Very few design events are as exciting to an interior designer than attending Design Week in New York City. So can you imagine my excitement when I was invited on an all expenses paid #BlogTourNYC trip to Design Week?! I seriously had to pinch myself hard several times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming!
BlogTourNYC immerses designers in the new, the hip, the latest and greatest products made from around the world. One of the sponsors is @dacorkitchen, maker of high end kitchen appliances. Dacor provided the appliances for this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. You’ve probably seen the fabulous rooms in this showhouse by celebrity designers in shelter magazines.
And you probably know about countertop surfaces like granite, quartz, solid surface, and laminate, but you probably have no idea just how many exciting options there now are in engineered surfaces. I know I can’t wait to visit @Wilsonart, especially to see the metal finishes (yes, metal!) and their 50 new selections of quartz. Click here to enter to win your dream kitchen that includes Wilsonart Quartz counters!
Swiss bathroom manufacturer @laufenbathrooms makes innovative high end bathroom solutions. Their SaphirKeramik, a super ceramic that incorporates a compound found in sapphires, is hygienic and tough, but slim.
And what would a high end bathroom be without a steam shower? Mr. Steam @steamtherapy makes both residential and commercial steam showers so if you don’t have one (yet), you may have already experienced the health and beauty benefits of a steam shower at your favorite spa or fitness center.
And who is the oh so generous, smart, and supremely talented group who created #BlogTour in the first place? Why, it’s Modenus, of course! They’re celebrating their Big 5 anniversary and this will be their 14th BlogTour in 4 years. With new goodies coming on their website such as expanded design portfolios, Modenus is a must follow. After seeing the itinerary and all the fabulous events they have planned for us to visit, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to sleep!
Just a few weeks ago, I attended the Great Granddaddy of all the to-the-trade shows, the High Point Market. When I tell my clients I’m going to High Point, they assume it’s basically like one of the big furniture stores. I tell them, no, it’s way bigger than that. In a word, the market is ENORMOUS.
- High Point Market is spread over 11.5 million square feet of showspace, which my husband/biz partner Charles calculated is equivalent to 600 football fields.
- The market takes place over 6 days, both spring and fall.
- 75,000 buyers and designers come to each market. I was one of them.
- About 10% of attendees come from outside the US.
- Over 100 countries are represented.
- There are more than 2,000 exhibitors in 180 buildings. Imagine going to 2,000 furniture stores in 6 days. It’s not possible, even if your feet could walk that far that quick.
- There are tens of thousands of new product introductions.
- The market happens only 2X a year, and for the other 353 days, almost all the buildings are closed.
- But in the spring and fall, interior designers and buyers swarm to High Point, NC to search for the new and unique. That is why I went (and Charles came too.)
No matter what you’re looking for, the market will have it. Antiques, Accessories, Art, Rugs, Lighting, Mirrors, and of course, Furniture. And just about anything else that goes into furnishing and decorating a home, hotel, corporate offices, or retail shops. But while the market authority and vendor showrooms go all out to woo buyers, providing free shuttles from the airport, hotels, and around market, and while there are complimentary lunches and dinners, free cocktails in the afternoon, even music concerts in the evening, it is hard work. Really. Just because it’s also exhilarating and fun doesn’t mean it’s also not hard work!
You don’t just show up. The market requires advance planning, lots of stamina, and comfortable shoes, oh yes, comfortable shoes. Either that or lots of bandaids and pain ointment.
But on to the fun part…the eye candy!
This living room is a stunning example of subtle textures, repeated motifs, and bold colors. The cherry blossom cabinet has doors that are ingeniously hinged to open fully and fold back. It can accommodate up to a 100″ TV — no movie theater ever looked so good! The cherry blossom motif is repeated on the curved sofas and echoes the bold flame color of the chairs, ottomans and pillows.
Bold color combinations were abundant, especially using blue in its indigo and navy shades as with this animal print inspired queen bed above. The tall headboard makes the bed appear smaller, but it’s definitely a queen…and fit for a queen too!
A bedroom of pale green walls and a soft pink upholstered bed with matching faux leather bench goes from sweet to dramatic with bold black and white prints and black night tables. The shaped headboard is echoed on the footboard as well.
Interior designer Tobi Fairley’s collection for CR Laine uses a masterful mix of color, pattern, shape and texture in this living room vignette.
Interior decorating consultations make me feel like I have a magic wand.
For those who don’t want a total redo but want help pulling their room together with their existing furnishings, I offer interior design consultations. These are typically just a couple hours and it’s fun to “magically” transform a room right before your eyes. Walking into a room with my “design eyes” focused on how to improve the interior design starts the idea factory churning. But if you’ve ever hesitated to invite an interior decorator to a party in your home because you didn’t want your interior decorating critiqued, you’ve got nothing to worry about. When socializing in someone’s home, I turn off the “design eyes” so I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m meant to be partying. And yes, don’t think for a minute that interior design and decorating is not work; it is, even if it’s often fun too.
A lovely couple called me to come help them with their great room. They had just downsized into a villa and were disappointed in the great room because it was boring and lacked pizzazz. Their furniture layout was pretty good, with the sofa facing the water view and comfortable seating facing the TV, but the furniture needed some minor rearrangement.
The red striped chairs had matching pillows which did nothing for the room, while the sofa had the solid red pillows. (I meant to photograph the room before I did anything, but I always get excited and forget!) So the first thing I did was switch the pillows and immediately the room started to come to life.
I suggested a new rug because their existing rug was uncomfortable on bare feet, important when one lives in Florida, but also because the rug wasn’t doing its job. A rug should ground a room and help tie the furniture together. This rug was a tad small and certainly added no pizzazz. When I explained how a red rug would perk up the room and encourage conversation, they didn’t hesitate.
Two weeks later the new rug arrived and immediately perked up the room. We moved the furniture a bit to give more walkway space between the leather chair and sofa, and switched out some art. Before leaving, I gave them suggestions for a taller tree (or raising it in a bigger pot), the best sizes, shapes and colors for art which they’ll purchase on their own, and naturally suggested a new window treatment which they’ll get in time.
Their great room is no longer boring and this lovely couple is now excited to invite new friends over for lively fun!
Want my help creating interior beauty for your home? Call me at (727) 943-0633 or email me at [email protected] to schedule your interior design consultation.
Warm regards, Anne
While exploring carpet options for my lovely clients’ home, Mike, the manager at ProSource Tampa, was excited to show me a carpet that is actually magic. First, he opened this little plastic container in which, he explained, was a piece of carpet that had been soaked in ammonia. Phew, it still stank. Then he opened another container and explained that this piece of carpet had also been soaked in ammonia, at the same time as the stinky carpet. But this carpet had no bad smell at all.
The carpet, called Magic Fresh by Beaulieu, breaks down the noxious smells of pet urine, cigarette smoke, cooking odors, etc. and in about 30-90 minutes, converts the smelly compounds into carbon dioxide, naturally and effortlessly. It lasts up to 10 years or 5 hot professional extraction cleanings.
My lovely clients have an older dog and a toddler grandchild, so what did I spec for their guest room? A Magic Carpet, of course. And if they don’t like it for any reason (although it feels heavenly on bare feet and is guaranteed to last for decades), there’s a 60 day no-questions-asked warranty. Sounds pretty magical to me!
Attending trade shows is invaluable for designers. Not only do we see all the great new products, meet with our reps, network with our colleagues, and hear from celebrity designers, but we also get a chance to win prizes. Such was the case a few years ago when I went to Vision and won a Rowenta iron, in my opinion the best iron on the market. That was the same year I won an award in the Vision Design Competition.
Just this past April I won a prize that took my breath away, it was so perfect! I was walking through KBIS with designer friend Cyndi DeLapp and since I want to change out the kitchen countertops in my 1 year old home, I was drawn to this display like a bee to honey.
But why would I want to replace counters that are only one year young? To answer that question, let me take you on a little kitchen journey.
When we got married, my husband and I had discussed what kind of house we wanted. The decision soon came down to choosing between remodeling an older home or building a new home. My dear husband likes everything new and doesn’t like major remodeling, so it was a short debate. And since we were both working full time and I am practical (form follows function!), we decided to build new. So build new we did and we’ve built every home we’ve ever lived in.
Even though we both are in love with the wonderful millwork and unique architectural details of older homes, the thought of spending every weekend working on the house was not appealing and we were in no position to afford remodeling an older home or purchase one that had already been restored.
As I love many different styles, I was not complaining about the opportunity to pick new styles and finishes! Especially in the kitchen.
The kitchen in our last house was the reason we built that home. We cook together so we had learned, the hard way, never to position a sink that couldn’t easily be reached from both sides. In fact I’d insisted on a small prep sink close to the rangetop, thinking that he’d use that. Maybe it was a Pavlovian thing, but he still came to my big one bowl sink anyway! At least it wasn’t in the corner.
The best part of that kitchen was the Wolf gas rangetop/grill and the Thermador jet engine powered range hood. The range hood was so powerful, we had to be careful not to get sucked up out onto the roof. One time Charles tried grilling an entire package of chicken thighs indoors and a neighbor rang our doorbell to see if all that smoke pouring out of our home was something we should know about. I credit the Wolf with getting my husband into cooking dinner every night.
This kitchen was large, with two islands, two sinks, and two built in pantries, one of which we set up as a coffee station to hide our big bulky automatic coffee maker. There were so many cabinets, some of them were half empty. And we had enough countertop for a small plane to land. We opted for Ubatuba granite and selected a full bullnose edge. I loved the shiny granite, but then we noticed some chipping along the sink edge (the sink that was supposed to be just mine). And then we noticed the granite was losing its shine. So we put a lot of time and elbow grease into polishing it, but really the granite was ready to be re-sealed. So we decided to move.
It was a beautiful home but it was situated on a corner, it had a screened in pool, lots of trees which translated into lots of falling leaves and pine needles to clog up the gutters and get stuck in the screen enclosure, and basically just lots of outdoor maintenance. Probably not any more or less than any other home, but we decided it was time to downsize into a home where we didn’t have to worry about lawn maintenance.
After much searching we chose a GL Homes community a half hour south of Tampa and built our smaller home. Unlike our previous semi-custom home, our new home is a cookie-cutter but it has features we love. Our number one love is the lake. Just looking at the water is so relaxing, and since the clubhouse is right across the lake, we feel like we live in a resort.
After two homes with the typical Florida split floorplan, we were drawn to a completely different floorplan. While my entrance hall is nowhere this long, this photo is an inspiration.
But what really sold us on the floorplan was the kitchen. It’s a wide U shape, very efficient even for two cooks. There’s enough cabinet, counter and floor space for two cooks to work around each other without colliding. We upgraded the cabinets through the builder, but took the standard white Corian counters with the intention of replacing the counters, sink, faucet and range when the money gods smile upon us.
“Why,” some guests ask, “would you want to replace counters that are almost new?” Well, just about anything looks good when it’s new. And we do love how the white Corian is a bold contrast against our dark cabinets. But the Corian is already showing scratches. And my design aesthetic is crying out for some pattern — not as busy and bossy a pattern as granite, something more subtle but definitely more than plain vanilla. For about 2 minutes I considered Carrara marble because I love the look, but you already know how I feel about maintenance, don’t you?
Next post: What I won at KBIS that blew me away