My Special Day of Design with Interior Design Stars!

Two Days ago, I was extremely privileged and lucky to attend the most wonderful Day of Design at the Mayflower Grace Hotel in Washington, CT. It was sponsored by a vendor I love, John-Richard and it was the first time this kind of gathering had happened. I don’t think it’ll be the last however.

There were only about 30 people in attendance. [it was sold out] and half of them were the interior design stars who were speaking— So, it was a small intimate group and that made it extra special. The speakers read like a who’s who of Northeast US interior design superstars, stylists, magazine editors, architects and in some cases that described the resume of one person!

Like a lot of things… I’m not exactly sure how I found out about it, but it was probably through Stacey Bewkes of the wonderful blog, Quintessance. Stacey is a fabulous tastemaker and lifestyle blogger from Darien, CT. She has a huge following and for good reason. Her content and style is amazing! I first found out about her as she was a style spotter at the April High Point Market and I posted some of her photos, with links back to her. And like the classy lady that she is… she thanked me. Stacey not only blogged about this “Day of Design,” she was going to be there as a moderator for two panels. I really wanted to meet her!

Since it started pretty early in the morning, and I live at least 90 minutes away, I decided to splurge and arrive the day before. Well… I have driven up that way some 150 times at the same day and time, as my son went to school around the corner. However, this time the traffic was insanely bad. The 90 minute drive took a 175 minutes! However, as soon as I arrived, I was treated like a queen. The grounds and my room were posh and exquisite.

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The vestibule to my room. There’s a fridge inside the cabinet.

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the apples in the room were a nice touch. And yes, that’s a working gas fireplace behind the apples

2014-06-13 18.57.50Obviously, there was some mix-up and they accidentally put me in the room laid out for Queen Elizabeth. ;]

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I’ve never slept in a canopy bed before! I couldn’t resist taking a shot of the underbelly.

They gave me about 50 pillows.

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 I forgot to take a photo of the 10 foot bookcase filled with books and of course, a flat screen TV.

I had two sets of French Doors going out to a beautiful balcony with views of this.

2014-06-13 19.02.48and this

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view of the spa which unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to visit.

Actually, I just found a professional shot of MY room on their website!

Mayflower Grace Bedroom Wide Oct 2013 - HERO

After I settled in, I went to the pub for dinner and half-way into my pork chop, [I rarely eat meat] I spotted an attractive brunette walking by.


It was Stacey. [of course, it was… just like I “accidentally” was sitting next to Lisa Mende at the blogger’s conference] Then, I naturally invited her to join me at my booth and we had the most delightful conversation about design and blogging. As a matter of fact, Stacey was also a speaker at the Design Blogger’s Conference last March. She and Susanna Salk make videos for design super stars and they gave a great talk about their process.

All of the speakers at the day of design were fabulous but I really enjoyed Robert Couturier‘s repartee. He had everyone squealing with laughter!


Susanna Salk, Robert Couturier, Stacey Bewkes

Susanna is the author of the book, Be Your Own Decorator


Absolutely. But please, just before you give birth to your room, please hire a doctor-ator. [hmmm… I rather like that word!] ;] The book looks great though!

The day started out in the tea house on the lush grounds, with Susanna moderating a panel consisting of Richard Lambertson and Suzanne Cassano of Privet House – below is a charming wall of old art in their shop. Richard and Suzanne travel all over the world collecting wonderful antiques for their charming antique shop in New Preston, CT. I very much enjoyed their stories recounting all that goes into creating a successful antique business.


and David Whitman and Peter Stiglin  of  Pergola Home.


photo by Carolyne Roehm from Pergola Home

Both are antique and garden shops in the incredibly delightfully quaint village of New Preston, CT which is only about 5 miles away from the Mayflower Inn. Coincidentally, my prized old [not sure if it qualifies as a bonafide antique] Zuber screen [below] was bought at a New Preston antique shop in around 2000, however, neither of those stores were in existence at that time.

Bronxville Living Room
Bronxville Living Room

Next on the roster was a delightful panel of three tastemaker/stylists/authors/interior designers talking about table top and entertaining.

Stacy Kunstel of the Dunes and Duchess blog and Stacy Style Blog and a whole lot more also creates these fantastic candle holders and other cool pieces. She says that they light candles morning noon and night. She had JUST landed from Paris.


Here are her candle holders with a room designed by the interior design firm of Mabley-Handler for the Hamptons Designer Showhouse

Next on the panel was a delightful young woman, Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo [isn’t that the best name ever?] of the ABCD Design Blog. She also does it all. Below is her very cool, very stylish living room in Manhattan. In addition she has a residence in Litchfield County.


And to round out this panel was Ron Norsworthy who’s done interior design work for the likes of Tyra Banks and has done a lot of film work and on and on… He also creates these really cool inkblot prints which you can see below from his website.


Then, we had a delicious buffet lunch on the terrace.

In the afternoon, we were treated to a host of interior designers and some who are also architects.

The first panel was lead by Stacey Kunstel and featured Philip Gorrivan who’s work I love! In fact, I was torn deciding which photo to share with you, so I’m including two from him.



and interior designer/author/blogger/furniture designer Florence de Dampierre [below] who has also created a signature line of home furnishings for John-Richard.


And the delightful Kathryn McCarver Root, owner of the KMR Arts gallery  in Washington, Depot.


photo: Constance Schiano

They discussed wall finishes such as Venetian Plaster and lacquer, art, and fine art photography. BTW, Kathryn is having an opening on Saturday June 28th from 4-7pm for two fine art photographers, Paul Caponigro and Eric Lindbloom

The final panel of the day consisted of three mega super-star architects who are also interior designers and the best of the best.

Robert Passal, who got the cover shot of this month [June 2014 House Beautiful] And so rightly deserved. To boot, he is verrry nice and exceedingly humble. I love that!


 Love Robert’s work! So rich in exquisite detail. His room here is the perfect example of what I sometimes talk about which is the perfect balance of light medium and dark which is a necessary component for a successful room.


Architect, Harold Tittman who specializes in pared down homes rooted in tradition. He says that silver barn siding is very hot now and I agree! His designs are very elegant and the perfect blend of old and new.

And finally— I want to say legendary, but that sounds kinda lame. Badass? Well, yeah… they’re ALL badasses!

the magnificent Robert Couturier who as I said, entertained us with his French charm.


I love how these designers play with color in such a way that it doesn’t all look too planned out. but believe me, it is… Glorious and immensely talented designers all the way around.

After the presentations, we had a lovely [I use that word a lot, but it was!] cocktail reception on the side porch.


Stacey and me, [please excuse the frizzy hair, etc. I forgot my big blow drying brush!] We were laughing because when I handed over my phone, I had accidentally hit the record button. oops!

On the way back home, I had no traffic at all. It was weird driving back without my son, but now that I’m an empty nester, I have more time to do stuff like this. And I’m definitely going to take advantage of the fact that I live in NY and will partake of more events like this which I’ll let you know more about.



PS: I am planning on going to the Americas Mart in Atlanta next month. [I’ve also heard it referred to as the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market.] They WANT me and one of my fave vendors, Englishman’s Fine Furnishings has offered some nice incentives. :] Can’t wait!

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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