Dear Diary {Chapter 5}


It was such a wonderful day today.  After my visit to  Kips Bay yesterday, (which was like walking though a virtual magazine, each room was like turning a page, showcasing spaces by designers I have read about and followed for years) today I learned a thing or two about the print side.  I have subscribed to and received Veranda, House Beautiful, Elle Decor and Traditional Home for as long as I can remember.  This day was nothing short of a thrill to meet those people responsible for my page turning joy and what drove me to do what I do.

Before, and still after, Pinterest came along,  I would find a day to slowly pour through each page, reading every word.  When I first started in my career,  I would study the works of some of my favorite designers.  I hoped their creativity would rub off when I came across a design dilemma.  I also hoped I could spot a "look" they had so skillfully achieved and use that as a tool, when working with a client for visual direction.   My clients would also bring me their tattered pages in the hopes I could create a look with a similar vibe.  

I love the "feel" of a beautifully photographed and printed magazine.  I collect them and fill the bookcases in my office, chronologically of course.  I love to tell the story of my 40th birthday, when I checked into the newly opened Weston Hotel, here in Charlotte, with some 80 back issues for the weekend.   I propped myself up in the heavenly bed, ordered room service, and went through each one taking the pictures I loved and (with clear sheet protectors of course) creating my inspiration binders - about 12 in all.   I still have those in my office and when it gets crazy with kids, work and life I am tempted to make a reservation to do it all again.  So thank you to my husband, kids and dogs for my little 2-day guilt free disappearing birthday act. . It was a great present.  No big noisy party, just peace and quite doing what I loved.  

Today I headed over to the 44th floor of the Hearst Tower, the world headquarters of The Hearst Corporation, home to numerous publications (Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Marie-Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Seventeen, as well as those we were there to get to know better).  Even though it was foggy,  I could visualize the view of Central Park through all the sky-high windows.  When the fog started lifting, our attention could not be re-directed from center stage.  It was amazing to meet the Editors-in-Chief of the magazines I have loved collecting over the years.  Kate Kelly Smith, SVP Publishing Director, the Hearst Design Group, opened with the story behind our host, Kravet Inc.  Cary Kravet was on hand, along with his sister Lisa.  Getting to hear about his family owned business was more than enlightening.  Soon Beth Greene,  executive Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Branding for Kravet stepped up to welcome us all and introduce us to . . .

Veranda - Editor-in-Chief Dara Caponigro, and Publisher Jennifer Levene Bruno

House Beautiful Editor-in-Chief Newell Turner

Elle Decor Editor-in-Chief Michael Boodro

Dara Caponigro of Veranda gave us a look inside their May / June issue and brought with her two top designers, Timothy Whealon and Darryl Carter.  Newell Turner of Better Homes and Garden was joined by their new wave designers Jon Call, Jill Goldberg and Michael Herold.   What I loved more than anything was hearing their stories.  Open, candid and real.  It was a sheer delight to hear these seasoned, established, amazing, sought-after and widely know designers face the same issues the rest of us RLD's (real-life-designers) face.  The headaches, the insane requests, the delights, the countless hours - often unnoticed - the joy of seeing your vision come to life, and the happy tears of a happy client.  I realized more and more that following my dreams is worth every 17 hour day.

The Elle Decor's Modern Concept House was our next stop . . . Michael Boodro was our host on hand.  This was Elle Decor's second year creating a concept house and timed to coincide with the International Contemporary Furniture Show and Kips Bay (what a time to be in the City!)  The space is one among nine townhouses at the Dillon on 53rd Street and 9th Avenue and assembles 8 international designers to create one-of-a-kind contemporary looks.  We received an advanced tour and private reception. . . nice!

Elle Decor's site . .  click here

The Dillon 
425 West 53rd Street
New York, NY

I was most anxious, after checking out the sketches on line, to see the outdoor space, as I am working with three clients at the moment on theirs . . .

Michael Tavano created this space with all the personality and fun he is known for.
Known in Manhattan social circles for his outrageous and fanciful table-scapes.  He blogs on entertaining on his just-for-fun website At Michael's Table

A shot from Michael Tavano's site . . .

I loved the colors and accessories I noticed in both the "Sanctuary" by Lee Kleinhelter and the "Great Room" by Anthony Todd

Lee Kleinhelter has an Atlanta boutique in the Buckhead neighborhood called  Pieces.  These beautiful metal "Sea Urchin" art pieces are also available through us at Lucy and Company and I have always loved them, especially against the dark backdrop Lee chose.  She founded Pieces in 2004 when she saw a gap between high-end antiques and mass produced items (don't we all !!!) 

Anthony Todd continued the cohesive look in the concept house with his dark wall color.  I love the large scale art piece and great mix of new and vintage.  His design firm, based in New York, was founded in 1995.  With his "less is more" approach he has attracted high-profile clients who appreciate and gravitate toward his flawless aesthetic.

I could not put this bedroom out of my mind.  The graphic explosion of color drew me in from the moment I came up the stairs.  Christopher Coleman was responsible for this !  Graphic simplicity of clean lines, mixing shapes and sizes . . .  you could say that.

Being that there were at least 10 people in this study area . . .I opted to snagged this pic from 
The New York Times.
photographer Christopher Stuman for The New York Times

Katie Leede is responsible for this beautiful bedroom with it's plum's and sea foam.
She seeks to reveal through her work each client's unique take on color.  Per the bio page on the Elle Decor Concept House site . . . "She has been featured in Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Veranda and Traditional Home, as well as numerous blogs.  In 2010 Traditional Home nominated Katie as one of the "Ten Young Designers to Watch" and in 2011 House Beautiful sited her as one of the "Ten More Designers who create a Global, Sophisticated Look."

Per my take . . . her bohemian touches in this room really spoke to me. I loved the watercolor textiles, the little bit of glimmer in the pillow, the distressed mid-century chair, the romantic bed canopy, the jar of paint brushes and tubes of well used acrylics.  She was there to enhance my vision even more.  It was a beautiful space !

Well worth the visit . . . this concept house !

The Decorating and Design a.k.a. D & D Building was stop no. 3.  Home to some 120 showrooms, it's NY's premiere design center.  For over 40 years this space represents over 3,000 leading manufacturers dedicated to offering the very best in furnishings, fabrics and resource information.

I stop by almost every time I head to NY.  The showrooms are big and overflowing with the newest and brightest.   Kravet, Lee Jofa and Brunswig & Fils were were we headed.  We were treated to a chat between Alexa Hampton and Anne Maine, Editor-in-Chief of Traditional Home.  Both women were completely engaging and real.  Alexa Hampton was hilarious, I think we will all agree.  I did enjoy a glimpse into of her childhood - running through the D&D building with her acclaimed father, the late Mark Hampton.  For a moment I thought of my 8 year old at home and how she loves nothing more than to run around my showroom.   She's a lover of words (like "Effulgent"- shining brightly or radiant and "Sanguine" positive or optimistic), the traditional style, and overall down-to-earth outlook.  She admitted her kids brought her back to reality, and she "had some work done" on her eyelashes !  But the best advise "only work with people with whom you see eye to eye!"  As the theme for the day was the "A-Ha" moment . . . that more than resonated with me!

We also met Keith Granet the author of "The Business of Design, Balancing Creativity with Profitability," a read for a day it isn't all about pretty !

After wandering around and stopping by Brunswig . . .

. . . our final stop was the New Baccrate Showroom . . .

Now this space - we were the first to see . . . just put some all white tables and gobs of white flowers and let me have another wedding.   What a pretty space.  Vincente Wolfe hosted our gathering with all his elegance and charm. Champagne, and a bunch of really cute waiters . . . Nice end to our day !

May favorite quotes of the day . . .

"I run my business with full transparency" - Timothy Whealon

"If you ally yourself with people that understand and love what you can do it can help you succeed" - Alexa Hampton

"I live in a gated community" (referring to roping off her living room from her kids) - Alexa Hampton

"I read the New York Times every morning.  I don't want to loose perspective on the world" - Newell Turner

"Do you want to have sex in there or have a party in there" (on master bedroom design) - Newell Turner

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