Tuesday, December 31, 2013

...traction, opportunity and gratitude: the personal design best of 2013.

Lucky ’13: to quote Old Blue Eyes, “it was a very good year.” A couple of tough ones behind me, and then this, what finally seemed like movement, momentum, and traction. At the heart of the happiness, some great opportunities, new challenges, new connections, some leaps of faith (with me and many others doing the leaping), and with a LOT of help from my friends, that all let me participate more actively in a design community I’m so happy— and proud— to be a part of.

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to count down (up?) to the very best of the best of my Year in Design 2013.

7) Table for Two
I loves me some table-tops. I shoot one for just about every interior design I complete. So when Jan Maclatchie of JanMac Brands asked me to get my style on for a tabletop set-up and photo shoot for the great American brand Lenox, I said yes, please. Then it got even better: I’d be crafting an intimate fall-into winter tablesetting for two. My favorite time of year, and pure delight for this hardcore romantic.

6) Getting Graphic
My roots were showing a bit... my past Graphic Design life made a cameo appearance in a year rich with interior design highlights. I was delighted to be able to work on two book projects, one, the cover for my sister’s second book of poetry published for Ahsahta Press, and the other, working with gentleman scholar and vintage glass dealer Damon Crain, of Culture Object on his sparkling book of mid-century American architectural art glass. 
It was fun to delve into stock photo research and talk about fonts and grids again, for two projects I was honored to be part of... and could not be more proud of the outcome on both.

5) Baby Makes Three
Two firsts yielded a third: my first repeat client, my first nursery, and my first appearance in Meredith’s publication American Baby. Delighted, honored, and so happy that the happy project was for perhaps the sweetest young family I’ve had the pleasure to meet, let alone help make their space enjoyable, pleasant and personal... and have the chance to do it twice. But I can think of no bigger honor than to help create a young person’s very first space.

4) All in Moderation
As part of D&D Spring Market, I was asked to moderate “Spring Break Table Escape,” an inspiring and interactive event where five designers created gorgeous tabletop designs built around the exquisite textiles of the gracious host for the event, JAB Anstoetz, with the also pretty-exquisite Caroline Vaughn at the helm of their first-floor showroom. 

Tabletops again, but this time I was talking to, and learning from, some of the best in the biz, including my hilarious, giving and wildly-talented friend Michael Tavano, the, um, masterscaper who always manages to wow, whether at DIFFA Dining by Design, Bilotta, or in the warm and lovely home he shares with his equally loveable hubby Lloyd Marks (the dashing duo behind window-finesser MT Custom).
I was delighted to meet the so-fun Tara Seawright and Bella Mancini, and chat up friends... the lovely Alla Akimova of Archives ID and the colorful and dapper Christopher Coleman, along with Mr. Tavano (with whom I publicly discussed, well, balls. Don’t ask.) We laughed, we learned, and we all ogled the table creations that showcased JAB fabrics and the remarkable range of these design all-stars. So, so much fun.

3) Paint Bucket List
Paint me excited: When asked to talk color with paint and color experts Valspar, on the virtual and print pages of House Beautiful, I was over the Blue Moon. I first became a Valspar paint fandeck fan during Design on a Dime, where they are the generous donor of every gallon of paint used for the event. And I’ve always been a fan of House Beautiful. So to participate in their advertorial series, where I’d be featured in an online mini-magazine (including a video) and make it on to the magazine’s pages was both pure blast and high honor.

2) Third Dime’s a Charm
It was my third appearance at Design on a Dime to benefit Housing Works, and my favorite year of the three so far, spurred on by a buoyant Schumacher wallcovering, a great position (corner “office”!!), a giant green parakeet from Australia, and an oddly-popular, white-lacquered lobster that had them lined up in the aisles before the shopping broke loose.

The event just keeps getting better and better, and not just for me, but for the charity: The 50+ designers this year helped raise over one million dollars for Housing Works Thrifts, working to end the dual crisis of homelessness and those living with and affected by AIDS.

The generous many who make the event possible stepped up yet again, and as always, I was delighted to showcase, show off, and sell off the pieces of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Pagoda Red, Currey & Company, Bernhardt, Bungalow 5, Jayson Home and Wisteria, who’ve all been with me since Year One of Design on a Dime.

It was also an honor to bring back artists Dan Romer and Babette Herschberger, while welcoming Aaron Smith, Gary Moran and David Peterson to the booth's walls, while adding Room & Board and OLY Studios to the roster of the oh-so-generous.

1) It Would Be So Nice... if We Took a Holiday (House)
It was a wish, a dream, another bucket list item, and perhaps the most challenging thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing: Holiday House, 2013. Ever since I set foot in the Academy Mansion at 63rd and 5th in Manhattan, I dreamed of bringing a holiday to life in these remarkable halls, rooms, niches and passageways in a room of my very own. And this year, that dream came true.

I’ve loved the event for many reasons. Because it’s always in the same house every year, you see the power of pure d├ęcor in transforming spaces. I love the Tim-Gunn-esque additional challenge of holiday theme on top of designer showhouse. And I love the charitable nature of the event, bringing the two loves— interior design, and women’s health— of founder Iris Dankner together under one remarkable (and remarkably stylish) roof.

But the surprise of the event came from the remarkable camaraderie of it all, making late November and December seem like one non-stop holiday party, with friends old and new, celebrating, laughing, toasting.
Along the way I met some extraordinary people, was introduced to the talented troupe behind the Fundamental Theater Project, saw two wonderful gents get married in a magical space of their very own creation, all while getting to bring a taste of my version of Dublin to Manhattan’s East Side, and helping, in small part, to shatter the house’s past fundraising levels.

It took remarkable work, considerable budget, the generosity of MANY, and taxed the patience of more than one of my design clients, but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Thanks for letting me toot my own horn a bit on this New Year’s Eve, while helping to thank some the many people who made 2013 so remarkable.

What was the design highlight of your year? What’s ahead in 2014? I’d love to hear from you, and I wish you a year of health, abundance, joy, hearty laughter, and gorgeous homes. 

And I thank you for the support you've shown AskPatrick. Hope to see you even more in 2014!

UPDATE! Whoops, this should be SIX for 2013! The Lenox gig was technically 2012!! Time flies when you're having fun!

Get social! Find Holiday House NYCMT CustomJAB Anstoetz, the D and D BuildingMitchell Gold + Bob WIlliams, American Baby, Bella Mancini Design, Tara Seawright DesignArchives ID, Ahsahta PressJanMacBrands, LenoxValspar, House BeautifulCurrey & CompanyPagoda Red, Wisteria, Jayson Home, Room & BoardBungalow 5, Fundamental Theater Project, and Housing Works on Facebook.

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  1. Congratulations on a great year Patrick! Can't wait to see what 2014 will bring :)