by Marisa Marcantonio

Photo courtesy of Architectural Digest

Calling their work "imaginative, intelligent, and inspiring" Architectural Digest recently came out with their list of AD100: The Top Talents in Architecture and Interior Design. Many on it are the usual suspects that do consistently great work, but some you may not know as well.
Margaret Russel has injected a much-needed breath of fresh air, and talent into the list. By highlighting design standouts, many of the designers listed here will experience an uptick in new client calls, and hopefully, a full, rich career ahead. All designers work incredibly hard, and it is great to see the addition of talent that opens the door for an entirely new generation that is well on their way. It's always nice to be acknowledged. So, who do you think should be on next year's list?

Here are some additions I was pleased to see:

Los Angeles-based Alexandra and Michael Misczynski, the married due of Atelier AM create understated, stylish homes

Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller, another husband and wife team, of New York's Carrier and Company. They create fresh interiors that mix rustic and fine antiques with visually appealing unique fabrics

LA's lifestyle maven and shop owner, Kelly Wearstler

Madeline Stuart, the LA-based furniture and interior designer who fuses modern style and traditional beauty

Fantastical, glamorous color-filled interiors define Miles Redd's interiors

New York-based internationally inspired Muriel Brandolini, a genius at eclectic, European-tinged, art-filled playful interiors

Classic yet constantly inventive Brit designer Nicky Haslam/NH Interiors, who injects personality into everything he does

Bold interiors give Richard Mishaan's layered spaces a well deserved spot on the list

Mix masters Robin Standefer and husband Stephen Alesch of Roman and Williams of NYC are hot hot hot and love to pair brass and wood

Stephen Gambrel of NYC has a chic take on comfort, with crisp lines and pops of unexpected colors

Atlanta's Suzanne Kasler, who can do inviting luxe cabins and grand country homes with equal warmth
and sophistication

Suzanne Rheinstein, the reigning classicist of LA and owner of iconic LA antique-filled shop, Hollyhock


by Marisa Marcantonio

Suzanne Rheinstein in her vignette including fabrics she created with Lee Jofa.

photos courtesy of Rizzoli

Interior designers often take on the roll of lifestyle experts as they find their passion for flower arranging, party planning and the finer things in life intersecting. This is the case with Los Angeles design doyenne, Suzanne Rheinstein. In At Home: A Style for Today with Things from the Past, she celebrates those various home arts, displaying her style with great panache. This is her first coffee table book, now in it's third printing. It explores six homes she has designed for three of her clients. The book begins with her Los Angeles house, which she has called home for 31 years. It ends with her insiders design inspiration and resources. From houses and gardens she loves around the globe, citing Villa Kerylos, to what is in her design library, including Gere's Nineteenth-Century Decoration: The Art of the Interior, the list is of great value.
I sat down with Suzanne on a recent trip to LA, and over lunch she shared her thoughts on design with me. I asked her what her design thought process was, and what advice she had creating meaningful interiors. She believes you should start off buying something of value, and that some things are worth keeping, but that less things of better quality is the best way to begin assembling objects and furniture. She begins planning a room by thinking about how people will live in that space -- how they logically would use it -- and goes from there. The next essential elements are color and architecture, and, she notes, " architecture is the mother of all arts." This respect for the interior and exterior spaces that make up a home guide her when she does interior design and in her approach with her pivotal LA design shop/salon, Hollyhock. As a gracious hostess and frequent voyager, her home is her haven to escape to. " Your house should always look good for you. You deserve to have your house look good." I couldn't agree more.

A sepia toned wall mural painted by her favorite Savannah-based decorative painter Bob Christian in her New York living room enhances the architectural elements of the room. She decided to let the scenic play the starring role, deciding to forgo hanging artwork.

One of my favorite decorative details is the red trim she has used to highlight the surrounding the chair rail and architectural elements in her entry hall. It is subtle and highly effective in person.

The entry leads into the living room, where the antiques are slipcovered in a summer stripe. The recamier is the first piece you see, and it helps divide the room into different sections for entertaining.

Her sun room gets loads of light from her stunning garden. A dark wood gateleg table and chinoiserie lantern work together when she combines them.

Charming bed hangings of unlined silk with accordian pleated edges have a feminine frothy elegance. Tromp l'oeil painting on the cabinets adds another decorative element that ties the room together.

A dressing room in pale hues of ivory and blue.

On a Virginia project, an antique - filled garden studio that doubles as a dining area is light and airy. Painted Swedish furniture and a striped floor lead a neutral palette.

A guest bedroom in soft white and shades of green feels elegant and inviting.

With a love for entertaining comes a love for organizing all the accoutrements. Her LA butler's pantry houses an incredible collection of china and a rolling ladder provides easy access. Preferring Sheffield to sterling silver, she believes you should love what you own and use and enjoy it.


by Marisa Marcantonio

One of the best parts of Blogfest 2011, the festivus of bloggers arranged by Kravet and Lee Jofa, was the visit to see designer vignettes. Their stable of collection designers, all in one room, used their Lee Jofa fabrics to create vignettes. It was fantastic. A mini showhouse of sorts. Bloggers lined up 30 deep to have Thomas O'Brien, David Easton, Suzanne Rheinstein, Eric Cohler, Diamond and Baratta and Suzanne Kasler sign Inspired Styles, the design book that creatively showcases Lee Jofa and Kravet designer fabric collections. Not only that, they all got their picture with each designer- not an easy feat with over 100 bloggers!

A robust arrangement flowers arranged by Suzanne Rheinstein.

Soft pastel upholstery balanced out the a busy classical print on the walls.

I love the pop of color from the modern painting hanging above the settee.

Thomas O'Brien created multiple floral arrangements for his space. He sells wonderful objects like these in his Soho store Aero.

A modern yet warm office area incorporates mid century modern vintage pieces in light finishes.

His prints for Lee Jofa are artistic with watercolor feel and soft, earthy palette.

David Easton had the best time greeting everyone. I think he got a kick out of a line 30 women long, waiting to meet him.

Beautiful antiques and decorative objects filled his space. He included a round table stacked with books that has become a David Easton signature.

His trusty wise own that sits in his own office is a vignette regular- this same owl was also in his Room with a View vignette in Connecticut.

A place for a drink and good reading light is a must.

Suzanne Kasler created an artists studio, complete with paint brushes and colorful framed prints.

A soft, neutral palette with grey finishes in a seating area was relaxed and cozy.

I imagine her getting creative in this space.

An easel in a grey wash is backed in a pale pink print centered by a floral painting. There is something compelling about the mix of color and pattern.

Bold color and pattern are hallmarks in Diamond and Baratta's work. The words fun, flamboyant and super custom come to mind when thinking of their work. They did not disappoint! A digitally printed wallpaper with giant blooming branches was the perfect backdrop to a sun room seating area.

Wicker and chintz with ferns- hello 80's! Love it.

Eric Cohler's sophisticated dining room space incorporated shades of grey and modern art. A round table is nice for it seems more intimate and warm. The pop of yellow from the vase is the perfect foil for the deep gray painted walls, and a floral print hangs at the window adding a femme touch.


by Marisa Marcantonio

No matter how you say thank you to friends and family this holiday season, say it with style. I talked to the best talent and creative minds in the interior design industry to see what they were giving this year. The results are a mix of varied treasures, sure to make any recipient glad to have a friend that chic!

Photo courtesy of Hutton Wilkinson
Tony Duquette designer Hutton Wilkinson will be "giving everyone on my list limited edition signed and numbered special edition set of my books, Tony Duquette and More is More, double boxed in a Jim Thompson fabric slip case with gilded edges, special book plates and satin ribbons." Ooh la la, am I on that list, I hope?

Photo courtesy of Allegra Hicks
London- based Allegra Hicks does fashion and fabrics with Lee Jofa. She just came out with a new book, and will be giving friends and loved one's the Travel Bag she has designed for her collection.

Photo courtesy of Benneton Graveur
Christopher Spitzmiller helps friends remember essential dates with engraved calendars from Benneton Graveur.

Photo courtesy of Very Vera
Julia Noran, founder of Editor at Large likes to give cakes for the holidays. "Very Vera is the best!" she exclaimed.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Interior designer Kevin Isbell's favorite gift to give go to gift for the holiday season is a chilled bottle of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé champagne. It makes the perfect hostess gift, or a simple token of appreciation. The Billecart-Salmon has a beautiful rose color and is dry without being overly dry. For those extra special occasions opt for the Billecart-Salmon Brut Cuvee Elisabeth 2000. It's worth every penny.

Photo courtesy of Hollyhock
LA's Suzanne Rheinstein likes to give embroidered and applique cocktail napkins she has made for her LA shop, Hollyhock.

Photo courtesy of Barneys
Architects James Shearron and Richard Bories of Bories and Sharron revealed, "We love to give Cire Trudon candles. Our favorite is Roi Soleil....eucalyptus, orange, cedar, fir and green leaves. The fragrance of the "Mirror Gallery" of the Chateau de Versailles."

Photo courtesy Jonathan Adler
The best giftie according to Jonathan Adler is his whimsical needlepoint Astrology Pillow. They really are fun.

Photo courtesy of Treillage
Bunny Williams likes to give her fragranced candle and bone lidded container to put it in. Available at her shop, Treillage.

Photo courtesy of Eduardo Garza
Amanda Nisbet is a big fan of designer Eduardo Garza and his handmade decorative boxes, "they are fabulous for their color, texture and duality of materials."
Photo courtesy of Nina Campbell
After a collaboration with Brit fashion designer Ted Baker, Nina Campbell is giving her Perroquet - patterned Osborne and Little fabric shoe trees cosmetic bags and hangers to friends as stocking stuffers.

Aesthetic eye Timothy Whealon designs projects around the globe but loves the delicious all - American confections from Hughes Home Maid Chocolates in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. To order, call 920-231-7232.

Photo courtesy of Robyn Brooks NY
Home accessories designer Robyn Brooks will be helping her friends keep track of their luggage on holiday travels with luggage tags she designed.

Photo courtesy of For Your Party
Sophie Donelson, freelance writer and Editor TV host shared,
"I never tire of giving cheeky custom party supplies from For Your Party. For a friend in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I designed coasters with an anchor illustration and the phrase, Red Hook: Not Just For Hookers. For my parents, who live in my hometown of Ashburnham, Mass. (which I loving refer to as The 'Ham), I gifted, 'ham is where the heart is paper napkins."

Quest's Executive Editor Georgina Schaeffer will be giving her godchild a cute towel from Personalization Mall.

Photo courtesy of Fouta Lifestyle
Mieke Ten Have, Elle Decor's new Associate Style Editor is giving her friends Fouta Lifestyle's Tunisian towel. Is it a wrap, towel, or blanket? You decide.

Photo courtesy of Mecox Gardens
Mac Hoak of Mecox Gardens has a great selection of antique bookends. These lions are fierce.

Thomas Jayne treats friends to hand made business card holders in red leather from Peter Hermann Leather Goods at 118 Thompson Street, New York 212 966 9050.

LA based designer Ruthie Sommers is going the environmental route, giving friends a tree in the Amazon rain forest through Rainforest Forever.

Photo courtesy of Kathryn M. Ireland
LA designer Kathryn M. Ireland carries Hugo Guiness prints in her Almont Yard shop and online, which she will be giving for the holidays.

Photo courtesy of Liz O'Brien
Vintage furniture guru Liz O’Brien will be giving her friends a glowing gift. These reproduction brass, mirror and glass hurricanes originally designed by Albert Hadley in the late 1960’s for a Washington DC nightclub called Pisces.

Photo courtesy of Branca
Chicago interior designer with a newly launched website and blog, Alessandra Branca, loves the shimmer and pop of the Silvered Log Stool from Branca.

Photo courtesy of Michael Devine
Fabric designer and blogger Michael Devine will be gifting Venice Trinket Trays in his fabrics to friends.

Lindsey Coral Harper, a New York- based interior designer who is great with color is giving friends her holiday soy candle from Lamshop, her furniture line.
Photo courtesy of Taschen
LA Interior designer Trip Haenisch will be giving 100 Contemporary Artists from Taschen. “Art is a very important element of my design and is an important part of a well-done home. As a designer, part of my process is to educate my clients and to expose them to the best; be it art, furniture, fabric or accessories. I see what they respond to and take my inspiration from that. This book serves to educate my clients and friends to contemporary art and will also look great on a coffee table!”

Photo courtesy of Porthault
Celerie Kemble said, "I love the odd D. Porthault dumbell pillow (great for travel) or showercap --a granny chic useful trifle-- for girls."

Photo courtesy of Bernard Maisner
Nandita Khanna, a senior editor at Town and Country shared, "I don’t think you can ever go wrong with beautiful stationary from Bernard Maisner. This winter he’s created a selection of note pads with his signature whimsical illustrations—the question marks are my favorite. Even in the day of the iPad, iPhone and Blackberry, I still love having a chic notepad to jot down to-do lists, or take messages on. I’ll give a selection of these to friends whose holiday parties I’ll attend.”

Photo courtesy of Kim Seybert
Tabletop accessory ace Kim Seybert likes to give friends accessories from her Heavy Metal Collection.

Photo Courtesy of York Street Studio Gimme Power
Writer and interior industry talent Susanna Salk's tech take is interesting: "My friends at York Street Studio just designed this way cool silver hand charger for the iphone and Apple snatched it up. The perfect gift for my most fave and fab friends!" Order through York Street.

Photo courtesy of Diane James
Carolyne James McDonough will be giving friends her new Diane James Home signature scent candle, "with pretty packaging done by none other than the talented painter Patricia Von Esche of PVE Design!"

Photo courtesy of Hubs
LA designer Betsy Burnham is giving Hubs Peanuts, because, "I give these every year to clients, vendors, friends, neighbors. they are the biggest, heartiest, most delicious peanuts you’ve ever had. and the chocolate covered ones are to die for! I love them because they’re festive without being typically christmas-y (or super unhealthy), and also because the company is family owned and the product is locally grown (well, in virginia) and unbelievably fresh."

Photo courtesy of Marcia Sherrill
The Deenie Tote is what writer, antique dealer and all around creative entrepreneur Marcia Sherril is gifting, "I am giving everyone an Anabelle by Marcia Sherrill handbag, for one thing most of my friends have bags named after them....and they are the perfect accessory!"