Monday, January 31, 2011

What I loved at the NYIGF

Two-talented: Stacy Kunstel (aka Duchess) and
Michael Partenio (otherwise known as Dunes)
at their nautically-inspired booth at this week’s
New York International Gift Fair

Last night I returned home from a weekend trip to New York to scope out the New York International Gift Fair. This was my first time attending and I am so glad I went! My traveling companion (and guide) was Rosanne Palazola who pens Focus On Design
, shares retail space with me and others at New England Fine Living, tends design clients of her own, and has been to the gift fair a number of times while working with Tuttle and Co.

Roomates Rosanne and Tina

Snacks-to-go: Blueberry muffins
wrapped in swan-shaped tinfoil

We arrived in New York just before noon on Saturday and quickly hailed a cab to the NY apartment of Rosanne’s friend, Tina. The apartment was a delightful pied-a-terre with plenty of room to entertain overnight guests, and blessed with its own courtyard garden that looked charming even while blanketed beneath a white-winter snow.

The three of us headed over to the Pier section of the gift fair on our first day and then visited the Javitz center on day two. Aisle after aisle of gorgeous home decor products and gift merchandise greeted us upon entering each section of the NYIGF. While I did not take photos of everything I saw (honestly, it would have considerably decreased the amount of goodness we could squeeze in if we stopped to photograph every booth) I did collect the cards of my favorite exhibitors for future reference (and journalistic posts!)

Find the Dunes and Duchess at this well-styled space at the NYIGF

While there, we made sure to visit our Boston design friend, Stacy Kunstel at the Dunes & Duchess booth located at
Pier 94, Booth #41059.

On display were new products like cool mirrors and elegant sconces that were added to this stylish line of accessories that includes lamps, candelabras, and giant hurricanes.

I finally got a chance to meet the talented and gracious Michael/Dunes in person, and he showed me a new free-standing pedestal that I know would look fabulous in the next design show that I’m working on : )

I would love to see the eco-friendly design-conscious lighting
by Artecnica offered at New England Fine Living

The energized crowds in the exhibit halls were just as stylish as the products being displayed. It was quite the fashion show! When I called home to check in with my family, one of my sons inquired whether I had seen anyone famous. No, I did not see Nate Berkus this time, but I did meet Lisa from the design blog Hamptontoes who had a House Proud segment on his show early in the fall. I have somewhat of a photographic memory and rarely forget a face, so I noticed her right away when she was visiting the Dunes & Duchess (plus I had seen her on Stacy’s blog after Stacy saw the Nate Show last August, so it was easy to put two-and-two together.)

More designer sightings ...

While we were admiring a gorgeous room decked out in lavender and linen designed by Oly Studio, I noticed a woman strategically shooting best-angle photos of the space. I figured she must be with the press since many exhibitors prefer that photos are not taken. When she turned around I immediately recognized her as Heather Clawson of Habitually Chic. I introduced myself as a fan of her design blog, but I could tell she was just like us, trying to see and record as much of the show as possible, so we didn’t chat long.

Going to the gift fair can be much like visiting an amusement park for design lovers, but it is also a work-related field trip that involves research and analysis. Designers are thinking “What does my client need?
Store owners are wondering “What would my customer like? Writers are looking for products to engage their audience, and many of us are wishing we could take home all of our show favorites and not just order slips, catalogs and memories!

When the weekend was over we were like little kids wishing we had time for one more ride on the merry-go-round. But we knew our time was up, and to be honest, all the pretty-shiny-colorful objects had left our senses overindulged (in the best way, of course!)

As I notice posts about the show this week (it goes through February 3rd) I will add them to this list. If you post about the show, please leave your blog address with the post link in the comments. I would love to see what you loved about the NYIGF.

Habitually Chic: Gift Show Guide

Habitually Chic: Jonathan Adler

Habitually Chic: Favorite Things

Habitually Chic: Oxbow Decor

Habitually Chic: For the Birds

Habitually Chic: Trends Report

Ishka Designs: NYIGF part 1

Hamptontoes: Tour of the NYIGF

Hamptontoes: NYIGF part II

Frugal Farmhouse Design: Gift Show Observations

Pretty Little Green Things: NYIGF Pier 94

Pretty Little Green Things: NYIGF Javitz Center

ShelterPop: Roost at NYIGF

Shelter Pop: NYIGF – Favorite Booths

The Itsy Factor: NYIGF Baby & Child Review

My Mom Shops: NYIGF – Best new baby & child

My Mom Shops: NYIGF – Melissa & Doug

IVillage Home & Garden: NYIGF – Favorite Finds

IVillage Home & Garden: Best Kid Friendly Designs

IVillage Home & Garden: Amazing Finds for Pets

Pretty Pink Tulips: My First NYIGF

The Zhush: NYIGF A Newbie’s Perspective

Fifth Joy: The Best of NYIGF

Maison de Ballard: Dolan Geiman Art at NYIGF

Design Sponge: Morihata International

The Lonny Blog: Nina
s Finds from the Gift Fair

Design Milk: New York International Gift Fair

And from my traveling companion ...

Focus on Design: Road Trip

Focus on Design: Road Trip, day 2


  1. Thanks for the link Yvonne! Always happy to share my picks for stylish children with that "itsy" factor. ;-)

    ~Elisabeth, The Itsy Factor

  2. Yvonne,
    I loved meeting you and you certainly have such a great memory! So glad to hear it was your first visit to the show...isn't it fabulous? You are right though, it is work...not to forget exhausting. Little Nest is always one of my favorites to visit. Who can resist how darling their offerings are for the stylish little set. Off to check out more on your blog. Also, thanks so much for the mention!

  3. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  4. Thanks for the links and the comments! (Design blog I am *blushing*) The template for my blog is pretty standard, but I'm a big fan of white space and try to make the online reading experience as easy on the eye as possible by keeping visual clutter to a minimum. Glad you like it!

  5. Sounds like you had an absolutely lovely time.

  6. Hi Yvonne,
    Thanks so much for the link! That's so fun that you saw Lisa, who was my tour guide the following day. And, I would love to meet Heather one of these days. She is blazing the blog path!!

    I tried to cram it all in to 1 day. Definitely needed 2. I hope to be back in August and if you're coming, I'd love to meet you in person.

    Love Stacy and what she and Michael are creating!!!


  7. Thanks so much for including my blog on your list of links about the NYIGF! Artist Dolan Geiman was a real find and we were so excited to meet him. Love this post about the NYIGF. So happy to find your blog and adding to my blog roll. Warm Wishes on this winter morning ~ Joanie Ballard, MAISON de BALLARD

  8. How nice it was to see your smiling face at NYIGF! We are thrilled that you stopped by to see us and thank you so much for the wonderful coverage here! We had such a good time at NYIGF, but seeing friends like you made it all the sweeter! xoduchy

  9. My ears are burning. =)

    Thanks so much Joanie for the compliments and for your blog feature. Excited to find Yvonne's blog via her comment there. Definitely having a look around.


Thanks for visiting! I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. Please note: all comments will be reviewed before being published to protect readers from spam. Thank you!