Early in my career – as both an interior designer and owner of an accessories store/design studio – I recognized the importance of traveling to the premier design centers as well as the furniture and gift shows held around the country. As you might expect, I spend lots of time on trade websites and going through myriad design magazines every month, but there’s no substitute for actually traveling to great cities, meeting and talking with leading artists and product designers, and looking at exciting new products close-up. My travels around the country are always an inspiration for my current projects and allow me to bring unique and exclusive selections to each and every client. Here are some highlights of my travels over the past couple of months – to Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles.
Mid-June found me in Chicago at the NeoCon furniture show in the amazing Merchandise Mart looming over the Chicago River. With 4,000,000 square feet of floor space, the Merchandise Mart was the largest building in the world when it opened in 1930. At the show, I selected several interesting seminars to attend including a fascinating one on using the psychology of design to create a healing environment for a chronically ill patient. I also found some great new product resources - one of my favorites being a line of fabulous textured glass tiles in vibrant, show-stopping colors. Chicago is a wonderful city for art and architecture, and I made the time to stroll through Renzo Piano’s stunning new modern wing of the Art Institute on Michigan Avenue and took in Frank Gehry’s fabulous concert shell in Millennium Part. But the most fun in the park was the incredible “Bean” sculpture and Face Fountains – so creative!
Early July found me in that high-design mecca, Miami, where I spent a couple of days visiting shops in the Miami Design District. Every trip I make to the Miami District, with over 100 stores in a ten square block area, I invariably find just the right piece for a client and come across exciting new lines that I can draw on in my work. My prize acquisition on this trip was the perfect desk chair for a client’s study - created by a German eco-friendly design firm, this beautifully designed chrome and leather chair features a solid curved natural walnut back toning in perfectly with the natural wood flooring in the study. My husband, Doug, accompanied me on this trip, taking advantage of the opportunity to spend an afternoon with a blind chief executive he’s co-authoring a new book with, “The Extraordinary Odyssey of a Blind Visionary.” Doug and I also spent a delightful two hours on a cruise of Biscayne Bay, looking at the spectacular homes on the water.
And I spent a rewarding day in mid-July at the California Gift Show in Los Angeles. Not only did I soak up ideas and inspiration from the hundreds of vendors who were represented, I also found a fantastic collection of semi-precious gemstones for a client’s master bedroom etagere. These dramatic pieces of agate, gypsum, amethyst, and other stones including rose quartz (the love stone) are the perfect accent pieces for a bedroom done in a soothing, naturalistic style. My LA trip was also special because I was able to spend a couple of additional days with my son Steve and his kids Lane and Savannah. Living a block from the Pacific, we spent some fun hours on the beach. The perfect trip for me - combining my three passions – family, design and water.