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Category Archives: Design Blog

It’s So Worth It All

Some days are so overwhelming: back to back client meetings, shopping for clients, attending events and networking. Wednesday was one of those days: I left my house at 5:30 a.m. and didn’t return until 9 p.m.  There are many challenges in running a successful design business. But there is nothing like the thrill of being inside a finished project and hearing how happy a client is with their new home and how they are just discovering all of the details that coordinate. It’s a sense of discovery for them. All those months of working hard on those details….yes, that’s what make it worth it. Knowing that I made a very positive impact in someone’s daily life.

I always say that Design Nourishes the Soul. I truly believe this!

May a beautiful interior or design detail raise your spirits today!


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Painting Tips 101 from New York Interior Designers

Often I am asked questions specific to selecting the right paint, not just the right paint color. Here are a few tips:

-If your walls are in bad condition, then have them skim-coated to make them smooth. This is applying a coat of joint compound to the entire wall surface/room, letting it dry and then having it sanded smooth. Sometimes it takes more than one coat, but smooth walls look better.

-If the walls are in bad condition or if you decide not to smooth coat, then flat paint will make the imperfection less noticeable. I always prefer a pearl or eggshell finish but these add a slight sheen. That sheen will reflect light and you will notice the imperfections a bit more.

-If the walls are in decent condition, then go with a bit of sheen. I also prefer pearl finish to eggshell finish because I like the sheen. It’s elegant.

-Whites: Yes, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of tones of whites: White Dove and Navajo White: the generally have a bit of yellow, so they’re considered “warm.” Decorators’ White is a bit grayer and goes great with contemporary white furnishings.

-Is it worth adding a tint and going with, say, the Benjamin Moore OC series? If you don’t mind paying a little bit more, then generally yes, it is. The different tones will add a hint of color and sometimes, that’s what you want.

-Quality of Paint: I’m a big Benjamin Moore fan.There are some other great companies out there: the Designer lines like Farrow and Ball, Stark and Mystic paint. They’re not sold in as many stores as Benjamin Moore. So you may want to consider a few of Benjamin Moore’s upgrades: Natura has low voc’s which are the components which cause paint to smell. If you have small kids, are sensitive to smells, or want to sleep in the room the same night you paint, then go for Natura.  Aura is another of their great products: it has a mildew resistant composition so it’s great for bathrooms. I’ve used it and it is successful for reducing or preventing mildew spots.

Color is a whole different topic but here’s a few things to consider:

Taupe colors which are beige/grey are create spaces that are warm and contemporary.

I never tire of lilac/light violet tones. I recently did a girls room with a medium lilac and on one wall we added stripes of the Benjamin Moore glazing. It’s a great effect.

Going bold is always fun: My feeling is that paint is the cheapest of design elements: Go bold and if you don’t like it: repaint!

Always: Have fun during the process…make a positive change in your environment for a positive change in your life!
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Day Five – Interior Designer NYC

There is nothing like the feeling of walking into a project that I’ve been designing for over a year and finally to see the finishes installed. That’s when the “house” is really  turned into a “home.” It gives me such a great sense of pride to see how beautifully things come together to make the interior design a reality. Today I got to see two custom designed artwork panels by Shagreen Art installed in the staircase of one of our residential clients. I was inspired by panels I had seen at a designers showhouse years ago. I modified the design to fit my client’s house and I am truly exhilarated! The panels integrate so well into the overall design and I can’t wait to see the spaces finished. I love it and so does the client!


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Day Four – Interior Designer NYC

Not only do we design projects from scratch, but we also decorate what’s already there! Today we spent the day setting up a Model Home in Garden City. The client had a lot of furniture and artwork already from previous projects so we were asked to place the furnishings to their best advantage and install the artwork. There were some great pieces so that part was very easy and except for a big, heavy mirror, most of the furniture was already in the right rooms. Selecting the locations for each of the artwork was fun and my design assistant purchased window treatments for the main rooms and additional accessories. At the end of the day, the home looked fabulous and I while I was physically exhausted, I was also exhilarated by such a fun day in the field!

Model Home

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Day Three – Interior Designer NYC

I often am amazed at how lucky I am to have ended up in this profession as a New York Interior Designer. I truly love what I do!

Long overdue, I finalized the selection for terrace furnishings for a development project. It’s going to be a great terrace: we have an outdoor pool table, and a ping pong table, both shaded by contemporary tensile fabric structures. We’re planning for a wide Living Green Wall which is basically a vertical metal structure that is covered by vines and green landscaping. The Living Wall remains green year round and would provide a great backdrop for outdoor lounging. The furnishings will be a mix of dark woven wicker sofas with a fun round sofa in one area. Mostly the teak wood furniture we selected was for the reason that it doesn’t get overly hot during the summer months.

Much of the day was spent on administrative duties for both the projects and my corporation. And marketing tasks. These days are definitely not as fun as a day full of project related design, but it is a requirement of having a functioning business!
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Day Two – Interior Designer NYC

So we are going ahead with that fabulous Italian sectional sofa after all! I brought my client to the showroom to see it in person. The Roche Bobois piece is beautifully proportioned with a fine bronze nickel metal frame, just perfect for the room. And, although it doesn’t work so well in the budget, she also realized it’s perfect. So we finalized the fabric and selected two accent fabrics for the decorative pillows.

Onward then to the Dennis Miller showroom at 200 Lexington to see a walnut dining table. Also: Perfect! We shopped for dining chairs, looking for just the right scale, lines and finish. I think we found them, also at Roche Bobois. But that hasn’t been finalized yet.

My client and I then went on to Kravet Fabrics to shop for a fabric for an existing sofa that is to be reupholstered. Yes, we found a delicate brocade in a creamy color that works great with the damask pattern wallcovering we’re using. Last stop for the day was the Baker showroom. They have a wonderful display of beautifully crafted furniture. The price tag is often high, but the quality merits it. It’s great to see such high quality pieces: great design, beautifully made. There’s so much furniture out there that’s poor quality and knockoffs that are poorly made, that it’s always refreshing to see the real thing.

So, the afternoon was spent on my own: back to the Kravet showroom to find a coordinating velvet for the brocade. Afterwards at the showroom, I switched gears to find an alternate wallcovering for a different client. We have on order an elegant metallic wallcovering for the Master Bedroom. Problem is that there’s an 8-10 week lead time and we just don’t have that. The client is working towards moving in 10 weeks. So I did find a number of fabulous things: handmade papers ($249/roll…ouch!), and a couple of more textural papers with some sheen. I ordered samples because I don’t want to respecify it without seeing it in the right light (showroom lighting doesn’t cut it) and in a larger piece. I should have those on hand in 3 days. No, I’m not going to show him the $249/roll paper…that for sure is not in the budget!)

Then on to my next stop: Strand Bookstore. I need to fill out the shelves in the library I designed in Long Island City. So where else to find inexpensive, great reads (well, good covers, anyway)! I love that store: Great art, architecture and design books…all well priced! I’ll deliver them and set up the space some time next week.

I’m truly exhausted…but also exhilarated by today’s successful day!
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Day One – Interior Designer NYC

I don’t want to bore you with the mundane details of today: the computer technician that came in to set up my new systems, or the bookkeeper that came to do her work. The highlight of today was hearing my client say they were going for the more expensive hardware that I had researched and specified two months ago! I’ve been working on the details with the manufacturer for a while. The end finials are a beautiful filigree and the finish will be an oil rubbed bronze. Nothing else I have seen has been so lovely for the project. And I firmly believe that all of the small details are what really make for an exceptional project. I’m really excited about this!

I also spent some time researching lighting for a Hall. Sometimes I will go to an online distributor like Lamps Plus, other times I will search on each of the manufacturer’s websites. Years ago we researched through paper catalogs, but now we can cover so much more ground online! Sometimes when I am in the midst of researching lighting I may look at thousands in one day. But I always know the style, the general shape and dimensions of what I needs, so those “thousands” don’t take so long to scroll through! Today, I found two that I liked and emailed links to my client for her approval.

I also worked with one of my furniture dealers to find a substitute for an expensive high-end sectional sofa. My client and I LOVE the Italian sectional I found, but it’s not working well within the budget. IF we can find a substitute, then there may be room for those great chairs we’re looking at!!
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As the year ends

It’s been a busy few months: In-Site took part in the Massey Knackel Multifamily Summit where I sat on a panel for New Developments. The panelists, who included a mix of developers and real estate brokers and myself representing design, discussed the state of real estate developments, the best neighborhoods for growth and the various amenities that are being brought to market.

Before that, my team of NYC interior designers and I were involved in the Real Estate Expo which was a 2 day event of seminars for real estate professionals. I had the opportunity of being interviewed about the process of designing for apartment buildings…something I love doing. We take great pride in creating spaces that we know will be home to many people, knowing how important it is to make comfortable, functional and beautiful spaces. We also design the public spaces for the buildings: lobbies, recreation rooms and corridors. For these we strive to design spaces that are unique, exciting and memorable.
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SuperStorm 2012

It’s been a crazy and incredible few weeks. The storm that ravaged the Eastern Coast created havoc with downed trees, flooding and a major blackout. When I think of it now, just 3 weeks later, it will be remembered by me as the Blackout of 2012. Our NY office got power back within a few days, but our Long Island office was in “black out” for almost 2 weeks. We temporarily moved our headquarters to Queens and were able to service our clients well from there. Our hearts go out to all those who sustained loss of life, loss of home and horrible damage. We understand there are those who do not have homes to go to or are still living with no power. It’s a tremendous burden and I wish them the best in the coming months.
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The Thrill of Construction for NYC Interior Designers

There is something so very exciting about construction. It’s exhilarating for me to walk onto a construction site and see my design ideas a reality. All these months sketching, hard-line computer drawing, selecting finishes, coordinating with the team through the ordering process and finally, it’s there, on site, in 3 dimensions. It’s great!

This past week, after 2 years in the making, through the real estate downturn, after extensive changes in scope, function and finishes, a rental unit property has finally come to fruition. I’m looking forward to sharing a grand opening party with the other team members who have been on the journey with me: the client/developer, the architect, the construction manager, the project manager and my team of NYC Interior Designers. We’re always very much aware that these apartments become home for hundreds of New Yorkers. Located in Long Island City, we sought to create apartments that are comfortable and beautiful; Recreation spaces that excite and inspire. From out of the dirt, I like to think that we succeeded.

Here are some photos:

Real Estate Development
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