Although the San Diego Marriott Del Mar wheeled out a tempting coffee station, a Miele espresso machine beckoned. As I stepped outside the ballroom door with my mini to-go cup, I ran into interior designer Janine Thierry Brown. When I pointed out to her that she could get an espresso just inside, she commented that it would keep her up all night. Since I had been up since 4:30 a.m., I had no such worries. Besides, I was about to head into the I-5/805 abyss.

The evening’s event was the annual Industry Partners Expo of the Association of Interior Designers, San Diego Chapter. San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine is an ASID IP, and our table was being ably manned by Senior Account Executive Kim O’Donnell and Marketing Coordinator Egan O’Keefe (wearing her name tag in cutting-edge style on her sleeve).

I stopped by our table and talked with interior designers, but I also cruised the expo to see what new products or designs local vendors had to offer. My first stop was Modern Builders Supply, which was exhibiting windows that had honeycomb shades integrated into the frames.

At the Marazzi Tile & Stone table, my inquiry into the latest/trendiest products revealed two surfaces that I really liked. One was a leaf-patterned, mosaic tile that looked like sand. The other was porcelain printed with 3-D digital technology to make it look and feel somewhat like fabric. One could use it on a wall in lieu of grasscloth or on the floor if one likes the easy maintenance of a hard surface but doesn’t like slick and shiny.

More technology was evident at the Cosentino table, where they were showcasing Dekton, a compacted quartz surface based on “sinterized particle technology.” Huh? Even without a degree a science, I do understand that SPT makes the surface strong. I hope it means the peppermints in the Dekton-labeled tin I picked up will make me stronger too.

Because I like having mints handy in my desk drawer, I also picked up a small tin from Lightworks, a lighting/automation, design/build company. Juno Lighting Group had a couple of paintings on hand to illustrate the way its lighting control could change the vibrance of hues in artwork.

Color is, of course, tres important. And paint companies have their own colors of the year, Pantone’s 2015 Marsala notwithstanding. Representatives of Dunn-Edwards Paints showed me the company’s 2015 palette. Next to the SDH/GL table, Sherwin-Williams’ John Dumesnil was handing out nail polish in S-W’s CoY: coral (a shade that Egan and I agreed deserves attention and is especially complementary on fingernails). Sherwin-Williams, by the way, has a Student Design Challenge running March 1-April 15, with no entry fee and a top prize of $2,500 (swstudentdesign.com).

There were many more tables at the expo. As I perused the products and picked up literature and business cards, I almost wished I were an interior designer myself. But, ultimately, I know that my skills are best applied to the business I love: offering wonderful stories and beautiful pictures in a magazine for a wide audience to enjoy.

This morning, I told Managing Editor Eva Ditler about my enjoyment of the expo and capping it off with a Miele-made espresso. She wondered whether the potent dose of caffeine kept me from falling asleep last night, and I admitted that it had.

“Was it worth it?” she asked.

“Yeah,” I said.