Michele Harwood (left), a designer with H.V. Concepts of Montreal getting a presentation from Ivelisse Brooks (center), owner of Antiquarius Imports. At right is Michele’s husband Donald Ventura, a designer and manufacturer of ornate steel railings and other home furnishings.

New York -- Catering to the high end of the market and working in and around New York City has helped shield flooring manufacturers, designer and retailers from the recent slowdown in housing construction and remodeling that has had a negative impact on much of the industry, representatives of the more than two dozen flooring and floor covering companies at the Seventh AnnualArchitectural DigestHome Design Show here last month said.

“The New York City area seems to be doing much better than much of the rest of the country,” noted Michael Westra, general manager of Wayne Tile Co., a family owned business that has been importing tile from around the world for nearly 50 years. “The remodeling business here seems to be holding up and is being driven by the upscale end of the market.”

Vera Wells, an independent designer from New York with Richard Dullett, owner of Bois Chamois.

Held over four days in early March, the Architectural Digest show featured more than 300 exhibitors of home design products, including manufacturers of everything from tile and natural stone to wide plank wood flooring to imported and domestically made carpets. More than 2,000 architects and designers attended the show as well as close to 25,000 members of the public.

“This is our third year at this show and this year has been busier than the other two,” Shahram Nazar, the owner of Tibetano Ltd., said as he explained the process for making the custom-made carpets his company imports from Nepal. “The top end of the market has held up and that has helped companies like ours.”

Nazar’s sentiments were echoed by most of the flooring and carpet suppliers at the show. Despite reports that much of the industry has been in the dumps lately, those at theArchitectural Digestshow saw few signs of the malaise.

“It seems like people who can afford these products are recession proof,” Richard Dullett, president of the wood plank flooring manufacturer Bois Chamois, said. “Our sales this year are actually up."–Richard Monks