Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Houston Spring Market 2010…What a day!

VERANDA MAGAZINE kicked off the 2010 Houston Spring Market with a film preview of the 2009 design award winners and a keynote presentation that drew a strong following.

They had a distinquished panel consisting of Michelle Nussbaumer, Jan Showers, Peter Pennoyer, Geoffrey Westergaard and J. Randall Powers, to discuss “The Art of Design: Redefining Luxury”. We got to see slides of their gorgeous works while Carolyn Englefield, Editor-at-Large, presided over the discussion and asked questions. As a huge bonus, Lisa Newsom, the founder of VERANDA and former Editor-in-Chief, was there to lend her support.

L to R

Peter Pennoyer, Peter Pennoyer Architects - Award Recipient
Michelle Nussbaumer, Ceylon et Cie
Carolyn Engelfield, Editor-at-Large, VERANDA
Jan Showers, Jan Showers & Associates
J. Randall Powers, J, Randall Powers Interior Decoration
Geoffrey Westergaard, Carl Moore Antiques

Lisa Newsom, Founder and former Editor-in-Chief of VERANDA

Carolyn Englefield, Editor-at-Large, VERANDA

Each panelist had their own personal take on luxury and how it is being redefined in our current market… and even though among them there is a difference of opinion in whether less is more, or more is more… the overriding agreement is that “things that we acquire have to have meaning – greater than the object itself”…regardless of it’s cost.

The uniqueness of an item is among what is considered a luxury… here again, irregardless of cost. It is much more judicial to purchase one single really good item, then to have a dozen so-so things. This is something that, as a designer, I always stress, especially to my younger clients that are just starting out…. which leads to…

Another point that was emphasized was the role of the designer to educate the client as to the value of what they are specifying to the client. It stands to reason that the designers who spend time educating their clients are showing them that their business is valued and appreciated and is giving their clients added service.

And the last main point that was made as to redefining luxury was that of time… highly valued as a luxury and a necessary investment for achieving the quality of life as defined by today’s standards.

As wonderful as the whole day proved to be… the highlight of my day was in the serendipity of getting in line at the reception/lunch behind Ms. Newsom… who was joined by Carolyn Englefield. Why they were standing in line to get into the Duralee showroom is beyond me, but it was certainly to my enjoyment. The line was not moving very fast, so I had the opportunity to have a nice conversation with them. Both are as lovely and gracious as the magazine itself!

Lisa Newsom, Carolyn Englefield and myself outside the Duralee Showroom

Following the keynote reception lunch the acclaimed designer Barry Dixon did a presentation and book signing at the S. Harris/Fabricut showroom. His work is just beautiful, and to hear him talk about the various projects from around the world was enlightening. I got to talk to him briefly while he signed my book. I was wondering about his support system when he travels and he told me that he has it in all his contracts that he brings his vendors with him… such as his drapery workroom and his muralist. First of all, he does not want to spend the time locating local talent and vendors; and secondly, by bringing his own, he controls the quality that his clients expect.


Barry Dixon signing books following his presentation at S. Harris showroom

He has a new collection of fabrics and trimmings in the Barry Dixon Collection for Vervain. There wasn’t time after the presentation to go through his collection… but I will definitely be checking it out.

The finale of the day was a panel discussion over “The Evolution of Design”… with a star studded blog roll introduced by The Editor-at-Large’s Julia Noran and moderated by Sophie Donelson. What a great duo! Both are so energetic and have such vivacious personalities.

Sophie Donelson, The Editor at Large
(I'm sorry that my photo of Julia Noran was too dark to print)

The panelists included:

Jillian St. Charles, V.P. and Site Director of

Ronda Carman, Editor of

Brad Ford, Interior Designer & Editor of

Joni Webb, Interior Designer & Editor of

For those that were attending that are new to blogging, it was insightful and very helpful in directing them on ways to expand their media presence. For those that are already involved and evolving, it was a great opportunity to enjoy an exchange with other bloggers. Jillian provided some very interesting information on some of the selecting processes that the website goes through in searching for new talent.

Each panelist explained their reasoning behind blogging, which were as varied as the panelist themselves, and how they got started. Brad, who's purpose I most relate with in blogging, maintains an interior design business full time and that his projects often prevent him from blogging on as frequent as a basis as someone who blogs full time.

I for one appreciate those that made such a great effort to be there, in spite of travel complications and having been on a tiring travel circuit with the panel.

It was interesting to learn that Ronda is originally from Houston and it was great to see some of her family members there as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed the exchange of conversations at the reception that followed in the Abraham’s furniture showroom and look forward to a continued dialog with them in the future…


  1. It was soooo nice to meet you! Please keep in touch.

  2. Thanks Ronda, it was a pleasure meeting and speaking with you too!

  3. What a great day and how fortunate to meet and speak with such a fabulous group of people...xv

  4. Thanks for the lovely post! It was a fun day and thank you for your comprehensive, well-written coverage.

  5. oh gawd, i couldn't look more fierce. hehe. what a terrible picture, so fat! uggh. i have terrible self esteem issues.

    it was great meeting you!!!!! hopefully I see in Brenham when I come visit Shannon!!

  6. Vicki, it really was great... and to a huge extent, being part of the blogging community expanded the day's experiences.

    Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Julia, it was really nice having time to talk with you, in addition to the wonderful program that you and Sophie presented.

    Thank you to both of you and The Editor-at-Large!

  8. Joni, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself... even though I can relate since I am my own worst critic!

    It was really nice getting to meet you as well, finally... seems odd that we haven't met earlier being that we are both Texas gals and have many of the same haunts...

    The panel discussion was a real success... and the information and time that you and the other panelist provided is appreciated very much!

  9. Oh, that's really interesting! I love Veranda, having grown up in the South, I have a fondness for that particular style. And I felt like I was seeing some blog/design celebrities in the flesh, there, exciting! Anyway, I was just poking around some new blogs and ran across yours, I really like it, I am self-taught myself and it's always interesting to hear from professionals. Anyway, I'm a new follower, it's so nice to meet you! Cheers!

  10. Hello Shari... and welcome! I look forward to sharing information with you and hearing your voice and comments...

  11. Hi Terri. Thank you, what a great post. You look great (love that skirt). Appreciate the point about saving up for the quality rather than frittering your budget away with lesser items. Thanks also for your kind comment. XO Trish

  12. Thank you Trish, that is very kind of you. Thank you for stopping by.

  13. What a great group of some of my very favorites in the design and blog world. What a treat to be there. The photos are great of everyone!

    Art by Karena

  14. Hi Karena, Actually, I wish that I had taken more photos, but when the lights are turned down it is hard to get clear shots... or I get caught up in the discussion and forget to take more...

  15. Hey there sister! Sorry I was couldn't go with you and thanks for doing this, looks like you had a good time andmet some great talents in the business!!!!!!Maryanne xo

  16. Sounds like a great and informative event...thank you for your support. i am in the process of updating the website (on top of everything else...)...will keep you posted. Have a great sunday, Francine

  17. wow....
    there was a veranda 'thang' here too at the DCOTA.
    i was jammed and couldn't make it.
    now i see i should have gone.

    hmmmmm....are our fellow bloggers not cute??
    or what???

    great post and xx's to you

  18. Hi Renee, Cute for sure...and Brad is as adorable as he is cute... all very personable

  19. Gosh I wish I was a fly on the wall. What a fantastic time you must have had, Veranda, is my only Mag. I am down on A.Digest.I see Cote de tex there Ronda and you look great. Houston is really big time to have a design center.I left in the 60's they were still bootlegging ..
    Great post..


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