Wednesday, May 18, 2011


For three jam-packed days earlier this week I was in New York with the creme de la creme of interior design and lifestyle bloggers on a whirlwind adventure called Blogfest 2011.

So much was packed into the itinerary that it is a challenge to condense everything into a blog post (one of the things I learned at Blogfest was to edit) but I'll try...


The festivities kicked off at Hearst where we had an energizing luncheon on the 44th floor of the impressive Hearst Building.

From there we got an intimate look at the editors that create the pages in House Beautiful, Veranda, and Town & Country.

These industry heavy weights put on a little show of "The View" for us, from left to right: Mark Rozzo of Town & Country (Whoopi) Newell Turner of House Beautiful (Joy) Dara Copinigro of Veranda (Elisabeth) and Beth Greene of Kravet (Barbara).

A highlight at Hearst was getting to see early covers of House Beautiful, which was founded in 1896 and is the #1 shelter magazine today.

After some fabulous champagne toasting on the 44th floor of Hearst, hosted by dapper Mark Rozzo of Town & Country, we were off to the ELLE DECOR Concept House. A favorite space was by Sarah Story (and yes, that is her real name). Hand-painted walls and ceilings reference Klimt and Sarah envisioned the room as a ladies salon. What could be a more fabulous place to have thrilling conversation on art and culture?

Blogfest was similar to a reality show in that everyone was offered cocktails at every turn. The above concoction stood out from the sea of champagne and white wine. Not sure what was in it besides booze, Seattle's best coffee, and a lot of sugar, but it was good.

What? Another cocktail party? The festivities continued Monday night with a chic party thrown by Design TV Joss & Main. Possibly the most fantastic floral arrangements of Blogfest were to be seen here, and trust me, there was some tough competition.

See what I mean? Love that peonies were in season for Blogfest. An informal poll shows that all bloggers say that the peony is their favorite flower.


If Monday was magazine day then Tuesday was designer day - so no surprise that Tuesday was the fave day for this group of design junkies. We had the morning free so I headed over to the Kips Bay Show House...

As is typical of show houses, Kips Bay was larger than life and not for ordinary living. The bedroom designed by Amanda Nisbit, above, was a standout and made me want to curl up in the bed with a copy of Valley of the Dolls. It was the perfect rich girl gone wrong bedroom, with the shocking Marilyn Minter piece over the bed, along with the feminine yet almost violent hand-painted pink wall covering.

The color rush continued at the D&D Building where I joined my fellow bloggers at a Lilly Pulitzer picnic in this fabulous showroom. That's the cute Kravet team of Jennifer Powell and Ann Feldstein in their best Lilly attire. (Missing from this photo is Beth Greene, who conceived the whole affair, and who also wore the chicest dresses every day, complete with wardrobe changes for evening.)

This room was just too fabulous for words and made me want to light up a pink Virgina Slims and play some high-stakes backgammon.

And from there it was an inspiring talk from design icon, Barbara Barry (with Scott Kravet below)...

The audience of bloggers was a tweet with proclamations of love for Ms. Barry and her inspiring words..."Food cooked with love tastes better"..."Life can be hard but it can be balanced by beauty and gentleness"..."Beauty causes me to slow down"...and on and on. I think we all fell a little bit in love.

Why else would over one hundred accomplished design professionals literally line up to have the chance to meet Barbara Barry?

From the D&D we jetted off to Mayo Studios in Long Island City for a Traditional Home party to celebrate more fabulous designers, included the humble and funny Suzanne Kasler.

Here she is trying to get out of being photographed...sorry, couldn't resist!

This charming desk makes me want to create something beautiful.

Love this pretty inspiration board and the understated pink color scheme.

I couldn't manage more photos of some of the other incredible designers there, including Eric Cohler, Thomas O'Brien and David Easton, as my hands were full with my gorgeous "Inspired Styles" book from Kravet, my enormous goodie bag (worthy of their own blog post), cocktails and finger food.

As we were leaving Mayo Studios, I stumbled upon this inspiring prop/flower room for the stylists working photo shoots here.


The last day of Blogfest ended with a bang with arguably the most powerful woman in interior design. Margaret Russell is the new editor-in-chief of Architectural Digest and former editor-in-chief of ELLE DECOR.

After seeing Margaret on reality TV, I was bracing myself for a bit of a diva, but could not have been more wrong. She may be a Prada wearing Conde Nast editor, but there was no devil in her. It was exciting to hear that she loves blogs and comments herself. And hearing her insider stories was a treat. (She was at Liz Taylor's home on the day she died.)

Blogfest was an inspiration and such a wonderful opportunity to meet other bloggers in this wonderful design community. Thank you to Kravet for making this happen!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

May Madness

Sports fans have March Madness, when the TV always has a good basketball or golf game going on, but for us interior design fans, there is May, when it seems like there is always an event geared towards home design.

Last week Rinfret Home & Garden kicked off the month of festivities with a Networking Event that we co-hosted with the magazine, New England Home's Connecticut.

The weather was perfect (finally!) and we had a huge turnout. It was a major networking night that probably had guests calling their printers the next morning to place business card orders.

New England Home set a great tone to the evening with their Editor-in-Chief, Kyle Hoepner encouraging everyone to get to know each other. We love how this new magazine to Fairfield County focuses on networking and building the interior design community. Through networking events like this we have made business connections that have helped Rinfret to grow and that is the experience with most guests at NE Home events. But enough gushing, on to the raffle...
We raffled off a pair of hurricanes (which were filled with business cards from the attendees). Cindy chose the winner, Joy from Joy of Light, who wowed us with her gorgeous matchbook collection (which she gave us samples of). Thanks Joy!

I met a lot of new and interesting people last Tuesday, but to be honest, my favorite part about Rinfret Home & Garden parties is having the chance to have fun with my fabulous co-workers. With Cindy as our leader, we all know how to have a good time, and that we did. Here is, from left to right, Chelsea Garber (Cindy's assistant), Hilary Merrill (the Shop Manager), Kristen Farrington Dawson (Senior Designer), Chelsea again, and me, Elizabeth Ethridge McGann.

The NE Home CT party was definitely the highlight of last week for me but it was certainly not the only thing going on. One might think that Cinco de Mayo was a celebration of shopping rather than to commemorate Mexico's freedom. On May 5th New Canaan held its annual Design Destrict event, which I attended for the first time this year and loved. Hilary Hotchkiss from Moffly Media had told me about it and it sounded like fun but I was really blown away by what an event it was, with all the great design shops in New Canaan staying open late, serving fun cocktails and giving out freebies. It didn't hurt that it was another lovely evening. I'll definitely be back next year. Also on Cinco de Mayo was Art on the Ave on our own Greenwich Avenue. This is such a fun night and it's always great to have an excuse to shop late and check out the work of local artists.

We've barely finished the first week in May and there is so much more to look forward to, with two hotly anticipated events coming up in the next week. This week (May 12 - 14) Rinfret Home & Garden is holding its Fifth Annual Warehouse at Morgan Manhattan (16 Bruce Park Avenue, at the bottom of Greenwich Ave). This is an epic sale and you never know what kind of treasures you might find.

Check out the above photo from last year's Warehouse Sale. Yes, that is a stuffed bear in the background, and yes that sold to a lovely couple with a gorgeous home. (I know because I had the dubious distinction of transporting the bear to its new home.)
But there's a lot more than just taxidermy bears. The Warehouse Sale is famous for its fantastic collection of light fixtures, mirrors and furniture pieces that are marked down to their lowest prices of the year. Come early for the best selection. The sale is this Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

The biggest event for me this month is without a doubt Blogfest 2011, which I have been anticipating for months and can't believe that it's just a week away.
Kravet and Lee Jofa have organized a whirlwind three days for interior design bloggers where we will meet such industry heavyweights as Margaret Russell, Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest, Newell Turner of House Beautiful, the designer Barbara Barry and many others. I am so honored to be included among the outstanding group of bloggers that will be there and am so excited to meet the faces behind the blogs. Stay tuned for a blog post about this event very soon!!

As part of Blogfest, I'll also get to check some other "May Madness" events off my checklist, including the Kips Bay Designer Showhouse and I'll get a sneak peak of the ELLE Decor Modern Life Concept House. I'm literally counting down the days!

Stay tuned for the behind the scenes of the first ever Blogfest 2011...!