Excited to sit down with James Huniford
One of the design industry’s most beloved events, Design on a Dime (DOAD, sponsored by Housing Works and founded by interior designer James Huniford in 2004, took place last month to a raging success and much fanfare.
Now in its 16th year of raising funds and awareness to end AIDS and homelessness, we were especially excited to sit down with Huniford and learn a little bit about his vignette and why DOAD remains such a meaningful, powerhouse event.
DOWNTOWN: As the founder of Design on a Dime (DOAD), how did it feel to return after a year of no in-person events to return to a bit of normalcy for such a great cause?
JAMES HUNIFORD: It was an exciting time for Design on a Dime to be New York City’s first in-person event since COVID.
DOWNTOWN: Now in its 16th year, how much have you raised for Housing Works so far? What was the turnout like this year?
DOAD has raised over $20 million to date
JH: DOAD has raised over $20 million to date with involvement and support from so many New Yorkers, business leaders, media moguls, celebrities, writers, the Broadway community, and most of all, the design industry.
DOWNTOWN: What made you choose Housing Works as the beneficiary every year. Why is it the organization close to your heart?
JH: Having a home is such an important part of our lives and being able to provide security and comfort of shelter will allow any challenge and opportunity to blossom.
DOWNTOWN: Do you participate in designing a booth every year? If so, why, and how do you choose the designers who participate?
We always try to choose a wide range of designers
JH: Yes, I’ve been involved in designing a vignette for all DOAD events. We always try to choose a wide range of designers, from the established ones to the upcoming new talents. It is a great opportunity and it almost feels like a homecoming for the design community.
DOWNTOWN: Can you tell us about your vignette this year? What was the theme?
JH: Summertime, beach, and relaxing.
DOWNTOWN: We loved that it was so cheerful, what inspired the color palette?
JH: The color palette was inspired by the 60’s Saint-Tropez atmosphere.
DOWNTOWN: What do you most love about striped umbrellas? Where is that particular piece from?
I’ve always loved all sorts of stripes
JH: I’ve always loved all sorts of stripes and I feel that the striped umbrella brought a bit of fun to space. This particular umbrella is DestinationGear 6.5 ft. Aluminum Deluxe Italian Patio Umbrella.
DOWNTOWN: Can you tell us a bit about the lamps—did you create the shades yourself? We love the matching planter and the complementing one’s on the window floor. Where are they from?
JH: I wanted to add a personal touch to the vignette, the hand-painted lampshades are a simple way to personalize the room. The planters are from my collection of objects I’ve collected over the years.
DOWNTOWN: The artwork offers a great pop of color. What inspired that piece and who is the artist?
JH: I love the movement in the art by Peter Valcarcel. The soft palette of colors and the idea of the cutouts remind me of Henri Matisse.
DOWNTOWN: Can you tell us a bit about the mix of textures, materials, and patterns?
JH: Implementing a mixture of different textures, materials, and color palette create depth and an interesting composition that feels more appealing and inviting.
DOWNTOWN: What was the response like to the booths this year? Who were some new and established designers who really blew it out of the ballpark?
JH: The response from designers as well everyone that visited both in-person and shopped online was impressive. DOAD has been the annual tradition for Housing Works, and the New York design community and it always brings us together for a good cause and fun with design.
DOWNTOWN: Do you foresee expanding DOAD to more cities?
JH: We are planning to bring the event to Miami and we are in early talks to have one in Los Angeles.
DOWNTOWN: What was extra special about this year’s event?
JH: It felt like a homecoming. We brought DOAD back where we started – Housing Works Thrift Shop on 23rd Street where we hosted the first event with 5 designers.