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Home & Garden Preview Highlights from Architectural Digest Show 2017

Given this week’s snowmaggedon blizzard and the accompanying arctic weather in New York — along with most of the East Coast lately– you’d be forgiven if you feel an overwhelming urge to nest this weekend. But for the latest on how to feather that nest of yours — you cannot miss the Architectural Digest Show (AD Design Show) open now through Sunday, March 19th. The show provides a cornucopia of home design and decor ideas from the industry’s best designers, artisanal craftsmen and craftswomen, and manufacturers — so you can browse your heart’s content; sure to find plenty of ideas. Or to just dream…

The AD Design Show is truly unique in producing a show of such importance. I can think of few, if any, media brand that is a platform for an entire industry. Here is the nexus for design, technology, and sustainability. All with a conscience and a nod to lifestyle and the makers.

I was privileged to be part of the press preview for the show so I’ll share some suggested “must-see” booths and later provide details on trends, products and materials.

Featured Brands to Visit

Why not start with the best? That’s BEST Range Hoods – Booth 347 – a leading designer of luxury range hoods, the maker features Italian designed range hoods that make a statement while never compromising powerful capture. BEST showed in-ceiling hoods that won’t mar a nature view – such as that vista to the water or woods that you probably bought the house for. They also showed a prototype of a Gaudi-inspired range hood that looked like a datura or brugmansia

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BEST Gaudi prototype hood — see the brugmansia look?

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Chef Ryan Scott cooking demo at BlueStar

BlueStar – Booth 287

BlueStar® is a manufacturer of high-performance appliances for the home – and a trailblazer in color innovation – more than 750 colors and finishes — the brand unveiled a full commercial-style kitchen suite, including premium, built-in refrigeration. BlueStar also featured a cooking demo hosted by Celebrity Chef Ryan Scott and Designer Kim Lewis.

The awarding-winning BlueStar 36-inch Built-In Refrigerator, which provides a seriously fresh take on premium food preservation that redefines the art of cooling, will be featured, along with a preview of a French Door model. New to the BlueStar kitchen suite, launching at the show, is the double Electric wall oven,featuring two, integrated, temperature controlled bake stones, 12+ Cooking Modes, a powerful 2,500 watt bake element and an intense 5,000 watt broiler. Its sleek design offers an intuitive, easy-to-use single controller which operates both top & bottom oven. BlueStar also will be introducing the new 36” Induction Cooktop, featuring BlueStar’s iconic professional performance. There are also prototypes along the outside of the booth. BlueStar president, Eliza Sheffield noted that the show is a kind of focus group — so don’t hesitate to provide your feedback. Gotta love this Southwest – sort of Frida Kahlo looking stovetop and hood with its brilliant colors, no?

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Ronbow – Booth 179 – the award-winning company – Winner of 2016 Design – produces luxury bathroom furnishings with a focus on wood and ceramic products — using eco-friendly, sustainable materials. The highly-acclaimed Signature Series by Ronbow is a diverse collection of extreme quality and refined luxury with internationally trendsetting bathroom products designed by the world’s premier artists, designers and design firms, bringing together 11 new collections from nine top European designers under one brand. Ronbow showed a teeny-tiny sink but with full features including a Blue-Tooth power source for mobile phone to listen to the music or news while getting ready for the day. Their Vento (Italian for “wind”) vanity had a sink that did look like it was shaped by nature.

The art deco vanity in navy — “the new black” was quite glamorous.

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Beautiful vanity opens like a puzzle! 

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Vento- wind-swept sink design

Liebherr – Booth 271 — The family-owned and German-based Liebherr Appliances brings the best of European cooling to the Americas. With more than 60 years of expertise in premium refrigeration, Liebherr Appliances combines quality, design, and innovation to offer high-end refrigeration solutions for the modern home or business at approximately one-third or so less than other manufacturers.  

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This is my scarf drawer – brimming with ECHO scarves! 

ECHO – Booth 432 – Known for its expertise in print, pattern, and color, Echo began as a scarf company in 1923.

The brand has become a leader in creating innovative and beautifully designed accessories and home products. ECHO is showcasing a range of fresh and exciting designs including the brand new Ibiza Indoor/Outdoor Collection in collaboration with Kravet. As the name implies, Ibiza takes its inspiration from the rustic beauty of the island. Splashed with Mediterranean and Spanish influences and a fresh global spirit, the collection is an exploration of modern versatility. The high quality performance collection is woven with fibers that stand up to everyday use and don’t fade in the sun. 

ECHO Ibiza – I can see these looks in many of my garden designs

ECHO Ibiza

Woven Legends – Booth 524 – The Art of Woven Legends: Woven Legends leads the way in a rug renaissance by pioneering the use and cultivation of natural dyes since 1982, as well as re-establishing the hand spinning of indigenous nomadic wools in Turkey. The brand’s rugs showcase some of the best carpets woven in the past century.

Woven Legends proudly presents The Anka Cooperative, a social enterprise with a mission to empower Syrian women refugees by providing them dignifying work through the creation of fine carpets. Anka started in 2012 in southeast Turkey, and is currently working with 250 Syrian refugee women in two camps. The Anka Cooperative will formally launch on Kickstarter on Tuesday March 21, to expand their efforts to a third refugee camp. You can support the campaign to raise funds and awareness of their mission, here:

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This Woven Legend rug was reproduced for the Met Museum 

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Woven Legends rugs are based on historical designs

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Woven Legends founder: Neslihan Jevremovic 

Baldwin Hardware – Booth 293 – Baldwin’s Evolved collection is the next generation of smart handlesets and door deadbolts blending exquisite architectural designs with Kevo technology. Evolved delivers an electronic solution designed to exceed the luxurious architectural standards of Baldwin customers. Baldwin Evolved offers an easy Bluetooth “touch-to-open” solution in 18 handleset styles and three deadbolts. Customers can choose from 18 Baldwin finishes for customizable style. Evolved connects through advanced bridge technology to allow you to easily open and close doors via your smartphone and the Kevo mobile app, which runs in the background so there is no need to open the app to enter the home. By downloading the app, you can easily issue “ekeys” for remote access, real-time access history and remote unlocking capabilities within Bluetooth range.

Evolved’s streamlined design easily conceals the technology in a smart, sleek design that is 60 percent smaller than other electronic products on the market. Evolved features subtle LED lights to communicate elegantly with users. It also features a self-aligning brass bolt for easy operation and is water-resistant to ensure moisture won’t affect the technology.

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Gaggenau – Booth 387 – Gaggenau is a manufacturer of high-quality home appliances and acknowledged as an innovation leader in design and technology “Made in Germany.” The company, with a history dating back to 1683, has revolutionized the home kitchen with its internationally acclaimed products. Gaggenau’s success is founded on technological innovation and a clear design language combined with high functionality, hand-craftsmanship, resulting in what the company calls the art of the kitchen.

Available in April, Gaggenau is premiering its EB 333 oven – to mark its 333 years in business – and they say it “perfectly embodies Gaggenau’s design philosophy of traditional avant-garde, where timeless craftsmanship is combined with innovative design. The most striking feature of the 36 inch wide oven is its full-width 3 mm thick stainless-steel door, creating a beautifully sleek and elegant front. The door is equipped with a new soft opening and closing technology to enhance the user experience. “

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Gaggenau artful products and new Masterpiece oven – Culinary Luxury – & serving Ossaban ham! 

Thermador – Booth 387 – Thermador unveiled a completely refreshed Culinary Preservation line, providing exceptional cooling storage with an amazing array of refrigerator, freezer, and wine unit combinations that allow for flexibility and personalization in the kitchen –and throughout the home.

Newly designed TFT control display,with a sleek modern look, provides intuitive management for every aspect of the unit. The ThermaFresh System in the refrigerator drawers provides optimal humidity and temperature control to extend the freshness of meat and produce. The FreeFlow® Cold Air System allows items on door shelves to remain cold and quickly return to the interior temperature once the door is closed. Delicate produce bins provide a storage solution for delicate produce and herbs. The bins are easily removable to take to the food prep area — love this feature. LED theater lighting in two long tiles along the side provide filtered even lighting, ensuring all food can be spotted and labels are readable. Specially designed Diamond Ice maker in all culinary preservation units with freezers. How glamorous!

Thermador offers Incredible personalization possibilities with over 23 customizable models, including a new 36” refrigerator, 36” freezer and a 23 ½” refrigerator that, when matched with an 18” or 24” freezer, will fill a pre-existing 42” or 48” cut-out.

Open Door Assist feature provides the option to push the door to open or pull it to open –with just a simple selection from the TFT display.  This is one of the features recommended to the company by their design brand ambassadors.  I’m proud to share that my friend, Toni Sabatino is a leader on the board and advocated for this feature!

Glass shelves with aluminum trim and drawers in refrigerator and freezer columns exude a luxurious feel and clean symmetry when paired alongside any other column.

Wine columns feature Full Extension Wengewood racks with triangular dowels that provide more stability and an elegant presentation for fine vintage bottles. You also have the ability to place a custom panel on the door, or to order a stainless steel unit with no door assembly required.

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Individual pull out drawers for variety of herbs and fruits 

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Take away trays to the table or BBQ 

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Swarovski Crystal studded Rangecraft hood 

Rangecraft – Booth 485 – RangeCraft has been a leading industry manufacturer of high quality, custom designed metal range hoods. RangeCraft’s Made To Order Hoods are available in over 25 product designs. Decorative bands, rivets, buttons and pot rails can be added to dress up the range hood. The brand is showing a new Miami Design in Antique Copper enhanced with copper color Swarovski Crystals — the only manufacturer licensed to do so. Pure, glamorous luxury for the kitchen.

Urban Cultivator – Booth 144 – Urban Cultivator is THE product you’ll covet at this year’s show. It’s the future, now. You can grow herbs and micro greens in an indoor garden incubator that looks like an under the counter wine storage unit. The greens cultivate in approximately two weeks and you can continue to add new seeds the tray racks. Love this truly homegrown luxury. It’s a four-season healthy way to eat investment.  The unit can be a standalone or used with a water hook up. You can customize the cab it with a choice of front tints and five different tops: Cherry, Male, Walnut, Stainless Steel.  It has four grow trays; four humidity domes.  And the company provide 24/7 phone support – but you won’t need it.  Enjoy growing your own food.  It even comes with a starter kit of four plants.

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Grow your own herbs & micro greens all year with Urban Cultivator  

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Pull Out growing trays, Urban Cultivator 

FlowerBox Wall Gardens Naturalist – Booth 128 – I was completely intrigued with this brand’s signature collection of live – yet preserved – plants. As a horticulturist and garden designer, me and fellow designers, could argue that vertical gardens are like the unicorn of the garden art world; presented with great frequency as the next “thing” but it just doesn’t work. Yet here at FlowerBox were moss, ivy, ferns, and boxwood hanging like verdant wallpaper. In fact, the company says they have 30 kinds of exotic plants and they swear that in the seven years they’ve sold the products they’ve never had a problem. I’m going to try this FlowerBox and will report back after I’ve test-driven in an install. In the meantime, be sure to check it out. Along with their resin tree and plant stools.

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FlowerBox vertical garden wall coverings 

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FlowerBox resin tree table or stool 

Pennoyer Newman – According to the company, “Cast from originals that once graced the gardens of some of the foremost estates in the U.S. and abroad, the collection of over 400 stone resin replicas are lightweight and weather-resistant. What’s more, each Pennoyer Newman casting is handcrafted in New York City using a unique composition of pummeled marble, rock and resin.” For me, I know and love this brand – and the co-owner Virginia Newman so much that I have to look up their description. I use the pots for clients and we adore the look and quality of these investment containers, millstones, fountains, and statuary. The theme of their booth is “nobility” and from the lions to the herons to the pedestals – there is no doubt about their pedigree and noble presence. You must visit and own as much as you can of Pennoyer Newman. 

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Pennoyer and Newman 

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Pennoyer & Newman’s garden products – replica’s of classic designs 

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Pennoyer & Newman “Nobility” themed AD Show booth features artful prints of Cecily Pennoyer’s 

I also liked the ventless fireplace designs at HearthCabinet.  No need for a chimney, gas, or electric.  The “fireplaces” are good looking, just right for small spaces, and put out some heat, too.

photo courtesy HearthCabinet 

Showing in the same booth is MJ Atelier – their bespoke sculpted wallpaper, sculptural wall covering, and textured wall coverings are exquisitely elegant.  Truth too, they feature a peacock on their business card so they had me…

Of note is Charleston
 – eco-friendly limestone or stucco interior or exterior wall surfaces.  Very authentic and beautiful.  

Kalamazoo, Outdoor Gourmet, always shows quality outdoor kitchens and this year they are featuring a new item: the Smoker Cabinet.

A step up are the Lynx Grills and their new Sonoma Smoker.  It features “smart” capabilities likes the brand’s SmartGrill, that is wifi and app-enabled with pre-loaded recipes – or you can add your own custom recipes. These American made outdoor kitchen products are welded stainless steel, grilling platforms that is easy to clean.  The hood construction allows for air recirculation.

Lynx Grill

The company sees outdoor kitchens becoming ever more complete in terms of complete functionality.  The pizza oven and cocktail station add to the overall look.  Plus my foodie friend, Donatella Arpaia is the company’s brand ambassador!  

Donatella cooking demo at Lynx Grills


Saturday, March 18th:

11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M.

Tastemakers discuss individuality, personal style, and the undeniable intersection between fashion and home today.
Featuring Tim Gunn of “Project Runway,” HGTV’s Genevieve Gorder, and Los Angeles-based interior designer Mary McDonald. Moderated by Jane Keltner de Valle, Style Director at Architectural Digest

1:30–2:30 P.M.

The partners of McAlpine use architecture and design to shape private sanctuaries that inspire creativity. Specializing in highly personalized interiors for clients like Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, they will reveal the soulful spaces, romantic bedrooms, extraordinary guest quarters, party barns, and more that endow each retreat with individuality, intimacy, and uniqueness.
Featuring McAlpine partners Bobby McAlpine, Susan Ferrier, Greg Tankersley, and Ray Booth. Moderated by book consultant Jill Cohen

3:30–4:30 P.M

Trade secrets and essentials behind the art of entertaining and high design are revealed.
Featuring Ken Fulk, designer and creative director for the tech sector’s elite and the author of Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World; Lela Rose, fashion designer and author of Prêt-à-Party; and Laura Dowling, Chief Floral Designer for the Obama White House and author of Floral Diplomacy at the White House. Moderated by Athena Calderone, renowned lifestyle expert, author of Cook Beautiful, and creator of EyeSwoon

Sunday, March 19th:

11:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M.

Learn what you need to know to define your project scope, set your budget, and navigate the gritty details of renovating small or palatial spaces. The conversation will focus on the nuts and bolts of a stress-free renovation.
Featuring licensed contractors Stephen Fanuka of “Million Dollar Contractor” and DIY network star Jason Cameron. Moderated by Jean Brownhill, Founder and CEO of renovation matchmaker Sweeten

1:30–2:30 P.M.

Designer Vicente Wolf’s book The Four Elements of Design: Interiors Inspired by Earth, Water, Air and Fire is the springboard for this discussion on how to create spiritually positive interiors and find beneficial ways to utilize all aspects of design— architecture, landscaping, interiors, and urban development— to achieve a higher level.
Featuring Vicente Wolf and Katie Scott, interior designer and author of Let It Be. Moderated by Linda O’Keeffe, design writer and co-author of The Four Elements of Design: Interiors Inspired by Earth, Water, Air and Fire

3:30–4:30 P.M

Aiming to expose a few key master makers of the new movement afoot—the New Material Style—hear how this trend uses untapped material to take precedence over conventional standards of typology, usability, and even beauty.
Featuring master makers Lora Appleton, Ara Levon Thorose, Kim Markel, and Cody Hoyt. Moderated by Daniel Michalik, Director of Product Design at Parsons School of Design

Diffa By Design
THURSDAY–*MONDAY, MARCH 16–20, 2017 *Note – this element of the show runs through Monday. This is the tablescape showcase by major brands and designers. As much as it pains me to write this, the tablescapes were a disappointment this year. I eagerly anticipate this element of the show every year, especially because I also provide tablescape design for my garden design clients and I truly appreciate the inspiration and jaw-dropping compositions. Yet there were few that are astonishing. In a departure from past years, our tour “sherpa” said there was no theme given the creators. Still, there was a striking plethora of stark, austere looks and cut, forced spring tree twigs and shrubs, such as cherry blossoms and pussy willows and tropical philodendron leaves and a dearth of blossoming flowers or arrangements. There were a few good uses of succulents. Overall, missing were the whimsical, theatrical tabletop creations.  Yet, there is much to see and enough wow to impress.

My favorites? I loved the Ralph Lauren Home nautical display.  And for our simpatico style masters on the other side of the
pond, Ralph
Lauren UK

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Ralph Lauren nautical tablescape

Benjamin Moore — the painted walls felt like a fine leather glove… The table setting is a classic look.

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Benjamin Moore tablescape 

Rockwell Group with Ovando 20 – Loved the colors — meant to evoke the desert at dusk – the living wall of plants, and the use of succulents as architectural element amplified the approach of eating in a potting shed. A projector casts blooming flowers onto the succulents and cacti, and a diffuser fills the air with scent.  While I would not want the scent at a real dinner party – even heavy fragrance interferes with the olfactory pleasure of food and drink, this design was a fantasy.

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Rockwell Group table 

Twyla – 21 – featuring artist Edward Granger, who was on site, completing a wall hanging painting for the display. His bigger piece, “Mystify The Mind #3” hangs on the back wall and is the inspiration for the composition. I love the company’s “start with the art” approach to interior design decor – vs. an all too common methodology of choosing the art to “match” the decor. Ouch!

According to Twyla, “To bring back the practice of using art as inspiration to create a space, Twyla partnered with Brooklyn artist Edward Granger to make the room itself a work of art. Granger created two murals and a large-scale artwork featuring colorful geometric forms.

Austin-based Twyla is a new way to discover and buy contemporary art. Our curators partner with artists who exhibit at world-renowned museums and galleries to create obsession-worthy limited edition prints you can’t find anywhere else.

At DIFFA, Twyla introduced its first trade program providing member interior designers, architects and developers a discount on Twyla pieces, dedicated account managers, access to top curators and complimentary rendering services.

In Twyla’s room, the furniture and table were custom made and Austin-based ceramic designer Eliana Bernard crafted the marbleized plates and vases and the lighting fixture is by Stickbulb.

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Twyla – Ed Granger Mystify painting inspires table decor 

Twyla cited a luxe with minimalism trend, using lucite, and the channel (velvet) seating.

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Brooklyn artist, Ed Granger completing a work of art 

Sunbrella – This was the most thoughtfully nuanced narrative, curated and displayed in an intriguing and compelling display. The designer, Stephanie Housley, Coral & Tusk, explained how she wanted to tell the American story – featuring the West and our national parks; a refined cowboy kind of dreamy American West in a “glamping” setting.

Custom, textured fabric bisons – the “true American mammal” – hung on a custom ombre fabric wall. Textured Sunbrella covered seating with a look of antique kilim.

The cups and plates were all hand-thrown, made by Brooklyn artist Nicholas Newcomb, and featured textile baked in the material. So incredible I had to pick a cup up and feel its tactile sensation.

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Sunbrella American national park-themed tablescape 

The Blue Ocean display was also rather layered design — with a nautical theme, using reclaimed wood, vintage, mid-century chairs and creative lighting that illuminated a hanging table with small green plants, with a center well and potted plants. The designers explained the plants can come off with the wood trays used for cheese or….

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Blue Ocean table 

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Blue Ocean hanging table features tray inset 

The Tzelan composition was a glittery space: reclaimed European Oak with squares of mineral composite of copper, zinc, and nickel that defined the interior space, gold-topped table, and lovely table setting. A great steal-worthy touch is the use of mineral crystals as part of the place setting, citing the mineral’s energy capability. Great conversation starter, too.

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Tzelan glamorous tablescape 

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Tzelan glittery tabletop decor 

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Rock Love: place settings feature minerals & quartz with energy properties! 
Roche Bobois +Gensler has a very cool tableau — just the kind of outré look you want to see at a show like this.  While the walls were a series of their signature stuffed chairs, a “huge” lampshade kind of hat or “cone of silence” suspended over the table.  
Roche Bobois + Gensler Dining Tableau 
Inside were projectors so that the dining guests will be able to bask in a moveable feast for the eyes — besides the purported bubbly dinner conversation, of course!  

Crate & Barrel had a good narrative: a couple comes home from a night out and along with friends, they raid the refrigerator, pour more champagne and enjoy their “Midnight Snacks” in the kitchen. The composition wasn’t a tablescape; rather a kind of set design.

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Crate & Barrel “Midnight Snack”

The Design Within Reach table was a treat: a garden table display that was a true eden fantasy. The walls are alternating mylar, mirrored table top covered in moss, twigs, air plants, and green.

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Design Within Reach garden tableau 

A lovely, transporting tablescape and dining room is designed by Eddie Ross, Style Director, ATG Stores. I learned ATG will be changing its name in April. Stay tuned. Products will still be available at The Mine by

The tablescape is in a greenhouse – available at ATG — featured an Asian as interpreted by an English garden look with lots of blowsy hydrangea plants, trellis, indoor styled furniture and lamps, layered pastel dish settings, fabric tent runners, urns, mirrors, lights… The details add up to an intriguing and compelling design.

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ATG’s Eddie Ross design 

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ATG English garden table decor in a greenhouse 

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ATG richly-layered tablescape 

Be sure to visit Pier 92 for DIFFA’S 20th Annual DINING BY DESIGN New York. The Architectural Digest Design Show is home to this spectacular display of cuisine, creativity, and glamour with one-of-a-kind dining environments that awe and inspire—all in support of DIFFA’s work to fight HIV/AIDS. DINING BY DESIGN also features a dynamic silent auction, the legendary COCKTAILS BY DESIGN party on Thursday, March 16th as well as a closing night Gala on Monday, March 20th.” You can purchase tickets to the Monday evening gala.


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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
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 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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