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Architectural Digest Home Design Show Recap

While the phalanx of decorators, designers, artisans, chefs,
color experts, garden decorators and gurus have flitted off to the next stop on
the Spring schedule, there is much to “digest” from the this year’s 2012 Architectural Digest Home Show with its range of art, fabrics, outdoor
products and home furnishings.

Held at the Pier 94 Event Space perched on the Hudson River  – it is an ideal space for the show: in town,
yet basking in scenic water views on one side and fronted with the majestic
Gotham skyline as seen from an artist’s distance and perspective. 
The fact that Mother Nature graced the four-day event with picture-postcard
sunshine only added to the serendipity of the annual gathering.
This idyll George Gershwin image of New York was only
pierced by my over-subscribed schedule and my race uptown in a cab to catch the
“Evolving Kitchen” talk, sponsored by La Cornue.
The AD Home Show was open on Thursday to the trade and I was
so looking forward to the early-bird preview into what’s trending, what new
vendors and classic vendors had to say for themselves after a rather tumultuous
See, I had my usual Thursday post-dawn class at the health
club and figured upon return I’d do a quick blog story post and be coolly and
appropriately well appointed and stylish for a day at a style show.
Life has other ideas. 
And it can be particularly humbling. 
Plan B:
Scoot up for the talk and then back home for the shower and
kitchen conference
It was so good, followed by a lunch at the La Cornue
pavilion courtesy of acclaimed trendsetting chef, Jonathan Waxman.
Plan C:
This show was far too compelling to leave! 
It was nearly 4 pm – and after the keynote address by
Architectural Digest Editor in Chief, Margaret Russell before I realized it was
pointless to head back downtown before meeting my husband at the show.
Thursday was the Trade Seminars and I was understandably
keen to learn from each presentation.

First up was “The
Evolving Kitchen” sponsored by La Cornue.
The panel was comprised of legendary
chef Jonathan Waxman—a pioneer of using fresh, local ingredients and successful
restaurant owner, Barbuto, Jams, and Top Chef Master, along with panelists Anne
Purcilli, La Cornue, and kitchen designer Karen Williams. 

The talk was lively and inspired.
Thoughts and prognostications included: 
No doors on kitchen cabinets – “Let’s just see
what’s available and ready to use in the kitchen for cooking
no!  Must have doors on the cabinets –
“Not everyone is so tidy!”
Future is electronic cookbooks – “Cookbooks are
too hard to use in the kitchen. Will have virtual cookbooks (yeah for me — as
I took video for my book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown
Rotisserie is must-have kitchen tool
homeowners have to do their individual or unique kitchen – one size or
trend does not fit all
Lunch at the La Cornue pavilion was a delicious mix of foods
and wine, with everything presented in the handsomely appointed home kitchen

The backsplash was spectacularly intriguing: it was a
beveled mirror-like texturing that I’ve only seen done in stone.

Kudos.  Chef. Jonathan
was as gracious and fun as if it was indeed he was hosting his own kitchen
soiree. And I guess he was.

He posed for
pictures, interviews, and was chatting it up with me.  Thank you.

Fueled by the delicious food and the trade-only access I
scooted to check out the show highlights.
I Tweeted news from my @gardenglamour Twitter. I do have the
@chefsgardens Twitter too)
My highlights listed here first, followed by AD’s
recommendations, of which I didn’t see until after the show, so the two lists
make for a curious balance.
My Favorites and Recommendations and in no particular order
except for Italian Terrace pottery. 
Louise Drayton, the English beauty & talent behind the Italian Terrace Pots

As a garden designer, I was beguiled and impressed by Louise
Drayton, the British based designer and her 15-year old, 12-time Chelsea Flower
Show award-winning company, who was showing for the first time – formally– at
the AD Show.   

Garden and Outdoor
Italian Terrace pots — This is a real find and what one
hopes to discover at a design show.   The
pots and planters are a glamorous, rich and creamy, dreamy-looking terracotta
designed and made by – drum roll please – a gardener!  
Not unlike my design for the Garden Pendant Collection where
the water reservoir was critical to the overall design because it was so
critical to the health of the plant.
Louise Drayton the founder, artist and plantswoman who hails
from Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk England (more on the Bury in Bloom contest in
a later post – but suffice to say, I just realized what a small world it really
Elizabeth made it a key design principle to produce pots
that can endure a colder climate and allow for drainage and optimum soil and
planting.  It didn’t hurt either that
Elizabeth’s husband is a farmer – and a musician.
Why is this important and so different from other pretty
Other pot makers are not gardeners. They may have come to
the business after admiring Italian or Aegean relics and saw a business
For me and my clients, we’ve enjoyed various stages of
success using high-end terracotta, as well as high-end resin pots.  Both elements can be beautiful.
However, the terracotta is made for a warm – i.e. Italian or
Mediterranean climate.  Frost, and cold winters
(usually the norm, this year notwithstanding) will contribute to cracking.  This is difficult with big pots that need to
be moved. 
Especially so if the recent economic crash left you two
servants short of a gardening clutch.
If you have a surfeit of servants to move the pots to the Orangerie
for the winter, no worries. For the rest of us, we are pot out of luck.
And further, both materials require drilling into the pot
that can lead to weakening of the structural integrity of the pot as time goes
The Italian Terrace pots come with instructions. Not because
they are difficult to use. No, but rather because the makers are thoughtful.
And nice to the stewards of their designs – and the plants that will call the
pots home.  A quick reference guide aka
Advice and so labeled, is brimming with tips and terms from how to choose pot
feet, why oil jars don’t work for planting unless you employ the pot-in-a-pot method,
cleaning, weathering, a suggested list of decorating toppings and root and box
pruning.  It is recommended to clip the
box on Derby Day! The Derby Stakes take place early June for all you non-Brits  🙂 
There are four easy steps to happy plants.  I love lining the pots with fabric liner. So
And they even recommend planting snail favorites like hosta
with eggshells or garlic or cloves – which the critters hate.

The beauty of these pots cannot be overstated.  I found them light and creamy and very

I learned the dreamy look is due to the fine Italian clay
the makers use, a secret recipe, along with the hand finish rather than the
“harsh bitter-red” of the machine produced pots.  “The Italians have forgotten how to make
terracotta pots,” claims Elizabeth.
Getting the booth set up. The beauty of the Pots!

I can see the Italian Terrace pots gracing garden rooms from
traditional to mid-century looks.  There
is a complete product collection including oil jars, vases, statuary, plaques, Etc.,
and Bespoke.  

I was imbued with the spirit of this garden and
plant-focused designer and her team.
Her garden art is unique because of its handcrafted beauty;
the pots are carefully designed and made for
the plants. This is utility with beauty.  and email is:  There is a US-based contact in Connecticut:
Liz, who was a customer five years ago before encouraging Louise to set up a

The Padma Outdoor
showed very handsome and creative designs. Their Inside/Out
collection works for me for mid priced good-looking quality furniture.  “Uncommon luxury and design.”  

The double chaise lounge with sun cabana looked romantic and
seemed to crook its come hither wink at me. 
I complied and sidled up to get a better view.
Skyline Design represents a few manufacturers – rather a hub
of good outdoor furniture collections.  Just got a follow up email from them.

The copper outdoor Japanese soaking tub from Diamond Spas literally took my breath
away as I come upon it after turning a corner at the end of the aisle.

It is rich looking. Natural looking,
embracing the elements.  All the Diamond
Spas products are hand made in Colorado including stainless steel, copper and
bronze spas, swim spas, swimming pools, cold plunge pools and water
features.  My outdoor room garden designs
will surely be enhanced with these unique products.  Available in a variety of sizes; with jets or
without, built into the side of a terrace, a garden space or outdoor room, this
is magic.  800-951-SPAS 

SeaOtter WoodWorks,
.  – A new design concept, the
Japanese soaking tubs use Hinoki wood. 
Hinoki is a cypress conifer, if you don’t know – you might have it in your
yard.  It smells lovely – and in fact,
the woman at the booth waved a handful under our noses and a pack of Hinoki
shavings are in the press kit, along with light and dark wood swatch samples.  These tubs are hand-crafted in Alaska and are
very intriguing looking.  While the
company is new, the designs look solid and when asked if the wood develops a
patina or changes color over time, they allowed they weren’t 100% sure but
believed it would age slightly and nicely but not change.  The soaking tubs are available in a few
styles and sizes and are, in fact, the real deal.  The tubs fired my imagination to design
romantic outdoor garden rooms that are both aesthetic and transporting.


Royal Botania – showed Kokoon, a free-standing, Moroccan-looking hammock for two (or more!) with privacy sheer drapes that looked perfect for canoodling in.  When I suggested they call it the Canoodle Kokoon – they eagerly asked if they could use that line.  Sure thing.

Kokoon – perfect for Canoodling

The Belgian-based Royal Botania offers Kokoon’s garden furniture plus
high design, luxury patio, outdoor furniture, and lighting with that European

Oh, and part of their show promotion was to have you sit in
their Surf hammock and have your picture taken by their photographer who posts
all on their Facebook page.  Reluctant at
first to have my photo taken due to the no-shower/lack of beauty preparedness –
but then thought – what the heck, the photographer looked lonely on this trade
only day – so I carefully scooted in –this is one big hammock — to a laid back
position before doing the semi Lotus yoga pose. 
I have to go to Facebook and ID me and Like it or me – as part of the
Modenus Photo Find contest.    

Kalamazoo – the
outdoor kitchen company continues to set the pace and raise the bar. This year,
they featured a hybrid grill that allows the home BBQ to have it all: gas,
charcoal and wood.  You can cook with one
or all – at the same time.

They “personalized” the cooking, according to company
president, Pete Georgiadis, who showed me how you can cook fish, meat and
vegetables simultaneously even though each requires a different kind of cooking
surface.  Now you have it. There is a new
hibachi-like surface so no more slipping between the grill like too many burnt

Characterizing the benefits of the Tuscan pizza oven, Georgiadis said, “You don’t need a vacation…” I thought he meant because the Kalamazoo set
up in your backyard wipes out the need to go anywhere.  I was wrong. He meant that while most pizza
ovens take three to five hours to heat to a true, commercial grade temperature,
the Kalamazoo requires only 20 minutes to get that pepperoni and perfect crust

He also claims they are the only outdoor kitchen
manufacturer to offer a freezer and more beer taps.

This is a resort…   

Tucker Robbins
a designer whose works of art seem to whisper forests and far-flung mysterious
pockets of rain forests and waterfalls merely by looking at them.

Designer Tucker Robbins

In fact, not one to bite the hand that feeds
him, Robbins told me he was the founding member of the sustainable furnishing
council.  Sweet and whimsical are his
chairs best described as ring-around-the-rosy or maybe as a group hug. 

Platinum Porcelain Bangle and Ebonized Bangle
table are eye-catching graphics as are the Pierced Cubs and The Modernist
Dining Table.  and


NanaWall – I love
this open to the garden “inside/outside” design.  The folding glass walls make you feel like a
powerful stagehand, or the hand of god opening the way to
nature.  Not inexpensive – about 1K per
foot, but also very efficient and effective and sustainable with its “thermal
performance.”  There is no substitute and
this look can yield years of unending joy.

Boca Do Lobo – Scandalously,
sexy mirror.  The Venice is noted as a
work of art reflecting “light and the world around us.”  Had to Tweet this arresting statement from
the show floor. The SoHo collection of sideboards feature different finishes
from glass to wood veneer and lacquer color to mirror.
They also offer a twist
on a chest of drawers.

David Stine Wood art

David Stine
– David presented a variety of one of a kind furniture all
hand-made by him.  This man loves wood.
Nails? Not so much! 

Strawser & Smith
– They claim their ethos is simple: 
older is better. Here the Brooklyn-based craftsmen repurpose “remnants”
and “combine contemporary and roughhewn shapes” to make some very cool picture
using antique or vintage relic designs.
Bevolo Lighting
exquisite handmade lanterns from one of my most favorite cities, New
Orleans.  The hand forged wrought iron
“mimic historic styling” are evocative, beautiful and special as the Big Easy.
Bevolo makes gas lamps too.  Don’t miss
these amazing lighting art designs  
Residential and commercial interior and exterior lighting designed by a young
woman, Alicia Dermoday from Marblehead, Massachusetts, who picked up where her
parents’ antique lighting left off. I enjoyed a lovely conversation with her
proud mother!   I like that someone can still start a business
and compete with the big guys in a design industry. Often inspired by a ship or
boat’s lighting, the lighting designs are at the same time contemporary,
industrial and romantic, given their provenance.  There is no crafty boat theme here, just good

Compass Ironworks
– “elegance & integrity in wrought iron” is on their card. But it’s
true.  Made by Amish craftsmen, these
balconies, railings and specialty items resonate with dignity and enduring
design.  I did attempt to take Amos’
photo for the blog, and he kept moving further out of the picture. Afterwards I
asked him about this and he said the Amish think of a photo as a sign of
narcissism – they think an image of themselves focuses too much attention on
them.  Take that Kardashians!  But the ironworks themselves are very
photo-worthy and a Pinterest all their own. 
717-442-4544 (Gap, PA)  Just got a
follow up email from them.  

Haiku – Billed as
“performance art,” the indoor and outdoor ceiling fans are designed by
engineers resulting in a sleek, streamlined look using their patent pending
Thin Sheet airfoils – they don’t refer to them as blades.  The natural-looking Energy Star ceiling
fan is a thin lightweight aerodynamic profile made of sustainable Moso bamboo,
cut and hand-sanded in three finishes: Coco Bamboo, Black and White Matrix

The remote uses infrared signals
to activate the control settings.

Unique company claims it is the quietest fan in the
world.  Shhhh.  

Nasiri:  A collection of expressive designs and colors
using an ancient technique of flat weaves, that are hand carded using naturally
dyed wool.
Qmotion by DFB
has a new line of battery operated solar shades. No electrician work required.
Pricey but a good idea.
BDDW Handmade
American furniture
Caba Company
hand-pounded (ouch!) Barskin is organic, wool, fibrous texture and interest to walls,
furniture and lampshades, giving it the look of stone, parchment or leather.
They company says it’s easy to apply. The Crazy Lace Collection is crazy good.
Koket – with a
tag line of  “Love Happens” it’s easy to
see why I could fall hard for this look… Heck, I was smitten with their
postcard. There is lots of sexy, romantic references with this company and
their line of jewelry er, furniture for the home.  The Prive Day Bed was described as “not
exactly flirtatious, certainly not sweet… guarantees sensuous drama”  Wow. Be still my heart. And pass the
cigarette! The design is a jewel – with flora inspired adornments, “a delicate
branch-like base, stunning bronze & crystal jeweled bolsters.” or  Careful – they offer a Guilty Pleasures

Farrow & Ball
– I love everything about this company. Their flawless attention to color and
craft and details and ingredients puts them at the head of their genre.  As we are going through a home renovation, I
can only wonder why every painter we interviewed did not include as part of
their color palette offerings automatically. 
There is nuance and brilliance in their collections. Their tag line
reads “Craftsmen in paint and paper.” They inspire.   

Barbara Kaslow
– the designer introduced a line of hand-decorated lampshades with
prints inspired from influences such as Persian motifs, Audubon prints and
British mods.”  Pretty florals look like
botanical prints. or
Beck to Nature
an eco-friendly, family owned company that makes designed furniture with
sustainable materials.

Siebert & Rice garden collection is classic

Pennoyer & Newman resign planters are gorgeous & the best customer service for  custom orders

AndreaAmoretti – two brothers from Mexico make stunning, handmade pieces of copper art: lacy and like a mantilla too.  Beautiful, artisanal and classical.  And they have a NYC showroom.  Serendipity…  or

The Made in America panel discussion looked promising.  It was a let down.

While it was hosted by my favorite radio personality, WNYC’s
Leonard Lopate, a locavore food lover too, and a vote shy of the McArthur
Genius Award in my humble opinion, he couldn’t seem to extract a compelling
dialogue among the panelists.
the choice of an arts dealer, and a trio of designers: jewelry, furniture and
auto was either too disparate or eclectic but the talk never really got any
traction to resonate with the audience.
And it did seem slightly ironic that the one panelist with the most to say about Made in America was the Chinese national – a former harpist – who is
now head of worldwide design for Lincoln Ford autos. 

To be fair, there was talk about hand-crafting versus mass
production but that’s not new.  The
biggest take away seemed to be that Americans are now embracing hand-crafted
designs much like foodies have embraced the locavore movement or hand-made
clothes and rediscovering talents.
Cited were the increase success of web site 
and a pride in local designs versus the crafty, Christmas bazaar looking
items of the 70’s.  “Craft is Cool” was
said and the next thought was posited about the bad, post WWII designs were
mentioned. Didn’t we move past that long ago, though??
And isn’t mid-century the hottest design look out there in
no small part to the success of TV’s hot show, “Mad Men?”  If we haven’t seen a new look since the
middle of the last century then design is in need of more inspiration…
And don’t true design aficionados seek out artisanal and
bespoke items that resonate with them? 
A worthy thought circulated was how about designed and made here – in America…
In general though it all seemed a bit too banal…

The Lincoln Auto
was a gas – pun intended.   

The MKZ concept car was shown here even before the Auto
It is indeed a designed
thoroughbred that is in keeping with Detroit’s heyday.
The color is described as Bourbon and, sure
enough, on nearby pedestals was a glass of champagne, a snifter of bourbon and a
computer display with an aerodynamic manta ray: all elements that went into inspiring the
Lincoln’s look. 

Excitement at the show for Lincoln & the designer

And in case you hadn’t gotten the message about the car’s
homage to design – the pavilion was tricked out with pretty cool were the
architect’s tables set up with clay and sculpting tools.  Show goers were encouraged to sculpt a
“perfect” car in the design space. I asked one woman if it was her perfect car
and she said it’s my dream car… Nice.

Later in the day, Lincoln offered some truly great
swag:  set of six champagne glasses!

Highlights as recommended by AD:
What’s Cooking in the Kitchen – highlighted La
Cornue and Liebherr. Check and Check.
Making a Splash in the Bath – highlighted
Diamond Spas and See Otter Woodworks. Check and Check.
Made in the USA
Around the World – highlighted Nasiri Carpets.
Sustainable Standouts – highlighted NanaWall
Systems and Beck to Nature. Check, Check.
DIFFA Dining by
Design Press Tour

Ably led by award-winning interior designer, Dwayne Clark, ( who was asked to provide
the docent-like tour of the press only tables scapes just 20 minutes earlier.

He was terrific – and bore more than a passing, uncanny resemblance
to Carrie’s boy friend from Sex in the City!  

The 45 tablescapes were tableaus of art.  Each design told a story. The designers used
materials from flowers to gems to fabric and odd pieces, combined in a way that
was part Disney, part dream, part fantasy, part dining room.
The room was in fact, used, for the awards.
The entire space was dimly lit, showing off the otherworldly

The press tour made its way around starting with the student
entries “Where we all start – in design school,” noted Clark with fabulous
creations from NYU, FIT, and Pratt,

through to some wowsy spotlights that
included were the Ralph Lauren – who was honored at the show. He used lots of
wood in the dining look nook.

Swarovski cherry blossom crystal chandeliers  (
– yes there were two heartbreakingly beautiful gems
in the Aqua Creations
dining room where moving, video art – this was “bioluminescence” undersea water
scenes by Marie Aiello Design Studio, was displayed on the dining walls for the
first time. 


Marimekko was bright as Crayola crayons and groovy in a
modern way.

Ethan Allen
La Crema

Ethan Allen had a nice, studied design.  La Crema had a sleek kitchen table. 

Clark described the effort and the finished works here in
terms of their “sense of risk.”
The results were all rather magical and creatively
inspiring. There wasn’t one table scape that you couldn’t learn something from. 

At the Liebherr appliance sponsored, vineyard inspired
tablescape we were lucky to have the designer on site who enthusiastically
described her ideas for the inspired, yet practical outdoor dining room.  “I wanted to create a place you actually
wanted to have dinner in,” said the gorgeous in her red-hot dress, effervescent
designer, Libby Langdon.

The wine bottle
chandelier was whimsical and the look was luxurious without being pretentious.

We could readily see why Clark won for his dreamy
tablescape.  He explained it all started
with the woman’s bust that he found in Alabama, Lucite chairs and mirrored
table under an extraordinary cloud-like chandelier.  Clark shared with us that earlier in the day
a woman had seen the display and promptly fell in love, and ordered that
chandelier – with its $50K selling price!  

Keynote by Margaret
, Architectural Digest’s Editor in Chief

It was SRO for this talk – mainly about photography. Billed
as “In Focus: Trends in Interiors Photography”

It was all about how to prepare
projects for photo shoots and to promote designers work in print and
online.  I found it a most curious topic
for a keynote. I would have preferred Russell to use her preferred perch and
perform a bit of prognostication – especially as this is her first show in the
editor in chief position. This talk was more of a how-to/hands-on lesson –
something I’d expect from a staff editor.

I was hoping for some big picture point of view and trends
analysis and overview for a designed world.
But instead, there was lots of how to promote designer’s work,
copy right, lighting and dire warnings about Pinterest.  Seriously? 
You can put the genie back in the bottle on this one – and I
love Pinterest and so do millions of others. I believe it’s fastest growing
social network and of course appeals to the visually-inspired design
I expected better from AD. Don’t stick your head in the
One last note from the show.
Because I had planned to go up
for the one lecture and then home again to get ready properly – but then didn’t
— due to the overwhelming interest of the show – I didn’t have my iPhone
adapter with me.
And all the Tweeting from my @gardenglamour plus picture
taking etc., left me with almost no power.
And no real help in the press room!  What was I to do? 
There is a goddess – and she appeared in the press room as
Jan Parr, Editor of Chicago Home + Garden. She allowed me to use her adapter
while she wrote her blog post and took in a bit of the extraordinary unseasonably
warm weather. 
Don’t miss her smart coverage:
Thank you so much, Jan!
Designers and writers are artists – and the people this year
couldn’t have been nicer.
Smooooch xoxoxx!
And speaking of designers, I was thrilled to run into John
Danzer, Exterior Decorator.
I interviewed John for the Garden Glamour blog the
previous night – before we headed over to the NY School of Interior Design (NYSID)
for the Wave Hill landscape design lecture, where as it happened, not
surprisingly, many of the brilliant landscape designs from Thomas Wolf featured
Danzer’s work. 
Danzer will be featured in an upcoming blog feature
here.  Stay tuned.
Isn’t it a glamorous, artful, designed world?


  • thank you. I very much admire and recommend @Benvolo lanterns. I was first introduced to them at the Architectural Digest Show. Great quality. I will check out the French Market Lanterns as you suggest. I can always use more inspiration 🙂 Cheers.

  • I'm so happy that you included Benvolo lanterns! I'd also recommend checking out French Market Lanterns if you want some more inspiration for more home designs using gas or electric lanterns 🙂

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  • Better late than never– sorry I overlooked this 🙁 but it was my pleasure. You have beautiful home art decor. Thank you for the comment — it is most welcome. See you at this year's show.

  • Dear Garden Glamour,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful mention of my lampshades! I so appreciate it!
    Best Wishes,
    Barbara Kaslow Designs LLC

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