by Marisa Marcantonio

You know them for their exquisite bedding and intricate embroideries. Also for their killer color palettes straight from the runway. They range from super tropical pinks and citrusy brights to sophisticated chocolate and subdued charcoal. The chic couple behind the brand, Sachin and Babi Ahluwalia, formed Ankasa with a distinct point of view, using fashion for the home as their muse. They now have brought to market an organic furniture line. Reminiscent of Lesage, the renown French embroidery house, I love the delicate handmade embellishment this brings to furniture. Go to Ankasa to see where the pieces are available.

These pieces are so special because they have a personality all their own. The linen fabric in a deep eggplant tone has a distinctly European sensibility.

This deco silhouette is made tropical with the addition of green-hued palm fronds.

A darling piece would make a great bedroom chair.

Embroidery tops this softly styled channel-back settee.

The linen on this chair is the perfect icy pale blue.


by Marisa Marcantonio

I thought I would highlight the trends I saw over the last few days. From those just starting to form to full -fledged "there it is again", I wanted to show what is emerging. I chose the objects for their beauty, innovation, creative edge, unique material and color.
The natural world is still a major trend in the market. Naturalized not stylized flowers, leaves, sea life and animals were everywhere I turned. I saw a lot of natural wood, recycled material, natural finishes and rusticity. Embroidery and global influences are still very present. Ikats have been embraced as the next big print pattern, edging out suzanis. For color, there were many items done in bright cheerful colors including yellow, and also pastel shades were out there. Yes, the coral sprig is still being shown in bedding and on a few decorative accessories, believe it. After all spring is on the way!


John Derian added fish and assorted animals to the mix.

A fairly young company called Simrin looked to the barnyard for inspiration. We are going through an Americana renaissance right now, and there seems to be a big barn fixation. Williams Sonoma Home did Modern Barn, and here is Animal Farm. The plastic trays are adorable and hearken back to simpler times.

The same animals make their debut on these burlap placemats from Simrin. Kids will love these.

Dransfield and Ross took the cocktail napkin to a whole new level. Monkeys love a good party too.

Aero Home expanded their porcelain accessories adding this passion flower.

Simrin also had a nice botanical touch. These Nature trays of varying size are great gifts for gardeners.

Oversized blooms and leaves flowing off the edges are lush and lifelike. The palette includes off colors like mustard and olive keeping these elegant. They are made in NYC, so I love them even more.


The Twig pillow above is from the Private Collection by Dixie Rinehardt, a New York interior designer with a love of nature and Indian embroidery. She won Best New Product at the show! I can see why.

Double Red Sunflowers have great multi-colored petals and intense embroidery detail.

Also from The Weekend Cottage Collection, this detailed embroidery is very arts and crafts in color and design.

Sunflowers in teal.

More Sunflowers in cheerful Florida Key lime.

Chelsea Textiles has the best pillows that I show ad infinitum. Tonal sophistication and muted colors look great with a neutral color scheme. The embroidery on top of the print is a nice custom touch.


I found a great new mirror resource called Made Goods. The patinated metal deco Chloe above is so chic.

The company uses wonderful materials to great effect--the shell inlay and relief here looks gorgeous.

With global influences not going anywhere soon, this Syrian- inspired mirror is another beauty. Bone and resin with the scallop edge adds charm.

Roost worked wood into everyday objects.

Recycled glass and relaxed chic from Canvas through Ochre.


Motel Deluxe, known for their gorgeous French papers, had gorgeous photo albums and journals in this rich eggplant and multi- colored ikat.

Manuel Canovas bedding got crazy with technicolor feathers.

Ikat silk pillows made in Cambodia come in sharp colors. Cambodge Collection, a pillow company started by designer Kerry Green, has a great assortment of silks in jewel tones. Get in touch with her to order, and to see swatches.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Racing through the aisles at the Gift Show, this bright booth stopped me in my tracks. Sure to be a Real Simple favorite, Alice Supply Co. takes ordinary utilitarian household objects and gives them aesthetic allure. Part Paul Smith part No Frills, this collection is will make cleaning a breeze. Fun Fact: The line is named after Alice, the Brady Bunch housekeeper!


Whistle while you work. Who ever thought you would crave a scrub brush pan? Now, you will.


Fun and energetic, this designing duo have an edgy surfer fashion background. They pooled their talents to fill a need in the market. Container Store, have you placed your order yet?!


Great displays at a show like this is key--a point not lost on these gals. A cool concept can seal the deal. Using crafty, white peg boards they showcased the product like it was in a hip garage. The colors pop next to the squeaky clean white everyday objects. There is something very Duchamp-ian going on here...

Plungers, hoses, brooms, dustpans, tool cases, buckets and scrub brushes bring clean to the scene. With the economy the way it is, people will want to keep their homes spotless and nice if a vacation is not in the future. Find out where to get your cool tools at Alice Supply Co.


by Marisa Marcantonio

What a breath of fresh air! A discovery like this makes the whole trek across the trade show well worth it. VW's stand at the show was a cozy mecca of prints.

All Photos Courtesy of Virginia Witbeck Design LLC
Virginia Witbeck is a renaissance woman. As a former creative director at Ralph Lauren, she has an eye for style and understands the importance of details. She travels India, designs wonderful jewelry, and is now launching a home collection of soft goods for the table.
Virginia Witbeck Design LLC is located in New York City. If you are interested in finding a shop that carries the collection, please email her at

This collection will win over Porthault aficionados near and far. Young and kicky, it will not produce sticker shock (like the P word often does). Printed on soft cotton that gets better with age, you will want to give them to all your friends in warm climates. Each piece is trimmed in a solid piping that ties the colors together nicely. This pattern would make a great plush towel. Virginia, consider it for the next collection!

Leopard is hard to get right. A suggestion of an animal print, rather than an all out onslaught is so much nicer. The soft lavender and pink shades are delicious.

A royal blue colorway looks great with a touch of gold as shown above.

Ikat in a punched-up yellow would look great with royal blue china and sunflowers.

Primary colors suit this Ikat. I am glad to see the chocolate,since it has become a neutral and beloved part of today's palette.

Arabian horses march across cocktail napkins. What a good conversation starter these make!

Tutti fruti colors are sure to match most Jack Rogers sandals.

Graphic and patriotic in red and navy, this set a must if you live in the DC area. Get it now and you will be ready for July 4th.

Sweet dahlias and climbing vines would work nicely at a spring shower or tea.

Embroidered linens with a scallop edge are not too fussy and will match almost any china.