Tag Archives: stark carpet

DFA and ASID summit in Boston talks marketing, education

I was on a panel last week at the Boston Design Center discussing how to appeal to different design markets, including the younger generation of interior designers as well as design enthusiasts around the world. Simply put, it was AWESOME! This is the second event where I’ve spoken to a large group on a similar topic – the first was at the Luxury Retail Summit a couple years agoBelow is an article posted from Editor At Large summarizing the event. Enjoy!

How can the Decorative Furnishings Association (DFA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) better collaborate on promoting interior design? The two organizations met on July 16 at the Boston Design Center in their second-ever industry summit to discuss just that, with a focus on how to promote the value of the interior design trade to luxury customers and to a younger, DIY-conscious generation. Representatives from Fabricut, Dering Hall, Donghia, Jerry Pair, Duralee,Robert Allen, Stark, Kravet and design centers, in addition to members of the media at Hearst, Cottages & Gardens and Meredith, attended the daylong program.

Small group sessions brought designers, media and furnishings leaders together.

The day’s panel, moderated by Steven Nobel of DFA, with Chad Stark of Stark Carpet, Katie Miner of ADAC, and Tabitha Evans, ASID designer, explored how to better educate and inform customers as well as how to effectively market the industry to the do-it-yourself generation. “It’s not really about talking to each other,” shared Miner. “It’s about talking to people who have the means ” but not the understanding of design’s impact. “Our job,” explained Stark, “is to show them the difference between what they can do and what a professional can do.”

Collaborative small group sessions followed, with designers, furnishing company execs and media pros answering a series of questions about the state of the industry, ways to improve outreach, and current challenges, among them the Internet’s impact on pricing and the client’s desire for instant gratification and lack of education as to the value of professional design. Groups identified cross-marketing (such as targeting customers of the fashion and luxury vacation industries); launching an internal campaign to promote the value of design to the end user; pushing showrooms to take the lead on education and networking, such as through “speed-dating” mixers hosted in-house; and running regional outreach in areas not serviced by major designers, as a few key strategies.

Craig Cross, who was appointed DFA’s director of public relations and community outreach earlier this year, delivered an overview of the DFA’s marketing initiatives, and DFA members were introduced to the organization’s recently revamped site, to be launched later this month. The afternoon concluded with a branding talk presented by Susan Battista, a strategist with Visual Dialogue Boston, who discussed five particularly adaptable industries and their top players.

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Stark celebrates House Beautiful’s EIC, Sophie Donelson

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Chad Stark

Last week I moved to California for 4-5 weeks to work out of my LA and Costa Mesa showrooms. The timing of this move was perfect – I came at the beginning of LCDQ LA for Stark’s party honoring Sophie Donelson’s joining House Beautiful as Editor in Chief. I will be posting about my first month-long experience working outside of Stark NY at the end of my trip. In the meantime see below for a post about our party from Editor at Large

On May 7, Stark feted House Beautiful‘s new Editor in Chief Sophie Donelson with a celebratory gathering. Guests, among them Newell Turner, Clinton Smith, Robert Rufino, Orli Ben-Dor, Sabine Rothman, Doretta Sperduto,Timothy Corrigan, Jennifer Boles, Nate Berkus, David Duncan, Jane Scott Hodges, Shaun Smith, Mercedes Desio, Alberto Villalobos and Young Huh, were treated to Champagne and small bites. Chad Stark, senior vice president at Stark, said, “Our company was founded by my grandparents more than 75 years ago. They would be so delighted to see all of the amazing things happening in the L.A. design community and the great excitement that surrounds the LCDQ.”

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Kate Kelly Smith, Sophie Donelson, John Stark, Andrea Stark

Stark, who attended the event along with John Stark and Andrea Stark, said “We are thrilled to be here. It is my distinct pleasure to introduce Sophie Donelson, who was named Editor in Chief of House Beautiful in January. Her energy and enthusiasm for design are contagious, and we can’t wait to see how she puts her own stamp on the magazine. We are so pleased to host Sophie’s official welcome to LA in her exciting new role.”

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Sophie Donelson

“Being feted by Stark was an incredible moment for me,” said Donelson. “It was a fantastic event and very humbling to reunite with longtime colleagues and friends. I also loved meeting so many new faces – many whom are familiar names to my inbox and Instagram, but whom I had never met. It was thrilling!”

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Newell Turner and Jane Scott Hodges

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Donelson, who was appointed earlier this year, held senior editorial positions at ELLE DECOR, The Blueprint and CITY magazines before becoming an independent journalist, writing for print and digital publications including Hamptons Cottages & Gardens, Curbed.com and Editor at Large.

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Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus

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Marla Kay and Timothy Corrigan

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Dreamweaver: Stark Carpet celebrates the art of rug making

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*post adapted from Editor at Large

Stark offered more than a look at its latest collections last Thursday at the Decoration & Design Building when the company hosted a special gathering to celebrate its new showroom. Guests were granted an intimate look at the fascinating rug-making craft while a Stark artisan wove a carpet on a traditional handloom during the event.

Invigorated from an extensive refresh of its showroom on the 11th floor, Stark played cheerful host, entertaining guests with Bellini’s, a DJ and, of course, a look at its wide collection of carpets.

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John Stark, Ashley Stark and Newell Turner

“Our new contemporary showroom represents the culmination of many years of work and many trips abroad working on product development directly with our sources,” said Senior Vice President Chad Stark. “Since I joined the company full-time three years ago, I, along with my cousin Ashley Stark, have been working to diversify our product offering to include the highest-end, fashion-forward handmade goods.”

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Chad Stark and Elizabeth Pyne

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Kate Kelly Smith, Steven Stark, Brenda Saget Darling and Karen Marks

“More than ever before, we have significant space devoted to rugs with a real wow factor,” he continued. “The response from our clients has been overwhelmingly positive. This new array of product is truly incredible, leading to a significant increase in that end of our business.”

As striking as it is innovative, Stark’s opulent new collection of contemporary rugs, such as Nairamat, features top quality Tibetan and Moroccan area rugs that are hand-woven from wool, silk, bamboo silk and jute.

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Sherrill Canet, Ashley Stark, Angela Jett and Clint Smith

“It’s fascinating because you see the handwork done along with how time- consuming it is to produce one of these rugs,” said Sherrill Canet who has designed rugs for Stark. “It’s quite a process.”

Notable attendees included members of the Stark family including John Stark, Andrea Stark, Steven Stark, Candice Stark, Chad Stark and Ashley StarkHouse Beautiful Editor in Chief Newell Turner, Hearst Senior Vice President Kate Kelly Smith, Veranda Advertising Manager Angela Jett and designers Caleb Anderson, Harry Heissman, Sherrill Canet and John Douglas Eason.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 9.41.00 PMNewell Turner, Caleb Anderson and Eleftherios Kardmakis

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Jon Walker, Leslie Miller, Edward Haleman, Angella Jett and Jean Luc Lenoir-Grieser

“The contemporary rug selections are an impressive and diverse mix of gorgeous colors, patterns and textures,” said Anderson. “Saturated abstract compositions, shimmering metallic weaves, neutral geometric—there is an elegant choice for any modern interior. The well-curated displays give an artistic visibility and ease to an otherwise overwhelming number of beautiful options.”

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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.

Conclusion

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,

Chad

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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 www.StarkCarpet75.com 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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Fall Market 2013 at the D&D Building NYC

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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.

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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

Adaptations

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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22 Brilliant Ideas For Your Tiny Apartment

As a follow up to my last blog post, I figured I’d stick to the BuzzFeed format and re-blog another one of their posts called 22 Brilliant Ideas For Your Tiny Apartment. This is especially relevant for anyone like me living in New York City. The only thing missing from this list is a great Stark rug like any of these. Enjoy 🙂

No matter how tiny that studio apartment is, nothing beats having your own space. Here are some actually feasible ideas that don’t involve remodeling or a completely unrealistic warehouse loft.

1. Place a curtain around the bed.

Place a curtain around the bed.

Source: cdn1.cdnme.se

It’ll give your sleeping space some tranquility and a nook-like feel.

Source: gravity-gravity.tumblr.com

2. If your workspace only consists of a laptop, just use a bookshelf instead of taking up space with a desk.

If your workspace only consists of a laptop, just use a bookshelf instead of taking up space with a desk.

Source: withlovefromkat.com

3. The curtain separator works for a kitchen too.

The curtain separator works for a kitchen too.

Source: marthastewart.com

4. Use a piece of plywood to build a makeshift wall that you can place a desk against.

Use a piece of plywood to build a makeshift wall that you can place a desk against.

Source: livingimpressive.com

5. Or a pull-down screen.

Or a pull-down screen.

Doubles as a surface to project movies on!

6. Put the bedroom under a gigantic canopy.

Put the bedroom under a gigantic canopy.

It’ll give the illusion of a private fort.

7. Use your TV to mentally separate your sleeping space from your entertainment space.

Use your TV to mentally separate your sleeping space from your entertainment space.

Also: love the accent wall in the “bedroom.”

Source: flickr.com

8. Opt for sliding doors for closets and bathrooms.

Opt for sliding doors for closets and bathrooms.

They require less space than swing-out doors.

Source: pinterest.com

9. Repurpose an old window for kitchen separation.

Repurpose an old window for kitchen separation.

Also: a kitchen island on wheelies can provide some much-needed counter and storage space.

Source: pinterest.com

10. A chest doubles as a coffee table and as storage.

A chest doubles as a coffee table and as storage.

11. Set your bed up against a wall so you can prop pillows up when you need to use it as a couch.

Set your bed up against a wall so you can prop pillows up when you need to use it as a couch.

12. Make a couch that swivels into a bed.

Make a couch that swivels into a bed.

You can finally get that dreamy sectional you’ve always wanted. Get the DIY here.

13. Use seating as an opportunity to store as much stuff as possible.

Use seating as an opportunity to store as much stuff as possible.

Instead of plain old chairs, opt for seating that serves double duty, like storage ottomans and storage couches.

14. Make use of a ladder in dead space behind a door.

Make use of a ladder in dead space behind a door.

You can hang things off of it, like a throw or a winter jacket.

15. Use your window as a projector screen.

Use your window as a projector screen.

If you’re not the type to watch television but still want the option to screen movies in your apartment, buy a white screen for your windows that double as blinds.

Source: weheartit.com

16. Place your sofa against the bed.

Place your sofa against the bed.

17. Chaise lounges are a good alternative to regular-sized couches.

Chaise lounges are a good alternative to regular-sized couches.

They’re generally shorter than full-sized couches and are more versatile than a loveseat. And if you get two of them, you can sandwich them together into a makeshift bed.

Source: ziegz.com

18. Turn your bed into a movie pit with a heavy dresser or console.

Turn your bed into a movie pit with a heavy dresser or console.

Source: esohlee.com

19. A ceiling-hanging clothing rack takes advantage of your vertical space.

A ceiling-hanging clothing rack takes advantage of your vertical space.

The one shown here doesn’t look bulky or monstrous, and you have enough vertical space to stack things like shoes or books underneath.

20. Don’t have space for a couch? Giant pillows on the floor can be laid out when you have guests over.

Don't have space for a couch? Giant pillows on the floor can be laid out when you have guests over.

And then put away when you need the floor space. SO COZY.

Source: pinterest.com

21. Build a super simple foldout table that’s mounted to the wall.

Build a super simple foldout table that's mounted to the wall.

If you have basic carpentry skills, you can make an incredibly simple kitchen table that folds back up onto a wall with some wood and some hinges.

22. Put your bed on lockable casters.

Put your bed on lockable casters.

This way, you can easily wheel it to be used as extra seating in the living room, or against a wall when you need some floor space to do an impromptu yoga routine or gymnastics flip.

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Interior Designer Tabletops from the Lenox Hill 2013 Gala

designer tabletops

 “Top hats were understandably a popular accoutrement and Jon Call used his to great effect for his “Sartorial Picnic,” sponsored by Stark.” – Quintessence

I had the pleasure of attending the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House gala last week and it was spectacular. Each year, designers continue to amaze us with their tabletop designs. STARK sponsored the table pictured above that was decorated by the talented up-and-comer Jon Call. Below is a blog post I adapted from one of my favorite design blogs, Quintessence, that summarizes the evening with great editorial and pictures. Enjoy the read!

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Designer tabletops

The Lenox Hill Neighborhood House tabletop event is one of my very favorites. Benefitting this well respected and worthy organization, their spring gala is a much anticipated evenings. Held again at Cipriani 42nd St., this year honored long time board members Caroline and Thompson Dean for their leadership and support. Media sponsor Veranda magazine, with Design Chairs Veranda editor in chief Dara Caponigro and design and decoration editor Carolyn Englefield, antiques dealer David Duncan, interior designer Lindsey Coral Harper, and ceramic artist Christopher Spitzmiller, presented 45 stunning tables created by designers with High Society as the theme.

It was interesting how everyone interpreted this year’s High Society theme. Some, like Allison Hennessy, watched the Grace Kelly movie for inspiration.

“One of the opening scenes takes place in a beautiful loggia, full of decorative details (blue green color palette, chinoiserie walls, wicker furniture, lacquered finishes) which I incorporated into my table with the Bob Collins chintz table cloth and the lacquered wicker chargers.”

Designer tabletops

Allison’s mother-in-law, Paula Hennessy, had recently purchased the vintage birdcage at Scott Antique Markets in Atlanta. Allison had it shipped to Jim at Very Special Flowers in NYC, who filled it with an ethereal mix of greens and flowers as well as layered surrounding florals. It provided both height and the perfect garden theme accoutrement. Vintage silver candlesticks (via Ebay), silver napkin rings and grey Greek key napkins from Patricia Spratt all contributed to the 1950′s Main Line vibe.

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Although Thomas Burak Interiors‘ and Michael Devine‘s table was called A Luminous Evening, it could, as Michael suggested, as easily have been named In Living Color. A “vivid ode to summer brights,” it included a wonderfully festive centerpiece that is an entertaining idea I’m going to have to remember!

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The tablecloth is Thomas (in my favorite colorway – tangerine) from Michael’s new collection that I first saw at Deco Off in Paris.

Designer tabletops

Haviland service plates from Mottahedeh and fun vintage Vera wooden napkin rings (that still had the original tags on) completed the picture.

Designer tabletops

Jane Scott Hodges’ table, “Cabana 15,” for her company, Leontine Linens, showcased the beautiful linens and embroidery for which they are known. Celebrating 15 years of offering glorious linens for the home, the lovely lavender tablecloth featured an appliqué cane pattern, from their own workshops that create all of their custom-made products.

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What an elegant cabana with flowers by Zeze, calligraphy menu cards from Bernard Maisner, elegant embroidered hemstitch napkins (“H” for High Society) and of course an enviable gift from Leontine Linens – a luxurious satin eye mask with trapunto-quilted lash motif in matching case!

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Even the back of the chairs received customized treatment!

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Arden Stephenson‘s table “Let Them Eat Cake” was a modern ode to the theme. The playful Dominique Piquier Palais Royal fabric from Studio Four was a perfect pick for a “High Society” tablecloth.

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I of course loved the apricot color way with embroidered Julia B. linen napkins

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and delicious (I can personally attest to that) and beautiful custom colored petit fours!

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Sam Allen’s “Bollywood Nights” table was a marvelous mix of color and texture. The colorfulQuadrille Kazak on the tablecloth reminded me that I don’t mind pink when tempered with orange! And now I can’t wait to get some quince branches of my own to officially welcome spring into the house. The flowers were styled by Sam’s mother, designer Leslie Allen.

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I love everything produced through the collaboration between Clare Potter and Christopher Spitzmiller, including these fantastic plates, available through Mallett.

Designer tabletops

Nicole Gibbons’ first showing at Lenox Hill was an auspicious one! Choosing the iconic style maven Doris Duke and her Hawaiian estate Shangri La as her inspiration, Nicole created an eclectic table emulating Duke’s love of exotic design.

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Starting with a pretty blue ikat from Calico Corners for the tablecloth, she layered Perlee chargers and decorative objects from l’Objet and Matouk napkins.

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Friend Kathryn Murray did the charming calligraphy for her fantasy guests’ place cards. You can read more about the details of Nicole’s table on her blog.

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Dolores Suarez and Caroline Grant of Dekar Designs’ table was the charming “Garden of Weedin.’” A naturalistic take on an English garden, they cleverly crafted a tablecloth of moss, adding potted flowers, garden tools, silk birds and butterflies to emulate an outdoor garden party.

designer tabletops

A vintage birdcage was surrounded by lush flowers and plantings

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and a mini nest with (faux) robin’s eggs adorned the placesettings.

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The exuberant floral arrangements were by Adore Floral and how adorable were the gifts folded neatly into a napkin package!

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It was very hard to shoot Harry Heissmann’s dramatic “Anchors Aweigh” centerpiece that topped his elegant table,

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but it was an energetic and eclectic mix of plexi anchor, nautical rope, mini lights and flora artistry by Emily Thompson.

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Harry was lucky enough to work with the Hermès group and featured the handsome Hermès Fil d’Argent platesPuiforcat cercle d’argent silver presentation plates and Chantaco flatware andSaint-Louis Tommy glassware. They all looked fabulous set on a sparkling sequin and paillette tablecloth.

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While I may not have been able to feature all 45 tables, please know that they were all creative, beautiful and contributed to the enormous success of the evening!

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