Saturday, March 24

Walk with me as I create flower arrangements for Modenus' Blogtour Welcome Dinner at Barbes Restaurant in NYC during the Architectural Digest Home Show

The Makings of a Design-Inspired week:
Part I
The Flowers
with the opening of the
Diffa's Dining by Design
and Modenus 
sponsoring design bloggers for the festivities
this week promised to be bustling over with fun and inspiration.  Veronika Miller of planned an action-packed week as she brought fifteen design writers from London and around the United States to cover the NYC events.  You may remember Modenus sponsored me for London Design Week last September.
Check out my visit to the 
London Flower Market while on the trip:
 my jaunt through London flower market Columbia Road back in September inspired me and I enjoyed how the English mix Saturday morning breakfast and shopping with their flower market

Since all fun usually begins with flowers
I kicked off the NYC week with helping Modenus plan their
BlogTour Welcome Dinner
and arranged the flowers for the evening...
Miles and I headed down to the NYC flower market,
and although it has shrunk in recent years,
it is still chock-filled with individual storefronts loaded
with fresh brought in flowers each morning. 
Tip:  go very early in the morning to get the best selections. 
I did my homework ahead of time, and after checking out the jewel-toned colors at the Moroccan restaurant Barbes where Veronika would be hosting our Welcome Dinner, I settled upon these beauties at as the vessels.  After contemplating cement, glass and even small urns, I chose these iridescent pale orange ceramic vases. To stand up to the strong coloring of the restaurant, I had to go bold with the flowers and needed a vase that would compliment
The NYC flower market falls within a two block radius between 26-28th street on Sixth Avenue.  I shop at a myriad of places, but this time at the United Wholesale Florist
120 West 28th Street
I seriously toyed with using exotics
like these planted pineapples -
how unique? 
or the succulent exotics below,
maybe floating in water but kept looking

these exquisite poppies immediately grabbed my attention -
but at $50 per handful I knew that would put me over budget. Although beautiful, these could pose problematic when mixing with other flowers.  Since their stems are quite delicate, they seem best in a single blossom arrangement - 
but Wow!
after walking the aisles, I chose these bundles of flowers and loaded up my bin, grabbed the sale person and began negotiating pricing.  I settled upon two different colored garden-variety Old English roses (a dark orange and a pale peach), deep purple thistle, a flowing and fragrant eucalyptus, large white standard lilies and the very delicate and finishing touches of these beautiful orchid hybrids - upper left corner.
once home, the work began to strip the thorny roses of leaves and prepare all the flowers for the vases 
My finished product!
the combination of the ceramic vase in an orange/tangerine/pale orange hue and the English garden type flowers immediately worked well
It became like an assembly line, and the tricky part was getting all bouquets to look the same in shape - when choosing flowers for arrangements it's important to have different shapes of flowers for balance.  The bristle, hearty thistle acted as the anchor to the arrangement and functioned well too by keeping the more delicate flowers like the roses and orchids in place for transporting and preventing them from shifting.  Once I cut up my thistle and placed a few sprigs in each vase I then filled in with the lilies and added the roses.  When all was arranged, I finally added in my eucalyptus as filler and to give a garden feeling and soften the restaurant's darker colors a bit
The vases nestled nicely into each cozy table setting complete with personalized dinner menus

brick walls, dark wooden chairs, faux finished painted banquets, and exotic overhead lanterns, Barbes is a cozy neighborhood restaurant that needed very little decoration, except for the punch of colorful flowers to make our dinner complete.
the jewel tone and Moroccan colors of Barbes 
work well with the flowers.
guests arrive, having just flown in from London everyone is ready for a cocktail and some nibbles.
 The strong Moroccan colors and dark wood needed centerpieces with a little color. 
The food at Barbes is authentic and delicious
 on East 36th Street between Madison & Fifth Avenue
stop by and check it out.
"Barbes Restaurant is named after the famous Paris neighborhood at the foot of the Sacre-Coeur, also known as the 'little piece of North Africa'. The Northernmost part of Africa, the Maghreb, is comprised of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia with cultures captivating with their cuisine, music and decor. Barbes is a melting pot of Parisian and Maghreb cultures and Barbes Restaurant carries that spirit"
let the design festivities begin...
Stay tuned for more design inspirations that followed all week,from flowers to interior design
The Makings of a Design-Inspired Week
Part II: The Food