Design On A Dime

Annual Interior Design Shopping Spree Benefitting Housing Works

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There is an upcoming event that is a major fundraiser within the interior design community.  It is one of my favorite industry soirees.  Design on a Dime which benefits the Housing Works Thrift Shops began 9 years ago at the East 23 Street shop with only a handful of interior designers.

With founding Chair James ‘Ford’ Huniford at the helm, the event has grown to an astounding magnitude, and generates such a great spirit of giving.  This year 60 interior designers and retail sponsors will create room vignettes with everything for sale from the moment the doors open. Attendees literally scoff up amazing finds and treasures and begin to dismantle those vignettes which have taken designers countless hours to conceive of, secure donations for, and assemble for presentation.  The vibe is high-spirited and lively.  I can’t recall having a better time as I have had attending 7 of the 8 previously held events and participating in 6.
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I thought it would be interesting to chat with a few designers and artist friends who are participating to ask them about their involvement with Design on a Dime and how it impacts them.
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I approached Keita Turner of KT Design Solutions, LLC, Patrick Hamilton of Patrick James Hamilton Designs, John Eason of John Douglas Eason Interiors, Inc. and artist Victor-Raul Garcia to ask them the reasons why they make Housing Works a champion of their charitable endeavors.
 

Have you every attended this event prior to participating and what were your impressions?

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viewerKeita Turner;  Yes, I have attended the Design On A Dime event in previous years.  It is one of the most respected and spectacular annual fundraising events in NYC!  It’s great to see the home improvement & design communities, along with banking, media, and retail sponsors come together to fundraise for Housing Work’s lifesaving services.
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15_smPatrick Hamilton;  I had covered the event for Apartment Therapy several years back, and always wanted to attend, but never made it.  So I was totally unprepared for the energy level of the shopping night!!  People are serious about shopping when that starting bell rings!!  But it has SUCH a great vibe.  People might be competing for exceptional bargains, but it’s very convivial.  One of the best parties of the year, even if you take away the shopping.
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John Eason;  Yes, for several years now.  I always thought it was a great and fun-filled event and nearly always found something to buy.  Blown away by how big it’s become!
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How many years have you been associated with this event as a participant?

KT;  This will be my first year participating as an interior designer with producing a room vignette.  I’m a Freshman.
 
PH;  This is my third year.  I’m really delighted that so many vendors have been with me each of those years.  That means to me they get something back out of it for their considerable generosity, and that makes me very happy.
 
JE;  This will be my second year participating.
 

How do you go about conceiving of your vignette and how do you solicit your donations?

KT;  The concept of my room vignette was driven by a small capsule of my vintage textile and decorative throw pillow line, Livvy & Neva, that I will introduce in my Design on a Dime vignette.  I solicit donations by reaching out to vendors with whom I do business; with whom I want to do business: with whom I want to do more business; and whose product offerings I absolutely love.  I place phone calls, visit showrooms,and email formal letters of request

PH;  During the year, I invariably come across a fabric, wall covering or piece that’s not right for whatever job I’m working on, but that I just fall in love with, and then haunts me.  This year, I had been to an event at Schumacher, launching Celerie Kemble’s new line of printed grasscloth, and fell in love with her super-scaled flamestitch “Flame,” in “Zippity-Doo-Dah”.  C’mon! How can you not want to use that, just based on the name alone?! Schumacher so graciously and generously said yes! So this year, that’s where I started.  Then, it was just a matter of tapping back into my colorful Miami roots, and running with it. And I AM!
 
JE;  I start collecting my donations and then conceive a design that will be fun, showcase my talents and make for good photos.  I’ve been very fortunate and most of the vendors that I have approached have come through for me.
 

Who are your key donors to your vignette this year and what have they provided to you?

KT;  Lee Industries… a slipcovered sofa in Luxe Norwich Driftwood linen.  Hunter Douglas Window Fashions… Provenance Woven Wood shades.  Betty R. Turner Interiors. Several vintage seating furnishings.  One of which is a rare pair of 1960’s Vintage Chrome and Leather Armchairs from Etowah Manufacturing Co, Inc., newly upholstered. 

PH;  Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams… a leather (orange!) loveseat, two ruby-red upholstered “Marrakesh” ottomans, and a super groovy shag rug!  I’m taking some risks this year!  Pagoda Red... and incredible antique Chinese stone-topped coffee table. It takes a few guys to move it, and it commands any space it’s in.  Bernhardt… a zebra-printed hair-on-hide super sexy bench.  It will be like having a sleek and exotic super model in the space!
The art donors this year are remarkable, too… Leila Jeffreys (shown in the US through Jonathan Adler), Dan Romer, Babette Herschberger, and more, all framed by Steven Amedee Custom Framing.
 
JE;  Bungalow 5…Leather Sofa grey cerused desk, chair and end table.  Gilded Stag… custom stained Boydell Mirror.  Dennis Miller Associates… custom Espacio leather and reclaimed wood Ceniza dresser.
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What do you feel is the take away for you in doing this event?

KT;  Knowing that the money raised from the sale of merchandise in my vignette will benefit their program initiatives to empower the lives of individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, it is well worth all of the hard work and long hours.  I hope to produce a successful vignette that will both delight the public, as well as raise plenty of money for Housing Works.
 
PH;  AIDS isn’t over, and it’s presenting even more challenges as a new generation starts to become infected, and an older generation ages out after a lifetime of management. A common denominator at both ends of that spectrum is often the issue of housing. As an interior designer, house and home is extremely close to my heart. And, you just have to give back. You just have to. Housing Works Design on a Dime is an amazing way to do it.
 
JE;  It’s a lot of fun to engage, mildly compete, show off and bond with such an amazing pool of talented people.  The fact that a terrific amount of money is raised for such a worthy cause is like icing on the cake.  Where else but NYC’s Design on a Dime could this many designers, 60 or more,  come together to sweat, have fun, deliver wicked style & raise money to help those affected with HIV/AIDS?
 
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VRG-in-studio
When it came to Victor-Raul Garcia, an artist who is donating his work, I tailored my questions specifically towards him.
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Is Housing Works the only organization that you donate your art to and why Housing Works? 

In addition to Design on a Dime for Housing Works, I  also donate to the annual fundraising events for the Ali Forney Center and Bailey House.  Homelessness and AIDS are two of the many causes I hold dear to my heart.
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What do you feel is your reward for doing so?  

I don’t come from a healthy or privileged family background.  If it wasn’t for art as an escape/therapy, I don’t know how I would have survived the dark and bleak periods.  With that said, things may be completely different now, but I will never forget where I came from and how I got here.  So by giving back to the community, I’m able to help those who may not have ANY resources/tools to help them though tough and challenging times.
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How did you first become involved? 

I first became involved when Mr. Patrick Hamilton and Mr. Jim Fairfax approached me thru Facebook to be part of their individual booths at Design on a Dime.
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Does your personal philosophy have anything to do with your generosity to this or other organizations?

My personal philosophy has always been: “Do unto others as you would them do unto you”.  So by giving back to the community, you are sending out unconditional positive energy to the universe which will come back to you unconditionally one day.

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The proceeds of this year’s fundraiser will benefit a new housing development currently in pre-construction phase that will eventually offer nearly 30 units of permanent supportive housing for single, formerly homeless adults living with HIV/AIDS.  The Hull Street Residence, to be located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, represents Housing Works’ first from-the-ground up construction effort since 1998 and will be designed to be a place where the residents will want to live, not a place of last resort.
 
To the design community nothing is more important to the quality of a person’s life that their habitat.  I want to thank my fellow interior designers and artist friends for taking time from their hectic schedules to talk to me about what their involvement with Housing Works means to them.   A special thank you must go out to all of the donors who have graciously worked with the designers in assisting them to create successful vignettes.
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*Jan 30 - 00:05*
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This is an event not to be missed.  If you live in the New York area, please come out and support this worthy organization.

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Written by Carl Lana

 

 
 

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