Dellatore, Decor Tour & More!

(Image Credit: Renée Kemps)
You’re invited to join Deb Barrett, interior designer, and owner and guide of Decor Tours, which is headquartered in a suburb of Chicago, for the next edition of their Paris Decor Tour Jan. 17-23, 2024.

For one week in January, Paris is host to one of the world’s largest presentations of new-home furnishings as design houses from around the world come together to launch their new collections.

The Paris Decor Tour itinerary, which is designed for a small, curated group, focuses on truly unique design discoveries, atelier visits and Parisian experiences that capture that unique French savoir faire. Topping it off, guests will experience Paris as a design insider with what has become the tour’s signature private design destinations to some of the best and most exclusive ateliers and showrooms in Paris, along with the famous Maison & Objet show and Paris Deco Off—a must-do if you are selling, designing or love fabrics.

During this once-in-a-lifetime trip, guests will be staying in the Saint Germain neighborhood, which is home to restaurants, shops, open air markets and hip boutiques, and Decor Tour will help designers turn this trip into away to leverage their business with pre-trip webinars, postings and exclusive design destinations during the stay.

Registration opens early October. Interested? Click HERE.

A Pivot From Formal Design School

“Pivoting isn’t Plan B; it’s part of the process.” – Jeff Goins, Bestselling Author, Speaker and Ghostwriter 
We have heard time and time again from the incredible design professionals who share their input with our organization that being a pro in this industry is often achieved through various paths. 

From cabinet designers and architects to attorneys and artists, interior design draws professionals from just about any and all backgrounds. If the burning desire to design exists, it is difficult to ignore the calling. When talented individuals decide this is their path, they find their way into our field. No matter what brought you into this industry, we all have a few things in common: the desire to make the world more beautiful, an insatiable curiosity, and an understanding that the more we know, the more we grow.

One such individual is Carl Dellatore, a textile designer and author of some of the most inspirational and educational books in interior design, including “Interior Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration,” which he wrote for Rizzoli New York.

We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Dellatore about his journey into the interior design industry and learned that upon choosing whether to attend design school, he actually pivoted and chose to write the above-mentioned book in light of a formal design education.

“What I really wanted to do was go to formal design school,” Dellatore shares. “And I was trying to figure out how to do that, but frankly, I was bankrupt at 50 and how does one go to RISD under those circumstances? I also had the idea that I could write another book.”

You’re invited to learn more about Dellatore below. And don’t think twice about checking out the other books he’s published over the past eight years:

Dellatore’s column, Some Thoughts On … , will first introduce us to him and share how design, at its root, is an exercise in problem-solving.

2023 Fall High Point Market: Oct. 14-18

Registration is now open for the Fall 2023 High Point Market. The biannual event, held in High Point, North Carolina, Oct. 14-18, will feature 11.5 million square feet of meticulous design, endless networking and educational opportunities than several conferences combined and the resources you need to move your design business forward.

Visit to learn more.

Some Thoughts On Problem-Solving

By Carl Dellatore

While it does stretch credulity, I have often said that my car was idling in the football stadium’s parking lot on the day I graduated from college. Don’t get me wrong: I had a remarkable experience earning a BFA at Kutztown University. I was just eager to leave small-town Pennsylvania.

I’d studied printmaking and photography, and part of the program’s experience required monthly visits to galleries in New York City and interning with two artists practicing there. After four years of school, as an aspiring artist myself, I knew the city was where I needed to be. So, with my diploma in hand, two suitcases in the back seat, $400 in my wallet and an empowering dose of naivete, I arrived in the summer of 1983, joyfully immersing myself in all things art and design.

In those early years, I had a few fashion seasons as a young photographer’s assistant, five years creating print textiles for the apparel industry, tried my hand at decorative painting (remember when faux marble was all the rage?), and the list goes on. Then in 1997, a colleague and I opened a curtain and upholstery workroom in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, introducing me to countless interior designers, including the late David Easton and Mario Buatta, for whom I tailored curtains and built furniture. My association with these two industry legends was a complete education in itself. Come to think of it, I should write about that! But I digress.

Fast-forward to today, with me in my 60s, you could say I’ve been around the design block, and having tried my hand at many creative endeavors, I have learned many lessons. Thinking back on my professional life, I’ve concluded there is but one universal truth about design in all its forms: Design is—first and foremost—an exercise in problem-solving.

Let me give you a personal example.

In 1998, I purchased a 19th-century poultry farm in Columbia County and set about rehabilitating the dilapidated buildings. Once the house was complete, I started decorating, adopting the tried-and-true blue and white color scheme, which I intended to accent with complimentary colors throughout. Eventually, my focus turned to summer slipcovers in the living room. I wanted a striped fabric in pale blue, off-white, sage green and espresso brown. It’s a combination that turned out to be impossible to find. Then, I had an idea for how to solve the problem.

Designer: Sarah Bartholomew; Photographer: Melanie Acevedo

Because I owned the curtain workroom with a dozen seamstresses and as many sewing machines, what if I made the fabric myself? And what would it look like?

So, I set off to find 24 yards of solid sage-green linen and then for a pit stop at my favorite trimming store on 38th Street, where I purchased 600 yards of grosgrain ribbon in the shades of cream, blue and brown I wanted to create the stripe.

Back in the workroom, we carefully plotted the pattern out in white pencil on the linen and began the two-week-long process of appliqueing one ribbon row at a time until all 24 yards were embellished to create my custom fabric. With the applique work complete, we resized the linen, then cut the slipcovers, which were beautiful (if I do say so myself.)

I decided to take the idea one step further and designed 12 unique stripes with grosgrain ribbon and took them to Dominique Browning, then editor a House & Garden. With her encouragement, I established a boutique fabric line, CJ Dellatore Textile, which was sold nationally at Holland & Sherry. Things were going great until the fall of 2008.

When the banking industry collapsed, it took my textile brand with it. I know many people in the design industry who had similar experiences. I eventually filed for bankruptcy and began pondering what I’d do next.

That brings me back to the idea that design is a problem-solving exercise.

While design is intrinsic to my character, I’d not been to design school, which is what I decided I wanted to do. But how? At 50, the logistics seemed problematic at best and impossible at worst. Then it hit me.

What if, instead of a university setting, I went directly to 100 of the best designers in the country and asked them to teach me about one subject in the interior design discipline and chronicled the experience in a book? That’s how my bestselling book “Interior Design Master Class: Interior Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from America’s Finest Designers on the Art of Decoration,” published by Rizzoli in 2016, was born.

From left to right: Literary Agent, William Clark; Author, Carl Dellatore; Rizzoli Editor, Kathleen Jayes.

Since then, I’ve published three more books for Rizzoli, with another on the way in spring 2025. I have also established a consultancy, helping designers with content development to support their brands online, on social platforms and by project management of design monographs.

In this monthly column, I’ll share more of what I’ve learned in producing my books—and beyond—that might empower your design business.

Click here for an inside interview with Dellatore and follow his Instagram to stay updated.