How to Choose the Right Material for Every Surface of Your Design Project …

When a client has made the decision to do some renovations and cosmetic tweaks in their space, one of the most important aspects of the design process is material selection.

There are many factors that can determine what materials the client will choose for every surface of their space.

Here are a few tips that can assist in deciding on the right materials for your home or office. These are some good preliminary questions before you begin working with a designer, showroom or sourcing materials yourself. It will save you time and budget if you are clear on your needs for your space.

  1. Who will use this space: Is it a home for a single person? family? Or an office that is highly trafficked and utilized daily? The answers to these questions will determine materials like flooring. Selecting a durable product is important if the space has a lot of use.
  2. What kind of natural light is in the space? This is important because it can help to figure out finishes like matter or glossy, textures and color. Think about shadows, glare and bleaching of fabrics and wall coverings from direct sunlight
  3. Are you someone that cooks and uses the kitchen area a lot? This most definitely matters when choosing a counter top, creating an island, appliance surfaces, cabinetry, kitchen plumbing and flooring. A well used kitchen needs to be composed of durable materials that are also easy to clean and maintain. Also consider
  4. if you want an eat in style kitchen and if this room is where family, friends and guests gravitate toward. This will also provide some clarity on furniture, seating and floor covering.If you have a family with many children, think about durability, high quality and lasting materials; no delicate materials that can be damaged quickly. Think about fixtures and tub and shower surfaces that are safe, functional and aesthetically beautiful. Also think about maintenance; are these materials easy to clean and what kind of cleaners can you use on a regular basis.
  5. If your space is an office, how high is the foot traffic? Is there a waiting area frequented by clients? This will also determine furniture coverings, flooring and carpets to protect the floor.

These are some items to consider when doing your material selection. It is important to match the material to the level of functionality so that your renovation can stand the test of time. It is also important to understand how these materials will interact with each other, how harmony can be created within the home or commercial space. Material selection is primary to the success of a project. I hope these tips can help the client to hone in on what materials are appropriate for their space.


How to Use Social Media to Boost Your Firm’s Brand…

There is no denying the power of social media and how beneficial it can be to a business and their brand. It is the epicenter of tastemakers, trend setters, designers, artists and an oracle for what is au courant in pop culture. For an Architect/Interior Designer, social media is a very useful tool. We are in the business of building dreams,  and are not only technicians but visual artists who use imagery to illustrate our concepts to our clients.

Instagram has become the premiere social media tool in business, culture, art, fashion and design. It is an easy way for designers to showcase their work and see how their brand appeals to this very discerning audience who are given so much to look at and so many choices. It is like a focus group, you post an image and you see the favorable response instantaneously and can identify more succinctly who your target audience is.

Design inspiration is plentiful on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Houzz which caters to a home design demographic.  Through these viable social media outlets, we can promote our business, services and upload projects, testimonials and videos and most importantly beautiful images that make our work shine.

A site like Houzz, that caters to interior designers, home repair professionals, Contractors, and clients is a directory for those not only looking for inspiration but also Designers, Contractors, and other services for their space. Their testimonial sections also enable reviews to be posted which boosts a designer’s visibility on the site. Now with their partnership with Ivy, they have expanded their viewing base and are providing professionals with even more access on their platform.

A design firm can make tremendous gains with a strong social media platform and garner global exposure in a market that is saturated by many companies. It is how you use that tool that is important, showcasing your work on reputable sites that have a professional presence with the excitement of a beautiful aesthetic. Saturating the social media platform with your work should be carefully curated. Choosing images of projects that show a broad range of work is best, so that potential clients can see the scope of your services.

Clients are savvy about what they want and will do the research to find that perfect match in a designer for their home, office or retail space. Their goal is to receive excellent results for their space and the best clients are those that understand that quality design and products increase the budget sometimes but make their space have much more value in the end.

Social Media is a positive for professionals in the service industry, if used wisely it can boost business and give your company maximum exposure.

An Ode to Zaha Hadid: Design Innovator and Genius

Zaha Hadid

On March 31, 2016 the Architecture and Design world lost one of its most powerful and innovative voices, Zaha Hadid. In fact, society lost a great artist. Her sudden passing came as a shock that reeled through the Architecture community. Zaha was in the prime of her career, her most prolific period of her life with global recognition,  renowned projects, and the highest accolades.

I was deeply affected when I heard the news of her passing. Why now? What happened to one of my greatest inspirations and muses. As a woman Architect in a field dominated by men, Zaha clawed her way to the heights of success and esteem in the design field, with her boldness and strength and by her boundless imagination, technical skill, and vision. She shattered the glass ceiling for women Architects and Designers and then rebuilt it in her own way with her own unique vision.

The obstacles she faced in her career based on her gender seemed to propel her further. She used those struggles to forge her path without hesitation and gain the respect of her peers.

A designer without limitation, she created vast wonderlands of space with organic curves and influences of nature and a glimpse into what the future looked like through her eyes. She merged her culture and inspirations into her designs weaving artistic aspects with functionality. Whether it was residential, commercial, hospitality or public spaces, it is hard not to recognize the “Zaha” signature. This is what made her a legend and a force in the world of Architecture.

She will live through her structures, through her imagination and original vision and we as society are better for having had her on this earth.  She will remain an inspiration to women Architects and Designers all over the world, because of her tenacity and talent. Women in the industry will follow her lead, paving their own way to succeed in a profession that is challenging and demanding. As we remember her departure from the physical world, her spirit and creations live on and are loved and enjoyed by so many.

Rest in Power, Zaha, we miss you, but you will never be forgotten, your contributions to the world live through your designs.

The Luxury of an Outdoor Space…

Any urban dweller knows what luxury means when speaking about apartments… closet space, two bathrooms, washer/dryer in the apartment, and the ultimate luxury…outdoor space. The coveted outdoor space has become a premium when looking for a home to buy or rent. It also reflects in the rental or sale price. What does having an outdoor space,  in a city like New York mean? It is the ultimate oasis and entertainment center of the home in the warm months or even in the cool autumn. It invokes the spirit of privacy and serenity. If you are lucky enough to find a space with a terrace, backyard or front patio, grab it.

New York City has a strong café culture, with restaurant after bar after café lining the streets filled with people enjoying the outdoors.The idea that you have that in your home and can decorate and creating mood lighting and decide the amenities, is heaven. When I am doing a project with outdoor space, just like the indoor space, I ask the client what is on their wish list. Do they want a garden, barbecue area, outdoor kitchen, specially designed lighting, built in seating? The options are wide ranging. If it is a small space, what is their goal? Entertaining? Outdoor eating space? An extension of the kitchen or dining area? There are so many ideas and budgets for an outdoor area.

 Luxury is not always based on a monetary value, it is based on the convenience and freedom that a luxury item or service can give to someone. An outdoor space is a welcome addition to any home, it brings nature to an urban dweller and space for family life and entertaining and creating memories.

Whether it is a barbecue grill, comfortable chaise for lying in the summer sun or a flower or vegetable garden promoting sustainability, an outdoor sanctuary is a luxury and something that a lucky few will have in a crowded city

Making the Most of an Interior Design Consultation…

I have had experiences with Clients that began with a consultation and then the decision to do a project came later. I am a firm believer in a thorough and no commitment consultation option for Clients thinking of doing a renovation on their home. In my practice I offer what is called a Space Analysis Consultation which gives the Client some ideas, conceptual layouts and preliminary budget for their potential upgrade (see image above). There are some Clients who need to see a visual representation and have many questions before they embark on a renovation journey. This is where this type of meeting with a designer is incredibly beneficial. For a reasonable fee, they receive a report concerning their space and some idea of budget and basic layouts, color and material consultation, basic lighting and some guidance as to the best improvements for their home.

A site visit is included in the consultation, so the designer can visualize the area and meet the potential clients. My consultation does not require the Client to continue in the process with me. This is a stand-alone service, which I think entices the client to invest in this type of consultation. They do not feel forced to enter into a contract with me and are free to use their report with any designer of their choice.

The decision to do a renovation is a huge commitment, especially if it is the first time for a client. There are so many questions they have, most importantly, the budget to fulfill the items on their wish list. That is why this consultation is beneficial. It can give the client a sense of the big picture and the perspective to fully understand what their home can become with the proper renovations done by a skilled designer and a trusted contractor. A trusted designer can be a client’s best friend. The money the client invests in this Space Analysis Consultation in the long run will save them money if they decide to sign a contract and proceed with the renovation. The designer will have already made some decisions that can further the process along without any trial and error discovery. The designer also has spent time in the space and begun the creative process.

If you are considering a renovation of your home or office,and would like more information on ORA studio’s Space Analysis Consultation please email us at: and we can send you a Space Analysis Consultation form.



The Modern Color Mix…

140 Charles Street NYC

The unexpected mixing of vibrant color is in full effect in home décor. The rise of pop color with neutrals and mixed jewel tones in Interior Design is directly influenced by fashion’s runways and what we see in stores and boutiques.

What we like to wear is what we like to see reflected in our home décor too. The key is mixing these bold tones with complementary hues that look chic, modern and not overstated. Clients like to see some drama in their living space, aspects that add energy and a touch of their own personality and aesthetic.

How can clients adapt the modern color mix in their own homes? First, do not fear bold color. Bold color can be one accent piece, wallpaper or artwork or it can be an artful mix of all these items working together harmoniously.

Mixed jewel tones can give your space a moody and romantic feel, creating warmth and coziness. Pop colors like neon shades work well when mixed with beige or earthy neutral tones as a backdrop. Pastels in different shades can be combined creating a soft and serene environment and have a calming effect. Appropriate lighting is essential so that the colors can be properly showcased to their potential.

Try accent pieces that are moderately priced to begin to incorporate color, and if you really like the effect invest in something with a higher value. A jewel toned pouf, a bright colored carpet or ceramics in bold colors can be a cost-effective way to try this new style. If you want to take it to an elevated level, try a bold paint color or larger piece of furniture to turn up the volume.

Think about what you like to see, about how color can affect you and then begin your selection. If you love soft colors, try lavenders, seafoam green, pale pink. If you love bold, go for red, royal blue, eggplant, emerald or wine-colored hues. If you love neon color, bright hot pink, chartreuse or fuchsia. There is no limit, go for what makes you feel energized, relaxed or regal, just try something out of the ordinary and create a space that really shines.

2018 Design Trends We Love…

Lexington Avenue Project

With the start of every New Year, there is a desire to reboot and refresh our lives. Whether it be in attitude, our personal look, or in our home décor, we want to see change; some enhancement ushering in a new and hopeful attitude. If your home is your focus, this is a good time to consult with a designer who can sense the changing needs of their clients and create design trends that will make positive changes.

One area that can benefit by revisiting its objective is the bedroom, stripping it of being a functional core and bringing it back to an oasis of peace and intimacy that it was intended for.

The Tufty bed from B&B Italia pictured here, is the epitome of luxury sleeping, with a calming soft neutral tone. The velvety carpet with its soothing feel adds warmth to the room. The lavender bedding complements and enhances the serene ambiance. Lavender’s properties are often associated with royalty and luxury, wisdom, dignity, and peace. This room is a great example of design trends working harmoniously, and lavender is becoming a color of choice of design professionals.

This space is simple and sophisticated, possessing the qualities of a modern fresh bedroom where we can really rest and detach. In large homes or small apartments, the way we live determines so much in our behavior. Every opportunity to create a sanctuary that we can relax in has become ever more appealing and necessary.

By using color, texture and lighting we can alter our mood, and focus our outlook to live in a complicated world another day, with a calming interior presence.

I am looking positively into the future carrying my love of design and my desire to fulfill my client’s needs with me along the way. With every step I take with my client during their project, I strive to find design elements that enrich their existing lifestyle, and for me that is always trending.

Happy New Year!