McGuire Furniture, a Stylist, a Photographer, and an Architect ...BlogTourNYC

Our final day of Modenus BlogTourNYC was arranged by the lovely Franklin Eighth duo Tina Ramchandani and Sarah Sarna. These two designers had a jam-packed agenda for us, beginning with our visit to Treillage as mentioned in my previous post. In the afternoon we headed over to New York Design Center to visit McGuire showroom and have styling and photography sessions. IMG_1327.jpg



My arrival at McGuire was delayed due to a mix up with transportation, so I wasn't able to take as many photos of their showroom as I would have liked, but I was afforded time to have a chit chat with Modenus 2nd in command, Flo Von Pelet and Sarah Sarna, which more than made up for our tardy arrival.  Besides, we were greeted with more champers. I must beg your pardon for this fuzzy shot.


Creative Director of McGuire Furniture, Jim Caughman introduced us to the McGuire Story and Legacy. I was not familiar with this furniture line, but I do have a huge appreciation for artisans and craftsman, and I shortly became aware that McGuire prides themselves on their workmanship. I was interested to learn that for the past 6 decades, McGuire has held steadfastly to their original heritage of combining outdoor elements with indoor comfort and elegance. Original owners, John and Elinor McGuire were committed to the highest standards of design and craftsmanship and this commitment is very much adhered to today. Attention to elements of design, including, proportion, scale, balance and form are enhanced with with natural materials and and exquisite textiles. Each McGuire product is handcrafted by trained artisans for maximum comfort and timeless appeal. McGuire has collections from Barbara Barry, Bill Sofield, Jacques Garcia, Thomas Pheasant, Robert Kou, Laura Kirar and Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. Comprehensive information on the these designers and their McGuire product lines are available on the McGuire website.  Below are examples of the craftsmanship valued by McGuire, designers and consumers ...hand tied leather on the arms, beautiful wicker and luxurious fabrics, not to mention wood and concrete and leather.





The Stylist


BlogTourNYC learning expanded into the afternoon at the McGuire showroom as we were introduced to stylist Raina Kattelson.  I think in my next life, I would like to be a stylist. Raina, whose work appears in Country Living, and Thom Felicia's book American Beauty not only styles food, interiors and lifestyle shoots, she also produces, designs sets and art directs photo shoots. We are somewhat kindred spirits as it turns out, I too used to design and sew clothes for my Barbie doll. As a designer, I certainly know something about styling, but I had no idea how much time and effort not to mention energy and brawn are required to successfully complete a styling effort. As you flip through a magazine, it is likely that every photo shown had a stylist who managed, arranged  and perhaps brought all the props to the shoot location.... in a BIG truck.  The stylist, after conferring with the art director, producer and photographer does her homework and brings every element to the shoot that will complete the look the art director is trying to convey. In the above photo, the table, and all the items seen on it, plus all the books in the background were styled by fact, she may have brought every item to the shoot in order to have this space look precisely the way it does. The stylist needs to be prepared and will therefore ensure that many more items are brought to the location, than may ever be used.

Follow Raina on her award winning blog A Stylists Life at as she dishes about renovating a 150 year old house and other adventures in styling.


The Photographer


Michele Scotto Trani of Sequined Asphalt Studio is an award winning Architectural and Interiors photographer and she was invited by Tina and Sarah to guide us in a photography session on our last day of BlogTourNYC. Michele works with Architects, Interior Designers and other professionals in the creative field and her photography has appeared in several shelter magazines including New England Home Magazine. Takeaways from Michele's session...

1. always use a tripod

2. consider the light source... natural light, open or closed curtains to filter light

3. lamp light can blow out the shot so should be dimmed or turned off

4. lights turned on can show up as a different colour

5. consider the you want the view in the shot

...and Hellooooo...did you know there are camera lenses for your iPhone? ... from Photojojo  I'm not sure I can wait until my birthday to get these.

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To read more about Michele's photography, tune into her Tripping on Asphalt blog at                          

The Architect


Neal Beckstedt.... young, suave, debonair and a wonderful architect who launched his thriving business in 2010. His philosophy and mine totally jive....interiors are for living rather than for admiring. "The people should be the focus, not what's around them." Perhaps this philosophy was evident when BlogTourNYC visited Neal at his office. He was very generous and gave a wonderful talk about his young business, his clientele, his new digs, and his philosophy....he encouraged us to take photos of four of his project boards including plans and finishes, but preferred that we not take photos of the actual office space.  Neal's website is super classy. Moving shots of his completed projects convey the Neal Beckstedt Studio story.


As you can see from these boards, his residential spaces are elegant, and modest, yet work in tandem with luxury finishes. Neal's floor plan program of choice is SketchUp  , and they were very detailed, which surprised me a little as I thought Architects were more likely to use a program like AutoCad. I'm going to investigate SketchUp a little further for my own floorplans. I was thrilled to find out that Neal hires, Interior Designers and Decorators to compliment his architectural skills....they are a full service design studio.  No wonder clients such as David Lam seek and hire Neal Beckstedt Studio to design and complete there elegant spaces.


Thank You, again to Tina Ramchandani and Sarah Sarna of Franklin Eighth. It was a huge pleasure to meet you both and have you escort BlogTourNYC on the wonderful tour you organized for our final day. Thank you also to McGuire and Jim Caughman for welcoming us into your showroom and introducing us to your iconic brand. Raina Kattelson and Michele Scotto Trani for taking time out of your busy schedules to enlighten us about styling and photography...they both go hand in hand in designer's lives. A delightful late afternoon spent at Neal Beckstedt Studio was a wonderful way to cap off our day, before our farewell BlogTourNYC dinner. Finally, words cannot adequately express my thanks to Veronika Miller / Modenus, her lovely daughter and right hand woman, Flo Von Pelet and all of the BlogtourNYC attendees who made this final day utterly joyful.

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