As some of you already know, I spent the week before last in the Big Apple at Blogfest 2012. Hosted by Kravet, this event was designed to bring those of us with an interior design blog to NYC to learn about what’s available in our industry and boost our social media skills. But really, the bottom line is that it was a great excuse for my friend Katherine and me to travel together to NYC!

I debated the best way to tell the story of our adventure and ultimately decided it was best to let the pictures do the talking. So here it is…our NYC adventure as told through photos. (Two thoughts regarding the length of this post: 1) my apologies, and 2) brace yourself.)

Thanks to my hubby, Kath and I were treated to a pre-NYC mani-pedi at Ambiance Spa & Salon. While we didn’t leave for NYC until Sunday, and our nails were beautified on Saturday, we agreed this treat was unofficially the start of our vacation. Or, at least, it was the point at which we “checked out” from all things not related to our trip.



For starters, I’m a terrible car passenger. Like, really terrible. I appear excited for the taxi line in the first picture, but I’m actually busy estimating 1) how many times I’ll puke, and 2) will the free ziploc baggies I snagged from the airport security line work in my carsick moment of crisis. Thankfully I never actually caved in to that evil motion-sickness demon, but believe me when I tell you every journey in a taxi was suspenseful one.


We arrived a day before Blogfest 2012 began, so we had some time to stroll the streets of NYC before getting down to business. We ate a quick dinner on our way to what we were told was Soho, only to learn we were actually headed toward Central Park, only to not make it there because our feet hurt so badly. Our biggest fail of the trip by far: Poor shoe choices.

A huge win, however, was getting free wine at a hotel we weren’t even staying at, not to mention full access to the hotel’s veranda. It’s amazing how quickly our feet stopped hurting once we had that first glass of wine in our hands.


Kath and I awoke slooooooowly the next morning…can you imagine our sheer delight at not having to tend to four children at the crack of dawn? We sipped coffee, read our magazines, and enjoyed what some find hard to hear in NYC: silence. When we were good and ready (and not a moment earlier), we headed out to SoHo for a nice lunch and a stroll through the famous neighborhood. With cute shops and quaint boutiques, it did not disappoint.



Our first official stop on the Blogfest 2012 trail was the Kips Bay Decorator Showroom, where we saw several designers’ talents on display. Above is just a taste of some of their beautiful work.

The real treat of the evening, however, was getting to meet Thom Filicia! He has a fabulous fabric line that seamlessly illustrates his flawless ability to create the most exquisite color combos and organic patterns. You might know him best as the designer guy from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Bravo a few years back. Here we are (with our new friend Kate!) at Savant. Let me tell you, this man’s genuine kindness and down-to-earth demeanor was refreshing and unexpected. A total class act!

The next morning we had to be up and at ’em to start our day at the Hearst Tower. We had the privilege of hearing several excellent speakers, including the editors in chief of House Beautiful and Veranda magazines. Pictured here are Editor in Chief Newell Turner, as well as designers Michael Herold, Jill Goldberg, and Jon Call.



Our next stop was the Elle Decor Modern Life concept house hosted by the magazine’s editor in chief Michael Boodro. Above are photos a few of the unique rooms at the concept house, as well as photos of me with Katherine from Houzz, and me with the other Katherine from RKID. 🙂 Houzz is a really inspiring website with lots of style and design ideas, and Katherine represented the company well. She was stylish, easy-going and inspiring as well!


Next up was a trip to the D&D Building, where designers are made to feel like a kid in a candy shop. Fabrics and colors and fixtures abound, and needless to say it was my own little slice of designer heaven. Above I’m pictured with Cary Kravet, one of the sibling owners of Kravet fabrics. The magenta fabric above has one of my client’s names written all over it, and then below those two photos is a picture of Alexa Hampton, quite possibly the coolest lady of all time. She has a furniture line at Hickory Chair, a fabric line at Kravet, and is one of the most sought-after interior designers today. Yet hearing her talk, you feel as though you’ve just sat down for a glass of wine with an old friend.

On Wednesday, the final day of Blogfest 2012, we began the morning with a tour of Kravet learning about the day-to-day operations of how the company works. Of all the Blogfest events during our trip, this one was by far my favorite. Seeing how the fabric designs are conceptualized, how the colors are altered for various colorways, how the pictures and shapes are actually imprinted on the fabric…so, so fascinating.

After the Kravet experience, we were off to the Museum of the City of New York, where we listened to John Turner from Benjamin Moore tell us about the color trends of 2013. Anyone who knows me at all knows how quickly my heart beats for color! Believe it or not, Facebook and Twitter are actually determining 2013’s hues of blue. Crazy, huh? Above I’m pictured with my new friend Kate O’Hara from Martha O’Hara Interiors. Quite honestly, she was our best find of the trip.

Finally, we closed the trip with the closest we could come to New York pizza. With our limited time on our own, we didn’t get as close to real (greasy) New York pizza as we would have liked to, but this pizza was delish, so no complaints here!

Had this experience only been a nice little vacay from the fam, I would have been pleased. But it turns out it was so much more. It stirred in me my passion for what I do, and reminded me that every time I set out to design a space, I’m doing the thing that makes my heart the happiest. Lucky, lucky girl.



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Renae Keller is an award-winning, ASID certified interior designer in Minneapolis-St. Paul, specializing in new construction and large remodels. Trusted by homebuilders, architects and homebuyers alike, Renae is known for creating an overall design vision that blends functionality and aesthetics, while keeping the details intertwined, and her customer's style in clear focus.