by Marisa Marcantonio

There's always room for more beauty in the world, as the splendorous Orchid-filled tables at the

New York Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Dinner proved.  More than 25 designers worked their floral magic again this year, at the Veranda Magazine-sponsored event, creating visions of Key West Contemporary to kick off the 12th Annual Orchid Show. Funds raised from the evening and the sale of rare Orchids go towards Orchid research at the Botanic Garden. What is more glorious than seeing masses of orchids imagined in a variety of fantastical settings? From monochromatic palettes to a fruity-colored mix, the tables tapped a tropical vibe. The designs were a bit tamer than in years past ie, not as enormous in scale, but as usual this event is a delight for the eyes. Even more breathtaking in person, this will give you a sense of the creative botanic artistry that went on this year. Be sure to visit the NYBG Orchid Show which is on till April 20th, it provides another Orchid gazing opportunity that should not be missed.

Photos courtesy of Billy Farrell

A ring of fuchsia orchids were suspended above the Robert Couturier-designed  table in an act of suspended disbelief.

 Danielle Rollins, a talented new addition this year, created a bright, multicolored ethnic global-inspired setting.

She used wonderful embroidered napkins and one of my favorite Schumacher classics on the chairs, a multicolored ikat.

Stephen Elrod, creative director of Brunschwig and Fils went bold with turquoise, hot pink and acid green pairing a floral printed skirt and striped chair covers.

Capturing the essence of Hemingway's Key West,  a signpost that was tangled up in orchids.

Staying on message with some of Papa Hemingway classics strewn about.

With a little razzmatazz and a lot of color, Cullman and Kravis created a party-ready mood with their tiki hut table topper.

 A riot of color, the china matched the flowers in their brilliance.

A geometric box balanced on an angle rose out of a low arrangement at David Easton's stunning table design.

I have to say, Phillip Gorrivan won the prize for most height and drama- his towering lacquer white urn rose towards the sky. The palm leaves and orchids took it even higher. It was really something.

A charming low green arrangement by Magnafloral in a white vessel was understated chic.

Pastel blues and yellows provided the backdrop for draping fronds and acid green orchids by Sherrill Canet.

Shawn Henderson's centerpiece was inspired by the Florida work of prominent modernist of the 1960's, Paul Rudolph, and his custom plaster piece features a concrete ball suspended from a rope. Very minimal and chic.

 A veritable tropical jungle!

Alison Spear for Arquitectonica Interiors showcased their wallpapers in place of a fabric tablecloth.

SOLD! The rare Orchids were sold out in the blink of an eye.


by Marisa Marcantonio

 Design has the power to transform. It also, as it turns out, has the power to help heal. The benefits of calming spaces and their ability to promote well being are becoming clear. To see this theory in action, just take a look at some of the well-designed spaces created by top talent-- 26 New York area interior designers at Long Island's Ronald McDonald House. Anthony Baratta jump-started the project as the creative director, and brought in wonderful partners like Kravet. Full of creative details, soothing and energizing color, the 18 redesigned bedrooms and public spaces provide a welcoming home-away-from-home for patients and their families  that come from near and far for medical treatment. I had the pleasure of seeing the spaces and got the chance to talk to the designers while hosting Editor at Large, and got to hear how meaningful it was for them to partake in this charity. This is not another showhouse, it is a permanent, fully functional living space that will be enjoyed and appreciated over and over again. With 300 Ronald McDonald Houses across the country, wouldn't it be amazing to see this done on a national scale? The projects will be featured in New York Cottages and Gardens, so be sure to read more about #projectdesign there. Editor at Large covered the gala evening, it had designers looking their best for the big reveal.

The public spaces, as done by Anthony Baratta, with tons of color and giant sized doll houses.

Pops of red and blue in the playroom created by Bunny Williams.

Amanda Nisbet brought some zing with shades of sunny yellow.

Nick Olsen, never one to shy away from color, created a primary color-filled kids room with stripes and color blocking.

As a sanctuary, the bedrooms are a place for rejuvenation and relaxation. Meg Braff did just that with pale blue, white and green.

Jennifer Metadash had fun with color, creating an escape with creative details like painted Moorish arches above the headboards and a flowery Chinoiserie wallpaper on the ceiling.

Eric Cohler created an exotic escape with recessed cut outs of Moorish arches backed in red and a striped ceiling.

Paint is an easy way to create something unique, and Jamie Drake expanded this irregularly shaped bedroom with a wall of wide stripes.

New moms can escape to the nursery room designed by Tilton Fenwick for quiet time in a cozy floral-covered chair.

Each room has a totally different look, and Jon Call created a handsome haven with masculine details and clean lines.

Angles everywhere led Drew McGukin to embrace them. Check out the slanted headboard.

Like an island getaway, Mabley Handler's pale aqua walls and white bedding are as soothing as the sky and sand.

For the fan of warm modern, DwellStudio brought some Mid-Century flair using grey and yellow.

A neutral palette grounds Pappas Miron's bedroom. Pops of aqua and orange add an element of fun.

Kate Singer added a bit of escapism with framed animal prints against lilac walls and yellow accents.

Matthew Patrick Smyth shared that his baseball memorabilia came from Ebay. It seems collected over time, and any Mets fan would be thrilled to chill in this dugout.

Using linear bands of color to create architecture around the room, Young Huh injected a sense of fun through pattern and color with modern and traditional pieces.

Coral and pale blue dominated Michael Tavano's color and pattern filled space. Giant glowing orbs, hung at random, resemble planets in the sky. 

Suzanne Costa created a luxe tree house setting with re purposed wood on the walls and faux fur throws.

Even the laundry rooms got the head to toe treatment- how chic is this space with pops of red by Danielle Colding?

How fun to watch fish swim across the walls while doing laundry?


by Marisa Marcantonio

With no need to nickel and dime prices, Design on a Dime's deals were stellar again this year. Designers agree it is the most fun design shopping event of the year, where you see old friends and meet new one's all in the name of charity. Sharing a love of great design along with deals, Metropolitan Pavillion was packed for DOAD's opening night. As the buzzer went off at 6:30 pm, people scooped up the great goods with fervor to benefit Housing Works.

My big score was something I've wanted for ages, a fantastic Christopher Spitzmiller lamp. I pounced on it in Nick Olsen's vignette, but had to limit myself for practicality. Let's just say it made me oh-so happy. The thing I love most about vignettes is the immense creativity they bring out. The ephemeral nature of them means sadly, nothing this good lasts forever. I took well over 100 photos, and here are some standouts from the evening.

Lara Spencer for One King's Lane included pretty artwork and easy to live with upholstered pieces.

Speaking of pretty, anemones and peony's in oranges and pinks made their booth springy.

Ford Huniford, the founding chair, created a monochromatic montage. Mixing found objects with painting things in snow white, the impact was amazing.

Evette Rios for HomeGoods had a great curved high back sofa, flower ottoman and chairs covered in Dwell fabric. Her vignette was in honor of Will and Kate, if they had a NYC pad.

Combining horse show ribbons and rustic chandeliers, Dering Hall's booth had a festive feel with chic furniture.

Mixing brightly striped rugs, an ikat spotted umbrella, masses of flowers and a trad chintz and blue and white plates on the wall, newcomer C. Wonder wowed.

Tons of blue and white china at cheap and cheerful prices went quickly.

The large space was a harbinger of spring. The umbrella was not for sale but I sure wish it was.

Eddie Lee put a framed fabric of succulents on the wall to kick off the garden theme. With light wood accessories, beautiful potted boxwood and amazing upholstery there were good finds here!

In Arden Stephenson's booth, black and white floral backed the main wall and happy turquoise Valspar paint made the chic sitting room complete. I wonder who walked away with the Flokati stool, what fun.

Minimalist chic in Brad Ford's booth was highlighted by an amazing photo series of a woman walking briskly against a red background. The energy of the piece was riveting. As always, Brad's ability to make greenery look sculptural was evident.

Another hard to resist, amazing piece of art in Brad's booth. 

A red Bungalow 5 linen wrapped console and cubes with nailhead trim would surely make anyone happy.

Pappas Miron Design used a killer Alpha Workshops wallpaper with their upholstery laden den.

With the scale of everything suitable for urban dwelling, I wanted Nick Olsen's entire booth transported to my apartment stat.

This diminutive French chair in purple wool was chic chic.

My score: a Gregory Lamp from Christopher Spitzmiller in the most amazing pale green.

The ever-creative Harry Heissmann painted his walls purple and filled is space with quirky fabulous stuff. A pair of Spitzy lamps were still there!

A loden green mohair sofa with a high arm is a lifetime piece for sure.

I really wish I had the time to pick some artwork from Pocker, it was framed and ready to roll.

Lifestyling by Maria Gabriella Brito was retro chic.

Hats off to the Housing Works crew for creating the coolest booth with flour accents.

They had a trove of John Derian paperweights to rival his store, and worked with Housing Works donations.

Patrick James Hamilton Designs scheme was dark and broody with great accessories. Notice that Baker lamp?

Rick colors tied the scheme together in a way that showed it took ages to orchestrate.

Katie Lydon had varied pillows and cool interesting pieces.

Aurelien Gallet has a knack for unique accessories from a variety of historical periods.

Cullman and Kravis's pink cocoon with boxes of candy stacked on the floor.

Just like his refined work, Matthew Patrick Smyth's booth was a snapshot of his interiors. Pale hues and comfortable pieces with symmetrical bookshelves.

That zebra rug! Neal Beckstedt had lots of usable pieces.

Along with great artwork.

Wiley design had black and white popped with pink for great impact.

Ideas aplenty here.

The guys from Flair brought their A game with serious Italian vintage.

Killer artwork too.

Jim Fairfax used a pale pink wall and earthy colors.

Many of his pieces were custom.

The 70's vibe of Nathan Thomas Studios chocolate brown space was comfortingly transporting.

I was looking forward to the High Falls Mercantile booth, as I knew it would be chock-a-block again this year.

Old good things...

Another 70's interior from Buzz Kelly was totally amazing. A painted wall with pastel colored rays was next to a wall with a bulls eye painting of the same colors. So creative.

A pomegranate colored sofa I believe a Vladimir Kagan piece, balanced the color variety.

One more angle.

Juniper Tedhams minimal, artistic space with crystal chandeliers and antique beds was statement making.

David Duncan Antiques had a fanciful painted backdrop with flowers and beautiful greenery.

Studio Printworks cone shaped black and white geo pattern provided the backdrop for Miles Redd's op art cocoon. Of course, everyone was awed by it.

Let's just say things went like hotcakes.

Foley and Cox had a large space to create a long living room.

Touches of Americana made it a cozy enclave.

There were so many nice pairs of candlestick lamps and lighting in general throughout the vignettes.

An antique mantel and comfortable reading chairs.

Country casual.

Lipstick red walls set the stage for the red, black and white world of Alessandra Branca.

She mixed beachy seagrass cubes and good antique pieces with strong lines.

I coveted this quilted slipper chair.

Genius Mark Cunningham's montage of natural materials with pops of white was spellbinding.

A great merchandiser, accessories were grouped in clusters by varying heights.

Texture and form come together so beautifully, Mark, when will you open a retail store?

Ernest De LA Torre paired blue walls, red lampshades and yellow National Geographic issues for a pop of primary colors.

Recreating her daughter's bedroom, Tilton Fenwick covered walls in an ethnic - inspired teardrop wallpaper in a bright green. Clarence House fabric accents on a canopy bed tied it all together.

The New Traditionalists dresser trimmed in green was stocked with classic children's books. Pops of vivid color made the space fun and dynamic.

My friend Mimi scored the bed for her daughter, yay!

With an eye for the best, Kristen McGinnis paired African accents with a neutral palette.

A zebra lamp, klismos chiar and mid-century desk.

Amazingly, the first edition Marc Newsom chair was still available by night's end.

Lilian August had an aviary as a centerpiece for ethnic finds.

Pops of yellow and kelly green with black and white made Genevieve Gorder's booth of re-finished Housing Works finds fresh.

Never one to shy away from color, Amanda Nisbet was up to her usual fun fabulous tricks. The neon sign says it all.

I wanted this custom sofa! It is the perfect scale for apartment living. Not sure the print was for me though.

A chartreuse lacquer desk sat beside a giant wooden turtle. Barbie dolls were hanging out too. And what's that I see? Yes, another great Spitzmiller lamp! I tipped a friend off and she nabbed it.