Here’s a fun post from my Instagram account about our most recent kitchen renovation:
So today I’m at the almost final installation of my client’s kitchen, and it’s been a long road, as many renovations are. The design was actually the easy part with the client and I collaborating on a black and white kitchen. I provided colored drawings (black infill and black line!) and reviewed a couple of options with her. Would she like the black cabinets more if they were the upper cabinets or the lower cabinets? (I liked the uppers.) Would she like the tall cabinets to be the black or white? (I liked the black.)
Our goal is always to have our residential clients love what goes into their homes. They should smile every time they walk into the finished room so I find our best projects are a collaboration that satisfies both the design style we are striving for and the function that meets all their needs.
This kitchen interior design was finalized with the black cabinets on the bottom and tall white cabinets but I was so pleased when I received the phone call that she LOVES her new kitchen and everyone who visited for Thanksgiving to watch the parade raved about it.
The final touch to complete the black and white design scheme is the yellow gold interior of the glass cabinet which was inspired by an artwork in the original kitchen.
We should all feel joy from our surroundings! Wishing you that kind of joy today!
We’re so excited that LIBI, The Long Island Builders Institute, acknowledged our design excellence when it awarded us a Double Diamond, the top honor, in the Whole House Makeover for the Roslyn Heights project. They also awarded us the Diamond honor in the Multi Family category for the Skillman Suitesproject. LIBI is a strong association of Builders and Associates developing buildings across the metropolitan and Long Island areas and we are so pleased to have received this recognition from them.
Both projects were the culmination of many months of hard work, drawings, specifications, and construction angst, that when I am in the finished spaces, I breathe deeply. Not only from a sigh of relief, but of excitement at having “birthed” a wonderful, fully-grown child! Because we put all of our heart and soul into our craft, each space/room/building is a creation of art and imagination.
We are ever grateful to our clients, who allow us artistic freedom and give us the canvas to work on. I truly value the relationships that we have developed during the months of working together. I respect and I admire the people I serve. I keep their goals at the forefront of my mind and I thank them for their trust. Congratulations to them!
I had someone say to me today: “It must be hard to decide between all of the fabrics.”
But actually it’s amazing that it’s not so. We had 10 beautiful fabrics the project designer had found in the D & D (Design & Decorator’s) showrooms, one more beautiful than the other. The mission she had been charged with was to find a substitute for the beautiful fabric we already selected, but which was not available for 8-10 weeks. The client is eager to have everything installed as soon as possible, so we are eager to make that happen for them.
So, we looked at each of those 10 beautiful fabrics within the overall design scheme and narrowed it down to just one. We presented it to the client and given the choice between Beautiful and Perfect….they’re waiting for the original Perfect fabric! When the right fabric/color/pattern/design works: it Sings!!
When the doldrums set in, it’s time for refreshing your surroundings. If it’s too cold to go outside you will want to make your home the most inviting, comfortable and cozy place it can be. So here are five of my best strategies for quick refreshes that will make a big impact on your space.
Add some color to the walls! If you are ready to invest in a few hours of work to make the biggest impact, then grab a gallon of paint and change your wall color. Painting is not hard, it just takes time to do it. Anyone can wield a paint brush and transform the identity of a room. So….go from white to a warm taupe (take a look at Benjamin Moore’s Alphano Beige, #989.) Go from beige to a glam shade of copper (check out Benjamin Moore 14 Carrots, CSP-1110.) Go from a light blue to a sophisticated steel blue (and see Porcelain Glaze, CSP-550.) Consider making a statement by painting one wall color a strong accent. Recently I repainted my office with a strong burnt orange color on my north wall (in Feng Shui terms: I put a strong energy color on my wall of abundance and reputation.) My staff loves it and it brings a bright, happy feel into the room.
But if you’re not willing to invest time and energy into that kind of project right now, then add color by selecting an accent color you love and add some decorative pillows. Change the art on the walls. Add some vases and decorative pieces in that accent color and you will see the room take on a new feel.
Add more light! Add a new floor or table lamp. Yes, we know you’ve been postponing shopping for that light fixture. Well, now is the time to do it. Adding more light and making your space brighter definitely helps to raise the happiness spirit of a room. Look for lamps that have a 3 way switch so that you can control the light making it brighter when you need it and softer when you want to create a soft evening mood. Also look for shades that add some decorative interest: it could have a pattern or texture. It’s another way to add spark to a room.
And if you’re really handy, you may want to consider adding recessed downlights in the ceiling or sconces on a wall. These types of fixtures will really add brightness and sparkle to a room. But remember to always install dimmer switches so you can control the light and mood in that room.
Change the furniture placement in the room. We get used to walking into a room and seeing the same furniture layout all the time. Well, make a change: move the chairs into a different location. Consider switching a piece of furniture from one room to another: maybe it’s a chest that you have in your bedroom that would make a nice addition in the hallway; maybe it’s a chair from a different room that would be a good change. Think about your options. You may be surprised how “new” a piece looks when it’s moved to a new location!
Consider reupholstering a beloved chair or adding a new one. Select a new pattern that works with your new or existing color palette (and this could be a good way to add color too.) Maybe it’s a pattern that has texture too. Both pattern and texture are strong ways to change the look of a room. So scour those warehouse sales, check out the current stock at your local Home Goods store, and visit the higher end thrift stores to get a great chair that make a design difference!
Print, frame and hang those great photos you love! It always gives me such a sense of pleasure when I finally have one or two of those great travel photos I have stored on my computer printed and hung. Too often we never have a hard copy of the best ten shots we took of that great moment, loved one, family time, party, place, pet… We have thousands of just perfect shots! So get them printed and on your walls!
First, decide where they will go, how many you want and how you will frame them. A good size wall can take a collection of frames to create a design statement. The smallest you will want to choose is generally 5” x 7”, but it’s fun to do a mix of a few picture sizes on a wall. I like to go to Michael’s or my local frame shop and find a frame style I like and then choose a couple of the sizes. Go ahead and lay them out on the store floor so you can select the right size frames that work to make a good arrangement for the wall you chose. Then get the prints made: online there’s Adorama or Shutterfly where they will make any size print for you. Then insert into frame and hang on wall!
If you’re in a rush, check out the Pottery Barn Gallery frames. There are usually five or six different sizes of the same finish frame in a set. When placing the order for prints, you can order the same image in a couple of sizes (it’s usually not expensive to do this and it gives you more options when you’re setting up the frames.) Then when you have the frames, enjoy putting your favorite photos in and seeing them on the wall. It will make for a great collection while adding color and interest and personality to the room!
For help with new décor ideas, check back for our upcoming launch our Luxury Home Collection! We’ll have coordinated paint schemes and color palettes with decorative objects for you to easily and quickly “Refresh” a room!
It’s not often that we stop to think of what Design will be like in 40 years, but I had the opportunity to do so for Houzz.com when I entered the Impact of Design competition. So here are my predictions. I welcome your feedback and your predictions for the Future of Design.
The most important trend happening right now and one we can expect to gain momentum in future years is Greener Living. People will strive to make their living and working spaces more ecologically friendly. I believe they will focus on using paints with no-VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds…the element that makes paint smell.) They will request non-formaldehyde adhesives in their cabinetry, and wood from Certified Forestry Products. Currently water-saving showers and toilets are the standard, and the use of wall-hung toilets which help keep the bathroom cleaner will expand. The future will also bring more energy-conscious, well-designed products to market.
Socially, Great Rooms and open layouts will foster togetherness. The Kitchen, the heart of every home, is the center hub and living/dining spaces will surround it. Family functions will continue to happen around island counters and when the cooking is integrated into the socializing, good times follow. With so many popular cooking shows, we can expect more great meals!
And with larger, community spaces in the home, the creation of quiet, personal spaces increases. Also with more people working at home, a dedicated office/quiet space is key. When couples both work from home, separate offices are going to be more widely needed. Each needs a place to focus on their media and work, away from others. An office with a lounge chair does double duty and a quiet color palette can provide a private retreat.
I believe media centers/charging stations will happen in more rooms. Fewer tv’s will be in the home because we’ll be watching what we each want to on our media. But we’ll still have one big tv in the house for events and games.
Design elements in the future will be simpler and there will be a strong design improvement of basic items: door hardware, thermostats (ie. Nest), light switches and outlets. Wood moldings will also get simpler and there will be a widespread use of ultra-thin porcelain tiles, especially for renovation projects. These tile maintain the strength of standard porcelain tiles, but with a crazy, thin profile enabling them to be installed directly onto other surfaces. And look for further developments in engineered wood flooring and LED lighting! I’m looking forward to incorporating all of these in our future projects!
It’s the most basic and one of the strongest elements used to define a space, create a mood, or change a look. We all say: “Just add some color!” And it’s great that within a few hours, a room can have a whole new feel. Maybe it’s even an old piece of furniture: change the color, and it totally transforms the piece.
But today I want to talk about paint itself because after you’re finalized the color you need to decide on the finish.
Will it be a Flat Finish? Well, I’m not particularly a fan of flat finishes (and certainly not for walls.) But it is good for ceilings that have a lot of imperfections because there are no shiny areas for light to be reflected off waves or nail marks or areas that were patched.
How about an Eggshell Finish? I really like Eggshell and recommend it as the minimum for all walls. It has a slight sheen and is smooth to the touch.i
And what about Pearl Finish? This is my favorite: it has a bit more sheen than eggshell and is very smooth to the touch. I think it also enhances beautiful colors and the higher the gloss, the easier it is to clean. But sometimes I get painters who don’t like to work with it because they can’t touch it up as easily as eggshell. This may be the case, but if you’re working with a quality painter, they will do a good job with it. If you’re painting the walls yourself, it may mean that if you have to patch an area then you will have to give the full wall a coat so keep that smooth look. I think it’s worth it.
Semi-gloss? This is a good paint for high moisture rooms like bathrooms. It cleans great and looks good on doors and moldings.
And I am also a big fan of a High Gloss finish for moldings and doors. It catches the light great and is very washable.
When selecting a color, bear in mind that the finish you choose will change the color slightly. All of the small paint samples from paint stores are supplied in a flat finish. As it gets shinier, the color will appear lighter. You can adjust for this by selecting a slightly darker tone so when it is used in, say a semi-gloss finish, the color will be just what you want it to be. If you want to get the color just right you can buy a small jar of paint these days and test it on the area you want to make sure it’s perfect.
Depending on the line that you’re going with you will sometimes see a Matte or a Satin finish. The Matte is closest to a Flat finish and the Satin is closest to an Eggshell.
And a final recommendation: go with a paint that has low or no-VOC (volatile organic compounds.) Those are the elements that cause that new paint smell. While I was raised on that smell and kind of like it, it’s not very good for you. It’s much healthier for you not to have these elements so that you can sleep in the bedroom the same night without being bothered by it, and the no-VOC qualities are especially good for kids.
You’re probably all familiar with Houzz.com (and if you’re not, check them out now: Houzz.com ) It’s an amazing repository of design images of residential projects around the world. When starting on a design project, you can start there to get an idea of what you like. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know what you like: Traditional, Contemporary, Transitional. These are just labels and you’ll come to know the difference. Start by searching for the room you are working: Living Room, Bedroom, etc. Then when you see something you like, create an Ideabook. This will allow you to save the photo so that you can go back to it later. You create an Ideabook by hovering over the image until you see the +Save button on the bottom. Click it and “Create an Ideabook” by giving it the name of the room you’re working on. Then hit the green “Save to Ideabook” button. You don’t have to write a comment, but I know that sometimes I look at photos I save and wonder what I was thinking about when I saved it! So comments can be useful for future reference.
Creating different ideabooks by project categories like Stairs, Window Treatments, Lighting, will also provide a great library of items for when you’re ready to be specific about those particular items. You can make your ideabook private if you don’t want anyone to see it, or share it with someone (like your interior designer) directly when you email them.
When you’re ready, search for Pros who can do the work in your area. I am a Pro in the Interior Design directory for the NYC Metropolitan area. You can check out the various websites for architects, contractors and painters, and read the reviews to help you narrow down your selections. If you can’t get recommendations from people you know, these reviews serve to provide you with actual feedback from their customers.
Lastly, use Houzz to show your Pro what you have in mind when you are starting work together. This will give them a clear idea of the direction you want to go in. Remember that when you work with an interior designer such as myself, you will be getting a custom design. I rarely see anything exactly like what I design for my clients…and that’s what they pay for: I will create a space that is unique to them and for them. As your personality is different, your interiors will be different. I create something new and special, I select items that are perfect for the space, and I design spaces that make people happy. I know this because just last week I had a client say that he wanted to come home early from his vacation place because being in his home made him feel peaceful and happy. And that is why I love what I do!
The prospect of attending the HD Expo in Las Vegas was attractive so that I could also get to see some of the hotel spectacles I hadn’t had the chance to see since my last visit 20 years ago. So I had a lot of catching up to do! Well, overall it did not disappoint, although the “spectacle” of it all is so over the top! But then I remind myself: isn’t that the point of Las Vegas!
I wish I had time to visit more hotels but my favorite this time around was definitely The Wynn. With its fanciful courtyard I felt like it was Macy’s Flower Show on Steroids! I especially loved the parasols undulating from the ceiling and the floral floor mosaics. The Picasso restaurant was a treat in both fine dining and art. I loved being surrounded by $200M worth of his art!
The In-Site Design team is getting ready for the highly anticipated, NYC New Development Showcase & Forum held by the Real Deal on May 12th at the Metropolitan Pavilion. We are thrilled to be displaying our latest and greatest project designs, as well as have the opportunity to network with all of the participants joining. Last year almost 3,000 developers, property managers and board members attended the 2014 Development Showcase. We hope to meet you there!
Come join us at the Metropolitan Pavilion tomorrow from 12pm – 6pm!
I hear you thinking: what makes In-Site so different? Why should I choose to work with them?
Besides being innately creative, we are always finding new materials and labor sources to incorporate into our projects. We attend almost all of the NY shows: International Furniture Fair (IFFA), Architectural Digest Home Show, Lightfair, the Co-op and Condo Show, occasionally NeoCon in Chicago, and this May I’ll be traveling to Las Vegas to attend the Hospitality Design Expo where I expect to see many new and innovative products for our future projects!
As Creative Principal, I was trained at Parsons School of Design and as a LEED certified professional, I attend Continuing Education courses throughout the year. I keep up with the monthly issues of Interior Design Magazine and Architectural Record to see what’s new in the Design and Architecture world, and I’m always cutting out photos of great products and projects from the magazines to keep as reference for future projects (I have a file drawer full of great furniture and accessories!)
Not only do we source products effectively, I am also a great resource for a wide variety of services. Every Wednesday evening I meet with 25-30 high level professionals to discuss business. They come from all sectors of industry and because of them, I’m a better me. If you need a real estate attorney, I have one. If you need a residential real estate broker, I have one. Commercial broker, have one. If you need a reference to an insurance company to compare prices on auto insurance or if you need life insurance, I have a recommendation for you.
So here’s a short list of the other interesting, and sometimes necessary, professionals that I work with and can provide a recommendation:
High-End Caterer (Barraud Caterers make art out of food!)
IT consultant (Tabash Consultants)
Financial Planner (John Fiorito)
Trust and Estates/Elder care attorney (Nancy Burner and Associates)
Personal Injury attorney (Eugene Gozenput of Pazer, Epstein & Jaffe)
My deepest goal is to make people happy (sounds corny, I know) but it’s real. I do this through my creative spirit, and if I can connect you with other highly-regarded professionals when needed, then I have helped in yet another dimension!