Lobster & Steak: Designers Collaborative Celebrates the Holiday Season


Almost all members of Designers Collaborative (plus significant others) attended a delicious Holiday Dinner at City Lobster & Steak

Although Designers Collaborative has been meeting for 20 years, in all that time we had never had a proper end-of-year Holiday Dinner. This year we finally did, going to our friends at City Lobster & Steak where they customized a menu specially for our group.  Tim Button, Barry Goralnick, Scott Bromley, Bruce Bierman, Ron Bricke, Susan Arann, and new member Amy Lau all attended with our significant others. Here are a few photos from our evening, and we wish you all the very best for the Holiday Season and the New Year.

IMG_5459       IMG_5529

Left: Bruce Bierman, Laura Bohn, and Scott Bromley. Right: Tim Button

IMG_5499       IMG_5488

Left: Barry Goralnick. Right: Laura Bohn

IMG_5501       IMG_5510

Left: Amy Lau. Right: Bruce Bierman

IMG_5497      IMG_5484

Left: Ron Bricke. Right: Susan Arann

Bromley Holiday Dinner Party Menu


Holiday Giving: Designers Collaborative’s Favorite Philanthropies

This is the season for charitable giving, and everyone has their favorite organization, institution  or cause. Here, individual members of Designers Collaborative share where their philanthropic  dollars will be going this year.

Uniform Firefighters Association

Carl D’Aquino: My brother is a NYC Lieutenant Fireman and whenever possible we give to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York: Widows & Children’s Fund.

The Isabel O'Neil Studio Workshop

Ronald Bricke: The Isabel O’Neil Foundation is instrumental in the revival of the art of the painted finish.


Laura Bohn: For years we’ve ben giving to Kiva, the non-profit microfinancing organization that facilitates small loans, some as little as $25, to impoverished people around the world. And the borrowers always find a way to pay back their loans–it’s amazing!

American Red Cross

Jerry Caldari: This year it will be the American Red Cross.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Tim Button: We’ll be giving to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Heifer International

Glenn Gissler: One of the charities I’ll be donating to is Heifer International, which combats world hunger and poverty through gifts of livestock and training.

Project Hospitality Staten Island Hurricane Relief Fund

Susan Arann, Bruce Bierman, and Barry Goralnick: Susan lives on Staten Island, and we are all aware of how badly the borough was damages by Hurricane Sandy. One easy way to donate to the ongoing relief effort is through the Project Hospitality Staten Island Hurricane Relief Fund, which was specially established to directly help families whose homes or apartments were devastated by the storm.


By the Yard: Ron Bricke Shares Some Thoughts on the State of the Fabric Industry

This is a plea from a designer to the fabric companies to stay unique and special. Fabric production is tending toward the mass market and away from the singular and distinctive. Once, each textile house was individualistic; today, they increasingly share a set of common denominators.

Leopard: Rogers & Goffigon Yellow satin: Rose Cummings Silver satin: ScalamandreCurrent fabrics Ron Bricke is pleased are in production: leopard, Rogers & Goffigon; yellow satin, Rose Cumming; silver satin, Scalamandre

Shopping has changed, and I’m grateful to have so many fabric houses, but, like fashion houses, I would like to see them thrive and maintain their individuality. I know they need to survive in these tough times, but I urge them to stay different, look different. With fashion, where there is a silhouette of the season, certain houses always stand out; fabric houses need to do the same, as they did in the past: Stand out.

Here are a few problems I encounter when shopping for fabrics in today’s market:

Discontinued Fabrics In some showrooms, samples remain available on the racks even though they have been discontinued—sometimes for many months. Often I will request a sample, show it to a client, and only learn after placing an order that it’s no longer produced. This frequently requires doing the color scheme again, which annoys the client and makes business difficult.

Brilliant purple worsted wool, Andrew Martin; Black/white stripe with purple line velvet, Elitis (Donghia)More fabrics Ron Bricke is happy are in production: brilliant purple woosted wool, Andrew Martin; black/white stripe with purple line velvet, Elitis (Donghia)

Inconsistent Pricing Typically, 75 percent of showroom fabrics are priced, but 25 percent are not. It’s a real challenge selecting textiles in a pricing vacuum. For example, speccing fabric for a child’s room is completely different from doing it for a living room. If everything is properly marked, it makes the designer’s job so much easier.

Limited Choices A client recently asked for crewels: One source had three choices, another had five; all in all, not much selection. It used to be that a range of fabrics was always available, regardless of whether they were in vogue or not. Today, what is mostly available is a limited range. And they all tend to be grayed down, muddy or lack a spark of vitality.

Pale blue velvet stripe, Scalamandre; Pale two-directional stripe, Donghia; Pale mauve-like woven tiger design, Cowtan & ToutFurther current fabrics Ron Bricke likes: pale blue velvet stripe, Scalamandre; pale two-directional stripe, Donghia; pale mauve-like woven tiger design, Cowtan & Tout

Residential vs. Commercial When I did EF Hutton’s corporate interiors years ago, I shopped for commercial fabrics, but everything was gray, gray/green or beige—colors that hid soil. So I ordered fabrics from the residential side in colors not available in the commercial realm at that time. Now, both are sporting similar grayed colors.

Fabric Economics Today, an 18 week delivery time, 100 percent payment in advance, no credit, and no color approval are common practice. Some houses still provide samples and work with the designers on timing and payment, but that’s not the norm. The 18 week lead time can turn into 26 weeks. Without color approval (and a swatch), one cannot be assured of a color match. And since the fabric ships directly to the upholstery shop and then is applied directly to the piece of furniture, how do we protect our client? With a 100 percent payment, the fabric houses have less of an incentive to fulfill the order in a timely manner.

Red and purple dramatic design: Lee Jofa Purple woosted wool: Holly HuntMore of Ron Bricke’s current favorite fabrics: red and purple dramatic design, Lee Jofa; purple woosted wool, Holly Hunt

A Positive Note I’ve noticed the color purple appearing more than before—it used to be very difficult to find. And some fabric houses are refreshing; they maintain their individuality, simplicity, chicness, and choices. So it’s not hopeless, just not as inspiring as it once was and, hopefully, will be again.

Continue reading