For those of us that took the bait to “REGISTER NOW” for the 5th annual WITHIT/Women in the Home Furnishings Industry Today,  sponsored tour, we were not to be disappointed….and having attended same tour last year, you can read about that here, I already anticipated coming away enthralled and delighted, as certainly was the case….

Per the comprehensive brochure/itinerary we all received, the tour this year was “woven together through the universal language of color“.  The “color journey” for the group began with the individual visions of the Kips Bay Showhouse designers

….the Saturday tour, which I chose to not  attend, for I had started my own personal colorful start to the weekend by tripping over my own feet Friday night, which left me with the gift of a sprained ligament. I was responsible and kept said foot up on ice all day Saturday and thus was able to join the group for the following two days.

Sunday, on a pair of crutches, my husband escorted me into the city, from Long Island, where I met up with the group at the Javits Center, where, like last year, we would visit assorted exhibits, at the ICFF /International Contemporary Furniture Fair….again, the presentation given by various exhibitors, particularly  in the Spanish Pavillion was most interesting.

Although the draw to visit the Cooper -Hewitt National Design Museum was the exhibition of “Art and Fashion by Sonia Delaunay”, have to say that visiting the colorful and exquisite Van Cleef jewellery collection had us all rather enraptured as well. Thank you to Mary Leigh, our 2011 WITHIT prez, for  chauffeuring me in the wheel chair I was offered and decided to take the break for my wounded wing.

… the finale for this jam packed day would be a cocktail party preceding a most personable presentation, with q and a time following, by Wendy Goodman, New York Magazine Design Editor, who shared with us her lifetime relationship with the iconic Gloria Vanderbilt, one built on trust, and which thusly led Gloria to  collaborate with  Wendy to do the first and only authorized illustrated biography of this legendary designer, decorator, aritist, model, muse, heiress and author. What an absolute “inside design” treat! Each of us left the evening fully enthralled…AND with an autographed copy of this hot off the press treasure trove of insight and infamous photos.

 Click image to go directly to Amazon and purchase.

….and to think we still had another full day orchestrated specifically for us….

Monday, Monday…

Armed with one crutch, yes, graduating daily, and an umbrella, I joined the group for a day FULL of color…something for everyone…starting with personalized tour of M & S Schmalberg, a “cottage industry” in the heart of NY, a place from whence delicate and incricate colorful floral renditions are created. Truly amazing to be taken through the proccess from start to finish, from the place where flowers have been produced over the years, for famous designers…making a particular splash as a result of exposure on the long running Sex in the City show.

From there to a delectable lunch and informative 2012 Trend and Style report at Stylesight….and from there right to Material Connexion, an amazing  international material resource library, showcasing literally thousands of materials..

and from there  to the New York Design Center, specifically to tour the newly opened 1st Dibs Showroom…. over 30,000 feet of product, as represented by assorted businesses which also have their product available in one large/growing convenient online location, called, yes, 1st Dibs.

The tour was hosted by Traditional Home Magazine’s  art and antique editor,  Doris Athineos and Jon Walker, their home furnishings manager….

Enjoyed chatting up with Jon as I hobbled through the showroom….sharing with him my long time affilitiation with Suysel Cunningham, of  the design team of Tilton Fenwick, who recently enjoyed accolades from Traditional Home as one their top 20 designers, AND, designed the Traditional Home vignette for recent Design on a Dime, fundraising event, see details in the Material Girls blog,  AND which Antiques by Zaar contributed a etagere, as shown in above photo, that sold immediately. Wonderful on all fronts!

Further, it was an absolute delight to meet in person Doris Athineos, who readily recalled the 2008 article she produced, “It’s Good To Be Ching”, which Antiques by Zaar was part of said feature.

Needless to say this visit was highlight of the day…but it wasn’t over yet….

It would be off to not only visit the newly opened Lillian August store, but to have a cocktail reception, followed by an indepth view into how it all came to be and the exciting things ahead. Thank you to Skye Kirby, VP of Stores and Marketing….it was more than informative, it was delightful…and I look forward to following the further growth of this inspiring creative entity.

…. group dinner at City Crab, was a wonderful wonderful way to cap off the night of our “inside design” event, which we ALL gushed about respectively over delectable seafood dishes.

Thank you WITHT, for orchestrating this… and in particular Betty Lyn Eller and her committee, Jana Platina-Phipps, Deborah Klein, Laura Newman, Janine Finkle and Katie Mutushak.

Speaking for myself, my enthusiasm as an ambassador for WITHIT, has been fueled….my insight into Design has been enhanced, and my passion for what I do and the people I’m able to meet as I go about my business, spur me on.

Yes, I am on fire. Thank you, thank you thank you. This is my recap/testimonial, and I invite other event attendees to offer same as we spread the WITHIT word and grow our numbers….each and every member offering something special, one to the other. All good.


P.S. Limited photos as was constricted to using the camera on my phone, travelled light, but check out what I did garner, here, on my facebook page.