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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

2016 Reflections

2016 is coming to a close and I am reflective on my career, the unique design events I went to and the wonderful accomplishments my children have made this past year. One of which was Rylie's Bat Mitzvah. Half the year was focused on the planning and I admit that the blog took a back seat. So I apologize if you were wondering what happened to me? Friends were even surprised that I did not showcase a very important event on the blog that I have participated in for the past 5 years - DIFFA's Picnic by Design 2016 which happened this past September at the ANNEX Mercantile in NYC.

For its fifth annual fundraiser 20 baskets were up for auction raising over $50,000. This event doesn't feature the traditional picnic basket but instead whisks backpacks, wood trays,metal bowls, crates, chairs and games. My basket was the shape of a molecule and its contents had a cosmos feel. Thanks again to Sarkos for their amazing wallcovering which I used as a coaster in the design.

Michele Alfano- modMADE NY Picnic BY Design 2016

Below you will see some very creative ideas that can be used for your holiday parties coming up!!!

But first I must give thanks to our wonderful sponsors that make this event happen and all are listed below. Its always fun seeing Cindy Allen, Editor in chief of INTERIOR DESIGN MAGAZINE at the event too. I think after 5 years doing the event she knows who I am?? (lol)  Special thanks to my sponsor friends:  DXVDRS and AssociatesCorbettTroy lightingMr. Bing and Regal Wine Imports for their donations. Their generosity was very much appreciated! 

Most importantly thanks to my partner in crime Tiago Fonseco of Five Star Millwork who never lets me down and brings my crazy ideas to life. 


Michele Alfano- modMADE NY Picnic BY Design 2016

Now see some of the images of the food, wine and people and creative designs from the event....The Picnic by Design event was written up online on INTERIOR DESIGN too!


 STK NEW YORK CITY - delish!

  ME AND STACY GARCIA - what a pleasure to meet and chat!


  ME AND BOB GAYNOR - always so much fun!



MR BING- OMG, so amazing!! Thanks you so much Brian Goldberg, owner of Mr. Bing who generously made Beijing vegetarian street food. Go spicy!!







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Friday, December 16, 2016

Natural Stone in Modern Home Design and Decor

Natural stone has its own story to tell being created millions of years ago. Formed by tremendous pressures under the earth, the striking and luxurious variation in color and movement makes it a formidable material.  The rare beauty of natural stone may have once been reserved for the beautiful palaces and grand estates of antiquity but today we easily can integrate natural stone into modern home design and decor. 

 Credit: The Tuscany Collection

Uses of natural stone include kitchen and bath countertops, backsplashes, bathtubs, showers, sinks, fireplaces, furniture... infinite possibilities. In the image above, large expanses of stone from floor to ceiling surround a linear gas fireplace. The effect is quite dramatic. The sophisticated modern use of stone makes this home interior elegant and chic.

Credit: ROCKin'teriors

For kitchen and bathrooms, we naturally look to marbles, and granites. Calacatta Statuary and Gold are trending now. Designers are using calacatta slabs on both countertops and backsplashes to enhance a space as seen in the image above.

Credit: Artistic Tile

Seen in stone tile wall format brings out the unique veining and patterning of Calacatta gold. Combined with the same stone on the countertops enhances the architecture as well. 

Credit: whOre haus studio. Image by Michele Alfano

Ahh, the sophistication of stone is popping up in home decor.  Last years Architectural Digest show showcased the use of stone on this headboard by whOre haus Studios. The bookmatching was impeccable! They also echoed stone on accent pieces of furniture. Love!

Credit: whOre haus studio. Image by Michele Alfano

Clients get scared away from natural stone because they hear it stains, scratches and is hard to maintain. Well... the truth is, yes it can stain if you don't take care of your rare beauty. Stone should be sealed every year and properly maintained. Just like you would get a facial for your radiant skin. You need to take care of it. 

Credit: Stoneforest. Image by Michele Alfano

Have you taken a tub in cumulo granite lately? I jumped at the chance to snuggle right into its sensuous curves. I love the Stoneforest's Papillon bathtub! It is carved from one block of stone. You can get a pedestal sink too!  New homeowners need to prepare structurally for a massive piece of stone like this.
Pure stone mastery that will last the test of time.

Credit and Image: Michele Alfano of modMADE NY

One of my own masterbathroom designs used the beautiful silver travertine on the walls, floor and countertop on the above vanity design. Silver travertine is one of my favorite natural stones. Its stunning blend of silver, grays and creams adds inspiring style to any space. 

Credit: MSI

For that spa feeling, stone is the natural choice due to its texture and multitude of hues. Above its accented in the shower. Below I clad slate on the sink wall of my own bathroom. A clear poly was applied to bring out the rich, warm colors and protect it from water staining. Fixture by DXV by American Standard.

Credit and Image: Michele Alfano of modMADE NY

To learn more about natural stone, you can connect with MIA + BSI : The Natural Stone Institute through their website, the Marble Institute Facebook and Twitter.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

MoD Must Haves: Automobile inspired Tecnogas Superiore Ranges

MoD Must Haves
stylish, tactile, novel 
for range design lovers

Inspired by art, cuisine and engineering. This sums up Tecnogas Superiorepremium range and hood options for any home kitchen.

Barbuto NYC has an open kitchen concept where the chefs are right on front of you preparing your meal. A perfect place to break bread and learn more about the company's heritage and how Tecnogas is starting to release their ranges to a broader U.S. market. 

With the Tecnogas and Flying Camel families, Rebecca Reynolds, Chuck Wheelock, Glen Pelaso, Vernoka Miller 

The ranges  are manufactured in the Po river area in Emilia, Italy also known  as “Motor Valley” with Ferrari, Lamborghini and Ducati motorcycle factories close by. Their designs have wonderful detailing borrowing influences from the automobile industry like chrome accents and analog knobs.

 DECO collection

The DECO collection can be personalized to your color and trim preference. I love the black range with bronze accents. So dramatic!

The  Matte red is usually painted with chrome accessories reimagining the '50s and the iconic Cadillac 

Manufactured with triple pane glass, the Panorama window stays cool to the touch even when the oven is heated at very high temperatures. So great if your a home chef with little kids running around.

Their ranges defines innovation with its three zone cooktop, dual gas burners, four induction zones and electric griddle. Tecnogas also has a collection of ventilation hoods distinctive for both performance and style. Connect with Tecnogas on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, and their WEBSITE 

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Fractals in Design

I'm excited to share an article that I contributed on the Stacy Garcia Life-Styled website. The article talked about fractals and how they exist all around us and are now emerging in decor, fashion, furniture and in art. I tell my story how I was an Applied Mathematics major in college and how fractal structures affected my path into design. 

Michele Alfano's Molecular Basket
image credit: Erik Bardin

For DIFFA Picnic by Design 2016, I designed a molecular basket design which embodied a fractal nature with patterns essentially repeating over and over again. Inspired by atoms, the design revealed how we are all made out of atoms - our bodies and the universe. The universe is made up of 5% atoms and the rest dark matter and energy. Astronomers as well as medical researchers are on the brink of discoveries whether it be the vast unknown or diseases like AIDS. The molecular basket stands as a beacon of hope. I worked with Tiago Fonseca of Five Star Millwork who brought my design to life.

Michele Alfano's Molecular Basket design.  Built by Tiago Fonseca
image credit: Michele Alfano

Here are some other images of the Picnic design. Sarkos generously sponsored their amazing  hand-painted wallcovering called Cosmos which I used as place-mats.

Michele Alfano and Tiago Fonseca of Five Star Millwork

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Handcrafted Batik and Mudcloth Textile trend in Home Design

Elaborately patterned handmade textiles for 2017 home design are forecasted according to celeb designer Genevieve Gorder. At the HGTV magazine NYC Blogger Block party  she discussed the kind of prints that we have been noticing on the runways with bold, repeating, intricate motifs set against backgrounds of varying hues. 

Derek Lam 2016 Fall Fashion Week

I love the bright colors but I am definitely favoring the black and white palates with tighter patterns and geometric shapes. These patterned influences are from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). The Dutch went over to West and Central Africa where they took a liking to the local handicrafts and brought batik back to Indonesia. That's how the crossover happened. Batik textiles come from an old technique of wax-resist dying. The process is basically applying wax to a cloth and then dyed over that wax to create a pattern.  

In home design we will be seeing different textiles like Mudcloth, Batik, and Barkcloth. Take a look at some cool ways these textiles can be used.

The 19th century wing-back chair renovated by Patina rentals in NYC was recovered with a beautifully textured Mud Cloth from Mali. 

African  Mudcloth

Mudcloths are handwoven in Mali Africa. These authentic decorative textiles can be hung on the wall, placed on a bed, a pillow, a chair or thrown over a couch. 

Love the Mali textile especially on a dining table with accents of pink and rose!!

TableScape with African Mudcloth

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Sunday, September 4, 2016


Design, Food and Charity is a great combination for a Fall event. It will be my fifth year participating in DIFFA's Picnic By Design. I am very connected to this charity and was able to work behind the scenes on the steering committee too. What an awesome event 2016 will be.... amazing sponsors, donations and designers! Picnic By Design redefines the concept of a traditional picnic where 20 designers come together to create innovative picnic basket experiences that are sold online in advance with proceeds benefiting DIFFA. Thank you to the sponsors for making this event happen!! 


Here is a sneek peek of my Molecular basket design for this years event:

The Molecular basket represents how we are all made out of atoms -  our bodies and the universe.  There is more to the universe than meets the eye.  It is by following the light that the vast universe is made of 5% atoms, 70% dark energy and 25% invisible dark matter.  We stand on the brink of great discoveries and we always will as long as we keep exploring whether it be the unmeasurable unknown or debilitating diseases like AIDS.  The basket stands as a beacon of hope.

I will be taking over DIFFA's Instagram account on TODAY Sunday September 4th. Please follow along and give me a shout out: @DIFFANATIONAL.

Special thanks to the following sponsors: DXV, DRS and Associates, Corbett, Troy lighting, Mr. Bing and Regal Wine Imports who so generously donated to the cause and event!

Thanks! Michele

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