Category Archives: Small Spaces

Spring Reboot

Who doesn’t love spring? As we watch the outdoor landscape transform, it is not unusual for us to feel that our homes could use a boost of fresh energy too.

Accessories are a great way to do this. They give our home interest, distinction and provide a deeper personal connection. However, as time passes, most of us keep adding more accessories to our space, but rarely remove any, which dilutes their effectiveness.

One of the simplest ways to instantly refresh a space, without great financial investment, is to remove all of the accessories and then only put half of them back. Placing them back in a different location or mixing them with other pieces will make them feel new again!

Recently, I had the opportunity with BrickUnderground.com to share some strategies on how to use the full potential of the accessories you already have update a space, in their article:

Spring Reboot: 7 ways to freshen up your apartment today

The article has a variety of creative tips for refreshing your living space right now. Scroll down to the “Compose a Look” section to find our quote.

If you need assistance with breathing some new life into your space, take a look at our new “Design Pinpoints” they may provide just the consultative support you need!

 

Also posted in Change, Uncategorized

Bringing Comfort Home – WSJ.com

How to Make Any Room a Guest Room

Comfort is an important element in our homes all year round. However, we often spend more time inside of our living spaces during the winter months and become more aware of how they really make us feel. This may be why the age old Danish concept of “Hygge” (pronounced Hoo-guh), which means bringing happiness to the home through coziness and comfort, has become the focus of so much attention.

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore some simple ways to add comfort to our homes, with WSJ.com in a podcast episode on their program “Watching Your Wealth”:

How to Make Your Home Feel More Cozy

When the demands of the outside world make it difficult to find tranquility and relaxation, try out some of these ideas to transform your home into a soothing sanctuary!

If you need assistance, take a look at our new “Design Pinpoints” they may provide just the consultative support you need!

 

Also posted in Change, Podcast, Uncategorized

Home for the Holidays with Pets

WOOFipedia Holiday Decorating Tips

Yes, it is possible to transform your everyday living space into a warm, welcoming and festive retreat that is both elegant and pet-friendly this holiday season!

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore some ideas to make the experience easier, with WSJ.com in a podcast episode on their program “Watching Your Wealth”:

“Holiday Decorating Tips (That are Pet-friendly)”

Remember your pets when decorating for the holidays. You and your guests will be able to sit back, relax and fully enjoy the festivities without having to anticipate what possible pet-related drama may occur!

Also posted in Pet-Friendly Design

Keeping Tradition Fresh

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is already here! However, this time of year offers so many possibilities for sharing joyous traditions, especially when entertaining at home. We hope that this post will bring some new life to your holiday celebrations this year.

Keeping Tradition Fresh

During the holidays, there are countless opportunities to entertain at home and share valued family traditions with the people that we care about. However, sometimes the courage to release old traditions, which have diminished in meaning, can be a source of renewed joy. Luckily, each new year also presents us with a chance to create a few new ones!

When entertaining, table settings and candlelight can contribute as much to the ambience of a event as the design of the room. Following are some suggestions for combining the new with the old to bring fresh energy to your holiday celebrations:

Mix and Layer

 Create new interest by mixing fabric patterns or layering table coverings. Consider using the white damask monogrammed dinner napkins that your Mother gave you, with a boldly striped contemporary tablecloth. Conversely, the white crocheted lace tablecloth, that your grandmother made, will come alive when paired with lime green napkins and a shocking pink or dark brown under-cloth.

To transform your dining table into a show-stopping buffet, layer a boldly colored cloth diagonally over a contrasting underskirt that reaches to the floor. Note that, in a pinch, flat bed sheets, allowed to puddle on the floor, are a great substitute for a floor-length underskirt.

Mix and Layer Again

Dishes and glassware also become more interesting when colors and patterns are mixed. Break up the boredom of a matching set of traditional, formal china by combining it with pieces of simple, contemporary dinnerware in bold colors and simple shapes.

Another, more quiet, approach is to mix together all-white dinnerware in different patterns and shapes. To break the silence, combine them with emerald green or cobalt blue glassware.

The very traditional cut glass wine glasses, inherited from your Great Aunt, will start to sing when paired next to the clean, simple lines of a contemporary stemmed water glass.

Let There be Light

Looking for a simple, modern centerpiece to add life to a traditional table setting? Assemble a dozen or two white pillar candles, in varying heights and diameters, on top of a frameless mirror that runs the length of your table. The mirror will intensify the light, while protecting your favorite table coverings from dripping candle wax.

Stagger candle heights across the landscape of your table to create more interest, mixing votives and tapers. If you are worried about accidents with children or pets, consider using the modern version of candles, which are battery-powered. There are some really great looking imposters.

Make the old feel new again by displaying votive candles inside a collection of vintage crystal glasses. Tall, thin taper candles can be added to flowers or greens arranged in antique bowls or containers and secured in place with candle adhesive.

Although charming, a lit fireplace can quickly heat up a guest-filled room. To create the same look, without the warmth, fill the hearth with lit candles.

Our Most Valuable Tip?

Experiment. Dare to ditch the tired and feeble. Make some new additions and create entertaining venues that still retain the true meaning of your traditions, but are a better fit with your own lifestyle today… and remember to have fun.

If you need assistance in preparing your home for this holiday season, let us help. A simple design consultation can gets things going in the right direction!

 

Also posted in Change, Uncategorized

When the Fine Print is Missing

when-the-fine-print-is-missing-photo

Please pull up a chair and get comfortable. I think that the following real-life story is worth a few minutes of your time. My hope is that, by sharing it with you, you will sidestep some major design and renovation disappointments.

Sometimes, as a design professional, the Universe leaves information on your doorstep that bothers you. It really bothers you. It is the kind of “bothers you” that nips at your heels all day, interrupts your thoughts at dinner and wakes you up at 5:00 am, knowing that you cannot keep it to yourself. This is one of those times!

Recently, a colleague forwarded me a blog post, written by a leading online home design site. The piece, a case study of a kitchen renovation featuring before and after photos, focused on the limitations of working with a 100 square foot space. She thought that it would be of particular interest, because we specialize in the design and renovation of small spaces.

The renovated kitchen was very attractive and incorporated some creative solutions for maximizing a small space. The piece detailed the design features and also revealed elements of the original space that had been altered to accomplish this. The list of alterations included the moving and replacement of walls, plumbing and electrical, which are not inexpensive cosmetic changes. Most New York City buildings also require that work like this be reviewed by their building architect and filed with the Building Department, involving drawings and an expeditor. Again, not minimal expenses.

Reading along, impressed that the information provided in this piece seemed so transparent, I was pleasantly surprised to see the inclusion of following “Cost Breakdown” for the project.

Cost Breakdown:

Kitchen Cabinets and Installation: $28,000

Countertop material: $3,800

Countertop Installation: $2,500

Backsplash Material: $4,000

Backsplash Installation: $1,800

Appliances: $13,000

Total: $53,100

Unfortunately, as I reviewed the breakdown, I quickly became much less pleasantly surprised!

Based on my experience, the “Total” pricing seemed pretty low and, looking closer, I realized why. The breakdown did not include any construction costs, design fees or building department filing costs! For those of you who have been through a renovation, you know that these costs represent a substantial portion of a project budget.

Why were these costs not included? I don’t know. Maybe it was an oversight? Hopefully!

Whatever happened here, it was extremely unsettling that a well-known resource, would provide information in such a seemingly professional, polished manner, which could be so easily misunderstood.

Unfortunately, the fine print was missing from this renovation story, which seems to happen a lot, since the advent of reality TV and online sites promoting design.

When making a large financial investment, like a renovation, most people know to read the fine print. However, it is also important to know when the fine print is actually missing! This is value that an experienced design professional can provide.

Whether a renovation is in your future or not, we hope that you will find something useful in this real-life tale from our doorstep. Who knows? I think this may be just one story, in on-going series, as we will continue to make you aware of potential pitfalls!

As always, if you need assistance, we are here to help! In addition to full-project design, we also offer design consultations, when you just need a few hours of professional support.

 

Also posted in Uncategorized

When is it Time?

realtor-com-photo

For most of us, our kitchen is the heart of our home… the glue that holds our home life together.

However, as our lives and kitchen evolve, we aren’t always conscious of their effect in shaping our world. Has the space become dysfunctional, uninspiring or just plain depressing? Is it a barrier for realsale or rental? Often, it is difficult to be objective.

Recently, in an article with Realtor.com, I had the opportunity to explore signs that a kitchen may be crying out for a renovation:

“7 Signs Your Kitchen is Way Overdue for a Remodel”

If your space is on it’s last leg or just looking tired, we hope that you will find some value in this for yourself.

As always, we are here to help. A simple design consultation can help get it moving in the right direction!

 

Also posted in Change, Uncategorized

Condo Makeovers / Schiffer Publishing

renovation-book-cover-cropped

We are thrilled to share that two of our projects are featured in Condo Makeovers, a wonderful new book hot off the presses from Schiffer Publishing and available online at Amazon.com and  Barnes & Noble. Focused on the design and renovation of homes in high-rise condos and apartments, it provides a peek into thirty beautifully photographed, one-of-a-kind living spaces.

Thank you to our clients, friends and colleagues for your support, encouragement and inspiration!

Also posted in Change, Custom Furninshings

Minimizing Clutter in Small Spaces

Newsletter 8:16 (Trulia Photo)

Requiring less time, energy and money, smaller living spaces provideso many benefits. However, nothing is perfect. There can also be challenges!

With an interior design practice based in New York City, many of our clients live in less space and look to us to provide design solutions to maximize their functionality and style.

Recently, I had the opportunity to explore ideas for managing clutter in small living spaces with Trulia.com in their article 8 Ways To Create A “Drop Zone” In A Small Space“.

We hope that you will find some value in this for yourself. As always, if you need assistance, we are here to help – whatever the size of your living space!

Also posted in Uncategorized

Downsizing? A New Start in a Fresh Space

Downsizing? A New Start in a fresh Space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whether you’re an empty nester moving from a house into a condo, or a renter trading in a two-bedroom for a studio and shorter work commute, many people now see downsizing their home as a step forward, not backward.

The benefits to living in less space are many, but saying goodbye to a familiar living environment and memory-filled belongings, can be a challenge. Having helped numerous clients through this process, I recently had the opportunity, with WSJ.com on their program “Wealth Watch”, to explore some ideas to make the experience easier.

Following is the link to that podcast episode, “Downsizing? Create a New Start in a Fresh Space”

Click Here to Listen

Visualizing how our needs and priorities will transition into a new space is the first step. If you need assistance, we are here to help – whatever the size of your living space!

 

Also posted in Change, Podcast

From Downsizing to Rightsizing

Heather Higgins

As we move into summer, it reminds us that there is always a new season. Just as the seasons transition, so do our lives. This post explores solutions, when life transitions lead to downsizing our living space.

Seasons of Change

My interest in interior design surfaced as the result of a life transition. At the age of five, my Father’s job promotion transplanted our family from a small, quiet town in Florida to the windy city of Chicago. I had to leave almost everything that was familiar to me behind, including friends and relatives.

To fill this void and at great embarrassment to my parents, I would forage through the neighbor’s trash, looking for treasures to decorate my room. You probably have not resorted to picking through rubbish, but I’m certain that you can relate to wanting a living environment comprised of elements that have meaning to you. When everything and everyone around me was new, my room felt like a warm hug.

When the Solution is Downsizing

During times of personal transition, our home environments are often radically disrupted and don’t feel or function as before. When the outcome involves downsizing to a smaller living space, it can feel overwhelming.

With a design practice based in New York City, it is not unusual that many of our clients live in less space. In fact, we are real advocates of small space living. Requiring less time, energy and money, smaller living spaces provide greater lifestyle flexibility.

Whether you’re an empty nester moving from a house into a condo, or a renter trading in a two-bedroom for a studio and shorter work commute, many people now see downsizing their home as a step forward, not backward.

From Downsizing to Rightsizing

The benefits to living in less space are many, but saying goodbye to a familiar living environment and memory-filled belongings, can be a challenge. Having helped numerous clients through this process, mindset is crucial. Following are some suggestions that may help to make it an easier experience for you:

  • Consider your future home as a fresh new slate, not a lesser version  of your former home.
  • Visualize the lifestyle you want to embrace as you move forward and be willing to make sacrifices and part with furnishings to achieve this.
  • Shift your focus to the time, energy and money a smaller space saves and the greater lifestyle flexibility it provides.
  • Choose quality over quantity. Select one great piece of furniture that makes a statement, rather then several smaller, less significant pieces.
  • For items that are too hard to let go, put them in storage and if you don’t need or use them within twelve months, give them away.

As we experience life transitions, our homes can nourish us emotionally and spiritually. They provide a personal connection between our past, present and stepping into a future of new possibilities.

Understanding our personal needs and priorities is the first step toward moving forward. If you need assistance, we are here to help!

In addition to full-project design, we also offer design consultations, when you just need a few hours of support from a seasoned professional.

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Also posted in Blog, Change