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Rita Catinella Orrell is a design journalist and author working in New Jersey. She has been a member of the design press for over 25 years, covering interior design, home furnishings, kitchen and bath design, and architectural building products. She was products editor for Architectural Record for over 14 years and was the founding editor of SNAP, an award-winning building products tabloid. She has contributed to several publications and websites including Record, Architizer, Texas Architect, American Craft, Interior Design, and Engineering News-Record. She earned her LEED Green Associate certification from 2012-2020, indicating she knows just enough about sustainable design to be dangerous.

Orrell launched designythings.com in 2011 as a curated list of gifts, gadgets, and gear for consumers. In 2013 she launched architects-toybox.com, a resource for architects and designers looking for the latest building products. She has a M.A. in Creative Writing from CUNY Queens College and her chapbook Stuck in the Dream Wheel was published by Finishing Line Press in 2005. Her first book on product design, Objects of Desire: A Showcase of Modern Erotic Products and the Creative Minds Behind Them was published in March 2016 by Schiffer Publishing. For more info, please visit www.ritacatinellaorrell.com.

Photo by Yasmeen Anderson Photography.


Orrell curates two blogs on design. Designythings.com is a list of gifts, gadgets and gear for consumers and ArchitectsToybox.com where she covers building products and accessories for architects and designs.


What People Are Saying about Architect’s Toybox:

I’m so glad to see a well curated product website for architects. I would rather have fewer excellent/beautifully designed products featured than a ton of products that I have to sift through to cull out the nice ones. You are doing a terrific job of curating the cream of the crop—thank you!

—Katherine Chia, Architect, Desai Chia Architecture PC, New York City

Architect’s Toybox in the News:

Architect’s Toybox one of “Five Inspirational Blogs We Love” on Heat&Glo Blog:


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Interview for the AMMC Inc. blog:

Our interview with the founder of designythings.com

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Interview for VIATechnik Engineering Blog:

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