Call of the Small at Design within Reach
by Christine Ferrara
Thanks to everyone for all of your support during the preparation for my Design Within Reach event, which occurred on Thursday, June 24, in Princeton, NJ. A BIG thanks goes to the store and its staff - Troyce, Meredith, and Henry - for inviting me to put up the display and for giving me the freedom to create something new and different.
It was an incredibly fun and surreal time, and it made all the work (and stress!) worth it. I thought I would give a little (actually, it's pretty long on details) recap with some of my photos taken AFTER the event; I had the foresight to have a photographer at the event, but lacked the foresight to bring my own camera! All of the event pictures will be posted to my Flickr soon, hopefully next week, and I'll let you know when they are there.
What happened before 1:30 p.m.?
My day started early, getting the kids off to school and then running some last minute errands for the display. I had stayed up quite late the night before putting the finishing touches on the Kaleidoscope House and the two fish condos that would also be part of the event. I knew it was going to be very important to pack everything away safely and in an organized manner so that I could unpack as efficiently as possible at the store. I memorized all the setups as I put items away in little sorting trays and larger boxes and tried to group them by room. This took a while, people, let me tell you! I also had to finish some last minute framing of some of my K House photographs and I also wrote and framed a description for what was on view, noting all the loans from Elf Miniatures, minimodernistas, Paris Renfroe, and Peppercorn Minis. I threw my new business cards in along with a little Alessi tray to display them. I showered, dressed, and set outvery slowly in the car for the store.
At 2:00 p.m. I arrived at the store,leaving me two hours to set everything up.
The store looked great, and Meredith and Henry were there to help me strategize on where to place everything. We figured out that the house would go on a lovely long extendable table in the front middle of the store, and my photographs and fish condos on a shelving unit on the opposite side. I set up the condos and Meredith placed them along with my photographs. This is how it all looked:
I used two pieces in the store to do setups: an Eames black wire table and a Rolly side table, and Meredith suggested spacing them out apart from the house display in other parts of the store so as not to crowd things. Excellent decision. I set them up quickly and went to work on the house. Henry and Meredith offered to help, but then could see that I whirling around to place everything solo. :)
By 3:00 p.m.
Most of the furniture was set up, and it became apparent to me that I should have tried harder to clean some of the blue-tac and other marks that have built up over time. I did what I could and felt relieved to have some extras of Glenda's rugs and some artwork! I then placed all of the accessories and tweaked things here and there.
Mark Green, an architect who designed the furniture for the brinca dada Emerson House, then arrived!
It was so great to see the Emerson for the first time. It is large when opened up, so we decided to add a leaf to the table and it worked beautifully. Mark prepared the house for the display and let us know that Doug and Tim of brinca dada had to take all the furniture prototypes to the west coast for a trade show. So, while very unfortunate no furniture was there to see, Mark brought out his laptop and showed us some amazing renderings of everything, and was also able to show all the guests later on. We all just drooled and drooled. Here's a peek:
When 4:00 p.m. rolled around
I was done, and felt a huge sigh of relief. People started to come in and there was sustained attendance throughout the three hours. It was a bit surreal to see people look at the house and setups in a space other than my basement, and also great to have friends, work colleagues, and others come to catch a glimpse of my madness. Lots of people asked questions, mostly about how I got started and if I make my own furnishings. People were amazed at the craftsmanship of all of the loaned pieces and were genuinely impressed that these artisans could create such realistic copies of classic modern design in 1:12 scale.
And there were 1:12 to 1:1 mirror images all around the store, like the 1:1 Nelson desk:
Here is my lovely new teak shelf from Mini Modern (thanks, MC!), by Paris Renfroe:
Look how nice Glenda's rug works as a wall hanging, next to Doris' heavenly bed:
People loved the cozy luxury of this space:
And enjoyed the play of colors in the kitchen:
If anyone knows these Theo Klein stoves, you know that they look like toys from the back. So I used some reflective paper to simulate stainless.
Among the visitors, there were two lovely women who said they followed my blog and had come from a distance -- I am sorry I did not ask their names, nor where they came from (if you are reading, please comment, and let me know, so I can thank you again!). Then, I spent time speaking with three other older women who talked about their own dollhouse ventures, and one expressed interest in sushi for doll houses. I referred her to the store down the street that currently carries a Re-ment sushi set! Another woman was a furniture designer who seemed intrigued by the possibilities in 1:12, especially since you don't need as much space to work! Some children came and were all so incredibly well behaved and engaged. It was so interesting to hear people's impressions and perspectives and observe their reactions to what was on display.
After 7:00 p.m.
We moved the house up on a shelf, along with the Emerson and the Eames and Rolly tables. I am so glad I decided to do the event, even though it stretched me pretty thin and was a challenge to plan. I could not have done it without the support of my husband and kids, who kept reminding me to have fun. It was truly a learning experience, designed around creativity and exploration.
Thanks again to all the artisans for lending their wonderful work. I am only highlighting their loans here; the accessories and other furnishings are from my collection.
Kitchen: Green kitchen unit and dishwasher, table, and one stove from Elf Miniatures; Arc and globe lamps and blond tall cabinet by minimodernistas; low bench, abstract artwork, and cowhide ottomans by Paris Renfroe; rug by sink by Peppercorn Minis. TV Room: Couch and TV stand by minimodernistas. Office: Nelson desk and shelving unit by Elf Miniatures; rug by Peppercorn Minis; curved trefoil table by Paris Renfroe. Bath: Jacuzzi and sink by Elf Miniatures; hatbox toilet by Paris Renfroe. Bedroom: Bed, linens, and side table by minimodernistas; rug wall hanging by Peppercorn Minis. Eames wire table: Noguchi coffee table by Paris Renfroe. Rolly side table: curved chaise and potted plants by Paris Renfroe. Orange fish condo: sink by Elf Miniatures; S chair by Paris Renfroe.