Category Archives: Home Furnishing and Design

India-Nepal Business Trip 2014: Better than expected!

Taj Majal

Chad Stark at the Taj Mahal

I just spent the last 2 weeks traveling all over India and Nepal for work. To many, this opportunity sounds fun and exciting. However, I was dreading the trip since the day I found out I was going 6 months ago.

Recap of Trip #1 (2012)

This wasn’t my first time in India for business. 2 years ago I went on a 17-day trip to India to source handmade carpets and rugs. I attended the Veranasi Rug Fair, India’s largest annual rug trade show where 100s of carpet and rug vendors display their new product developments, and traveled with a former colleague whom I was not particularly fond of. We stayed in mediocre-at-best hotels with barely any Internet access. It was scorching hot, extremely smelly, and we worked 14-hour days every day for the entire trip – my colleague was the more experienced rug buyer since it was my first time traveling to source product so I followed his lead; I think he was trying to kill me. One experience I remember in particular was driving 2 hours each morning from our hotel to 6 or 7 different mills in the middle-of-no-where India, and then driving 2 hours back to the hotel in pitch black on unfinished roads with no traffic laws. Driving in India is crazy! I don’t know how there are not more accidents, but I was literally scared for my life!! Ultimately I did end up learning a lot about the products we sell but the overall experience was…questionable…. and it took a serious toll on my body making me sick for a couple weeks when I returned.

Trip #2 (2014)

I figured the trip this year was going to be similar except with better company; rather than traveling with this ex-employee who was trying to kill me, I was going to be with my uncle and CEO of Stark John, my partner-in-crime at the office Greg, and our new VP of Product Development whom I was just getting to know named Haynes. The trip was scheduled to be 14 days long instead of 17 so that was a good start. Also, I was traveling to Kathmandu, Nepal for a couple days where I had never been so that was exciting. Now that the trip is over, I can say that I was more than pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the time away from our crazed NY office.

The group was, to say the least, very diverse. John and Greg both shared similar skepticism as I about India in regards to traveling at night and eating out of the hotels – we brought a combined 50+ protein bars in our luggage. Haynes had a different school of thought. Having lived in India for 3-months a year for the past 5 years working for a manufacturing company, Haynes loves India. He basks in the culture and is willing to eat just about anything! I shared his adventurousness to an extent but was also jaded by my previously bad experience in the country.

The first few days were not that day. When I arrived in Delhi on Saturday night, my friend who is from and lives in Delhi picked me up and took me to a nice traditional Indian restaurant called Bukhara. It was excellent. The next day I had a 530am flight with Greg and Haynes to visit a new potential supplier – the flight was 2 hours and then the drive was an additional 2 hours, so we spent 8 hours traveling and only 5 hours working. It was rough.

I was allowed to take the next day off to do something I’ve always dreamed about doing – seeing the Taj Mahal (see pic above). It took 4.5 hours each way in a car to get to Agra but the trip was well worth it. The Taj is an amazing site. I had an incredible tour guide who not only told me the history of the Taj Mahal and the Fort next door, but also took me through the town of Agra to see authentic jewelry and masonry artisans who still use some of the techniques found in the Taj. I bought a cool little ashtray as a souvenir. My guide even took me to a rug manufacturer once he learned what I do for a living! It was awesome.

Greg, Haynes, and I spent the following day visiting mills in a location 2 hours from our hotel where we selected products to present to John later that week; John decided he didn’t want to travel to those mills (smart man) so he rented a conference room at our hotel to review all our selections. One of his friends in the industry does this every time he comes to India so John figured he would give it a shot. After doing this once, I’m conformable saying the John never wants to travel to a mill again…it was very productive since we were able to review only the products we liked in an efficient and concise manner. The next stop was Nepal.

Although the travel schedule was intense, the country’s stench was strong, and the meals were non-existent other than early breakfast, late dinner, and protein bars, I could tell the trip was going to be different than last time. My last trip was really a buying trip with no free time where this one was more of a product development trip. The subtle difference is that instead of just buying things we saw, we spent a lot of time working with the manufacturers to develop new qualities, recolor existing qualities, and learn the technicalities of different woven structures to understand the capabilities of each loom and product type. This is Haynes’ specialty and I was fascinated. I quickly began comprehending the complexities of our product line: the difference between hand loomed product with and without a jacquard; the different types of hand knots and what makes them unique; yarn preparation methods and counts, etc.

Wearing in Kathmandu

Wearing in Kathmandu

The next stop was Kathmandu, Nepal, and I was blown away – what a beautiful city! Not only was the scenery spectacular but the people we so friendly and happy: all smiles all day. Plus there was no terrible smell! I was there for 4 days and it barely even felt like work – we worked 8-10 hours days but the time flew. On our last day we even played golf. There were monkeys on the course and everything! To control these monkeys, guards with slingshots were stationed on the course to shoot rocks at them whenever they came onto the fairway. One of the guards even let me shoot his slingshot. What an experience.

Hotel in Varanasi

Hotel in Varanasi

The next and last leg of the trip was what I was dreading most – Varanasi. However, we weren’t going to the trade show and John decided to shorten the trip by 1 day because of how product the trip had been. He also booked another conference room to have mills come visit us so we could see more people in less time. We only ended up traveling 2 hours from our hotel once and the drive back to the hotel at night wasn’t as bad as I remembered it being. It was still pretty bad, but I wasn’t as scared.


Overall, this trip was a success from both a personal and business standpoint. Not only did we develop and find some amazing products but I also learned much more on this trip than on my previous one. The food was actually a little better than I expected (even though we still ate all our protein bars) and having some free time to site-see and play golf really made the trip more fun. I also brought a video camera with me and filmed almost every aspect of carpet and rug making to make a documentary. More information on that to come!

I won’t say I’m excited to come back to India on this trip again, but I am definitely not as against it as I previously was. Plus, there are still some activities I need to do in India like go to Mumbai and Jaipur. I also discovered a bunch of activities that I need to do in Nepal like visit Pokhara and Everest Base camp. It’s a good thing I will be going to this part of the world at least once every 2 years for the next 10!

Great things to come in 2015 for Stark…keep an eye out!

Until next time,


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2014 is a very strong year for Interior Design

Interior Design (Post Originally from Editor at Large)

The Interior Design 2014 Outlook and State of the Industry, produced by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Research, forecasts 2014 will be one of the strongest years for residential spending since 2009. The data has indicated positive economic growth for the residential interior design sector.

With unemployment rates dropping to pre-January 2008 numbers, housing statistics improving, and consumers and commercial developers spending on renovation, remodeling and new construction, total industry sales have continued to increase and are up 2% for 2013, with an additional 6% increase forecasted for 2014.

“The effects of the recession hit the interior design industry in late 2008, with the number of practicing designers and interior design firms declining to pre-housing boom levels,” said Randy Fiser, executive vice president and CEO of ASID. “However, as highlighted in the first quarter Interior Design Billings Index (IDBI), the number of interior design firms is on track to grow 4% by the end of 2014. The data shows, between 2012 and 2022, total employment growth in the interior design industry (13%) is expected to outpace ‘all occupations’ (11%).”

Despite these statistics, enrollment in interior design education programs is down and only 15% of design firms plan to expand their staff. This data, coupled with an increase in the popularity of “DIY design,” suggest that the industry needs to communicate its value more effectively, according to ASID.

The Interior Design 2014 Industry Outlook report also examines the state of the design industry, including analysis of demographics, economic influences and macro trends that have the potential to significantly affect the industry. For 2014, these macro trends include urbanization, globalization, technology, a changing environment and the emergence of the millennial consumer.

Other trends addressed in the report include the evolution of collaborative workplaces; higher standards for resilient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly construction; healthy buildings; research or evidence-based design; 3-D modeling and printing; professional certification; and building information modeling (BIM).

“The state of the interior design industry is sound and promising,” said Fiser. “Designers are embracing new opportunities in technology and evidence-based design, and developing new design models for the way people live, work, play and heal in the 21st century.”

According to the study, to keep pace with this changing marketplace, design professionals in all career stages must continue to adapt to shifting industry trends and anticipate evolving consumer priorities.

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14 Ridiculous Home Accessories You Can’t Live Without

All of these inventions are pretty smart. I think I like #3 the most – would use it on the regular!

1. Egg Minder

Egg Minder
Quirky / Via

What it is: A Wi-Fi-enabled tray that tells you how many eggs you have and when they’re expiring.
Why you need it: How many times have you been at the grocery store and wondered how many eggs you have at home? At least ONCE, right?
How much it costs: $49, on sale from $79

2. Porkfolio

Quirky / Via

What it is: A piggy bank with an app that tracks how much the bank holds.
Why you need it: A heavy piggy bank can hold $5 of pennies or $100 of quarters. You need to know if you’re hitting up fast food or gourmet for dinner!
How much it costs: $49.99

3. Champagne Sabre

Champagne Sabre

Fab / Via

What it is: A sword for slicing the top off a bottle of champagne.
Why you need it: Nothing is more badass than going all ninja on a pricy champagne bottle. So Great Gatsby.
How much it costs: $149.95

4. Aros

Quirky / Via

What it is: Wi-Fi and GPS sensitive air conditioner.
Why you need it: Aros learns as you use it, so it changes temperature based on the day of the week, time of the day, weather outside, where you currently are, and how much money it’s costing you to cool your house.
How much it costs: $300

5. Madison Fireplace

Madison Fireplace

Fab / Via

What it is: A standalone fireplace.
Why you need it: Nothing says “high life” like a fireplace in every room. With a standalone, you can just move the one fireplace into whatever room you’re in. It’s basically the same.
How much it costs: $399

6. Birillo Towel Stand

Birillo Towel Stand

Fab / Via

What it is: A shiny towel rack. Maybe the SHINIEST towel rack.
Why you need it: Only heathens put their towels on the floor.
How much it costs: $410, ya baller.

7. Diamond Clock

Diamond Clock

Fab / Via

What it is: A clock, shaped like a diamond.
Why you need it: Who doesn’t want to live in a turn-of-the-century bachelor pad?
How much it costs: $520

8. aFrame

TruAudio / Via

What it is: A high-quality speaker disguised as a framed piece of art.
Why you need it: Even the most beautiful speakers look like speakers. UNTIL NOW.
How much it costs: A cool $600, no big.

9. Organic Wool Herringbone Blankets

Organic Wool Herringbone Blankets

Coyuchi / Via

What it is: A king-sized throw.
Why you need it: It’s full-on “The Princess and the Pea.” How can you sleep with anything less than the best?
How much it costs: $1,098 (with free shipping)

10. Green Rainforest Marble Wall Fountain

Green Rainforest Marble Wall Fountain
Adagio / Via

What it is: A marble wall with water cascading down it.
Why you need it: You’re a boss. Game, set, match.
How much it costs: $10,599

11. Pizza Station with Sneeze Guard

Pizza Station with Sneeze Guard
Bon Chef / Via

What it is: A serving station for pizza and pizza-related condiments.
Why you need it: You don’t love pizza, you LIVE pizza. Pizza is your life — it should definitely be the focus of your dining room.
How much it costs: $16,282.20

12. Wedgwood Vase

Wedgwood Vase

Wedgwood / Via

What it is: A vase that you shouldn’t put stuff in.
Why you need it: Nothing says “I’ve made it” like a vase on a pedestal with a display light.
How much it costs: $32,000

13. Lalique Rinceaux Full-Length Mirror

Lalique Rinceaux Full-Length Mirror
Lalique / Via

What it is: A mirror.
Why you need it: To look at yourself.
How much it costs: $30,600. Seriously.

14. Silver Leaf Chandelier

Silver Leaf Chandelier

Louie Lighting / Via

What it is: A 95-inch tall chandelier.
Why you need it: Chandelier = class. A 95-inch chandelier = 95 inches of class.
How much it costs: Are you sitting down? Sit down. $253, 998.

2013: A Year In Review and a Look to the Future

2013 a year in review

It’s crazy how time flies. 2013 was a year of personal and professional growth for me. Below is a summary of some major events from my year, what I learned and how I matured from many of these experiences, and what I’m looking to accomplish in 2014.


I started off 2013 in the sunny British Virgin Islands where some friends and I rented and lived on a small sailboat for a week. What a trip that was. Directly following that experience, I got back to work at Stark with a lot of traveling ahead: first to Germany to attended Domotex Hannover, the world’s premier flooring tradeshow that takes places 4 times a year in different cities (I blogged about this trip here), next to visit Stark’s London showroom for my first time, then finally to Las Vegas to attend another flooring trade show called Surfaces. From all of this travel I learned about the types of strong international vendor relationships my father and uncle have established over the last 40 years, and how Stark Europe’s trade partners and interior designers differ from those of Stark USA; a market I hope to attach in the next few years.

Upon my return in early February, it was time to contract a top-tier digital agency to aid Stark in re-launching our digital presence with a new website and digital strategy. I spent about 6 months interviewing different firms based all around the US, and after many rounds of interviews, conversations, and customer reviews, we finally felt comfortable moving forward with one firm. We have been working with that firm since February and are now building a website and online portal for our customers that will turn the traditional luxury flooring industry on its head. This new website and digital strategy will be launching in Q2 of 2014 and I could not be more excited for it! Working with this digital agency taught me a very valuable lesson: technology development always takes longer than expected and there is nothing you can do about it other than be patient and persistent.

In March I went to China for 17 days with my father to attend the Domotex Shanghai trade show and visit our Chinese manufacturers located all around the country and in Hong Kong. This was my 2nd trip to China but the first one while working at Stark. In additional to meeting with vendors and exploring old and new partnership opportunities, I got to visit mills and see our products being woven firsthand, which provided me with a crash course in machine-made carpet manufacturing. This knowledge is something that continues to help me every week when assisting in sales support and customer service at Stark. I did have some free time in Shanghai and got to experience the city’s social scene. I was amazed at how international Shanghai is, how similar it is to New York City, and how much fun it was to go out. One of the nightclubs I went to (Mint) had shark tanks as walls with baby sharks swimming around! Shanghai is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world and I hope to one day be able to live there for an extended period of time.


Traveling around China took a lot out of me so I spent most April and May grounded in New York (I went to California for Coachella, which was incredible) While home, I attended some incredible interior design industry events, such as the Lennox Hill Design Event House Gala and the IDAD awards, where I met some incredibly talented interior designers with whom I have become very friendly. I also used this time to explore working with new architectural firms to help my vision of our in-store brand become a reality. We ended up hiring a very talented team from NY who is now working with me to renovate many of our existing and new locations including a complete store redesign in our Stark Home Costa Mesa location that will be a flagship store for our Stark Home retail concept. We have conceptualized layouts and displays that are entirely unique and the Costa Mesa project will be completed by March 2014. This new store will be unlike any carpet store anyone has ever seen before! During these 2 months, I connected with Stark’s customers on a more social and intimate level, and was able to learn in more detail their needs from a company like Stark. I also learned how different “retail” is from “to-the-trade” and now have a better understanding of the challenges my company faces when trying to sell direct-to-consumers, which I gave a presentation on in September at the Luxury Retail Summit.

Luxury Retail Summit

June was once again a month of traveling. I went to visit the prestigious Italian custom wood flooring company Arbol Milano based in Milan, Italy, and was able to negotiate and secure an exclusive US distribution partnership that will be kicking off in our NYC showroom in Q1 of 2014 under the brand Arbol Gallery Milano by Stark. Next, I went down to Calhoun, Georgia to visit Stark’s Warehouse, Distribution and Fabrication center. There, I discussed the implementation of a new Warehouse Management Software. I learned a lot about the intricacies of the custom and fabrication end of our business and how effective software solutions can make managing the operation more efficient. The end result was that we are implementing this new piece of software and will have all aspects of the business tied into one company-wide ERP system by the end of Q2 2014. After these work trips, I attended Birthright Israel through the organization Mayanot. That was my 1st time in Israel and it was an incredible experience because it connected me with my heritage on a deeper level than I previously knew possible. If you have not been to Israel and are eligible for Birthright, I strongly recommend signing up – after all, it’s free!


I spent July in NY focused on uniting all Stark employees through various HR initiatives including the “World of Stark Internal Newsletter,” and the “Stark Learning Site:” The World of Stark Internal Newsletter is a bi-annual employee-only newsletter with information about new products and qualities, sales tactics, and other interesting company factoids. The Stark Leaning Site is an employee-only website that contains system and product training videos along with other relevant company information like workflow charts, the organizational structure, etc. Both HR initiatives were received incredibly, which galvanizes my opinion that HR will become increasingly more important to Stark in the coming years.

World of Stark

August was especially stressful for me because we were finally integrating a major piece of the business onto this new ERP computer system I referenced above. For anyone who has been through the transition from one company-wide system to another, you know why I was so stressed. My team definitely made some mistakes in this integration, but it proved as a learning experience for everyone at Stark. We all used this to better prepare ourselves for the next phases of implementation. Change is tough, and I learned not to underestimate the difficulties change brings on.

September was filled with troubleshooting the past month’s implementation but I was able to weave in some much-needed fun.I have a passion for public speaking, and gave a presentation at the Luxury Retail Summit in NYC about how I am evolving Stark from a traditional “trade-only” business to include retail as well. You can learn more about that here. I also visited my alameda, the University of Michigan, twice: once with my college friends for the Notre Dame Night Game that was a blast and once to attend MHacks, the world’s largest student-run hackathon event hosted by some of my good hacker friends. I launched a project called RapidMVP before this hackathon and received great feedback. Unfortunately, my duties at Stark have continually increased since then and RapidMVP has not really made much progress, but it is still a fun side-project because I love interacting with student hackers around the country. This experience further instilled into my mind that in order for you to succeed at something, you must commit to it and focus on it 100%, hence why I turned my attention back to Stark. At the end of this month, I attended a music festival called Tomorrow World….it was insane. If you like Electronic Dance Music, go next year. You won’t regret it!

I was supposed to go to India for 2 weeks in October to attend the Veranasi Rug Fair and visit our manufacturing partners there like I did a year prior, but I was able to get out of it (whew – it’s an exhausting trip). My father ended up going with 2 other upper managers instead, which was great for me because it allowed me to focus on final stages of planning and design for our new website. While they were in India, I learned how grateful I am to have my father and those 2 upper managers in the office – I had twice as much work while they were gone and had to stay at the office until 10pm almost every night! It’s so incredibly valuable to have strong support if you want a business to succeed and I will never under-appreciate their help again!

November and December were really “maintenance months” where I did not work on any new initiatives but rather had to manage my workload of everything planned for 2014: the completion of our website and launch of our digital strategy, the full ERP integration, the new storefront builds and renovations, the HR department expansion, and much more It’s been a stressful last 2 months, but I thankfully got to blow off some steam on my family’s annual ski trip to Aspen, Colorado. I got 10 amazing ski days in and hiked the highlands bowl 4 times in 4 days. What a trip! Sometimes it’s necessary to do something to take your mind off work so you don’t burn out, and that activity for me is skiing. Overall, 2013 was a great year: I made some great friends, experienced some incredible places, hired talented people, built tools to make my employees feel more connected to each other and do their jobs for efficiently, and took major steps to turn Stark into the company that I will one day run so my father can retire. Looking back, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.



2014 should be an even more exciting year for me personally and professionally. I already have a lot of travel plans for both work and pleasure. However, I’m most excited to see all of the initiatives I’ve been working on for over a year come to fruition. The new store concept and digital strategy are what I’m most looking forward to because I strongly believe they will invigorate the perception of our company and the direction myself and my cousin Ashley are taking Stark. I have a never ending list of projects to tackle and I’m hoping 2014 is the year I truly prove my value to my family and my company so that I can continue making the improvements I have conceptualized at a more exponential rate. Life is too short to not care about yourself or the people you love.

Don’t take anything for granted and appreciate all that you have and all that you can do. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014 for us all!



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Stark 75th Anniversary Party with new collections and collaborations

Stark turns 75!

On Tuesday (11/19) of this week, Stark celebrated our 75th anniversary with a party in our D&D showroom that was hosted by Margaret Russell, Architectural Digest’s editor-in-chief, and Ottavio Missoni Jr from Missoni.

New collections

It was an incredible night and a fitting tribute to my grandparents, Arthur and Nadia Stark, who founded Stark 75 years ago. Our company has come so far over the last 8 decades, and I owe it all to the hard work and dedication of my father and uncle, Steven and John Stark. Without their visionary leadership, Stark would not be what it is today.

The Fam

My cousin and business partner Ashley Stark was also emotional about this event: “It meant a lot to us to be able to celebrate with Margaret Russell and her incredible team from Architectural Digest. The room was full of our best clients, who are some of our family’s closed friends. Chad and I are looking forward to a great 2014 and a very bright future as we continue growing the company that our fathers have spent their lives building.”

Stark's history board

The event was amazing with over 300 guests including the top-tier NYC interior designers like John Barman, Jamie Drake, Ellie Cullman, Geoffrey Bradfield, Mark Cunningham, Penny Drue Baird and Brian Sawyer

Missoni Custom Rugs

We announced the launch of a new Missoni Rug collection, a 75th anniversary carpet collection, a hard-surface flooring partnership with Arbol Gallery Milano – the premier hard surface flooring brand in Europe, and the pending launch of our new website.

2014 will be a monumental year in our company’s history. Enter your email address in at to unlock a cool company timeline and stay in the loop with all of the exciting things happening next year!!

Jamie Drake and Ashley Stark

Ellie Cullman, Margaret Russell

Roric Tobin, Andrea Stark, Geoffrey Bradfield

Jacqueline Terrebonne and Brian Sawyer

Photo Credit: Matthew Carasella

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11 Beautiful ways to use Area Rugs

11 Beautiful ways to use Area Rugs

Everyone loves area rugs. They make up the foundation of any room . In my role at Stark, I am often approached by clients and friends with questions about how to use area rugs effectively in their spaces. I found this great article on Houzz that addresses this. Check out the tips and suggestions in the slideshow below!

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Want a more colorful home? Here are 13 DIY projects to get you started

Colorful Home

I know neutrals are really popular right now, but I need some color in my life. Check out these 13 projects you can do yourself to help make your home more colorful.
via Buzzfeed

1. Skinny strips of painter’s tape on wood magnets make color blocking easy.

Skinny strips of painter's tape on wood magnets make color blocking easy.

Courtesy of Simona Cavallaro / Via

You don’t need a lot of paint, so make use of samples! If you need more samples, don a disguise to avoid judgement.

2. Use a colorful silhouette for bright and easy DIY art.

Use a colorful silhouette for bright and easy DIY art.

Emily May / CC BY 2.0 / Via Flickr: emilysnuffer

For color that’s modern, not crafty-looking. You can also substitute an animal for a family member’s mug. Makes a great (and cheap) present.

3. Make cords and chargers colorful with strips of bright duct tape.

Make cords and chargers colorful with strips of bright duct tape.

Courtesy of Jenni Radosevich / Via

The extra reinforcement also prevents breakage. Now your significant other can’t claim they thought it was theirs when they steal your cord.

4. Paint a few boards of a reclaimed-wood accent wall.

Paint a few boards of a reclaimed-wood accent wall.

Wicker Paradise / CC BY 2.0 / Via Flickr: wicker-furniture

How amazing does that look? Amazing. It looks amazing.

5. Use old (or thrifted) album covers for a commitment-free accent wall.

Use old (or thrifted) album covers for a commitment-free accent wall.

Courtesy of Kate Smith / Via

Your teenage self is jealous already.

6. Give wooden numbers and a minimalist wall clock a colorful update.

Give wooden numbers and a minimalist wall clock a colorful update.

Or buy this pre-made set here. You can even paint right onto the wall, if you live on the edge.

7. Or scrap the numbers and repurpose an old bike wheel.

Or scrap the numbers and repurpose an old bike wheel.

Allan Young / pixelthis / Via

Because you happen to have a bike wheel lying around! Paint the frame for even more color, or purchase this one here.

8. Make any project involving chalkboard paint more colorful with mix-your-own chalkboard paint.

Make any project involving chalkboard paint more colorful with mix-your-own chalkboard paint.

Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess / Via

Very useful in a tiny kitchen for cute DIY without all the overwhelming black.

9. Add colored marbles to a wooden fence for subtle color and light.

Add colored marbles to a wooden fence for subtle color and light.

Courtesy of Eric Johnson / Garden Drama / Via

If you throw a party in your backyard at twilight, the colorful bursts of light are going to make your photos look super professional. Get the super simple how-to here.

10. Create an ombre effect with vases in a bright, similar hue.

Create an ombre effect with vases in a bright, similar hue.

denise carbonell / CC BY 2.0 / Via Flickr: denisecarbonell

There is no such thing as too much ombre. For more of a color pop, contrast with the wall color.

11. Use a bright, retro fabric to make a slipcover for your headboard.

Use a bright, retro fabric to make a slipcover for your headboard.

Courtesy of Tater Tots and Jello / Via

Bonus? It’s easy to change and totally transforms a room.

12. Turn colorful old books into a bright, modern lamp.

Turn colorful old books into a bright, modern lamp.

Courtesy of Gina / The Shabby Creek Cottage / Via

Not for the drill-shy. The books get wrecked, so use books you like, but not books you LOVE.

13. Use stencils or contact paper to add bold color to a plain nightstand.

Use stencils or contact paper to add bold color to a plain nightstand.

Stacie / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Via Flickr: 35754040@N04

This one was decoupaged with wrapping paper, which is way easier to do than it is to pronounce.

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Fall Market 2013 at the D&D Building NYC


Every Fall there is a major debut of new products, trends and brand marketing that takes place at the Decoration & Design Building in New York City.  It is a  two-day event focused on new merchandise, philosophies, and directions.

As I visited the showrooms this week, I found a prevailing situation (though not a new one) that featured many collaborative endeavors involving artists and designers from other design disciplines. The results are primarily targeted to textiles and rugs.

CJ DEllatore Jean Paul Gaultier for Lelievre Stark

Stark did some exciting things this year. We partnered with the fashion luminaire Jean Paul Gaultier and launched his second line of textiles with our brand Lelievre (available through Stark Fabrics). This follow up collection is chock-a-block with an unabashed heady mix of different themes, signature designs, and fresh color mixes. There are 8 new designs in a variety of colorways to choose from.  You can view them on the Lelievre link above.


Pollack introduced their ‘Makers Collection where they commissioned five artisans who specialize in ceramics, furniture, jewelry, glass, and weaving to interpret their aesthetic to textiles.  The collection is dynamic and well worth investigating.  I appreciate the dialogue that occurs, and found the fabrics current and invigorating.

CJ Dellatore Josph La Piana for Patterson Flynn Martin

Thought PFM is our competition, they deserve credit when credit is due. I went to view the new collection of exclusive rug designs by Joseph La Piana for Patterson Flynn Martin. The 24 designs are a pure extension of the artist’s main body of work and approach the natural fluidity of his art in a seamless way.  The appreciation of rugs as an art form is one that has been under valued for too long.

CJ Dellatore Hermes display

Yet another venerable fashion house to jump on the home furnishings bandwagon is Hermes with their premiere collection of textiles and wall coverings.  The themes are as iconic as you would expect: equestrian, nautical, tropical, and exotic.  It is a very exciting new addition to the world of interior design textiles available at New York Jerry Pair Showroom.

CJ Dellatore Fortuny Showroom

“Splash” by Jeff Zimmerman available at Fortuny NYC

And aside from fabrics and rugs you should check out the Fortuny Showroom for the ever-changing art and art furniture installations which are for sale, and bring an updated brand aesthetic to the textile house.

Of course, there are many more new and exciting additions, lines and showrooms to check out.  Make it a point to see for yourself all that the D&D building has to offer.

Let me know when you make it here!

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Stark Presentation at Luxury Retail Summit NYC

I had the privilege of representing Stark at the Luxury Retail Summit in NYC yesterday and was able to inform attendees of what I am doing at Stark to protect our relationships with designs while expanding our business to include retail as well. Check out the below post from Luxury Daily‘s blog summarizing my presentation. Also, check out a quick video clip at the end on me speaking about how Ecommerce will help our business!

Stark Carpet Room Setting

NEW YORK – A Stark Carpet executive at the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013 yesterday discussed the lessons that the company learned while transitioning from trade-only to a retail trade combination.

During the “Stark: Evolving a Luxury Floor Coverings Brand from Trade-only Business to Retail” session, the executive discussed the challenges the company faced and how Stark readjusted its business model to accommodate both trade and retail without compromising its brand DNA and relations with interior designers. Exploring various methods can allow a brand to better adapt to a new market sector.

“Understanding the role of interior designers is vital to Stark,” said Chad Stark, vice president of operations and technology at Stark Carpet, New York.

“Interior designers are responsible for the growth and success of our business,” he said. “They understand the value of our products and translate this to consumers.”

“Designers are valuable consumers based on the frequency of projects compared to the average retail consumer.”

Luxury Daily organized the Luxury Retail Summit: Holiday Focus 2013.

Technological, generational and economic challenges
Mr. Stark shared the brand’s challenges and lessons learned subsequently.

The Internet created design enthusiasts who had wide access to free design materials when previously this was left to a knowledgeable interior designer.

Between Web sites and design magazines, retail consumers are more informed than ever and many circumvent the advice and assistance of interior designers.

For Stark it was important not to tarnish its relationship with interior designers who had helped to elevate the brand to its standing as the leader in luxury floor coverings.

The new generation of consumers is less about touch and feel and is less inclined to travel far distances to experience a product first hand before making a purchase.

With a willingness to purchase online rather than in bricks-and-mortar locations, the new generation of Stark consumers prefer the accessibility of ecommerce.

Stark discovered that this new generation is much more price-sensitive than previous groups of consumers. The Internet and their increased knowledge led to consumers visiting showrooms without a designer in an attempt to buy products directly.

Stark Carpet Room Setting Elipse


To accommodate the growing number of informed and price conscious consumers, Stark held warehouse clearance sales every two years in different markets to sell its overstocked products.

Stark discovered that although the warehouse was successful from a consumer standpoint, interior designers pushed back at first. Overtime, interior designers began to bring clients to the warehouse sales.

Next, Stark developed retail outlets with a trade showroom within the same bricks-and-mortar location. The trade showroom was closed off to retail consumers, but the rest of the location was designed with a scaled-down warehouse format.

This concept damaged Stark because the brand featured its high-end exclusive products next to closeout items. From this model, Stark was able to re-envision its retail outposts in the form of Stark Home.

The Stark Home model replicated the exclusive nature of its trade showrooms but created a retail atmosphere as well. In theory, the Norwalk, CT, location was meant to amplify the New York showroom, but designers felt consumers were able to obtain Stark products without their assistance after visiting the showroom.

Stark, valuing the continued support of interior designers, sought out designers circumvented by consumers and compensated their time.

Ecommerce gave Stark significant exposure through flash sales with Web sites such as One Kings Lane, Gilt and Rue La La. Although sales and exposure were successful, the flash sales ruined the exclusive nature of its products while confusing design industry.

In 2014, Stark plans to re-launch its ecommerce site to increase convenience for trade and retail consumers.

Lessons learned
Today, Stark showrooms are rooted in experience. The showrooms carry carpets and fabrics, as well as “cash & carry” area rugs in a combined trade and retail space. To inform retail consumers about Stark, products are accompanied by relevant information allowing for more engagement.

Although the trade area is only shoppable by interior designers, retail consumers are welcome to browse the area. If a product strikes them, Stark suggests a local designer to assist with the project.

The “to-the-trade” program highlights interior designers as partners since their continued patronage has ensured the integrity of Stark. The program includes signature exclusive products for trade professionals such as Stark’s collaboration with fashion label Missoni, additional discounts online and in-store, and special services such a custom product development and home consultation.

Starks trials and tribulations during its adaptations from trade-only to retail is bound to affect the industry as a whole.

“Stark is the only luxury flooring brand and we take risks for the benefit of the industry,” Mr. Stark said.

“It is a scary and thrilling position to be in,” he said. “The industry is changing and the way interior designers work with clients is changing.

“The world is transparent and information is widely found online so our sales will likely to continue to be based on designers.”

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