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Odds and Ends

Dunleith Designs

If you are looking to buy a gift, one piece of furniture or renovate an entire house, make sure you make a trip to Dunleith Designs in Metairie.

First off, you will probably be struck by the deep selection of American, English and French antiques, available at very competitive prices.  As Ken Rogers, an interior designer and one of the managing partners says: “I believe antiques should be more accessible to more people.  We need people to take care of our history.  Owning and maintaining antiques is recycling at its best.”

Rogers continues: “One well placed antique, can elevate the ambiance of a room and create an heirloom for generations to come.”

Having said that, the really unique aspect of Dunleith Designs is that they don’t just sell antiques and fantastic reproductions, their real mission is to help people create beautiful homes; and they do so by combining their wealth of interior design expertise with their ability to source the most beautiful furnishings.

Rogers continues: “We help people create their dream home be it a St. Charles Avenue mansion or a Creole cottage.  I like to go to people’s homes and see what their taste and lifestyles are like to create something unique for them.

“It may be that we just need to add a few pieces of furniture or accessories so we devise a plan which develops over years, but the home will still look beautiful in the process.  We’ll come up with a palette of colors that can grow over time and be accented to keep it fresh.  We can advise on investment pieces as well as less expensive items to create the right look for the family or couple we are working with.

The design advice is complimentary to all customers making a purchase and the store is just in the process of adding a new design studio where clients will be able to meet and discuss their plans, with fabrics and vendor books to hand.

While you are at the store you might also notice discreet little signs on some of the furniture that read: “As used in Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”.  Film set designers also come to Dunleith Designs for help building sets. If you snap up one of these antiques yourself, you will secure American and film history in one swoop.

Dunleith Designs is bursting with beautiful investment pieces, classical and local art, stunning lighting fixtures, customized linens and upholstery and one-of-a-kind gifts for weddings, showers, debutantes etc.  You can discover new interior design ideas such as a new wall covering, which gives the aspect of perfect cut stone, but actually goes on like wall paper, is easier to mount and is much less expensive than stone itself.

Still, the shop is just the tip of the iceberg, what Dunleith really offers is an opportunity for customers of all budgets to create the home of their dreams.

Ken Rogers has over 30 years experience in design, fine furniture and the decorative arts industry.  He holds a BFA in Interior Design, with a minor in Art History and is a 25 year professional member of the American Society of Interior Designers.

Dunleith Designs, 1537 Metairie Road, Metairie, LA 70005. T: 504.272.0879.  www.dunleithdesigns.com


The Stationer

The Stationer is a must-see for New Orleans brides-to be looking for the perfect invitations and save-the-dates for their big day. Opened in 1978, The Stationer has been serving the New Orleans market for over 30 years. Jane Bensel has owned this Magazine Street shop for the past 10 years, and just over two years ago, Bensel’s shop came together with Amy Casbarian’s Wedding Belles. Together, the two create a winning wedding combination. Bensel says that the sister shops both have the same customers – brides wanting to create their ideal weddings – but The Stationer and Wedding Belles complement each other because they don’t sell the same products.

At The Stationer and Wedding Belles, brides-to-be get the unique opportunity to pick out everything they need in one convenient trip — from their save-the-date and wedding invitations to their dream dress. Although searching for the perfect set of invitations to create a bride’s dream wedding is not an easy feat, Bensel’s shop makes it easy for brides to find exactly what they’re looking for.

The store is decked from head to toe with flirty, feminine décor, from the walls lined in dresses and gowns to the tables stocked with gorgeous stationary and invitations. Within the walls of The Stationer are two main display areas for any kind of paper product a bride may wish to find.

The back of the store prettily displays a wide variety of envelopes and liner paper. At the front of the store, Bensel showcases the latest designs for wedding invitations, birth announcements and save-the-dates as she consults with customers and helps brides decide on the perfect invitations.  

Jane says that while some brides-to-be come into the store knowing exactly what they’re looking for, most aren’t completely sure. This is where Jane’s knowledge of paper and stationery comes into play. She says that until a bride really sits down and looks at all the options, the process can be overwhelming. Luckily for stressed-out brides, The Stationer has an abundance of designs to fit any style and the option to mix and match different types of stationery.

Brides looking for a specific kind of stationery will be pleased to hear that, along with their own custom design, The Stationer is an authorized Crane dealer. Bensel says that the most popular lines in bridal stationery and invitations right now are Smock and Bella Figura, which includes mainly letterpress stationery with some fix of foil.

Even if you’re not in the market for invitations or save-the-dates, The Stationer also sells journals, albums, hand-made books and a great deal of other unique paper products. With Jane Bensel’s advice, brides-to-be have a stellar resource for making the wedding of their dreams come to life.


Lauren Alsop

Lauren Alsop believes that one of life’s greatest pleasures is receiving an actual piece of mail in a brightly colored envelope with her name and address scrawled across the front in the handwriting of a loved one.

With snail mail becoming more rare as the Internet takes over our personal and social lives, Alsop aims to bring back the art of paper mail with her collection of stationery, invitations, birth announcements and, in her words, “anything else that the U.S. Postal Service will let you slap a stamp on.” 

Alsop, who has worked in stationery stores since she was 15 years old, considers it her mission to put some fun back into the tangible art of paper mail. She is available for anything that needs a little creative flair, including wedding invitations, party invitations, stationery and wedding programs.

Over the years she has also worked on non-wedding-related paper products such as baby announcements, custom scrapbooking, business cards, logos, T-shirt designs, custom playing cards and illustrations for everything from children’s books to technical diagrams. To put in simply, Lauren does anything and everything print- and paper-related, and is an invaluable resource for brides looking for custom designs.

Custom-made products are Alsop’s specialty — everything she does is custom-made. She doesn’t have a traditional retail store and doesn’t sell packaged stationery items or any stationery from other designers. Brides who work with Alsop get the unique experience of building their own one-of-a-kind creation, whether it is stationery, save-the-dates or invitations.

Alsop says that her most popular pieces of stationery are wedding suites. She takes a bride’s idea and translates it into stunning paper products so that the entire wedding has a consistent theme and style. 

Brides and other customers generally come to Alsop with a few ideas of what they're looking for in terms of style and design. She then meets with each bride to discuss their likes and dislikes, her vision for the tone of the wedding and what pieces she'll need. She can usually help brides save money by grouping items and printing them all at once — a huge plus for budget-conscious brides.

For brides who are unsure of what they're looking for, Alsop asks lots of questions about other pieces of their wedding such as the location, dresses and flowers so that she can get a feel for their personal taste. She is the perfect stationer for brides-to-be who want personalized, one-of-a-kind stationery and invitations for their special day.

In Alsop’s own words, “I've been told by several clients that I'm very intuitive in designing for brides who have a general idea of what they want, but not a specific vision. That's my job — to develop the specifics and take the bride’s idea further than she imagined.”


Alexa Pulitzer

Combining sophistication and classic, Old World design into custom stationery is Alexa Pulitzer’s specialty, and her artistic talents in the art of stationery have gained international recognition. Alexa Pulitzer LLC, while based in New Orleans, has grown to be one of the city’s proudest exporters of paper products and is known on a global level. Luckily for New Orleans brides, Pulitzer’s custom design work and stationery is available right at our doorstep.

Pulitzer was born into a family of artists and entrepreneurs, not unlike herself. Her training began in her family’s textile company, Wembley Corporation. After earning her BFA from the University of Denver and working as an apprentice in Paris, Como and Milan, Pulitzer came home to New Orleans to work for Wembley with her newly acquired worldly talents in design, fabric and color. To this day, Pulitzer’s Italian studies resonate through her artwork, giving each piece an Old World European flair.

While working for Wembley, Pulitzer became frustrated with the corporate constraints that came with working for a large company and sought to make her own way in the artistic world. After nine years of creating her own stationery products on the side, she created her own business in August 2004. Pulitzer’s collection of stationery and paper products are now carried in over 1,500 stores throughout the world, including Bergdorf Goodman, Anthropologie and Liberty of London.

Despite her global stance in the stationery industry, Pulitzer is a true New Orleans girl – born and raised in the Big Easy. She holds New Orleans closest to her heart and is endlessly thankful for her local clientele. Since Hurricane Katrina, Alexa Pulitzer is right in the center of New Orleans’ artistic and cultural and artistic renaissance – business is bigger and better than ever. From her atelier on Esplanade Avenue, she creates logos for businesses, proprietary collections for national retailers as well as creates custom invitations and save-the-dates for brides to be.

Her website, AlexaPulitzer.com, showcases over a dozen design collections, including beautiful made-to-order wedding invitations, programs, menus, save-the-dates and favors. Her designs manage to be both classical and regal yet whimsical, featuring stunningly pretty typography and unique, one-color designs that are easy to peruse. Pulitzer thrives on the challenge to create a different look for each bride’s wedding must-haves and truly creates custom-made products.

Pulitzer’s website boasts a “custom design” section in which brides can fill out a form based on their interests and communicate specific design requests. This way, brides are able to contact the artist directly about their wedding plans and make requests for bespoke invitations, save-the-dates and thank you notes.

After your order is placed and the proofs are approved, the company prints and ships most orders in seven to 10 days. Alexa Pulitzer doesn’t currently offer addressing envelopes or calligraphy services, but she recommends New Orleans-based Maria-Helena Hoksch for Calligraphy at CalligraphyByMariaHelena.com.

Odds and Ends
Alexa Pulitzer Design


The Party Basket

The Party Basket, New Orleans’ oldest and largest stationery and invitation store, is dedicated to making sure that a bride’s invitation and stationery experience is simple and stress-free – we all know how important that is when planning a wedding! The shop, owned by Shannon McCloskey Able, promises to “provide the fastest service in the industry, maintain the highest quality printing standards and ensure your complete and total satisfaction.”

The Party Basket’s website, PartyBasketNO.com, offers brides-to-be plenty of options for quality, unique invitations in a variety of prices to meet every budget (though their website is re-launching later this month, you can email them directly at info@partybasketno.com). Invitations and save-the-dates are completely customizable to the bride’s wedding theme. The Party Basket will make each invitation unique to the bride’s theme or personality by changing the ink, wording and lettering style. Brides can design their own look and preview it online before the shop’s staff thoroughly reviews and ships each order.

The staff at The Party Basket realizes that a wedding event that a bride looks forward to and perhaps plans for years before the big day. The staff wants each bride to be completely satisfied with each invitation or save-the-date and that each one must be perfect for the big day. The shop, which was established in 1978, has over three decades’ experience in making sure that each bride’s invitation experience is as smooth and easy as possible.

The Party Basket doesn’t just specialize in invitations — the shop also provides customers with event related services including wedding planning, stationery, favors, wrapping, packaging and unique New Orleans gifts for wedding guests. The shop also specializes in gifts, candles, party favors and supplies, personalized cups and napkins, paper supplies, gift-wrap, addressing services and gift bags.

Besides their line of custom-made stationery and paper products, The Party Basket represents more than 40 leading invitation lines including: Crane's, Arzberger, Vera Wang, Checkerboard, William Arthur, Envelopments, Carlson Craft, Birchcraft, National Engraving, Pepperite, Sweet Pea, Alexa Pulitzer, Two Sprouts, Anna Griffin, Two's Company and Mindy Weiss. For brides looking for unique invitations on a budget, The Party Basket may be perfect.

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