Friday Favorites 10/26/2012

October 26, 2012

Cheryl Katz, Contributing Editor I am a walking fool. A brisk morning walk is a habit, a dash at dusk a rejuvenating ritual. But, truth of the matter is, if I’d known about Bike By Me, I might have chosen cycling as my preferred method of transport. The Swedish company offers fixed-gear bicycles in customizable colors using a web-based tool that lets you make it your own. And though my walking gear includes a handy yellow wrist band with a place to hold my keys and a red vest with pockets for my iPod, they’re no match for pink handgrips and green rims.

Photos courtesy of Bike By Me




Paula M. Bodah, Senior Editor One of the fun discoveries I made as I was putting together the Trade Notes department for the Fall 2012 issue of New England Home’s Connecticut was the Itsy Bitsy Ritzy Shop, an online store that features custom furniture for small spaces. The company, brainchild of husband-and-wife team Marcia and Dean Harris, offers beautiful and luxurious pieces that are scaled just right for urban apartments and other tiny spaces. It’s not just about size, though. As Dean explains it, “Our furniture multi-tasks like our customers do and in most cases has storage built in.”

From the Manhattan collection, a comfy lounge chair hides a sleeper so that even a studio apartment dweller can have overnight guests. Photos courtesy of the Itsy Bitsy Ritzy Shop

The furniture itself is undeniably good-looking, but there’s even more to love about the Norwalk, Connecticut–based company. For one, it’s a family affair: Marcia, a residential and commercial interior designer who was trained as a painter, designs and curates the furniture and accessories; Dean, who has loads of experience as an executive with online start-ups, handles business management and marketing for the firm; and son Zach spent his early career in the online video start-up world in New York City and now handles the shop’s digital operations and development. The business has also made a commitment to keeping things local. Itsy Bitsy Ritzy Shop hardwood and upholstered furniture is hand-made in America. In fact, most of it is crafted right in Connecticut. Their wooden furniture is made in Bridgeport, in the former Singer Sewing Machine Factory, while upholstered pieces are made in Branford and Westport. They use brass from Cromwell, leather from New Milford, bedding and accessories from New Canaan, fabrics from Greenwich and auto paint from Danbury.

No matter how small the space, guests are welcome for dinner, thanks to a corner banquette and just-right-sized table and chairs.

On top of all that, customers can buy individual pieces or a complete room. Look books show off the shop’s four collections (Manhattan, Nantucket, Bel Air and Aspen) assembled by an interior designer, so a shopper can get the furniture, accessories, bedding, bath items—even paint—and know exactly what a room is going to end up looking like.

A shopper can buy any one piece or accessory, or take the whole kit and caboodle—furniture accessories, fabrics, bedding, even paint.

Kyle Hoepner, Editor-in-Chief Since I’ve already shamelessly promoted one event this week, I may as well add a second. New England Home homes editor Stacy Kunstel and I will be speaking next Thursday, November 1, as part of the semiannual To the Trade Only Market Day at the Wakefield Design Center in Stamford, Connecticut. Designer Amy Aidinis Hirsch and Carolyn McDonough of Diane James Home will be on hand to participate in our panel discussion, Blogging and Beyond: Expanding Your Social Media Footprint, which rounds out a full day of expert presentations: • Randy Short, president of Stanford Furniture, on design trends in premium-quality furniture • Alexis Audette from Robert Allen/Beacon Hill on one-of-a-kind techniques in textile design, in relation to their new collaboration with Ankasa • Barry Reiner and Armando Flores of InnerSpace Electronics on the seamless integration of digital technologies into twenty-first-century interiors • Joe Najmy from NuKitchens on creating the “heart of the home” • J.D. Staron’s Gosia Staron and Erin Scott on innovations in carpet design

A vignette from North Carolina’s Stanford Furniture

Designs from the new Ankasa: Iconic collection at Robert Allen/Beacon Hill

The day begins at 12:30 p.m. and runs through to an early evening wine reception: visit the Wakefield Design Center website for a full schedule. Interested design professionals are encouraged to attend—but please RSVP quickly, while spaces still remain, to or call (203) 358-0818.

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