Travel and Change of Place = New Vigor

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A remarkable ‘sconce’ at the Blackman Cruz showroom

How is it that the Roman philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 BC – AD 65) would know what a good idea it would be for me to go to the 10th Design Leadership Summit in Los Angeles when he said;


 “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”


As it turns out my weeklong trip to the city of angels was extraordinary, and indeed I have new vigor!


Jonas: The Art of Fine Upholstery

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Recently we received a copy of a newly published book titled ‘Jonas: The Art of Fine Upholstery’ from our friends and long time collaborators at Jonas.

The book, with a forward by Veranda editor Clinton Smith and introduction by the firm’s owners Steven Jonas and Charles Berlin, takes the reader through Jonas’ history, which is traced back to the late 19th century in Austria through to it’s present day impressive 12,000 square foot space on West 18th Street in New York City.

Following a fascinating examination of the family-owned firm, the book shines a light on the artisanal craft that members of the interior design community have come to both love and respect from the storied workroom…


Mixing Ethnic Sensibility and Traditional China at Bilotta’s ‘Art Of The Table’

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I was invited to participate in the Fifth Annual ‘Art of the Table’ at the Bilotta Kitchen Showroom at the A&D Building in New York City this year. In the process of working on this project I learned that it is the 30th Anniversary of Bilotta, a family owned and run business; I dug a little deeper and came to find out that my working relationship with Bilotta is just shy of 20 years! All the while working with the same Kitchen Designer – our beloved Paula Greer. This made participating in the event all the more meaningful for me, and for them!

This year’s co-sponsor is Prouna, and we were allowed to select china from any of their patterns: I selected ‘Tapestry’, a richly patterned gold border decoration on white – a very popular combination for classic place settings.

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Large sets of china get passed down from one-generation to the next – with the dishes used only once or twice per year — along with sterling flatware. But what I find is that when a table is set exclusively with the ‘good’ china, it can look staid and old fashioned. The solution? Mix it up!

Estate sales, auctions, antique stores and even yard sales can be great places to pick up ‘good’ china that people realize they don’t need or don’t want anymore; mixing up patterns, especially with bold and expressive designs, can bring some life back to the tabletop. And if you collect ‘mountains’ of the stuff, if one or two get broken or chipped along the way, c’est la vie!

I say use what you have if only once a week or even once a month – this way you have included the ‘good china’ and hopefully the dusty flatware into your life.

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A typical house in America has separate rooms for the Kitchen, Dining and ‘Living’. But tell me, which room do you spend the most time in, even when you have guests?

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I am almost certain your answer will be the kitchen! I think about the kitchen as the real living room – so why does it need to be white, bright with the now ubiquitous stainless steel appliances? I have begun to approach this essential and most used room as the real living room and have taken to ‘un-kitchening’ the kitchen’ by using richer colors for walls and cabinets, including lamp light, artwork, decorative objects and furniture that many people delegate to other rooms.

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The “Art of the Table’ event provided me the opportunity to showcase this strategy in creating a relevant kitchen for how we live today.


RISD Inaugurates a New President!

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Rosanne Somerson and others on stage at her RISD Inauguration   Photo: Jo Sittenfeld / RISD Media

RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) had much to celebrate with the inauguration of its 17th President this past week. Under an enormous tent near the school’s campus, hundreds of faculty, staff, friends, parents, dignitaries and alumni joyously celebrated. I am grateful to have been there to join the celebration!

After an exhaustive two year global quest to find the next President of America’s oldest art & design school, the President of the Board of Trustees Michael Spalter and his search team found exactly what they were looking for in Providence; they hired truly one of their own – Rosanne Somerson…


What’s NEW What’s NEXT 2015

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The New York Design Center, aka 200 Lex, hosted their seventh annual What’s NEW What’s NEXT last week – a building-wide Open House to give the countless showrooms the opportunity to show new product. An enormously successful and well-attended event that I went to early in the day to get a sneak preview.

I found that for me What Is NEXT, is NOT always What Is NEW.  I selected specific products that spoke to me as both interesting and enduring…


Thank You NYC&G!

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We’d like to say a word of thanks to Kendell Cronstrom and the team of judges for this year’s New York Cottages & Gardens Innovation in Design AwardsBernd Goeckler, Shawn Henderson, Sandra Nunnerley, Tara Seawright, and Alan Tanksley — for selecting Glenn Gissler Design as the winner in both the Kitchen Design and Interior Design categories at last evenings awards ceremony.

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Among the many design luminaries present at the awards was none other than John Saladino, who received the Innovator Award, presented by Mark Sacco of Sacco Carpets for his incredible contributions to the interior design industry. It was a very special moment for me sharing the stage with such a design legend.

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I was accompanied for the evenings festivities by Wendy Silverstein of WS&A Public Relations, and my Senior Designer Craig Strulovitz, who coincidentally celebrates his 10 year anniversary working at my firm this week. In many ways these prestigious awards are due in part to him – thank you Craig! — for your commitment to excellence in executing our work.

And once again thank you to everyone at NYC&G — being recognized by such an important shelter publications is certainly one of the highlights of my year!