Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flavor of the Day

I would say my favorite TV designer is Candice Olson. Of all the designers and decorators featured on the myriad of shows and networks devoted to home and lifestyle these days, she, to me, is the most professional, the most talented of them all. As a host, she's very approachable, and as a designer, she's very transparent with her process. She has a defined style that's polished and classic.

Also, her work seems very real. She uses high-end furniture, fabrics and finishes, and she doesn't apologize for it. No bogus $500 design-in-a-day concept for her show. You see her team of skilled technicians completing all elements of the project, from lighting to upholstery to painting to construction. That's basically how it works in real life, only most of us don't have a dedicated team all to ourselves - we maintain a list of trustworthy contractors to refer clients to. Still, on her show, Divine Design, you basically see real-life design played out over the course of a 30-minute program. And her drawings and renderings are seriously, and please pardon me for saying this, divine.

The chest pictured above is one my co-workers and I saw at High Point Market in October '08 in a line Olson designed for Revco International. To me, it's a great example her classic-but-glam aesthetic. I totally love it. Oh, and did I mention that we met her there? We were a little star-struck. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flavor of the Day

One of the most fun experiences my co-workers and I had recently at AmericasMart, the Atlanta market, was finding Stray Dog Designs. We were wandering one of the many floors of furniture showrooms and were drawn like a magnet to the bright, funky colors and whimsical designs we saw through Stray Dog's windows. Once inside, while perusing the East Tennessee-based company's line of colorful case goods, funky light fixtures, and whimsical accessories crafted ingeniously from papier mache, we noticed something unusual about the staff running the showroom.

They were all wearing funny hats.

Then we realized something else: They had enough funny hats to go around. Someone working in the showroom had been designated "market hatmaker," and in the middle of the room was a huge bin of crazy, kooky hats of various styles made out of paper sacks and decorated with colored netting, silk flowers, feathers - you name it. There was a mirror there so us buyers could try the hats on for size, and once we found hats we liked, there were staffers armed with paper clips to "size" the hats for a custom fit.

My co-worker Kim Hamric went for the crown - if you know her, it fits. Jane Sacharczyk found a cute little hat with flowers on the front that people kept referring to as "jaunty," and my favorite comment about the hat I chose was that it was "soooo Jackie O." :-) It turns out the hatmaking sales reps for Stray Dog Designs were nothing if not ingenious. We wore our hats for the rest of the day, and apart from the gaping stares that none of us minded, we must have had 500 people ask us where we got our hats. It was such brilliant advertising! Sounds cheesy, maybe, but in the little bubble world that is market, it was totally effective.

Monday, July 13, 2009

To Market

It has been a crazy, busy couple of weeks. Over the weekend, I went with a small crew of co-workers to Atlanta for the AmericasMart home, rug and gift market that's going on right now. More than 7 million square feet of showroom space, and man, did we have a blast! We found some new sources and spent time touring some of the sources we already use to see new products and to generally touch, sit on, handle and otherwise ogle the products we specify for clients. There is nothing like a high-rise building filled with showroom after showroom of gorgeous, high-style furniture and accessories!

While there, we stayed at the W Midtown hotel, and all I can say is W-O-W! So chic that I recommend that if you're going to check into one, dress up before you arrive. The lobby is like stepping into a party with an exclusive guest list - music pumping, lights flashing, guests stepping out of niiice cars and drinks flowing at the bar. The rooms are as chic as the lobby, and the whole place has this high-tech, very NOW kind of feel. It was phenomenal. Good times!

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