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Design Blog

The Future of Design

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!

Wishing You Happy Design Times!
Elizabeth
In-Site Interior Design 01 Brooklyn Residence - Family Room - NYC Interior Designer - Contemporary Residential Design

More About Paint

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.

For more information, click here for another post on the QUALITIES OF PAINT.

Interior Designers Long Island | Cold Spring Harbor Bathroom

Houzz.com and Harnessing Its Power in the Design Process

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!

 

Elements of Design in Las Vegas

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!

Here are some excellent design elements:
In-Site Interior Design NY blogIn-Site Interior Design blogIn-Site Interior Design NYC blog In-Site Interior Design NY blogIn-Site Inteiror Design blogIn-Site Interior Design NY blog
In-Site Interior Design NY blog Picasso plates

NYC New Development Showcase & Forum

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!

125 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

In-Site Interior Design - 01 - HAP Residence - NYC Interior Design - Contemporary Lobby Design - Commercial Real Estate Apartment Complex

 

Why In-Site?

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!

Feel Good with In-Site!

Residential Bathroom

Penthouse Master Bath

The Art of Inspiration

I’m often asked: “Where do you get your inspiration?” I really do get excited and inspired by so many things. Often just walking through city streets, looking at interesting construction details, seeing lighting used in an interesting way, examining unplanned material juxtapositions, and seeing newly well-designed interiors helps me to think in new ways and want to try new things!

Then for the days when my heart just clamors for overwhelming beauty I go to the Metropolitan Museum – one of my favorite places in the world (more on those later!) The Met is filled with relocated rooms (the Art Nouveau “Wisteria Dining Room” with wood veneer that looks like crocodile skin), the stunning marble sculptures in the Sculpture Hall especially those by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux that feature stone that looks like skin, the Frank Lloyd Wright room (which I analyzed while in art school), the stained glass beauties from the Tiffany Studios, the Sullivan staircase, the color of the Impressionists, the large scale of the Moderns….and on and on. I spend time roaming the halls of that great library of art and design and am filled with an excitement, a sense that even small artists (such as I might consider myself) make an impact on this world.

The Met ranks up there with my favorite places along with the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris (it’s like being inside a jewelry box with all the colorful stained glass windows), the Santa Maria Novella in Florence with its perfect proportions, and the NYC Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright with its beautiful spirals. These are places that are infused with beauty in form, color, and proportion and make my heart sing.

Lastly, traveling is a great source of inspiration for me. Here are a few photos from my recent trip to Barbados that sparked my imagination. I hope you find things today that serve to fill your heart and inspire you!

P1030167 FishP1030042 Accra HotelIMG_4285

P1030166 Turtles

Selecting art

There are so many things that help to give the finishing touches to a room: the perfect window treatment, ideal accessories, quality silk florals. But I believe a room doesn’t feel lived in until there is art on the walls.

This past week, we’ve been busy finalizing the selection of thirty pieces of art to complete a corporate office space prior to move in. We designed the space, selected all the furniture and were priviledged to complete the design by selecting the artwork. We chose all types of art: beautiful original lithographs, abstract photographic prints, colorful canvases, and 3-d wall decor. We also had the opportunity of commissioning a photographer to capture the essence of the client’s business to feature it as framed art. They are stunning views of their buildings and are wonderful abstract photos simultaneously.  Mobiles also enliven the large workstation area, bringing movement and color to the open space.

So how do you select the right art? First and foremost, art is visceral. What does that mean? It means you have to FEEL it. Something about the image will appeal to you on a physical/intellectual/emotional level: it will interest you, excite you, grab your attention. It may be the color, the form, the shapes, or a particular detail that attracts you. That’s the artwork to consider.

Then, size…yes, that’s important. Are you trying to fill a wall? Make sure the piece is large enough. Maybe two pieces will fill the wall better, or a triptych: three pieces that function as one may work well. Art for over a sofa? A horizontal piece usually works best, one that is about 12″ in from each side. Is the wall taller than wide?, Then go for a vertical artwork. Is the wall wider than tall?: Horizontal art is best.

Then color…Introducing or enhancing an accent color in the room is ideal. Color is energy, enlivening. Black can also be enlivening, usually in its form.

The key is to enjoy the art you select. When you look at it, it should make you Feel…..

“Color Creates Energy,

Energy Creates Inspiration,

and Inspiration creates Change.”

Ricky Lee Gordon

544 Union Avenue

 

In-Site is awarded 2014 Design In Excellence for 544 Union Avenue

We’re very excited to have been awarded this honor in a design competition by the QBBA, the Queens Bronx Builders Association. Despite their name, this builders association’s competition was open to all projects built in the City in 2014. Because we are proud of this project and the client was very satisfied with the design and how fast they achieved full occupancy, we decided to enter it. And we’re happy to have been selected as a winner! All of the Team members received an award: The Client, Heatherwood Communities; The Architect: Karl Fischer Architects, The Builder: J. Petrocelli Inc, and the Interior Design Team: In-Site Interior Design. Our design team consisted of Patricia Jorquera, Mallory Bohan and Cynthia Levine. Apts and Lofts, the real estate broker for the building also was heavily involved in bringing this building to its successful completion.

What goes into a successful project: good planning: the spaces have to be well planned, the program for recreation spaces has to be strong, and the design of the exterior has to be really good. And the teams involved need to have good communication to make a 16 month construction process flow smoothly.

In the beginning phases of construction, the team met bi-weekly to address issues. As construction progressed, the team meetings became weekly meetings to ensure that everything was moving smoothly and issues were addressed by all parties as they arose. As the interiors began, In-Site joined the meetings to address interior construction issues and provide solutions. Ceilings were modified when beams were lower than expected or electrical panels ended up being larger than anticipated. Materials were reselected when the lead time would impinge on the overall construction schedule. Finish samples were checked to verify what was being ordered matched what was specified.

For this project we were asked by the client to select all the furniture and art, so we had design control over the overall end look of the interiors and were happy for it. We had the opportunity to select all of the accessories as well, and when I last returned to the building to confirm the terrace furnishings were all in place, I had the pleasure of being complimented by one of the new tenants. She thought the building was beautiful and was very happy living, playing, and enjoying her life there. And that is my true reward for a job well done.

544 Union Avenue

Paint: It’s not all about the color

We all know the best things about paint: How it so quickly transforms a space or piece of furniture into something new or how it just creates a mood, sets a tone!

But there’s more to know about selecting the right quality of paint so it does the job you need. I’ve always been a big fan of Benjamin Moore paint. It goes on well (having many years of actual painting experience behind me as a big DIY person!)  It holds its color well after cleaning, and the range of color is so easy to work with as a designer! Here are some other things to plan on when you’re selecting paint for your next project:

-Consider using their Aura quality paint for high moisture areas like bathrooms and shower areas. It has a chemical bonding process that helps to prevent mildew. Having had this problem in one of my bathrooms, I can wholly testify to this particular benefit! I used the regular Aura quality but their Aura Bath and Spa quality is bound to be even better!

-For those of us who are looking to walk into a room after it is painted and not be able to smell it’s been painted, look to the Natura quality of paint. Right now all of Benjamin Moore’s paint are low-VOC’s. That means that the chemicals that cause the “paint smell” have been drastically reduced. The Natura quality actually has 0 VOC’s, which means you can’t smell it at all. This is great when you want to sleep in the same room the night that it’s been painted!

-When selecting paint for wood trim, consider using their Advance Alkyd quality. It goes on smooth like an oil paint but with low-VOC, it doesn’t have the oil smell. And it cleans up with water! They say it even holds white longer than other paints. It may be a little more expensive, but this one is worth it.

As a designer, color is always so VERY important! In my office I have the Benjamin Moore Classic Color, the Color Gallery, the Williamsburg Collection and their most up-to-date Color Story collection. I use them all! We have fun picking out color, determining the “personality” the room or furniture piece will have, judging which is the best color for the walls for the project at hand, and doing something special with trim (if that’s what we’re doing!) There are so many choices and we love having it all! White Benjamin Moore is our number one choice, we also have color sets from Mystic Paints, Farrow and Ball, Stark Paint, Lambert and Pratt and Sherwin Williams! We do color well!!

Here’s wishing you a great Color Day!