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Dining by Design is DIFFA’s marquee event showcasing designers, manufacturers and creative individuals who bring their vision and passion to the table.  It’s seriously my favorite ‘trade show’ and I feel so lucky to live in NYC and to have attended it for the past 5+ years.  Dining by Design runs March 17 – 20 in conjunction with the Architectural Digest Home Design Show and all event proceeds go toward DIFFA’s work to fight HIV/AIDS.  This year, I was invited to a special media sneak peak and personal tour through the space.  There were so many fabulous finds – too many to feature here so I’ll focus on sharing my favorite creative spaces that featured my favorite colors, black and white.
This all white room sponsored by Benjamin and Moore featured variations on their white paint options.  Each square art piece that hung on the wall for instance, was painted in one of their popular shades of white and noted (title style) with the exact paint chip color. What a beautiful way to showcase your whites!
DIFFA dining by design
The florals, chairs and tablescape were simply breathtaking, don’t you think?
benjamin moore, dining by design 2016
Another all-white room that had me gasping was one designed with Crate & Barrel products.  Look how they created that art installation on the wall with their plates and bowls!
crate and barrel, art installation, tablescape, diffa 2016
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I now NEED to have those furry white chairs.  They’d look so fab next to my dining table.  And can’t you just see them at a vanity or office space too?  Also, can we talk for a minute about those cloche platters??  They make me want to move to a suburban house just to have the room to store these beautiful finds!
Moving onto the next space, this one featured a live grafitti artist who we were excited to see decorate the walls right before our very eyes. I couldn’t help but imagine how much fun my daughter would have had scribbling all over the walls and furniture in the same manner..
dining by design, art installation, home decor, tablescape trends
He was kind enough to pose for pictures and give me this amazing Pra-DUH sticker which I will treasure forever.  Hands off my sticker, Juliet!  This one is MOMMY’S!
grafitti art, fashion stickers, art diffa
Here is the finished room.
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Imagine getting to dine with a zebra, and a fashionable one at that!  This room’s fusion between fashion, function, and furnishings was from Echo, a brand long known beautiful prints and patterns.  Many know of the brand from their famous scarves, but they have creatively branched out into wraps, bags, rugs, table linens, wall coverings, gloves, outerwear, beach ware and more!  At their booth you could see the brand on the hale bay bench fabrics, on their wallpaper and on the tenting.
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Also interactive, they encouraged selfies with their polka-dotted zebra named Dot.  Who could resist?
diffa 2016, change your stripes
Kate Spade.  I just love everything about the brand.  To me it exudes happiness.  I love the bright pops of color against graphic black and white elements, the usage of stripes and polka dots and their quirky advertising.  So I was super psyched to see their table decor come to life at DIFFA.

diffa 2016, dining by design, kate spade dinnerware, kate spade table decorSAMSUNG CSC

kate spade diffa

Wouldn’t this be such a fun, girly place to have a girls’ brunch?  I would die.

For more video coverage of DIFFA 2016, follow me on Instagram @fabgabblog where I re-capped even more highlights!  And click here to see some DIFFA blog posts from past years!
Please leave a comment below with what your favorite vignette was. I’d love to hear!

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Diane, Von Furstenberg, famous for her printed wrap dresses has finally made her first foray into the home and linens category.  Joining the likes of Calvin Klein, Donna Karen and Vera Wang, she exhibits the transition from fashion to furnishings.  Here you see some of her prints on dishes, lamps, and carpet all from the Diffa 2011 NYC show.

Are any of you readers DVF fans?  Does this new line excite you?  What do you think?

Designer, Tracy Reese also got involved with Diffa 2011.  See the 10’x10′ space she helped design for Effen Vodka’s sponsored area.

You’ll see that the walls came straight off Tracy’s last runway.

Which reminds me, I never posted my picture with Tracy from New York Fashion Week.  This is us right after her fashion show.  Love her!Here’s an architectural take on dining by design.

And here are a few more of my photos from Diffa 2011.

Pastel perfection.

For more on my Diffa coverage, see my previous posts!

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In my last Diffa post, I showed you how different designers created mealtime masterpieces out of the same 10’x10′ space.  I had so many photos that I had to split up the upload into 3 entries.  Here is part 2!

Everyone has seen tree centerpieces but what about an acid green one?  I loved the customized polka-dot rug.

When I stopped by this booth, I was so busy looking at the tulip centerpiece sitting on top of a rose platform and noticing how the cool blue in the plates was echoed above that I didn’t notice the faux cityscape painted faintly onto the sheet backdrop.  Here’s a close-up of the centerpiece.

I found it peculiar how they deliberately untucked the spoon at each place setting.  From here on out, I made it a point to check out the variety in napkin folding and tableware placement and found that just focusing on this one detail could result in a multitude of inspirations and ideas.

The next patterned dining area by Echo knotted their scarf – like napkins, fitting for this company.

Here is the fuller view.  What do you think?

And for a royal wedding viewing party, here is the perfect dining table.  Check out the dinner plates!

This next sunny table design featured asymmetrical linens with tableware laid across the plate.

I loved the scalloped chargers and furry seat cushions.

The video better allows you to appreciate the changing background.

This  next pure white design reminded me of something you might find in a loungey Miami restaurant.  My favorite feature was the upside down tree branch centerpiece with white flowers.  I’ve seen attached flowers to branches but never feathers.  Unique!

Did you notice the cotton-filled clear canister centerpieces?

The Coke sponsored table of course featured red Coke bottles and one red chair amongst the white chairs.  It also echoed the red/white theme with red tipped napkins and bottle-like textured plates and overhead lights.  Centerpieces were clear glass Coke bottles.  Smart!

For more on the Coke concept and details from the design group, check out this video.

Which one was your favorite?

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I always try to make a point of checking out the Design Industry Foundation Fighting Aids tabletop “Dining By Design” showcase.  It’s one of my favorite work-related events to attend.  Basically, you walk into a giant NYC Pier which is taken over by all the most fabulous florists and event planners who have oftentimes partnered with corporate sponsors and/or linen vendors to create the most magnificent tabletop displays.  Think centerpieces.  Think grand floral presentations.  And get ready to be wowed.  Here are some of my much overdue pics from my recent March visit.

I’ll start with one of my favorite displays.  It was a setup sponsored by Benjamin Moore Paint.  David Stark, the event planner credited for this masterpiece, took the challenge of creatively displaying paint colors to a whole new level when he concentrated on a simple, repeated motif..an egg..  an ode to the upcoming Easter holiday perhaps?  Not sure but this lovely little room made me smile as I peeked through the windows and curtains.

I’m a huge fan of repeated, ornate frames on walls as decor as evidenced from my previous blog posts.  So I couldn’t get enough of the fun, faux frame walls.  If you look closer, you’ll see that each egg represents a new Benjamin Moore color, sometimes repeated through the placecards and egg holders at each place setting.

Does anyone else love the trompe d’oeil chandelier, frames, birds and window?   It looks like David had a lot of fun designing this room.   This room is simply EGGcellent!

This next display looked like a cozy, fashionable restaurant booth – one that I wouldn’t mind dining at. This is by Kravet Inc.

They say that purple and yellow are complimentary colors because they are opposite each other on the color wheel…er that is what I learned in my high school art class at least.  I guess this picture sort of proves it.   Don’t the custom linens look rich?

Notice the table has holes… not the most practical table but it makes for a great conversation starter I guess.

And here’s the perfect table for your next romantic Valentine’s date.

I’ve heard of a bed of roses but a table?

I once rented a water wall similar to the one shown at this next dining table.  It was back in the day when I worked with David Tutera and was playing around with enormous event budgets.  $15,000 for a water wall?  Yea sure, why not?  Ahhh those were the days…

This dining area had a similar streaming effect but with ribbons – a far less expensive decor option 🙂Celebrity event planner, Preston Bailey actually mentored a group from the Fashion Institute of Technology to help create this mushroom themed table.I didn’t get a close-up of the mushroom and ribbon exterior but found one on another blogger’s site.  Thanks Heather Clawson from Habitually Chic

The rest of the photos are mine shot with my Canon s90 a slr -35mm hybrid that I just love.

I guess everyone is eating mushrooms (and grass) for dinner.  Hmmm think I’ll dine somewhere else.

Fresh and fruity is how I’d describe this next set by Todd Moore.

Notice the little umbrellas on each plate mimicing the umbrella centerpiece?

Modern environmentalists will love this next one.  How about re-using cardboard as decor?

The simple color palette allows for texture to really be the star here.  Let’s hope that all this cardboard goes to the recycle bin once the traveling exhibit finishes.

In contrast to this subdued creamy palette, this next room popped with shades of pink offering a mod/modern almost game or music video like scene.  I just wished the event planner had chosen pure white ottomon cube covers rather than using those off-white canvas slipcovers. Do you agree?

The Terra Morehouse for Velvet Antler design is another of my favorites but I’m afraid the pictures just don’t do it enough justice.  I found it to be quirky, calm and modern all at once.  And I’m in love with the furry pillows.  Plus if I had to vote on the most unique centerpiece this one would win!

Speaking of new and interesting centerpieces, check out this table with the frame cluster!

Can you see how the silverware and butterflies both look like they were dipped in yellow paint?  What about the glasses stacked on top of each other?  Quirky details like this throughout the day amde the close-up all that much more rewarding!

I’ll continue the pictures and post another time.  For now,if you like what you saw here, check out the listed cities for this is a traveling showcase.  It may be coming to a city near you!

Kansas City April 30-May 1, 2010
Detroit August 12-14, 2010
Chicago November 4-6, 2010
San Francisco November 17-18, 2010
New York March 17-21, 2011

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If you saw my last post recapping Dining By Design, otherwise known as DIFFA, the leading trade show for table decor and party design, you know I love a fabulous tablescape! Here, I’m going to share with you some of my top tips for designing a stylish kids’ tablescape using pictures from my daughter’s bunny birthday party that I just produced!

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As a party planner, I’m a little jaded when it comes to party decor.  I’ve pretty much seen it all.  So when I plan my own, I like to stray from the ordinary and try to feature some unique items or two.  For instance, for the bunny birthday that I threw for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, I added a whimsical wow factor with a tall centerpiece that I hand crafted for the event.

how to throw a kids party on a budget, kids party decor, kids tablescape

The tall silk flowers were bought during a sale at Michael’s, the picket white fences from a Chinese wholesaler, and with some flower foam, hot glue, and juice boxes to weigh everything down, I had the perfect springy centerpieces that didn’t take much room, could be filled with Easter egg basket grass, and that created an immediate fun factor to the table.  It was one of the first things you saw when you walked into the room!

plan a kids party on a budget, bunny birthday, designing tablescapes, kids party decor, kids tablescape

The party space (within our building) fortunately had free kids tables and chairs for us to use but the chairs were a mish mash of different colors so I made them uniform with some spandex yellow seat covers (adult sized) and fitted them with a chair sash turned into a bow.  Both materials were bought wholesale which made them cheaper than renting and now I can use them for future events or sell/rent them out to others!

To continue the couture feel of this kiddie table, I color coordinated EVERYHING.  I am super strict about matching exact shades when it comes to purchasing napkins, straws, forks, cupcake toppers.. I mean everything.  It will bother me to no end to see something a shade or two off when I have already sent snippets of the exact fabric for the cake maker to match for instance.  i.e. Juliet’s 1s birthday party.

table design, tablescape, how to plan a kids party on a budget, kids party ideas

That’s why I often customize my table decor down to the very last detail.  Notice the paper runner, the frame turned into a tray, the milk bottles covered in coordinated papers and ribbons, and the covered styrofoam to stick the lollipops and chocolate bunnies in.  184

And to go along with the Easter timing, I presented each child with their own berry basket in lieu of a dinner plate.  Inside you’d find, a pink napkin, bunny-shaped sandwich, bunny trail mix (popcorn and cheerios), pretzel sticks wrapped in a yellow and white polka dot mini-bag, & a cupcake holder filled with fruit.  The milk jars were poured with milk, water or juice, whatever the child’s preference was.  189

Knowing that the pool table would be in the background, I also crafted the yellow and white backdrop that you see above.  With help from Mialandyn Events who helped build the actual structure out of foam core, tape and wood, I covered it in coordinating fabrics, floral garlands and gift wrap on the other side.

photo opp, hoppy birthday, bunny birthday ideas

When designing your tablescape, always consider what you’ll see in the background of your photos.  In this instance, I didn’t want a pool table to be in all my pictures so I dressed it up, used it as the food and dessert station, and created a photo opp area on the other side of it making double use out of the one backdrop piece! (That coordinating box that you see above by the way is simply a diaper box covered in fabric and it was great for kids to stand or sit on).  I’m a huge fan of creatively using what you have to save money.

kids party ideas, easter party ideas, how to throw a kid easter party

Here’s what it looked like on the other side during setup (The dinner menu of baked salmon, pulled pork, sweet plantains, beans and rice had not arrived yet).  Those Easter hats that you see hanging from the ceiling there by the way were given to each child in lieu of a party hat.  They were SO cute ON (one of my amazing finds in the Target $1 bin!)

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To summarize, here are some useful secrets from a professional party planner turned mommy planner that you can use when designing a kids’ tablescape:

  1. Color – Coordinate EVERTHING.  Be Hitler when sticking to this rule and your table will thank you for it!
  2. Consider the background for your most important shots.  What’s behind the cake? What’s behind the kids’ table? Remove or disguise eyesores.
  3. Add a themed centerpiece.  Not only is it a conversation starter but it can really stand out and turn your average kids’ table into a standout stunner!
  4. Think out of the box.  How about an enlarged candle in a cake, for a one year old’s birthday (the kind you’d stick in a candlestick?), how about a coordinated paper place mat that they can draw on, safari hats instead of birthday party hats for a safari themed event?
  5. Decorate your chairs.  Hang birthday hats from them, use them as placecards by assigning a child’s name to each one, hang a giftable cape on each one for a superhero themed party, slide tutus on them for a girly get together.

For more kids’ party inspiration, check out some of my other Fab Kids party posts and please leave a comment with your thoughts on these tips or let me know what you’re currently brainstorming and let me help you!

my Disney sponsored princess in training party

my gingerbread man cookie decorating play date sponsored by Bright starts

my Hello Kitty play date sponsored by HP

my pancakes and pajamas play date

My Toddler tea party

Thanks for reading!

kids easter party, toddler easter party, toddler easter egg hunt

Special thanks goes out to Image Ready for the pictures used in this post!

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The Architectural Digest Home Design show in NYC this year was connected to Diffa, a tabletop decor design show that I blogged about in 3 of my prior entries.  Yes, I said 3 of my prior blog entries because there simply was so much inspiration that I had to break up the multitude of pictures into more than one entry.   I attended both with my savvy fiancee who found us a great groupon deal.  And now you can see what we saw!

Check out all my favorite seating options.

How cool would this be at your dream poolside patio?

And isn’t this Camelia-printed chair so elegant and so Chanel?

Totally inspired, I couldn’t help but dreaming of my next home makeover.  It seems I’m constantly in makeover mode. And this chandelier totally caught my eye.  What a modern take!  You know I love chandeliers!

Here are few more of my favorite things.

I’m loving this brand Boca Do Lobo.  They have the most interesting mix of modern whimsical.

Below is a shot of my favorite kitchen.  I see my dream kitchen looking similar (without the yellow).

Every kitchen should have a nook this fabulous!

This kitchen picture came straight out of a catalog.  I love the chandeliers in the kitchen.  That is a must.  And you can’t see it well here but it featured a beautiful grey/white damask backsplash.  LOVE!

As you can see, the Show covered everything including home furnishings, accessories, art & antiques, kitchen and bath products, flooring, fabric, lighting, outdoor products and more.  Did anything interest you?

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