I promised to fill you in on the Design Camp that I attended.  I’ve taken so long to post about it because quite frankly, there was so much information that I didn’t think I could ever really convey to you the amount of information that was squeezed into my brain.

(I know this might be obvious, but I’ve linked to websites where possible, so please click on those links  and read more about the people/things I’ve mentioned here)

This Camp was the brainchild of Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis.  Both are incredible women, and both are great motivators.  You may not recognize their names, but if you have ever watched any HGTV or DIY Network, you certainly have seen them in action.


However, I will do my best to fill you in.

On Wednesday night, the night before Camp started, Sub-Zero sponsored a cocktail party for all of the attendees.  There was great food, all the campers were introducing themselves to each other, meeting the “counselors” that we would be hearing from during the next couple of days.  We were able to see the new Sub-Zero & Wolf products in action.  It was fun to hear about new things on the horizon.

Click here to see what’s new at Sub-Zero & Wolf

The next morning we arrived at camp and being the first ones to arrive we were able to choose our table, of course we picked the table closest to the stage. Each table was decorated by the Williams-Sonoma Group.  This was our table.


Over the next few days we heard from Kathryn Ireland, maybe you have seen her on Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators. She is one of the funniest people to listen to, she has the best stories that just keep you laughing.  She too has a Boot Camp in CA and a Retreat at her home in France.  I was trying to decide which one would be for me.  I think I need to go to both.


We also heard from Timothy Corrigan, another celebrity designer.  He shared his most recent personal project, restoring a Chateau in France.  His design philosophy is simple, “comfortable luxury”.  Even though his home looks so luxurious, it is really easy to live in, which is accomplished by many different ways, but one simple one is to use fabrics that look great but are also really easy to live with.  Of course we got him to spill the dirt on various celebrity clients.


We also were treated to hearing from one of California’s best builders, John Finton.  John builds homes that are absolutely gorgeous, most are way too big to even comprehend.  He travels the globe building homes all over.  He is the type of builder who will travel to the quarry in some far off land to make sure that the stone that is being spec’d is indeed the stone that is being shipped.

This is John and his publicist.


Another great speaker was Nathan Turner, you may recognize him from his appearance on Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorator.  His stories had us laughing, especially his imitation of his bestie, the famous, screeching, Mary McDonald, or “Mums” as he calls her.


gee, a little blurry, but he was moving so fast!

I won’t go on with all the other “names” that were at Camp.  But, we did hear from the designer  who has worked with Ellen Degeneres on her projects for years, and how, when she was heading out for a trip many years ago, he was asked to cat-sit for her (they were friends).  Followed by a request “Can you do something to the house for me while I’m away”.  The rest is history.  Ellen’s homes have been photographed for many magazines.

We heard from the Editor in Chief at Luxe magazine, she gave the group lots of pointers on getting published.

Bill Indursky filled us in on the upcoming trends for 2014.

Christopher Kennedy, a very gifted furniture designer showed us his work and gave pointers on starting our furniture lines. This sort of caught me off guard.  But the room was filled with people who were very seasoned designers and I’m sure many of them will do something like this.

Mike Ragan is a furniture maker, and a fab one at that!  He is making a lot of the custom furniture that is being used by all these incredible designers!

We heard from various bloggers who have made names for themselves in the design industry.  There were three of them, and it was interesting that one was a designer that started blogging; one was a Spanish teacher who blogged in the summer, built up her following, came to the realization that design was her calling and now has started her own design firm; and the third was someone who was impacted by the downturn in the economy and started a blog to get himself back out there, suddenly he was being contacted by people to have his work appear in magazines, etc.


We heard from quite a few people who gave us so much helpful information about the business side to this industry.  It was all great information, I wish we had more time to hear from them.

By the end of Friday, my brain was totally full.  These were long days, and of course I was fighting jet lag.  But in reality there was not time to deal with jetlag!  After Thursday’s session (arrived at 7:30 am) we had a cocktail party from 6:30-9:30 pm.  Back to the hotel to find Phil already in bed.  Went back to the Design Center on Friday at 8am, and we were finished by 5:30pm that evening.  Very long and intense days.  But it was the best confrence ever!  I cannot think of another type of conference where you would be so interested in every single speaker and trying to soak up all the information you could. Not one.

So, at 5:30 the giveaways started!  (yeah, you know what’s coming).  They were giving away absolutely incredible gifts donated by the long list of sponsors.  There was a gorgeous table, Italian sheets, shower systems, hand-crafted whiskey, and on and on.  Lots of heavy bulky things that I just kept thinking, “oh my, if I win something I will certainly have to ship it, I only have 4 pounds available in my 50 pound luggage limit”.

Well there was one prize that had no weight.

That would be a good one to win, but highly unlikely.

Did I mention that they are pulling names out of a hat, there are about 165 names in the hat.

Lori: “Next up, admission to next year’s Design Camp in Las Vegas!!!”

Kelli reaches into the hat and pulls out a paper. And then reads it out loud.

Kelli: “K A R E N   V I S C I T O”

oh my.

 How exciting!  Never been to Vegas!  And this will surely be even better (as if it could be) because they are timing it with the Furniture Show in Vegas, which is where all the designers will already be!!

I hope you enjoyed reading about Design Camp. Even though this post seems long, I feel that I did not even scratch the surface.