BLOGFEST 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...

DAY # 1 - HEARST


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.

DAY # 2 - ALL ABOUT DESIGN

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.


DAY # 3 - ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

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!