Archive for November, 2017

Dream Clients Delight in Duplex…

This is the story of a perfect client… clients who brought enthusiasm, intelligence and input, while knowing how to value their Architect’s advice. The beginning of this process was a challenge because when they called me to look at their space they already had an Architect.

The project was a duplex on Sutton Place South in NYC. They chose an Architect who had done work there 10 years earlier, who was a friend and principal of a highly respected firm. The wife was in charge of communicating with the Architect and sharing their desires and wishes; she was knowledgeable about design and had great taste. She soon realized that she would be working with a young designer assigned to their project instead of working with the principal.

We had an opportunity to meet a year earlier through a mutual acquaintance that highly recommended me to her, and at that time I told her to feel free to call me for a consultation if she was ever in need.

After demolition and at the beginning of construction, she called me because she had some concerns. Without specifying what type of concern or give me any information about the project she asked me to visit the site, and see how I could read and interpret the space based on the demolition that was performed and the few metal studs that were up for construction.

During my space analysis consultation I identified a few elements that would be pivotal for the outcome of the project. I asked the client some questions, like why it appeared that a wall would cover the view from the gallery, and how the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room that contained the dual fireplace would be treated and with what material? How would the fireplace north relate to the rest of the living room as far as material and layout? Why were the master bathrooms so chopped up with tiny walls?  The client became very emotional admitting that those were her questions also and had no answer and after one year of design with their Architect she still did not have a clear view of how these items would look. I suggested that she ask her Architect to produce some extra drawings related to those items to have a better understanding and I would help her read the drawings if she needed help. When she received the drawings, it was clear for her and for me that the aesthetic of the design was quite traditional, contrary to what she asked from the beginning, which was minimal and very high end contemporary. She decided to hire me to design these items.

Soon the client found out that the super modern doors she was planning to buy from Italy were very complex and her Architect was not able to use the system in the way she wanted. At that point she dismissed the other architect and hired me to finish the project. This is when I realized that working with this client was a joy, this was a special client. Her taste, input and vision of what she liked was so clear. For every item or idea I brought she was able to understand very quickly. The project progressed rapidly and she trusted me entirely to the point of even having me make changes in the lighting design for the entire apartment to ensure that the new items that we were designing were lit properly.

One of the reasons the client appreciated working with me is that she could communicate directly with me, not with an assistant or junior designer.

My client had discerning taste and knew high end design and high end Architecture. The couple had an extensive collection of artwork. One of our first tasks at the beginning of our collaboration was going through the photos and discussed how we could display them in a way that showcases them best.

We brought the husband into the conversation many times but when it came to designing his music room, the attention was focused on his needs. He wanted to design a beautiful glass case to display his guitars. In the evolution of the music room design which included panels for acoustic insulation on walls and ceiling, I suggested displaying his guitars on the wall, because he would be able to play his guitar every day as he pleased instead of opening and closing a glass case. Basically the entire room became a guitar case.

I am lucky to have wonderful clients, and this particular couple was very special. It was a pleasure showing them something new and innovative and because of their quick understanding, it made the design process go faster. But as with everything in life when you connect positively at an emotional level there is always a better result.


The Top 8 Home Design Mistakes…

Even the savviest home designer can be tripped up by these styling pitfalls. Sometimes we choose fashion and trend over form and function. Here are some of the top decorating no-no’s

  1. Choosing fashion before function: We are all attracted to things that are visually appealing, including furniture that looks great but maybe not really that comfortable for daily use. It is the combination of beauty and function that makes for long lasting appeal and usability. Trendy pieces that are impulse buys often fall into this category. Focus on classic beauty that has a timeless design.
  2. Not Testing before you paint: Color plays an integral part in home décor and the right paint color can make or break your design dreams. It is smart to always test the color on your wall before promptly painting an entire room in a bold color. Test with the lighting, furniture and artwork for an integrated look. Harmony in your design is the most important. Select different tones and try them out before committing to one color.
  3. “I have always wanted this…”: Sometimes our dream purchase is not really the right choice. Seeing an item in your mind that you love, may not coincide with your lifestyle and the size and layout of your space. Think about how that item would fit in with the way you live daily and envision that in your space.
  4. Snap or Quick Fix Decisions: If you need some design therapy, think clearly about your goals and proceed accordingly. Doing any kind of decorating or renovation requires the requisite time and focus to envision, source, shop and integrate these new elements into the home. Buy quality items that are durable, instead of less expensive ones that will not stand the test of time. Buy once and be satisfied with your purchase.
  5. Over complicated Organization: Being organized is a positive but it can become overwhelming when you adhere to a system that is overly complicated and not something that you can incorporate into your daily life. Find a way to store and organize your personal items that suits you, that is easy and delivers on the look and feel you desire.
  6. Do Your Research When Incorporating Plants in the Home: Adapting a green lifestyle can be very beneficial and having flowers and plants in the home is good not only aesthetically but for our wellbeing. This décor decision requires research, upkeep, and maintenance. Purchasing the right plants or flowers for the home depends on many factors; lighting, climate, and environment.
  7. DIY remorse: The internet shows us so many pretty pictures of home décor ideas that “we can do ourselves” and makes a sometimes-difficult task look very easy. If you are not someone who is crafty, artistic or good with their hands, home décor DIY may not be for you. Ask an expert.
  8. White is so Calming…: the color white can be a great mood enhancer and de-stresser in a home, bringing serenity. White also requires careful consideration, especially if you are envisioning that fluffy white carpet, white leather sofa or white velvet chair in a well frequented room. Think about how you live… are there small children in the home? will you devote the time to keeping those white items pristine? If not, maybe choose a different color in a  lighter tone with a durable material

These are some of the common mistakes that people can make when we they to refresh or completely redecorate their home. The common thread of advice to avoid these errors is to think carefully, know your lifestyle and your space, and understand how decorating will enrich your life…