Last week, industry professionals around New York City headed to the D&D Building for some design inspiration at the annual Fall Market, “Live from New York.” Three keynote panels focused on the topic of successful New Yorkers in all areas of design, while showroom panel discussions, new product launches and book signings filled out the rest of the day.
The first keynote kicked-off on Tuesday, October 1, with a discussion moderated by author and designer Bradley Bayou, in conversation with well-known Good Morning America co-anchor Lara Spencer.
Bradley Bayou and Lara Spencer
Spencer began by taking attendees through her childhood and sharing how her mom’s “low budget but high style” was her biggest source of inspiration. Known for her HGTV show “Flea Market Flip,” Spencer considers herself a flea market junkie. “I’m a good shopper, and I don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” she said. “I have a good eye.”
Spencer presented slides of her design work, which has been featured on numerous shows on HGTV and also projects she’s done as personal favors for friends. The slides showed some of her greatest finds including a pair of sofas from a Judy Garland estate sale that she purchased for $400, a Tom Ford bench for $100 and end tables and accessories priced from $10 - $40.
With a little creativity and elbow grease, she says you can have high style and a unique space. Design becomes accessible to everyone if you mix the high and the low i.e. a Phillip Jeffries fabric and flea market furniture.
Some tips from Spencer? Estate sales are always listed on Craigslist and it's a great resource. Get there early for the biggest selection, but get there late for the best deal. The Elephant’s Trunk in Connecticut and the Garage in New York City are also two great places from which she sources.
Despite her passion for design, Spencer is glad she has a day job because “designing is incredibly difficult,” she said. “This isn’t my world, but I’m happy to be in it.”
The next keynote presentation explored how interiors translate on stage and featured set designers David Rockwell and David Korins. It was moderated by Gotham magazine’s editor-in-chief Catherine Sabino and journalist Patrick Pacheco.
According to Rockwell, designing a set requires a lot of collaboration with lighting, music, acting etc. and you need to work well with these elements to make your set come alive.
From left: David Korins, Catherine Sabino, David Rockwell, Patrick Pacheco
Korins described it as “creating a world from nothing.” He explained that when one designs an interior, you have a starting point, a home with hopefully some architectural structure. When you look at a blank stage to create a set you’re starting from scratch, and 60% of the items he uses have to be custom built.
Much of what Rockwell designs for theater he translates to his interiors work, and it’s made him a better architect. On two recent projects, a Jet Blue terminal and a hotel in Maui, he hired choreographers to determine how people would move about the space, and help him to create his design.
The pair agreed that the best part of working in theater is the level of craftsmanship in the pieces they are asked to be create.
Throughout the rest of the day Alessandra Branca introduced her new fabric collection for Schumacher; Mario Buatta signed his highly anticipated new book; Jamie Drake discussed dressing up big bare walls; Margaret Russell celebrated the latest release from Jan Showers; and Niedermaier hosted “Men at Work” with BBQ and beers.
Mario Buatta signing books in the Bruncshwig & Fils showroom
The day concluded with the private black tie Stars of Design and Stars on the Rise awards ceremony and dinner in the Astra Café. Industry greats including Bunny Williams and Jamie Drake were honored and guests included Mario Buatta, Alexa Hampton, Campion Platt, Brad Ford, Alex Papachristidis, Anne Maine, Michael Boodro and Celerie Kemle among others.
Tori Mellot and Alex Papachristidis
Robert Contini and Bunny Williams
The pace didn’t slow for day two. On Wednesday attendees began the day with a morning keynote presented by T Magazine featuring contributing editor Sara Ruffin Costello with panelists Aerin Lauder, Howard Slatkin and Tom Scheerer.
From left: Tom Scheerer, Aerin Lauder, Sara Ruffin Costello, Howard Slatkin
Each with a new book to promote, the panelists flipped through slides of their design projects and shared how they achieved their looks. Costello described each of the designer’s projects as “un-trendy,” substantial and timeless.
Slatkin’s main piece of advice was to design rooms that give you pleasure for yourself and design rooms that give your clients pleasure for them. “That’s what I do,” he said. “It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.”
Lauder spoke about heritage—embracing the past and bringing newness into a space while still keeping the history alive. She herself has taken on her late grandmother Estee’s homes and has embraced much of them.
Her tips for reinventing a space include moving things around and adding color—bright colors mixed with old antiques and old photographs make the room look fresh and vibrant.
Scheerer agreed with Lauder on the use of color in a space. If you choose two colors, you must choose a third. “Two colors will make a room static and you need that third accent color to make it pop,” he said.
For the final keynote presentation, Marianne Howatson of Cottages & Gardens discussed the completion of the renovation of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, and how the design community is out in full force to support such a great cause.
Panelists Anthony Baratta, Bunny Williams and Jamie Drake worked on the re-design of the home which will be unveiled this week at an opening gala. LXTV’s Sara Gore discussed her pro bono work and her plans to cover the opening of the revamped house on her show Open House New York.
Baratta, who worked on the original design of the space, said there are a lot of surprises to be unveiled. Both young designers and veteran designers participated in the project, which includes 18 bedrooms, 18 bathrooms and multiple public rooms.
Touched and blown away by the work that the Ronald McDonald House does, Drake couldn’t say no when asked to participate. The house was lacking in personality before, and he worked to change that in his design.
Williams’ goal was to make the house as livable and homelike as possible for these families who are suffering through such tragedy. “The house means a lot of things to a lot of people,” she said. “It has to function but it also has to be built for a family.”
From left: Anthony Baratta, Sara Gore, Bunny Williams, Jamie Drake and key employees of the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island
The designers collectively thanked showrooms like Kravet, which donated whatever was asked of them without blinking an eye.
“This is a very generous industry,” said Williams. “Designers put a lot of time, energy and effort into these projects for charities and it brings us closer together.”
Cary and Lisa Kravet hosted a reception in the showroom after the discussion where guests could buy tickets to the opening night gala and tours to view the facility and support a great cause.
Cindy Allen moderating a discussion in the Baccarat showroom
In addition to the keynotes, guests learned about 2014 color trends in the new Benjamin Moore showroom, attended discussions moderated by Cindy Allen and Michael Wollaeger, toasted to Robert Allen’s 75th anniversary while learning how designers are “changing the game” with Barbara Viteri, and ended the day by welcoming the all new Garrett Leather showroom to the DDB family.
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