House & Home

Massive wholesale gift market offers a peek at home accessory trends to come

Seattle-based Two Tone Studios’ hand-blown glass objects include these whimsical retro cake stands.
Seattle-based Two Tone Studios’ hand-blown glass objects include these whimsical retro cake stands.

I’m not really interested in trends. I think it’s more important to spend time uncovering whatever kooky things make your heart sing and build your home from there. But it’s impossible to ignore that elements of décor come in and out of favor. Being aware of these movements helps us determine what we acquire and what we keep.

There’s no better way to get a feel for where products are heading than seeing a whole bunch of them together in a ridiculously large space. The massive wholesale gift shows do just that. Here’s what stood out from my recent visit to New York Now.

Handmade moves mainstream

Products that are, or appear to be, made on the potter’s wheel, loom or workroom floor were prevalent. New York Now has a strong handmade division, but many vendors have moved from this specialty area into the big leagues.

Ironwood, which crafts wood products ranging from cutting boards to bar stools to earrings, was in the handmade area last year, but this year was accepted through juried review into Accent on Design, a sort of all-star division.

Founders Bay and Josiah Jackson work in walnut and maple to create pieces with a modern sensibility. Accenting their designs with all-natural, clay-based paint (which wears well and is food-safe) in white, orange, nautical blue, jadeite and more brings a modern edge to these Shaker-esque designs.

Ceri Hoover, like many makers, started on a traditional career path (in her case, real estate) and realized that what she wanted to do was create. She opened an interior design firm in 2010 before beginning to work in leather.

The lines of her handbags are clean and sculptural, but with a relaxed air. Featuring cut-out handles, fold-over clutches and wide straps through which to slide your hand, her bags are available with a combination of colors in a graphic application.

Words, words everywhere

And I do mean everywhere. Words appear on plates, pillows, posters, hand towels, tote bags, glasses and just about any other surface you can think of. Most feature inspirational sentiments and phrases or some wry comment about mommies and wine. I mean, I like words, but some products lacked subtlety.

Alexandra Ferguson’s pillows in all their graphic appliqued glory appealed for both their succinctness and their one-two punch wow factor. Why use a sentence when a word or two will do?

My favorite, by far, in this category was Izola. While I often look like a cream puff, I’m basically a guy inside. Izola’s masculine focus is a fresh take on the trend. I’d much rather throw my keys on a tray that says, “May the Bridges I Burn Light the Way” as I beeline to the bourbon, than slip a napkin referring to wine time under a glass of Chardonnay any day of the week.

Modern shapes in glass and ceramic

Speaking of glass, as something of an addict (yes, the fourth set of glasses is necessary, and, no, there are never enough plates even when your storage extends to the basement), the modern shapes of glass and the updated glazes on ceramics delighted me.

I lean toward all-white dinner plates, and while Alex Marshall Studios Urban Dinnerware in gloss white was undisputedly gorgeous, I fell in love with the Franz Kline-esque charcoal stripe. I’m quite sure it would be equally comfortable in farmhouse or penthouse.

Glassware from Nude would be quite comfortable with Mr. Marshall on the table. It’s distinctly modern aesthetic could also happily pair with Limoges. My favorite from its line was the malt whiskey glass by Mikko Laakkonen. With the only distinct edge at the lip, its round body and inset foot allow your fingers to wrap with just the right spot for your pinky to slide under the glass.

No less stylish, but with a little more jump, Two Tone Studios’ jewel-colored pitchers and glasses are just the thing to ramp up your drinks tray when the weather and our spirits are clearer. The long glass stir reminds me of the one in my mother’s martini pitcher. (This may explain a lot.) Glasses straight up, with feet or a distinct and defined waist finish out the set.

As always, worry more about what you like than “in” and “out” lists. But if you’re casting about for change, what’s new and what’s next is always a good place to start.

Holding steady

Some things change, while some things stay the same. Here are a few constants for the next year.

While color trend forecasters unfurl more complex colors like Marsala, Guilford Green, Rose Quartz and Serenity, brights hold strong in the market. Clear, bold colors were still everywhere at market.

Natural wood in lighter stains, or none at all, was prevalent.

Warm metals are still holding sway. While there are still folks who are shell-shocked from the shiny brass of the ’80s, the appeal of pieces like Tom Dixon’s industrial Cog Stack and Cog Dome pendants is undeniable.

Patricia O’Dell, a freelancer from Kansas City, has written the design and lifestyle blog, Mrs. Blandings, for the last eight years. You can follow her at