Last summer I shared my plans for a potting shed design that was a work in progress. Looking back on those initial plans, it’s interesting to see how many of those details were incorporated into the final design. And yes, it is possible to use grow bulbs with sconces! The finished potting shed gave my client the ideal space for spending time on his favorite hobby and has now been featured by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens as a Project of Note. To see photos and read about details of this project, pick up a copy of the magazine today!
Helping my clients turn a residence into the perfect, thoughtful interior is definitely the best part of my job! When I recently worked with a family to turn their architecturally overdone Greenwich townhouse into more natural, pared down interior, I was thrilled with the result. The home is now much more suited to its inhabitants. As an added bonus, this project has been featured in the May/June issue of At Home in Fairfield County. Pick up a copy today to read more about this amazing project which was completed in a mere six weeks!
Photos by Amy Vischio
I recently worked on an interesting project for a client who asked me to design eight bedrooms. The rest of the home had already been decorated by another talented designer, so I had to be conscious and respectful of the work that had previously been done while at the same time designing for eight different personalities. Sometimes it can be harder to adapt to a style already in place than to start with your own vision from the beginning! One of the bedrooms belongs to a young boy and has been particular pleasure to work on.
The goal is to create a handsome room that will be suitable for this boy for many years to come. I’m planning a room he can grow in, for the rest of his childhood and into his teens and early adulthood. For that to happen, the bedroom has to contain elements that will appeal to the young boy as well as the person he will grow into. I started with a palette of colors and patterns that are masculine without being too adult.
For the walls, I chose a paper from Phillip Jeffries that I’d been wanting to use for a long time!
The furnishings and accessories also fit the idea of creating a handsome room for this young man. With leather accents, plaid, and other boyish touches, the furniture had to be solid and strong without overpowering the space.
Another nice accent I used in this room is this leather braid for the window treatments.
I can’t wait to see all of these elements come together to create a fantastic room!
I was first introduced to Ben Ham‘s photography when three large pieces of his work were installed in a client’s double story entry. Ben himself traveled from South Carolina to supervise the installation and I am so glad I had the chance to meet him. Not only is his work stunning, but he is such a likeable and down to earth guy. It’s amazing to meet an artist who is clearly not only gifted, but really loves his craft.
My clients found Ben’s work while visiting South Carolina and fell in love with a series of photos of Live Oaks in sepia tones. They hung three enormous pieces in their entry. The frames on these large scale photos are so thick, each one weighs over 100 pounds.
Ben now lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina, but often travels out West to explore and search for compositions. His highly collected work includes subjects like South Carolina’s Low Country, the Rockies, the Southwest, and the Pacific Coast. His art has been featured in numerous magazines, events, and shows and been added to private collections around the world. I feel so honored to now have a signed copy of his book Vanishing Light.
I love the dramatic landscapes Ben chooses as his subjects and the amount of patience it must take to create such artwork. Ben’s photographs aren’t digital; they’re taken with a wooden field camera and printed on black and white sheet film. The patience and passion that go into these breathtaking, large scale images is incredible. He seems to capture the light at just the right time.
It really is a gift to me when clients find an artist like Ben Ham. I can add this work to my repertoire and introduce it to other clients!
Interior design firm Atelier AM is composed of husband and wife team Michael and Alexandra Misczynski. Based in Los Angeles, their client list includes Tom Cruise and Katy Holmes as well as Jane and Michael Eisner. After only ten years in the design field, they have earned an incredible reputation for stunning design. They are an amazing duo and a powerhouse of a team.
I love Atelier AM’s worldly, well lived in interiors. The way they use scale and materials ranging from wood to iron is very clever. Their use of reclaimed elements looks fresh, designed for today as opposed to period pieces.
I love how Atelier AM starts with a neutral base and adds fabulous pieces of furniture. The decoration is very simple, but with handsome, rich materials. The interiors are collected and full of history.
Alexandra and Michael’s designs have a chameleon quality, able to adapt to the surrounding environment while staying true to their earthy, organic style. Whether they’re designing an apartment in NYC or a loggia in California, they succeed in creating the ideal look for each project.
One of my favorite design books is Atelier AM’s Interiors. You can also find contact information on their website as well as many more images of their work online through the numerous design sites, blogs, and magazines that have featured this talented team.
The current issue of At Home in Fairfield County features a kitchen I designed for a client in Darien. This was a great project with so many fantastic elements. The goal was to design a functional, yet beautiful, kitchen, suited to the owner’s love of cooking and family life with a young child and two dogs. With that in mind, we chose materials that look great but are durable and easy to maintain. In addition, we opened up the area so the owner could enjoy conversation with friends and family while cooking. The kitchen features two islands, a polished marble backdrop, and a gorgeous butler’s pantry. If you haven’t seen this issue, pick up a copy today!
March is Women’s History Month, a time to reflect on the contributions of incredible women to all aspects of life. It’s a time to show appreciation and respect for the women who made history through their courage, style, and refusal to accept the limitations placed on them by society and the times they lived in. When I think of influential women who helped shape their worlds, three names instantly come to mind: Coco Chanel, Elsie de Wolfe, and Sister Parish. These women changed the world of design and fashion and I truly admire all they accomplished. Each of them is an icon, a forecaster whose designs still work today.
Coco Chanel was an inspiration for women in era when the world was all about men. Born Gabrielle Chanel in the Loire Valley of France in 1883, she grew up impoverished with a strict convent education. Her early life inspired her to take her own direction, first on the stage (where she earned the nickname Coco) and then as a milliner. Chanel opened her first shop in Paris in 1913, selling hats and garments. Her practical designs led to a devoted clientele which boomed as people flocked to Paris at the start of WWI. Her ideas of how women should look, act, and dress had a profound effect on her designs, letting women leave corsets behind and take on more active pursuits. The enduring popularity and success of the Chanel brand is a direct result of Coco’s ability to package and market her own personal style and freer attitudes. Coco Chanel navigated through difficult times as well, including the closure of her salon during WWII. In the early 1950′s and at an advanced age compared to her contemporary designers, Coco reentered the world of fashion design, updating her style while staying true to her own classic approach. Even after her death in 1971, her name and brand continue to be associated with haute couture design as well as an inspiration to the world of fashion.
It would be difficult to think of a woman who did more for the world of interior design than Elsie de Wolfe. Born in America around 1865, she became an interior designer when such a thing didn’t yet exist, especially for women. At that time, interiors were put together by upholsterers and architects. Elsie succeeded in transforming dark Victorian interiors into light, stylish homes featuring practicality and fresh colors. American homes were introduced to sophisticated, vibrant, and comfortable style for the first time. What I find most surprising about Elsie de Wolfe’s design career is that she didn’t start designing until she was 40 years old. Prior to that, she was an actress and society figure who became interested in design while staging plays. She studied the French lifestyle and approach to art, entertainment, food, and fashion and used that influence in her designs. Her clients included the likes of Anne Vanderbilt and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. According to The New Yorker, “Interior design as a profession was invented by Elsie de Wolfe.” She was truly a pioneer!
Dorothy May Kinnicutt grew up the only girl in a family with five children, leading to her lifelong nickname of Sister. In 1930 she married Henry Parish and opened her decorating firm in suburban New Jersey in 1933. Up to that point, she had designed the interiors for her family’s country home, several neighbors’ homes, and a nearby restaurant. She was credited with ushering in the American country style of the 1960s. When she hired Albert Hadley, the pair became a design legend. Parish is perhaps best known for her designs in the Kennedy White House as well as the influence she had on an entire generation of New York designers. Parish herself said, “As a child, I discovered the happy feelings that familiar things can bring — an old apple tree, a favorite garden, the smell of a fresh-clipped hedge, simply knowing that when you round the corner, nothing will be changed, nothing will be gone. I try to instill the lucky part of my life in each house that I do. Some think a decorator should change a house. I try to give permanence to a house, to bring out the experiences, the memories, the feelings that make it a home.”
It’s hard to quantify the influence of women on today’s world of fashion and design, but these giants of design made themselves into household names and have inspired generations of girls to follow their own dreams without compromise.
Thanks to the skills and talents of my project manager Jessica, I am pleased to be able to offer my clients an extremely realistic 3D rendering service for our interior design projects. This is an incredible tool for communicating and planning. Without being able to see into my clients’ minds, I can’t be sure we are entirely on the same page when visualizing how a space will look with all of the design elements in place. Not everyone can imagine the way a specific tile will look next to a certain piece of furniture, how how well a light fixture will go with the rest of the room. By creating a highly detailed computer rendering, I can be confident my clients and I are sharing the same vision.
Using a 3D modeling program called Rhino, Jessica starts with a floor plan and builds walls into the space so we can see what that area is like in real life. From there, she can assign materials such as wood, glass, or metal to build accessories. She even assigns specific products, like wallpapers, to areas of the room. Rhino allows her to create complex things like curves for an extremely accurate picture of the final design.
Once Jessica has used Rhino to create the design, another program called Flamingo transforms that design into the actual rendering. From there, she can use Photoshop to make the design look even more realistic. A lot of time and complexity goes into this process from this point, but once the model of the client’s space is built and rendered, making changes to the details is a comparatively quick and simple job. If the client looks at the rendering and says, “You know, I think I’d prefer a darker tile,” we can change the rendering without starting over. The finished rendering looks almost like a photograph of the space!
Using programs like Rhino and Flamingo requires a good amount of education and experience. Jessica has years of experience with drawing, drafting, and programs such as AutoCAD. This level of realistic rendering is a really helpful service available to all of our clients!
Architect Ken Tate established his firm in Mississippi in 1984 after gaining experience with architectural visionaries Bruce Goff (Texas), Richard Davis (also in Texas), and Sam Mockbee (Mississippi). He attended Auburn University and is the recipient of the Institute of Classical Architecture’s 2008 Shutze Award as well as three-time winner of Southern Progress Corporation’s Southern Home Award. Ken Tate’s work draws upon a wide range of influences, from ancient to modern, and high style to vernacular.
I really like the touch of Southern charm you see in Ken Tate’s work. His homes look a little stately, but the thoughtful, intimate details impart a subtle European flair. The overall impression is one of clean lines and beautiful proportions.
Ken Tate’s use of historical details with his own subtle twist gives his work an added unique element. These are the kinds of details I just love! They give each residence a finished, layered feel.
Twice a year, the Javits Center and Piers 92 and 94 are home to the New York International Gift Fair. This incredible Home Show is always really exciting for me. There are so many neat products to discover from so many different designers and companies. Last August, I had a great time at the Gift Fair and wrote about my favorite finds. Once again, I loved every minute I spent browsing through the Gift Fair!
At this Fair, it seemed like every time I turned around, I saw another fantastic mirror. So many styles and sizes to fall in love with!
I also saw plenty of gorgeous pillows! These are perfect accents for a quick change and a good example of how not every aspect of design has to be custom.
One of the coolest things I saw at the Fair this year were these beautiful accents. They appear to be real plants, but if you take a closer look, you can see they are made of hand-painted shells. They look amazing in person!
NYIGF definitely has a little bit of everything. I found inspiration everywhere I looked, so much that I was able to find design ideas for an entire living room project I’ve been working on!
When the Gift Fair returns in August, it will have a new name: NY Now. I’m already looking forward to it!