Take-Home Design Ideas

Garden Dining Tips

Herban Garden TableHere’s a close-up look at the table Roderick designed for the recent Partnership with Children charity event in New York.  The event raised more than $750,000 for programs for inner city kids. In Roderick’s table design you may find inspiration for your next dinner party:

Make it thematic: Make your party memorable for guests by giving it a strong visual and verbal theme. Roderick tied in the purpose of the fundraiser (to nurture the children of New York city with extra-curricular programs and initiatives) with the idea of nurturing an inner city herb garden, or as he put it “The Herban Garden”.

Give it a color-pop: Roderick chose spring green, and let it shine in many shades on everything from fabrics (yes, mix patterns, as he did here with damask and gingham from Robert Allen) to dinnerware to stemware to the dramatic centerpiece of live herb plants that doubled as party favors at the end of the evening.

Inspire your guests: Whether your party is a bridal shower, an anniversary celebration or a holiday occasion, the most special parties are the ones where guests have something to talk about. Roderick engraved various words into the wine glasses, (you can too, it is fast and inexpensive at Mark & Graham) and left a vellum card at each place setting with these words of inspiration:

10 Ways to Partner with Children

by Roderick Shade

 We New Yorkers can embrace the joy of taking actions to care for our city’s children in ways that will help them become strong, capable, confident and leadership-ready adults, just as we might delight in the watchful tending of a delicate windowsill herb garden, urban pocket park or courtyard. We can:

Nurture a child

Inspire a child

Encourage a child

Empower a child

Protect a child

Love a child

Teach a child

Befriend a child

Cheer a child

Enlighten a child

 A great time was had by all at this wonderful event. We wish you all the best with your next party.

Table Overview

Table in the room



From Basement-Basic to Chic Guest Suite, Part One

Connecticut Guest Suite Makeover

This glamorous guest suite in Connecticut was not always so chic. Roderick Shade made over this room by re-thinking the space entirely. Here’s the Before:

If an existing architectural element isn’t helping, like this brick fireplace and builder’s grade exit door, it’s hurting. So Roderick removed the fireplace and painted the wall in vertical stripes to distract from the darkness. “Whenever it’s dark or small, go for a strong pattern or strong color. Sometimes both. They work to distract the eye away from whatever problem the room has,” says Rod. Then he added a flourish of draperies to visually expand the door area while adding privacy and softness all at once.  The pop of color – purple – enlivens the room and adds a touch of Dior to the grey and white theme. Lush touches, some flea market finds, others from elite trade-only design resources, add elegance and texture to the space. A ceiling medallion and crown molding add a been-here-forever architectural pedigree to the ceiling, while a crystal chandelier sheds light on main attraction, the bed. A simple, tufted, upholstered headboard opens up the bed to the room, provides storage thanks to a hinged platform and gives it a smaller footprint than the former sleigh bed. Rich charcoal grey slate flooring in a natural cleft finish replaces the carpeting, and area rugs make for a soft, warm landing spot upon waking. “it’s all about the contrast between rough, natural finishes and highly stylized elements.” Art by Benice Horowitz brings the outdoors in while adding bold, graphic punctuation points throughout the room.

Look for more on this terrific guest suite in upcoming posts, including a superb bathroom makeover on a budget, great ideas for storage and home office organization.

Hallways? Always! 3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Hall

Roderick Shade is known for making the most of any space. One of the areas he’s passionate about is Hallways. These often-forgotten passages should be the cognitive link from one room to another. Here, in a compact “railroad” style apartment in Manhattan, he utilized simple Chinese lanterns to light the way dramatically and visually open up the space. A wall painted with bold vertical stripes makes the space look taller and a textured runner adds softness and warmth to the floor.  Art is important, even in hallways, according to Roderick, who placed a vintage Josephine Baker poster in a central location.

Mirrors also open up hallways and allow for that last-minute touch-up before leaving the house. In this hallway, Roderick made the mirror a focal point, added a convenient yet decorative marble shelf for keys and created ambient lighting by adding a glowing silver  leaf to the ceiling and dropping the crown moldings.

Sometimes hallway design can be a way to create a mood in the home. Especially an entry hall. Imagine arriving at a dinner party in this Manhattan loft. The dark drama of the hallway would build anticipation as you made your way along a clear path that Roderick defined with lighting along the base of the wall as well as along a track high above. A soft luminescence glows from the rooms behind frosted glass and steel walls, further heightening the anticipation.