by Marisa Marcantonio

Looking for that one-of -kind piece you can only get from a top interior designer? Or that special, bespoke piece you won't see everywhere? Want to do it without leaving the comfort of your sofa? Shopping online for design has become a boon for the interior community as of late. The newest entrant to the mix is Internet marketplace Dering Hall, where interior designers, artisans, architects, and specialized companies offer their exclusive designs through customized and curated storefronts.
The site is the invention of Waterworks CEO/design entrepreneur Peter Sallick and New York-based interior designer Steven Gambrel. The name fuses two things-- the Shelter Island Harbor where the idea was hatched and the idea of a hall as marketplace. In addition to offering items for sale, it serves up shared content from strategic partner Hearst Magazines, specifically Veranda, Elle Decor and House Beautiful, allowing their coverage a wider reach.
There are two ways to shop the site. Searchable by designer name, artisan, product category, or area of the country, you can tap their database to find an array of limited-edition new pieces from a stylistically varied mix. By clicking "inquire about this product" you are put in contact with the designer's office that handles the transaction. Good things come to those who wait, as many items take 4-6 weeks to get made. The newest addition, Featured Sales, are limited-run editorial themed selections that are purchased directly through Dering Hall.
Many of the interior designers can benefit from a presence in this marketplace, since their storefronts serve as an online portfolio, complete with company information, a link to their website, recent press and a spot for any current news they want to share. To create a sense of community, users are able to follow favorite designers, and save items to a product selection folder. Will it also help designers procure clients? Perhaps, but it is probably too soon to tell. The idea, hatched between two passionate and dedicated interior design-industry insiders, should captivate the right audience. With all of the exciting opportunities happening with interior design in this space, both trade and retail consumers win.
Here are some standouts:

Photos courtesy of Dering Hall
Harbor Bed in poplar wood from Steven Gambrel

West Hollywood's Harbinger Tufted Antwerp Sofa

Soane Britain's Halma Man Table in wood or resin

The Draper's Table from London's Rose Uniake

Downtown's Luna Globe Hanging Lamp

Peony Coffee Table from Kemble Interiors in shagreen

From Ceylon et Cie, designer Michelle Nussbaumer's luxe Rock Candy Box

Christopher Kennedy's mod Franklin Credenza

Rose Tarlow Melrose House's Mahogany Beethoven Bookcases

Michael Berman Limited's Windsor Mirror in ecru lacquer

Collier Webb's Frank Light

The Hollyhock Dining Chair from LA's Hollyhock

Concentric Coffee Table from Seattle-based Tamara Codor

Peter Dunham's Hollywood at Home Star Map, a giclee print

Dallas-based Jan Showers polished nickel Harrison Bar Cart

Intereurs' Armand Four Poster Bed

Tabouret Tables from Lawson Fenning of LA


by Marisa Marcantonio

Knowing the international man of glamour Martyn Lawrence-Bullard was headed to Venice in May for the Design Leadership Summit, the by invitation gathering of architects and designers, I tapped him as my eyes and ears, to cover every fun filled moment. He proved to be the perfect designer to capture the glam series of events, lectures, dinners and tours. Read on for the full Venice report....
Water taxi gondoliers at the ready
In transit with molto bags

Martyn and Steven Gambrel, the guys in grey

Martyn and Windsor Smith enjoy a boat ride to the islands

A Bernini sculpture against a perfect blue sky

A shot inside the Fortuny Museum

Stephen Drucker, now editor in chief of Town and Country, Kathryn M. Ireland and Windsor Smith

When Keith Granet , the branding wizard who puts designers and manufacturers together, called me to ask what I thought about the next design summit being in Venice I think I literally squealed with delight. "Of course you must do it in Venice , it's perfect" I announced, almost breathless with anticipation. Venice is one of my favorite places on this earth and the idea of spending time there amongst some of my favorite designer friends and partners in crime (namely the divine and delicious Kathryn Ireland and wickedly funny Windsor Smith) was just too exciting. The Design Leadership Conference itself is an extraordinary experience alone, the brainchild of the Design Investors team made up of Waterworks, Rose Tarlow Melrose House and Twill's Peter Sallick, their CEO Meg Touborg and Keith Granet, is an unbelievably valuable think tank that helps you keep your finger on the pulse of all things design. Covering business advice, operational trends, marketing and design awareness, the gathering is a truly inspiring show where industry legends get to meet and greet.

This year the Keynote address was given by Nicky Haslam , the legendary English decorator , gossip columnist, author and general bon vivant. Nicky was so funny , delightfully eccentric and gave the most personal lecture on his distinguished and colorful career. Another legend , Axel Vervoordt , dazzled us with his impact- filled spare designs and philosophy of less is more. He is one of the worlds most interesting designers whose taste has re- shaped design as we know it. We feel his influence in larger brands from the new Restoration hardware to Pottery Barn.

One evening, dinner was hosted by the new owners of the legendary Italian fabric house Fortuny. We had the great pleasure of visiting the Fortuny Museum and got to experience more of Axel's work in his curated exhibition of Fortuny fabrics along with a truly incredible exhibit he put together of Samari warriors armor. It can only be described as breathtaking! I'm sure your going to see many Samari - inspired fabric and furniture collections from designers in attendance....

Not only did we get to learn and become inspired during the daytime lectures at the conference and afternoon guided tours of the best sights the city has to offer , we, of course, got to play at night. My dearest friend Kathryn arranged the first evening. The rarest treat to include a private dinner cooked for us by a genuine Venetian Countess in her Grand Canal Palazzo which had been in her family for 500 years. A delicious experience for all the senses!! And after such a cultural delight we somehow found ourselves in the Bauer Hotel night club where we were over served local wines by the chic countess. We danced till the wee hours so needless to say there were a few late attendees at the first event the following morning!

Another memorable evening was arranged by our lovely New York friend and designer, the talented Steven Gambrel, who convinced his great friend Boris to hijack his dad, the unsuspecting Axel Vervoordt, to host a dinner for 12 of us in their palazzo. I have to say the glamour of that evening will go down in my memory forever. The palazzo itself, a 17th century pile, was decorated in Axel's inimitably chic style, showing a connoisseur's eye in the editing of all the objects and art. Fine Venetian antiques mix with Lucio Fontana art works, 18th century rock crystal chandeliers lit by only candles, and signature tight slip - covered linen sofas sat quietly on intricate terazzo floors. Once again after dinner we danced, but this time in Vervoordt's ballroom.

Yes , I can honestly tell you that great fun was had by all. You could not help but be inspired by the beauty of Venice. It always takes my breath away. The forums and advice you take away from the design conference is so very valuable, as is the quality time we all got to spend amongst our peers, forging new friendships and sometimes future partnerships. This whole adventure for me was very special. I met special people, including Suzzane Kassler, the most delicious person, and the beyond charming Stephen Drucker, the new editor of Town and Country, got to see great friends and bond with industry insiders. The conference location next year will have a lot to live up to, as Venice was an iconic and memorable spot, However, wherever you decide on guys, I will be there.


by Marisa Marcantonio

I have a soft spot for adorable dogs and how their personalities come across when a camera is present. Here is a round up of designer's dogs, showing how they love to sit on gorgeous upholstery and live the good life.

They love the ottoman, my mom's darling Westie's Lilly and Daisy, even with plenty of dog beds to choose from. Still, they prefer the ottoman.

Matthew White's new book, Italy of my Dreams, shows Holden sitting on his favorite 18th century Venetian chair. Thank you for the darling photo Frank.

Photo by Tim Street Porter
Peter Dunham's brood

Lucy, Bunny Williams canine cutie

Bunny LOVES her dogs and tries to select fabrics that are dog proof. She puts pretty quilts and throws over her sofas so the dogs are always welcome.

Noodles, Katie Leede's dog, sits daydreaming in a chair covered in Katie's bird fabric

Beth Greene from Kravet's Wheaton terrier Murphy ignoring the alarm clock

Patricia Shackelford aka Mrs. Blandings Rosie naps on the window seat

Tricky, approving the new rugs at Schuyler Samperton's. Her neighbor found him in the bushes of a Ralph's grocery store in the valley in LA, and she has had him since he was 4 months old.

Martyn Lawrence- Bullard's Diva on a custom bed in Madeline Weinrib fabric

Rufus, a mini labradoodle belonging to food writer Carolynn Carreño

Oakley a Norwich napping with his master James Anderson

Oakley and Dash, Steven Gambrel's Labradoodle, sharing the duvet

Grant Gibson's Westie's, Campbell and Wallace

Wallace snuggling on a Fortuny pillow

If your dog loves to do this too, send me snaps!


by Marisa Marcantonio

Photos Courtesy of Steven Gambrel
New York designer Steven Gambrel has long done the sort of work I admire. His sense of color, capturing the spirit of place, and mix of old and new amaze me. He started S.R Gambrel Incorporated in 1995. Creating timeless, comfortable interiors using genius color combinations, Steven makes a beach house or duplex interior a seamless mix of historical elements and fresh ideas. Handsome ebony woods and patinated hardware alongside a deep seated tufted sofa have become his signatures.

Steven looks at plans. His Labradoodle is the unofficial office mascot.

Photo Courtesy of Ballustrade and Bitters
Large windows and work spaces to spread out.

Photo courtesy of Ballustrade and Bitters
Assessing plans, constantly.

The interactive, open space allows for shared ideas and materials.

I chatted with Steven about his work and he shared insights about his influences and design preferences. He worked for an interior design firm and architect after obtaining his architecture degree at University of Virginia. Many stellar architects have studied there, like Richard Fairfax of Fairfax and Sammons. Just being around the amazing architecture rubs off on them and influences their design sensibilities. Steven found after working for other people that he liked doing interior and architecture, integrating the two. The idea of interior design is exciting to him, since it brings in the lifestyle element. Combining the two takes the overall big picture and meshes the client's vision from the start. Initially drawn to art color and form as a child, Stephen would imagine how things appeared in a composed setting. Spaces are lived in, and he never forgets this.

This notion of the exterior and interior flowing seamlessly together helped form the firm. On collaborating, he sees Chicago architect David Adler and his sister, Frances Elkins, as a great influence. They worked together to create architecture and a lifestyle over three decades. By asking their clients the right questions upfront, they were able to get a handle on the vision early. The integration is key to the complete concept, and this idea is a core aspect of Steven's work.

Fabrics make a room come alive. For fabric preferences,Steven does not like to repeat certain fabrics that are too specific. Constantly shopping for new things in the market to avoid redundancy, he has an extensive fabric library. Old World Weavers, Loro Piano and Holland and Sherry are go - to sources for favorite heavy woven linens, sheer wools and nubby textures.

Every designer has a piece of furniture they love for its scale, proportion or pitch. For Steven, it is a Klismos dining chair. Since he makes so many custom furnishing for projects, he took the antique and sized it up to work in a new setting. The firm makes their upholstery and buys antiques, so the office is always out scouring the market.

For constant inspiration, he likes to shop in stores that are well edited where displays are a creative mix. Aero, Thomas O'Brien's shop, is a store he knows will entice him, as well as CJ Peters and Eric Appel. When he shops, he always sees something that will work in one project or another, and envisions the room as he goes. Travels to Paris, galleries Blackman Cruz and Obsolete (also in San Francisco) in LA, or Antwerp stoke his imagination .

Books are a key inspiration point for decorators. The Yves St Laurent Catalog, John F. Staub, Leleu, Sir Edwin Lutyens, and Frances Elkins books are what he is loving now.

With this love of architecture, there are historic homes that serve as a wellspring of inspiration. Beauport is a favorite. Known as the Sleeper- Mcann House Museum, it was the summer home of Henry Sleeper in Gloucester, Ma. With this 40 room house, Sleeper created a new style, Colonial Revival. A montage of gables and ornamental chimneys, seaside English cottage and Gothic details converge. Construction lasted 27 years! For the history of American architecture and early American homes, this house set the standard. The interiors are filled with color-- from vibrant wallpapers and aubergine walls to hooked rugs, amber glass and red tole ware. This love of old homes meant, he says, he would have found himself restoring them if he did not have his own firm.