Diane Cowen

Houston Chronicle, Houston Design Center cohost two-day talks

One of my favorite shopping events of the year — the annual Designer Sample Sale at the Houston Design Center — gets a little more wow factor this year with the inclusion of two mornings of Access Design designer talks.

While the sample sale runs Aug. 22-26, two interior designers will give talks and meet the public from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday mornings. On Friday you’ll meet Marie Flanigan of Marie Flanigan Interiors, who will talk about “Five Design Tools That Bring Tired Spaces to Life.” After Flanigan, Peggy McGowen of Kitchen & Bath Concepts will talk about trends and tips in kitchen remodeling.

On  Saturday, Meg Lonergan of Meg Lonergan Interiors will talk about great ways to use bold colors in your home. Then, Cheryl Baker of CDB Interiors and I will talk about another recent design event, the Gray Sofa Project, which had four teams of designers creating rooms with a gray sofa, art from Sawyer Yards artists and anything else they wanted to bring in. That event showcased the relationship between great design and beautiful art.

Access Design launched last spring with the Houston Chronicle and the Design Center teaming up for free events where the general public can meet some of the city’s top interior designers. The center’s annual summer sale helps showrooms clear out excess inventory as they ready their space for new fall collections.

This year’s showrooms participating in the sample sale are Charlotte Nail Antiques, Dauphin Sales, Design House, James Craig Furnishings, Johnson Simon Resources, Lighting Treasures, MAI Memorial Antiques & Interiors, Manchester Carpet, Off White, Scene One Interiors and Teri Pugh Studio.

There’s no charge for shopping the sample sale — except the cost of what you buy, of course — and attendance at Access Design events is free. Our May event sold out, so register at accessdesignaugust.eventbrite.com.

The sample sale kicks off 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 22 with a Trade Preview Day, when interior designers get a first look at sale items. A kick-off party that night, 5:30-7:30 p.m., benefits one of the city’s newest nonprofits, Dwell With Dignity.

Shopping for the general public runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 23-24, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 25 and 1-4 p.m. Aug. 26. A variety of food trucks will be open for business those days.

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