The 2010 blizzards of our discontent have now officially become history, as the Washington Design Center held its spring market on March 10. In my yard daffodils are blooming, in the skies Canada geese are flying north, and in the design center designers are smiling again. Business seems to have picked up, for which we are all grateful.
Entering the building, you are greeted by Kelley Proxmire’s reinterpretation of the lobby. As is her wont, Kelley’s design is fresh and crisp and intensely colorful. The lipstick reds just kiss visitors hello, and our Crillon Chandelier lends the sparkle of its rock crystal drops.
Then you take the elevator up to the seventh floor, get off, and come right into the best showroom in the building: Niermann Weeks. My daughter Eleanor and our design development manager, Bill Gardner labored for a week to completely redo the 8,000 square feet showroom, which made Joe and me really proud of their efforts. Entering our door closest to the elevator, you are greeted by a mélange of furnishings from us and from the William Switzer company, shone over by NW’s new Crevecoeur Chandelier.
You need to zoom in on the Crevecoeur to love its swooping curves and its shimmery Veronese silverleaf finish. Joe had planned to festoon this fixture with crystals, but its metal architecture didn’t need the extra embellishment. Consequently he and Justin decided to develop a plush texture under the silverleaf. They worked on various base coats between the metal frame and the silverleaf before handing the fixture over to our painters.
Then presto, the Crevecouer Chandelier!
That chandelier is a hard act to follow, but Eleanor gladdened her mother’s heart by putting flowers in our Chinoiserie Tulipieres. We designed these with Charlotte Moss for her former retail store in Manhattan. The pagoda shape fascinates Charlotte, so Joe created these multi-level vases for her. Behind each golden grate is a well of water for tulips or other flowers. Further pleasing me, Eleanor even reflected my current fascination with lavender tones in this composition.
Look into this Switzer mirror to see Bill Gardner taking photos of a new wallpaper by Studio E.
This paper is called Stella and the color way is Dusk, Flash Gold. Studio E’s Denise Vasaya took this silkscreen splatter pattern of glitter on a neutral background, and then she made it register top and bottom as well as side to side. The glitter looks so random, but the designing hand has improved it for perfect matching on the wall. I was ready to re-do our living room, but my husband rolled his eyes and restrained my enthusiasm. This paper looks alive, changing subtly in various lights and with various colors around it. You really need to go see it, as a color memo just doesn’t convey the punch of the entire wall.
This vignette also shows how well all our lines coordinate with each other. You’re seeing
* Stella Wallpaper by Studio E
* Italian Plant Stand by Niermann Weeks
* Murano Lamp by Nancy Corzine
* Ashanti Mirror by Niermann Weeks
* The spectacular inlaid Le Signet four-door Cabinet by William Switzer
And here’s Denise from Studio E caught in a snapshot.
Dennis Hunt from Nancy Corzine posed with my Eleanor and our salesman Brad Boswell in front of Nancy’s new Coral wall covering. Nancy has the remarkable ability to capture the pure fragility of celadon tones in all her work, whether fabric, wall coverings, or furniture finishes.
Further, Nancy Corzine understands how to make large scale easy to live with in any environment. Her sectional sofa, the Marina, accommodates many people altogether in comfy style. Then she designs her coffee tables like this Museum Coffee to nestle right into the sofa space, for keeping drinks and food easily at hand.
Also joining us for market were Malou and Patrice Humbert of La Forge Française, standing in front of their Sophie Table. Patrice is a master of wrought iron, having trained extensively in France in his art. Today he and Malou operate their forge in Southampton, NY, where they create one beautiful piece after another.
The first piece of their that I ever saw was their
Vincennes Console. By hand Patrice had formed the hard steel into floating ribbons. My word, he is a talented man!
In this showroom vignette, Eleanor and Bill gathered some of our most popular lighting fixtures with some of La Forge’s most popular tables and fireplace accessories.
Andrea Elish from Savel came down from NY for the day, and spoke about her newest fabric line “Saladino for Savel”, with Stephen Drucker, the editor of House Beautiful.
She showed him our Gustavian Klismos Chair upholstered in Saladino’s mohair in an ambiguously neutral purple/grey/pink tone. The metal console is by La Forge Française, and the diptych comes from my man Joe Niermann.
Now look at this arrangement of our outdoor fabrics and furniture. We thank the fabric designer Nomi for her new Tangiers and Labyrinth collections for the ancient patterns on our pillows. While the patterns are from cultures past, she weaves her fabrics of 100% solution-dyed materials that will be happy in your yard or patio. Our seating, bench, and tables will be happy there too, but our Bagatelle Chandelier must be in a covered area to retain its UL guarantee of safety.
For market, Joe brought various models into the showroom, since he likes to get designer input into NW’s newest design concepts. After making rough sketches in 2D, Joe translates them into 3D with hand-cut cardboard, manila folders, and plywood.
What a kick – Stephen Drucker is taking a photo of this chandelier mock up.
Later Joe used monofilament to hang the mockup next to our Baldachino Ceiling Fixture. We need to see how the model consumes space, how easy it is to see through, how the bead structure (the white
bands) will look, and generally how people react to the overall look of the fixture.
How do you like the concept?
NW’s Bill Gardner and I took all these photos. You already know me, but you need to meet Bill, artfully leaning on our Louis XVI bed. He’s a handsome addition to this scene, and you can also admire the floral bed coverings made from our newest fabric line, Telafina. I love the meandering of these vines and flowers along the duvet. They look as relaxed as Bill does.
Turning from admiration of the Niermann Weeks staff and showroom, I need to send you to two other blogs for really interesting discussions of Stephen Drucker’s panel at the DC market. He, Celerie Kemble, and Jamie Drake shared their experience on “Interior Design Today: The New Rules.” We all know the rules were in flux even before the recession, and they chatted about more recent changes. Celerie and Jamie agreed that customers now value anything artisanal, showing craftsmanship, and custom-made for a client – sounds like you need to make a road trip to the Niermann Weeks showroom in DC or NY. However. I won’t even give you a hint about the bloggers’ analyses. You really need to see for yourself at:
Now please go look at these websites for more information, and thanks for visiting my blog. It’s been a pleasure.