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Live From New York! It's the 11th Annual Architectural Digest Home Design Show!

LIke the swallows returning to Capistrano, every March the design trade flocks to Pier 94 to see the latest. Let me tell you about this year's show.

Must be Spring, the Architectural Digest Home Design show was in town last week.

An annual rite since 2002, the AD show is a top-notch mix of ideas, trends, products and resources. Besides hundreds of booths, there are seminars, and free one to one consumer design consultations by appointment.

I love trade shows-for all the above reasons, as well as the crowds and the atmosphere. I get a quick read on the industry, and there is just something so uplifting about being in the presence of so much creativity. This is my fourth or fifth year going, always on the first day, to-the-trade only.

The crowd was nicely mixed: the expected haberdashery with horn-rimmed glasses, sweater sets with pearls, and everything in-between. Because of the unseasonably warm temps, many had their NYC requisite black-pants-and-white linen-overshirt outfit ready to go, and there was quite an array of bejeweled and otherwise highly-decorated ballerina flats to be seen.

Also some whimsical touches-a gentleman with a permanently airborn necktie -a'la Dilbert, sculpted beards, even an Audrey Hepburn esque character...all that was missing was the cigarette holder. (You'll have to trust me on these, it would have been rude to try to get photos).

The show was happy, upbeat, and clever. (I am a big fan of clever). Colors were both clear and bright, and sophisticated neutrals. Lots of purple. (Big, big fan).

Most everything I saw was done well, and often with fun, but nothing ostentatious or flashy.  Craftsmanship was important. Not overly designed, but thoughtfully designed and completely finished.

Sexy-metallic-organic are still very big. But sexy was smart and sly,  low key and quietly intimate. Outdoor lounges au deux were very big-literally and figuratively, this one had a footprint of about 12' x 6'. Textiles had great tactile appeal, and curves were everywhere. 

Metallic was muted-not shiny or glossy. Think minerals-bits of glimmer. Golden threads or high rayon content added  glamour and sheen, as did burnished finishes on case goods and accessories.

Best of all,  things with an organic, re-purposed or sustainable focus keep getting more fun and sophisticated-no overly earnest homespun looks that I could see.

Green River Stone Company was a favorite I first noticed last year, They start with actual fossils estimated to be 50 million years old, that they excavate from an ancient lake bed in Wyoming.

Painstakingly collected limestone slabs are brought to the lab in Utah, when the fossils are recovered and become one of a kind wall murals, backsplashes, tables and counters. Here's one piece, but follow the link above to see this amazing process and other finished pieces. 

There was a lot of traditional wall art (i.e. flat, and rectangular), but one really fun take were horizontal pieces that replicated a shelf of books and VCR cases. But not just "books", there were themes-classics, kids, political, travel, you name it.

Painted and printed versions, books add real soul to a home; these were perfect for those struggling with the transition to e-readers, or just short on space. 

NEXT: Even more cool things from the AD show!

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