Category Archives: Uncategorized

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, Holidays

When the Fine Print is Missing


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 Home Renovation, Small Spaces

When is it Time?


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, 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 Blog, Change, Home Renovation

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 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 Blog, Small Spaces

Finding “Home” When Life Changes

Re-Inventing Home (Photo)

During times of personal transition, our home environments are often radically disrupted and don’t feel or function as before. However, whether you are staying put or moving into a new space, the shiny silver lining is that they represent new beginnings.

As our lives change, our homes must change with us to nourish us emotionally and spiritually. They can provide a foundation for our lives and a personal connection between our past, present and support stepping into a future of new possibilities.

This blog post outlines a process that you can use when life transitions allow you to re-think your living space.

Time Out

Going through transitions encourage us to stop for a moment, take stock of our lives and resolve to make changes that will improve their outcome.

With this said, there is nothing more disheartening than investing time, energy and money in your home and ending up with something that is not at all what you wanted or expected. We must plan for our homes, as we do for our lives, so that they nurture our personal success.

Dream Big

Before starting to plan, allow yourself to play first. Create a vision of the big picture. Think of spaces that you have seen or visited that you have liked, a restaurant, hotel or your friend’s beautiful summer home. What elements spoke to you? Was it the color of the walls, the fabric on the sofa, the stone flooring or maybe it was the way the space flowed from one room to another. Think about how you may be able to incorporate some of these ideas into your own vision, literally or figuratively.

Following is our three-step plan to help simplify the process:

1. Assess and Prioritize 

Understanding our personal needs and priorities is the first step toward moving forward. It is the key to maximizing the design  and functionality of a living space by providing a solid foundation for successful decision-making

2. Get Up Close and Personal

To create a living space that looks, feels and functions the way that you envision, you must really get to know your physical space.

Become familiar with the proportions of the room, ceiling heights, architectural details, the available storage, the quality of the natural light, the focal points you want to highlight and the features you want to play down.

3. Weigh the Options

Our lifestyles and individual preferences create demands on our living space. Assessing your requirements and determining what is optional versus what is necessary and what adjustments you can make are key.

Once you have a clear sense of both your physical living space and your personal lifestyle requirements, the next step is to combine the two to create the foundation for a successful design.

The Silver Lining

Life transitions are an important time to reflect on our homes and their role in our lives. Our living environments are integral to our success and set the stage for almost every experience that we have. Not only do they effect how we feel and perform, they influence our relationships and the message they send about us to others

Whether your life is in transition or not, we hope that you will find some value in this process for yourself!

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 support from a seasoned professional.

Also posted in Blog, Change