Atlanta Market 2014

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Last week I was down in Atlanta starting off the New Year scouring antique markets, local shops and the Home and Gift Market at America's Mart. A dose of good ol' Southern Hospitality sure has a way of brightening the grey days that follow the holidays. Atlanta is truly a hub of design inspiration. Creativity and style abound and are embraced in a variety of applications. From product  to merchandising and graphic design there is an eye for detail at every turn. To me, consistency and quality might be the two most important factors in creating enticing and successful retail. It's a tough task to perfect the delicate balance between unique and useful with price and availability.  It was reassuring to see so many local independent retailers (both new & antique!) who really seem to have a knack for product desirability and selection.

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We kept noticing the use of antique shutters to frame  artwork & add architectural detail.

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Not to mention, when you are a house guest, as opposed to a hotel guest, you get to wake up with these irresistible faces.

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Design is one of my favorite things about traveling. Every region owns its vibe. California is inherently laid back cool. New York distinctively perpetuates us towards new trends and modern ideas. Atlanta is rooted in the traditional, but with a modern day crispness. I like to think of Atlanta as well edited. Southern style has a fundamental flair and risks are embraced when there aren't competing elements. I like this rule. It forces good design to stand on it's own and prohibits eye catching details from getting lost in chaos. Materials might be antique in patina, but fresh in installation. You might look twice at a traditional English arm sofa because you're drawn a new way to apply trim. Antique prints are given a new life when appropriately framed and displayed in the right light. Leather might suddenly seem more appealing when woven and and you might realize an octagonal dining top is way cooler than the typical round top. Lastly, when in doubt, natural linen and sisal to freshen up any room.

It's wonderful to leave a trip and feel so inspired by people's creativity and excited about design. I left the week with a notebook full of concepts, a folder full of business cards and tons of new ideas to keep the wheels turning through 2014.

 

NYIGF

 

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Well, people. You know that saying that it takes as many days to get back in the game as you were gone? I think I needed like 3 overtimes. My trip to New York for the gift show was inspirational, as was being down in Florida with family (and a little work in there too!), but when I got back into the saddle last Monday, I really needed to kick it. And kick it I did. Now, on the 8th day, I feel like I can finally take a few moments to sit down and share some of the awesomeness that happened in the Big Apple.

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Let's start by saying, a trip to New York is revitalizing on many different levels. You are surrounded by fresh perspectives, trending designs and culinary exploration all nestled in with the liveliness of the city that never sleeps. As I arrived in the late afternoon I was famished. I met my friend, Brad, and headed straight to Whitmans to get their "Juicy Lucy" (not to be confused with a Loosey Goosey) and some kale chips. While you can't go wrong with a cheese stuffed burger (please keep in mind about a month ago I was considering embracing being a pseudo vegetarian- only feathers and scales- but I am still having intense moments of weakness) it was the kale chips that got me.  I gobbled them up so quickly I was wearing the crumbs as we exited the restaurant, as Brad nicely noted.

a_560x375After Whitmans, we headed over to Kingston Hall to meet my friends, Ashlie & Liz, at a cozy fireside table that was the perfect way to escape the impending snow (that obviously followed me from Michigan!). One would never guess that on the other side of a fairly bland lobby a wood paneled, Jamaican club house awaits.  It was as though we walked into a buzzing secret society of young professionals sipping on anything from coconut rum to draft beer. Where do you go after downing a Juicy Lucy, fried kale and a pint of Brooklyn Brew? To pizza, of course!  We popped over to Nicoletta, a pizzeria that is managed by a fabulous chef in her own right, Tedo, who graduated from high school with us. To say she showered us with delectable appetizers would be an understatement. It. Was. Fabulous. You are probably wondering where the design happens in all of this, but  after partaking in round II of  culinary delights we decided to head home to rest up for the marathon of design inspiration that was about to commence.

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Obviously, one cannot enter into a day filled with design heart palpitations and miles upon miles of vendors without first having some sort of sustenance. First Stop: Breakfast.

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Enter, NYIGF. Many of my pictures might seem to be taken on the run. So much to see. So little time. Next year we might have a more organized approach, but for 2013 our plan of attack consisted of snapping photos, grabbing brochures and moving on (follow up research can be done at home on the computer!).

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I loved these feathers so much it had me hoping that feathered flair a la Chief  Crazy Horse will be in style for 2013.

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Gift Show Warriors.

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It was a creatives work out. Our dogs were barking. Our bags were heavy. Our backs hurt. Whoever said being an interior designer is for the weak has never walked a day in our shoes. This is tough work, people!  So you might ask what one does after putting up the good fight? The answer is simple. Food. Our restaurant of choice was the fabulous Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel.  After gorging on melt-in-your-mouth pasta we decided to hit up some retail destinations. Pictured Above: ABC Carpet & Home. Undoubtedly, to soak in all the inspiration one must spend at least 20 minutes testing out these extra deep and extra comfy sofas.

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By the way, Brad & Ashlie, who were my fabulous hosts, might live on the cutest street in the East Village. Pure atmosphere. There is this constant yet quite noise, mixed with an almost desirable grit that makes this block seem magical. It's like a modern day Dickensian scene- minus all the squalor.

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As Saturday closed, Brad, Ashlie and I headed to Brooklyn to have dinner at our friend's, Lee & Deeva, apartment. It was taco night. And kale salad night. Annnddd... I could have had a cocktail made with the kale salad dressing and have been perfectly happy (is there a theme here?!). We gathered 'round the projector and relived Leeva's recent trip to India. 1,700 images, countless entertaining stories, good ol' friends, a well deserved glass of wine and, of course, the kale all made for a fabulous way to unwind.

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Sunday consisted of a early morning walk to Peels for breakfast and then a quick jaunt around SoHo before heading back to the gift show for round II. This was deemed the follow up, revisit, get-a-second-glace, sneak more photos, take some measurements day.

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It also turned into the day where we ran into multiple friends designing for babies, designing for weddings or just being busy working bees.

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As I parted I felt very lucky on many different levels. The "always" theme is I constantly am reminded that I'm lucky to have such awesome, welcoming and supportive friends. The over arching theme is that I love what I do. I love that I can work in a world where people are constantly surprising me, inspiring me and motivating me. Yeah, I know- me,me,me,me. But in all seriousness, it's a big world out there and people are not afraid to test the limits and take a chance. New York definitely illustrates this take charge, entrepreneurial industrialist attitude and a reintroduction to that, if even for the weekend, is enough to fly back to the midwest with a little lightness in my chest and a wide eyed view of what we can do in this world.

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Today I am off to the New York Gift Show. I booked this fairly last minute after I regretted not go down to Atlanta for their January show. Last year at the Atlanta Market I found all sorts of awesome new vendors, and got a much needed dose of inspiration during these winter months. Not to mention, I think it is an imperative part of our business to keep up on the cool new product- it's what give our projects a current perspective. IMG_2504

And, when you are getting pictures like this from your mother-in-law, how could one not help but feel left out of all the fun that goes on at Market? (Sorry, Nicky).

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Things always get a little tricky before leaving, even if only for a couple days. Yesterday I tried to place calls from my calculator (I mean, it is on my iPhone) and tried to lock my house with my car key fab. Needless to say, I was a little frazzled. But, as I get ready to hit the road I am excited to see all the wares and trends that are going to carry us through 2013. Stay tuned for a visual recap!

Designers go the Distance

We got back from Atlanta over the weekend and I think half of our shopping crew now has flu like symptoms which look to be  induced by early mornings, extreme excitement, creative stimulation, espresso and quesadillas (or, how I like to say "quesaDILLA").  We started the weekend on Thursday at Scotts and the took the following day to plow through the Americas Mart. We had the best time.  I tried my best to capture some photos of all the amazing things we were seeing at every twist and turn, but with my feet taking me one direction and my eyes gazing another, these are photos taken on the GO!

This console will be making it's way to my house. With some big wicker baskets underneath it will be the perfect solution for our easy access winter gear!