Here’s a fun fact: the third largest concentration of modernist homes in the U.S. is right here in North Carolina, so it’s no surprise that Glen Lennox, constructed in the early 1950’s, would feature the influence of mid-century modern design. Modernist architecture rose out of Europe early in the 20th century, and from its form-follows-function ethos came the simplicity, minimalism and extensive use of wood, glass, stone, and metal which are defining features of the character of Glen Lennox Shopping Center. Echoes of that design and mindset remain loud and clear today in and around Glen Lennox, and we celebrate it wherever we find it. Sometimes, it’s right across the street.
Catty-corner from the Glen Lennox Shopping Center, tucked away in an elegant space in East 54, you’ll find Palette & Parlor, a design enterprise whose success proves the power of taste, expertise and prescient vision and provides a lesson in the evolution of design. It’s also an example of how the internet has changed the way homes are furnished, in more ways than one.
Palette & Parlor sits at the nexus of an international movement towards modern home design and furnishings which is geared towards buyers who, through aesthetics, principle or both, seek products which are not only unique in design, they’re produced with a focus on minimizing environmental impact and enhancing health and well-being. Sources include highly regarded American and European manufacturers, emerging designers, and small-batch international and local-to-NC artisanal designer-craftspeople from L.A to Barcelona. Many of these manufacturers source wood exclusively through sustainably managed forests and make use of natural and recycled materials. Despite leaning towards Scandinavian and modern design, Palette & Parlor is the polar opposite of your neighborhood IKEA.
Founders Ivy and John Simon have quietly built a thriving business through artful curation, sophisticated marketing and entrepreneurial spirit. Buyers can browse an eclectic showroom and examine myriad furniture, lighting, accents and art to see, feel and experience the craftsmanship, textures and quality. The actual item may go home with them, or it can be efficiently shipped for arrival for that garden party. Some items are made to order, and the buyer will receive regular updates on the status of their selection’s incubation. An uber-functional website allows discerning buyers to acquire their desire with a minimum of fuss. This commitment and attention to detail has not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by the number of national and regional design publications showcasing properties featuring “Palette & Parlor” sourcing notes.
It speaks volumes about the modern world we live in that such a global resource can draw seekers of fine furnishings to a small college town in North Carolina’s agricultural Piedmont. Palette & Parlor is proof that when you give people what they want, they will come find it. And Glen Lennox is proof that “form follows function” continues to be a recipe for good design.