Design on a Dime Is Back!

·2-min read
Photo credit: Noe DeWitt
Photo credit: Noe DeWitt

Imagine scoring a designer chair or chandelier hand-picked for you by a famous decorator and at a fraction of the retail price—and seeing the proceeds benefit one of New York’s worthiest charities. That sums up Design on a Dime, the annual benefit founded by designer James Huniford in 2004 to benefit Housing Works, a nonprofit that helps people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The fundraiser, which in recent years has earned over $1 million for the organization, had been held at a sizable venue, the Metropolitan Pavilion, and attracted design fans to see and shop vignettes by top decorators filled with donated furniture, lighting, and home accessories.

Photo credit: Noe DeWitt
Photo credit: Noe DeWitt

Last year the event was canceled during the pandemic. But this week, Design on a Dime is making its comeback with a scaled-down event held in three of Housing Works’ retail locations in SoHo and Gramercy Park. The in-person event, which opened Thursday and runs until May 22, is the first charitable event in New York City since the pandemic emerged.

Photo credit: Noe DeWitt
Photo credit: Noe DeWitt

“It’s full circle back to where we started,” says Huniford, who recalls the first edition of the event featuring five designers who also created vignettes in Housing Works shops. “It speaks to our design world that people had the bandwidth to pull this off in the middle of a pandemic.”

Photo credit: Noe DeWitt
Photo credit: Noe DeWitt

Huniford’s own summery vignette is at the Gramercy location, along with a “garden dining” scene by Joy Moyler featuring a Serena & Lily table set with Ralph Lauren Home china and fine crystal. Meanwhile, outside in the window, a pair of actors were chatting at a turquoise Fermob garden table, in a vignette curated by Young Huh in collaboration with Benjamin Moore.

“I’m old enough to remember the AIDS epidemic and lost many friends due to it,” says Moyler, who is participating in the event for the second time. “When Huniford asked me to do this, I could never say no.”

Photo credit: Noe DeWitt
Photo credit: Noe DeWitt

The two locations on Crosby Street in SoHo featured a hat store by Drake/Anderson filled with hats by Rod Keenan, an art-filled room by Redd Kahoi, and vignettes by other top designers including Apartment 48, Alessandra Branca, and Beth Diana Smith.

This year to mark Housing Works’ 30th anniversary, Design on a Dime has a new feature: “30 Chairs for 30 Years,” an online auction with Chairish featuring chairs by designers including Danielle Colding, Brad Ford, Alfredo Paredes, and Cliff Fong. Each chair will be available to purchase on Chairish from May 22 to June 30.

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