by Marisa Marcantonio

But wait, there's more! Here are the rest of the orchid festooned tables from the NYBG Orchid Dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental. Every designer table was impressively styled, providing a plethora of inspiration and ideas.

Sebastian Li incorporated yellow orchids with a bright red and gold color scheme. Can you say beyond talented? I am still visually processing this one, how did he do those flowers?

Take it in, closer.

Alessandra Branca used her signature black and white striped fabric for her tableskirt and coral colored manzanita branches strung with tons of pure white orchids, surrounded by glowing votives. Pure perfection.

A long table by Tiffany and Co designed by Lambertson Truex with David M. Handy Events was next to the dance floor.

David Duncan Antiques used one of my favorite Josef Frank fabrics to create a tropical multi-colored fantasy.

Bowman Dahl Floral & Event Design created an orchid tree of blazing oranges, yellows and reds.

Richard Mishaan used a french blue silk tablecloth with a cluster of antique opalescent green glass vases in glass walled boxes the centerpiece.

Juan Montoya put orchids inside a 20th century birdcage, tying colorful strands of ribbon from it.

With nary a live orchid in site, Selena Van Der Geest created her snow white designs entirely out of cut paper.

Sherrill Canet's white orchids defied gravity. A zippy palette of bright green and steely gray was slick and modern.

Angelica Gomez embraced fluoro brights.


by Marisa Marcantonio

The other day Potterton Books sponsored an interior designer gathering at Kips Bay. The round table discussion included design books, their reason for being and purpose today. All the designers agreed books are better than ever, they read refer to them daily and their libraries are overflowing with new one's they cannot resist buying.

Photo by Tim Street-Porter

Annie Kelly, whose new book Rooms to Inspire in the Country, is shown below, moderated a lively talk between Jamie Drake, Anne Pyne of McMillen, Jeffrey Bilhuber, Bunny Williams and Juan Montoya.
The first question was about Bunny's runaway success book, Affair with a House. In its 10th printing (a big number for design books), the book has the winning formula which she thinks is due to its personal nature. Relatable recipes, real life entertaining relaxed living resonate with the reader, as it is a window into the way Bunny and her husband John Rosselli really live. She shared that the house was a long undertaking, and decorating and renovating happened in stages--- not in a year or two like client's projects. Musing on the power of books she ended with this: "my last penny I would spend on buying a rare design book--it is our education". No doubt there is much to glean from historic texts and images.
Anne Pyne of McMillan is working with Acanthus Press on a book about the history of the legendary firm. Her approach is much more academic, with footnotes and a lot of archival research. She is clear she wants the book to be an historically accurately account of the work and times of the firm. For a visual, she brought a stack of books that are her reading essentials. She recommends Frank Alva Parsons (founder of Parsons) Interior Design and Decoration: Its Principals and Practice from 1931, The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard from 1958, Cecil Beaton's The Glass of Fashion from 1921 and The History of English Furniture by Percy Macquoid and Ralph Edwards.
Juan Montoya wants his books to inspire, not just teach. He feels that books as oppose to magazines stay true to a designer's vision, since they have the say so and final approval on how their rooms are photographed, styled and written about.
Jeffrey Bilhuber recently came out with his fourth book, Defining Luxury. It's large format with brightly hued interiors is fresh and magazine- like, with its use of vignettes and close up shots. He shared that he feels books are a barometer of change and evolution that document societal changes. He uses design books daily as references for upcoming schemes and to share history and ideas with the clients. When discussing magazine editorial versus doing a book, he likes the fact that "you can control the process and edit through your eyes--you know what's there" but that "the camera will never capture what the eye sees." Being there in person is the next best thing.
Jamie Drake has Bloomberg as a client and has worked with Madonna. His book covers the first 28 years of his firm. His comment about magazine photography was, "you see see so much but you really see so little", referring to the closeness of many of the shots, styling by editors and omissions of what tells the interior's story. In a book you can show a whole room, and break it down into moments, which is a great platform for complete interiors.
What is next for this group? Bunny is working on A Scrapbook for Living about the essence of rooms and what makes them special, while Jeffrey is exploring how he gets from concept to completion of an interior and what inspires him.

Photos Courtesy of Rizzoli
A green painted bedroom fireplace with blue and white apothecary jars lining the mantel

In her follow up on Rizzoli's Rooms to Inspire, this new book delves into the homes of tastemakers and colorful characters who enjoy the country for relaxing, entertaining and renovating. A variety of design perspectives from new modern ruralism to over the top decadence are seen through the lens of Annie's photographer husband, Tim Street- Porter. The duo once again brings together a collection of covetable homes from around the country. I think people will start to use bright paint hues creatively after a good read of this tome!

Decorator Henry Davis Sleeper's nautical dining room in the seaside town of Beauport, Massachusetts has teal paint accents and a great collection on antique green china.

Molly Duffy and Hugh Burns Southampton LI beachside escape mixes Chinese Chippendale and light hearted lanterns with pastel lilac walls.

Steven Gambrel's Sag Harbor, LI sailors cottages from 1790 are filled with nautical details. Here, a melon hued bedroom has framed artwork of a boat that was made from antique wallpaper. What a clever use of color and material, especially if the rest of the wallpaper was damaged or not usable.

Steven Gambrel has a casual living room with crisp white bead board siding and reclaimed wood beams.

The breakfast room has pastel walls with French rush chairs surrounding an 18th century Belgian table

Ally and Jock Spivy's Victorian dining room in Kinderhook, NY. A 19th Century antique sideboard in rich burled wood pops against the bright pink wall.

Charming! In his garden Tim Street-Porter created a garden folly after John Fowler's original in England.

Tony Duquette's Malibu ranch guesthouse with layered fabrics and textures in coral gold and green.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Charles Eames famously stated, "the details are not the details, they make the product." Many designers used decorative painting as a way to add panache. Graphic geometrics, faux finishing and stripes can have a tromp l'oeil effect, making a big space seem smaller and a small space seem bigger. Painting can be an economical alternative to a rug and creates visual interest.

An M.C. Echer- like floor in McMillan room entrance look like they recede, and a pattern like this probably was inspired by Florentine marble inlay floors of the Renaissance.

Concentric squares in black and white is bold and fun, and makes this small space lively.

Natasha Bergreen and Liza Cousins created a chair rail out of tape trim, varied nail heads and painted lines. Faux bois Zig-zag stripes on the lower part of the wall draw the eye up, and the finishing touch is a small grey line at the base of the wall where it meets the floor, creating insta- molding.

Grey stars on the field of a sisal rug provide a distinctly American charm. Zing up a natural material with a painted stencil to get a country feel. The Stencil Library in London has the best designs.

Garrow Kedigian created simulated molding with pinstripe painting. Very clever.


Charlotte Moss had a velvet pillow embroidered with pretty scrolls and flourishes.

Juan Montoya placed tiny porcelain flower-filled cache pots all in a row. Set on an architectural giltwood console, it is an elegant, symmetrical statement. A vignette like this is so simple, yet it oozes charm.