Trend Spotting at NYIGF: Rope and Burnished Metal

Lately, all things nautical have consumed me. Perhaps this is because I’m currently sourcing for a project in Miami Beach, and am about to visit St. John for some much-needed beach time. However, I can’t help but think that the sea is a wider trend at the moment. For example, I noticed the reoccurring theme of rope and burnished metal at the New York International Gift Fair, which I attended in January.

Wandering through the booths at the Pier & Javits Convention Center, I was struck by the variety of woven rope lampshades, artwork, and smaller pieces.

These rope accents reminded me of the arrival dock at Caneel Bay, where my family vacations. I’m often inspired by the contrast of organic, textured materials there, particularly the weatherworn ropes that tie boats in Caneel Bay. On a limited scale, I think rope and cord make a wonderful addition to a room, particularly in a relaxed setting.

The NYIGF also had a nice mix of burnished brass and bronze on selected furniture pieces.  As I’ve stated before, I’m in a brass and bronze phase. I’ve read  in recent shelter magazines that other designers have fallen for them as well.  As I came across these metals at the gift show, I was reminded of the bronze fittings and cleats—oxidized by the salt air—on sailboats and the bold brass navigation instruments on old ships.

The patina of these metals is lovely and looks amazing over time, especially contrasted against worn leather. Recently, I worked on a home in Washington, CT, where I used custom door handles made of unlacquered brass with leather insets. I love how the glow of both brass and bronze pick up the light, bringing richness and warmth to an interior.

I’m filing these images away as inspiration for future projects, and I’m sure I’ll find more on the theme this month on St. John. I can’t wait!


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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by design and the subtle impact of our surroundings. Some of my earliest influences still resonate – I think of the dark woods and textured lodens of my father’s shooting club, the smell of fresh paint on a new canvas, and the bold symmetry of the Philip Johnson Glass house just down the street. For me, it was a natural path to become an Interior Designer. I love what I do. I’ve created this Journal to share my thoughts, finds and design inspirations. I hope you enjoy it!

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