Design on a Dime is Housing Work's annual fundraiser at New York's Metropolitan Pavilion. This year brought over 50 designers together to raise proceeds for the organization's new Hull Street Residence development. Homepolish's Allegra Muzzillo gives us the highlights.
Photos by Housing Works.
Last Thursday, we had the pleasure of attending the 13th annual Housing Works Design on a Dime event in Chelsea, to raise funds to end AIDS and homelessness, and more specifically to raise money for the organization’s Hull Street Residence project. Bringing together over 60 designers and brands spanning from Elle Décor all the way to Nickelodeon, booths popped up in the Metropolitan Pavilion for one weekend, selling off their wares to the public. To kick off the event the opening night, Alan Cumming hosted a star-studded evening, honoring Tamron Hall and John Demsey of Esteé Lauder Companies. We were excited to be on the scene and pick up on trends across the booths. Read on for more.
Design on a Dime 2017 featured 69 shoppable vignettes, each uniquely styled by more than 60 of today’s top designers. Each 10-by-12-foot “room” is populated with super-affordable, often one-of-a-kind pieces donated by hundreds of artists and retailers (and the designers themselves). As you can imagine, it’s a big design challenge as some designers struggle to populate their spaces and get everything done on time. Designers have a mere 13 hours prior to the event for actual setup—from painting, wallpapering, and even woodworking to installing furniture, lighting, and accessories.
When the ribbons to each of these vignettes are cut, the public goes wild to grab the pieces that speak to them. Luckily, we caught some snaps prior to the mayhem.
Although Housing Works doesn’t dictate an overall theme for the event, we were surprised (or not-so-surprised because of the city’s cooler-than-normal weather) to see that most designers brazenly summoned the summeriest of summer vibes. This year’s event saw designers like Mark Cunningham (above), Ballard Designs & Suzanne Kasler, and Carol Egan Interiors embracing warmer climes and celebrating Palm Beach preppiness, nautical realness, and tropical steaminess. Can someone get us a Cuba Libre please?
Nick Olsen, above, created a vignette that was part-Hamptons beach house and part-1970s lanai. “Everything has been so dreary lately—I really needed this right now,” said Olsen, describing his inspiration for the room. Warm wood tones, original large-scale artwork, natural fibers, and bamboo elements all feature strongly in his decidedly cheery yet slightly quirky (and we love quirky!) living area.
This year, bold, deeply saturated colors (hello, jewel tones!) were the clearly many of the designers’ top choices. Like other color-obsessed designers, Phillip Thomas, above, covered the walls of his sitting-area-meets-dry-bar with a matte(ish) black that made everything in the space much richer. Thomas’s primary-colored, tie-dye-inspired mural and colorful throw pillows were perfect for a space that would have been overpoweringly masculine and tough had he not included them. (Also, please note that Lucite baseball bat.)
Lest we forget how crucial good artwork is to any well-designed space, SR Gambrel took it to literal terms with his Springs-inspired artist’s studio. The Hamptons vibes were strong with the weathered shiplap and wooden cabinetry. During the event, Brazilian artist Marcelo Daldoce languished (albeit dutifully) at his easel, whipping up signed watercolor renditions of shoppers, not to mention a semi-clothed male model. Naturally, once the ribbons were cut, folks went mad for Daldoce’s unframed works, and they sold out in minutes.
Ralph Lauren Home’s booth was a lovely tribute to all things American in an East-meets-West kind of way. Dark teal walls were the perfect backdrop to showcase a vignette chock-full of drool-worthy antique and vintage offerings, such as crystal champagne coupes and barware, framed still-life paintings and portraits, Chinoiserie, and camel- and oxblood-toned leather furniture. In addition to this Eastern influence, we also picked up a superb mix of New England-traditional and out-of-Africa global styles. And can we just say, they might take the cake on perfect shelfie.
Though everything was only in tact for a matter of hours, we loved taking it all in (and purchasing a couple souvenirs to take home). We hope our designers look out for opportunities to participate in next year’s event.