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To the Trade

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Click Photography, Designers Library, Urban Design

The Chicago Merchandise Mart boasts the world’s largest collection of high design and luxury goods while the Boston Design Center stands at the forefront of design innovation.  These impressive places are known as “to the trade” because they cater to and sell exclusively to design professionals who find inspiration and access to the products that fuel their creative visions. In our region, there is a misconception that designers need to travel to larger metropolitan centers to find the specialty items, exclusive lines, and inspirational styles that to the trade centers provide. Why travel when we have these exceptional resources in our own backyard?

Interior Design Resources
Buffalo’s first to the trade design show-room opened its doors nearly 25 years ago. Born out of the desire to meet the needs of and cater to the professional design community for residential and commercial spaces, Carol McMahon, owner
of Interior Design Resources (IDR), continues to build her showroom with the same dedication. “Before IDR, we meither purchased retail prices or went out of town,” recalls McMahon who was an interior designer. Today, IDR offers a one stop solution to meet decorators’ and designers’ professional needs. Not only does IDR have one of the largest fabric and wall covering selections on the East coast under one roof but many designers have praised McMahon on the lighting selections. IDR has more than 50 furniture lines including the exclusive brands of Century, Henredon, and Sherill Furniture. “Our expansive and distinct selections represent years in the making … talking to designers, understanding, and providing exactly what they wanted,” says McMahon.

Designers Library
Established more than 20 years ago, Designers Library gives design build professionals access to more than 224 companies for residential and commercial projects including fabrics, trims, furniture, art, accessories, lighting, bedding, window treatments, floor coverings and more. Robert Breissenger, owner of Designers Library, emphasizes another benefit,  “We  provide sample books, curate resources, as well as manage and group orders, so designers can meet account quotas and achieve the best pricing. This alleviates stress and allows them to focus on their craft.” Located in an experienced, renovated 13,000-square-foot building in downtown Rochester, Designers Library has two sections: a 7,000-square-foot trade showroom and DL Home, a 5,000-square-foot retail store, opening autumn 2014, featuring items such as furniture, lighting, jewelry, cards, and leather products. “Education and promotion of the trade is DL Home’s main thrust,” says Breissenger. Staffed by professional designers, off-the-street customers discover the benefits of working with a true design professional.

Urban Design
Urban Design helps design professionals create trends, not simply follow them. Owner Lisa DeCarlo describes her experiences of trying to shop locally for imaginative new home fashions, “It was uninspiring. Clients were being down sold when they really craved exciting, innovative ideas.” More than a place to find thousands of selections, Urban Design is a dynamic, constantly changing showroom of possibilities. Occupying a renovated building in East Aurora, Urban Design features the resources and materials that haven’t traditionally been available in the area. Glass, steel, concrete, reclaimed wood, old and new items – DeCarlo amazes designers with possibilities of what they can achieve for their clients using local resources. Currently, a wine cellar occupies a central living space that is visually divided with a stone wall.  There is an all glass and steel staircase. A reclaimed street paver floor winds out of the bathroom. Urban Design carries custom lines and connects designers with fabricators.

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