks About Her Down Home Furniture Line

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Paula Deen and Universal Furniture recently added the new Down Home collection to the popular Paula Deen Home Collection.

The Down Home collection adds new pieces that are based on Paula Deen's own furniture and antiques in four new finishes. The 42 piece furniture collection was unveiled at the Spring High Point Market. Take a look at the Paula Deen Down Home here.

Paula agreed to do a phone interview with me, and surprised me completely by picking up the phone herself. Here's some of what we talked about.

How did the new Down Home Furniture Collection do at High Point:

Oh Abe, I'm telling you, it was about two years ago that I introduced my furniture line and it got a huge reception. And then I was back in High Point this April to introduce the new collection and everybody loved it, everybody. And it's doing incredibly well.

Usually when you add to an already introduced line it doesn't do as well. The numbers fall, but this is up about 75%. It is doing incredibly well.

I see you have added some new finishes to the collection:

Yes we have. It is now available four different finishes that are soft and not in your face. Some pieces are available in more than one finish.

There is one piece that I really just adore. It was designed based on an antique piece that I bought at an antique market in Atlanta, and it's a piece that a woman had with salvaged doors with locks on it. She put them on a cabinet and it made a beautiful piece. When Universal came down to the house to discuss the new Down Home line, they fell in love with it. So they did a reproduction based on it and they did it in two finishes.

It's not as big as mine, but fabulous looking!

So it's real Paula Deen furniture:

Yes the furniture has to be real. It does. When you walk into my house, it's like my house and everything in it is wrapping it's arms around you, hey y'all come on in! It's like I want it to feel good to people and I think that we've done that with this collection.

But you know Abe, the thing I am most happy about is it has value. It's not the most expensive furniture line out there, but you know it is good, good furniture at a good price.

I'm thrilled because home has always meant so much to me. People have associated me with the kitchen, but it goes much deeper than that. There are many more sides to me.

What's it been like working with Universal:

I am very selective about my partners, and I've not been sorry about this partnership. They immediately got who I was and they have done a fabulous job.

I am excited about this line, it's coming out in October, you know. Everyone's extremely happy with the way things are going, so there may be more in the future. I don't know.

The upholstered pieces were done in High Point by Craftmaster, Universal's sister company.

How involved are you with fabric selection and design:

Universal and Craftmaster, they come to my house and they sift through everything that I have. Then I made a trip to Las Vegas out there for a show to just pull fabric, so I am pretty involved. They've got my taste down pretty well.

I was a little concerned at first, but my concerns turned out to be unnecessary.

You have named some furniture pieces after family:

We have some beautiful chairs we designed named after my niece. When we built our home she was living with me before she got married, so we built her apartment, too, so she could continue living with us and there's a chair, some old antique chair that she just loved. So naturally we called those chairs Corrie's chairs.

And then we have my Aunt Peggy's bedroom suite, my Aunt Peggy's bed. Down South we have these tin ceilings in these old buildings, and we said we'll use these in different pieces of furniture or hang them on the wall. Well, in my Aunt Peggy's bed we used those old tin tiles, new tiles based on the old ones in the headboard.

Then we have a chest, Bubba's Chest, that was designed after my brother's old chest. It's a fabulous gentleman's chest to hold jewelry, watches and you know everything like that. It's the junk drawer that men need!

Speaking of storage, there's the Bag Lady's Cabinet from the older collection:

That is one of my favorite pieces, the Bag lady's cabinet. This is something that can be used by both men and women. It is one of my favorite pieces because it so utilatarian. I could have it in just about any room in my house. It is fabulous in the bathroom, the bedroom, a foyer, a dining room, a living room. It can work in any room in the house, however the owner of the home chooses to use it.

What's next?

I have a book coming out mid-October. It's been a while since I had a book and this will come out just in time for the holidays. I think it is Paula Deen's Bible to Southern Cooking, but I may have the name a little mixed up, it may be Paula Deen's Bible of Southern Cooking, I'm not exactly sure, but this is a busy book. It has more information and than any of my previous books about anything that has to do with southern cooking.

How do you do find time for all this?

I have a damn good team, Abe, that's how I'm able to do this!

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