Posts Tagged ‘ designer ’

Creating a Bedroom/Home Office that Really Works…

Soho Loft Project

Soho Loft Project

In today’s world, especially in our urban centers the use of minimally sized spaces for multi-function is at an all-time high. We live in smaller areas, and our work is sometimes done  at home not at an outside office. There is an increasing consideration for a home office to be incorporated in the design process. Clients with a minimum of space come to me asking how to create that home office as a shared space in a master bedroom for example.

My job as a  designer is to configure not only the best possible physical layout of the space but also the best psychological perception of the space by the client. Sleep and work are juxtaposed in the same scenario so the Client’s view on which area is designated for what function becomes crucial.

Clients ask “what are the items to consider when creating a useful bedroom/office?” Here are some tips to remember when your space is at a minimum but your creative vision is wide.

I think that customization is important, having a custom desk fitted to the client’s specifications and needs. A desk facing out is ideal, so when you arrive “at the office” you have a different vantage point, such as a city view… this can separate work from rest and psychologically propels you into your work mode.

Appropriate lighting is always on the top of the list in any home but in the bedroom/home office it is essential. How can your office lighting be integrated so that the workspace is well lit and the sleep space has its own ambiance as well? Overhead work lights above the desk are great and bedside lamps for the sleep area can work well so that the delineation of work and sleep is clear.

Personalization is also an important detail. Create the work environment you feel is most productive and arrange computer, files and stationery accordingly so that your work day has its own world apart from where you rest. Storage space that can be hidden is great so that when the work day is done, you do not see the tools of your productive day and can fully decompress and sleep.

A private door or curtain that can create a separation can really help to delineate the functions of one room divided for two purposes. Create the worlds you live in, by thoughtfully dividing the space into work and productive mode and rest mode. By clearly separating the areas, you will not be tempted to get up and do work in the middle of the night or when overtired or stressed because you see your work area and are compelled to do more work.

Having a schedule of work within the bedroom is important. Treating your workspace like an offsite office  helps to enable the harmony between relaxation and productivity to  be achieved.



The Importance of Color Balance

Lexington Avenue NYCBalance is a key word that illustrates what my design philosophy is. It is by definition: a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. In design, this is the equal distribution of visual content or weight. Our sense of balance is innate, so when elements of design are not balanced, we are instinctively made uncomfortable and feel this sense of instability. Balance can come from layout, furnishing, volume, structure, and lighting

In this month’s blog I want to focus on color balance, and how to identify what tones and hues work well together to create design harmony.

Determining the right color scheme for your space starts with how the space is lit, if there is a lot of natural light in, or not. Is there is enough artificial light or does the lighting need to be redesigned. Without light there is no color, there is a void. Choosing a color scheme is not only related to the color of the material per se but how the color is read in that specific space with its own specific light.

The feeling of being in the space is dependent on the placement of color throughout. When thinking about how to use color in a home or commercial space I think about how those colors will be seen as a whole. I first choose an atmosphere that I want to create, how they will complement each other creating calm, productive energy, or comfort.

Color can be bold and create a strong juxtaposition or soft and monochromatic to create calm and fluidity. It can also be a strong pop of color that draws the eye to a certain structural detail, piece of furniture, artwork or object. It is all about the space as whole, with the elements working well together to create that desired feeling. Color can determine mood, it can alter thinking and establish inner centeredness and peace.

Determining what colors work well together comes from the designer’s expertise and vision. It is our job to understand the big picture to see beyond the singular notion of design elements and realize their potential to work together to create this harmony. It is also our job to work with the Client who may have a color preference that has a visual appeal for them or is a trend of the moment, but that might not work well in their specific space. There is a lot of psychology of color to take into consideration when choosing a palette and making the Client aware and to have them understand this psychology (See our Blog Archive: )

Creating a successful color palette is a science, it is an important element in the design process and whether it is multi-color patterns carefully matched and placed together, a neutral color palette, monochromatic scheme or strong accents of color, this requires an eye for symmetry and visual appeal. The mark of a good designer is their perception of this balance and cohesion.



The Power of Intuition…

Lexington Ave. High Rise

Lexington Ave. High Rise

Intuition is the natural ability to recognize and understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning to make decisions. Being an Architect/Designer requires keen decision making skills, and the ability to discern and to interpret what the client needs, through being in tune with their feelings and ideas.

Intuition is an important tool in the Designer’s process when doing a Project. Most often the end results come from the process of intuitive decision making derived from a natural sequence of events.

Intuition and creativity go hand in hand; one informs the other and combined with inspiration lead to a successful project. It is an integral part of the design process and the formulation of good client rapport.

Architects and Designers can turn what could be seen as chaos into order, solving challenges and providing the resolution to create a beautiful space. It is the relationship of intuition and scientific facts that are the basis of design triumphs.  A Designer who has a strong intuition serves their Client well and maintains a level of innovation and sophistication in their work.

It seems now more than ever “intuition” is in fashion again, has become a trend, and topic that is widely discussed, and written about, but has intuition ever gone away? This is a human trait; everyone has the potential to tap into their intuition, or their “sixth sense” and trust it when dealing with Clients or personal situations. What has changed in the zeitgeist to make intuition a “buzzword”? I think that people are looking more and more into themselves for the answer, not everything can be solved or answered by reading it or solely based on information from the internet. Our intuition is a muscle that needs to be exercised, to enable us to evolve and become a better-rounded and informed person.




The Power of Harmony: The Home Office

Tribeca Loft

For those who work at home or have a home office that is utilized regularly for household tasks, creating a harmonious and flowing space is crucial. The home office is the epicenter of organization, where we can be comfortable and productive doing household business or professional job related tasks. I want to explore the concept of “office symmetry”, having tools, workspace, and storage space organized in such a way that items are easily accessible, available and maximized in their usage.

If my Client is fortunate to work at home, that is an important aspect of their space design or renovation. How does working in the home affect all other activities? Lighting, layout, storage and office placement in the home become that much more important.

My goal is to design a space that spurs my Client’s productivity in a positive and calming way. Ease and simplicity of color for walls, lighting and furnishing all play a role in creating that harmonious work environment at home. The image presented is from our Tribeca loft project, this workspace is clean, fresh and comfortable.

At home work spaces are becoming the new normal. As more and more people have their own enterprises, a home office becomes a necessity for their space and part of the concept of their design. This movement towards working at home adds another dimension to our design task and allows the designer to be creative in more than just a residential capacity, what we are really doing is two types of spaces in one that can work harmoniously in one home.

The Science of “NOW” …

GREYGROUND Landscape -Crop

Everything in Modern Society, in advertising, marketing, and media is about the “NOW”. In 2001, when I started my firm here in New York City, I chose the name ORA studio because ORA means “ NOW, of the moment” in Italian   and because I am in the field of  Architecture and Design, I wanted to represent Design in the sense of  “now” pertaining to  Modernity and  a Contemporary sensibility.

Fast forward to 2013 and it seems absolutely everything from hair salon to dental office is called “ORA …. ” How did the “the NOW” , really come to the forefront of  society’s attention?  In this uber technological age of speedy acquisitions and immediate information, have we lost our patience, lost the sense of anticipation as a good thing ?

In Design, I subscribe to the philosophy of looking to the past to create for the future. I was raised in a small town in Puglia steeped in Medieval Architecture and History which shaped my aspiration and dreams to become an Architect and Designer. I also fell in love with the work of Antoni Gaudi, Frank Lloyd Wright and Oscar Niemeyer, and Mies Van Der Rohe who boldly went to the future to create their  mark on Design History.

In Architecture and Design I always think of the client’s NOW, what are their needs for their space  and  for  their lifestyle at the present time. What is important to live in that space right now and how as the Designer I can facilitate that. By explaining my vision clearly to my Client, they can see the development of their Project in real time and have a clear idea of what it will be like at the finish of the Project.

I design with the “of the moment” attitude… What is contemporary, appropriate and functional for my Client’s needs at the present time.

In the Age of NOW, Good Design is  always “of the moment” ….

Take the Tour of our Website NOW  and learn about ORA studio :


and Watch our recently produced video “A Testimonial from a Happy Client” :

The Science of Serenity : Designing a Home Spa

140_Charles_St 005

Our Home is our sanctuary and there are certain rooms that are special because they honor privacy at the highest level. Homeowners are embracing more and more the notion of a space in their home that is beyond a traditional bathroom. There’s something transcendent about a luxurious Master Bathroom. The oasis from the outside world and a private area that can be transformed into a personal spa. Imagine a beautiful soaking tub with space for candles and objects, steam shower or personal sauna,  that evoke Serenity. When I meet with a new Client we discuss what is important to them, their needs, and their aspirations and the Master Bathroom is an area that is discussed in great length. Whether it be a large soaking tub, glass shower, or even personal sauna, these requests are important and coincide with the lifestyle of that Client.

I love to design a bathroom that feels spacious , one that is both inviting and  extremely functional. It is all in the materials and layout that maximize utility. There are some basic components that a good bathroom space should have: Beautiful and high quality materials (marble tiles, glass , Corian) comfortable counter space, wonderful lighting,  perfect color selection,  storage and most of all  privacy….

Some Clients really desire the feeling of a Home Spa created  to de-stress and  maintain their privacy and have the  luxury of a spa in their own residence.

As a Contemporary/ Minimal  Designer, I am drawn more to  light colors , especially when the space is really small,  but  ultimately the design of a bathroom/home spa either white or black or marble of any color, is the result of being complimentary to the rest of the space and the Client’s personal taste, which creates the ultimate “pampered” feeling, and exudes tranquility. I do like bold color that is well placed. The use of color is powerful. Every tone must work in symbiosis, it should not be jarring or off-putting. In my previous Blog about the Science of Color I speak about how color effects our moods and feelings… so it is imperative in creating the Home Spa, that color is used both artistically and functionally.

In creating a home spa, lighting is an essential part of the design which also has an emotional effect.  Lighting should be warm, welcoming and calming. A specific lighting design is necessary to achieve the full potential of the space. Are dimmable lights important? maybe around the tub? so that candlelight can be introduced to create a specific “mood”, should there be brighter light in the vanity for makeup application, shaving for the men….? These are all questions that are pertinent to building that Spa feeling…

In the image presented, this Master Bathroom is from a recent ORA studio Project in Manhattan. The large soaking tub is perfect for a peaceful bath to wash away the day’s worries. A separate stand up glass shower gives the Client a choice…and can also be used as a steamy escape from the day. There is space near the tub for products and candles if desired. Creative and personal touches can be displayed also incorporating elements from nature, be it flowers or wood or coral or a favorite scent.

When presented with the task to design a Spa at home for the Client, all these aspects need to be considered to create the ultimate private Spa. Yes, there is a “Science” to designing a proper Spa bathroom at home. In Design, there is a Science that accompanies the creative process, it is here in this blog that I will examine, color, light, décor, texture, shape …and what the Science is to creating winning and beautiful combinations for a wonderful home, office or commercial space.

For a Complete Visual Tour of ORA studio’s Projects

Click Here to Get Inspired:

Modern Storage : Dream Closets


“Spring Cleaning”!  is here and once the weather becomes warmer and the days longer we yearn for organization of our space. Winter creates this sense of hibernation, of status quo, and now Spring is here and we feel the need to de- clutter, to organize, re-evaluate and  sometimes, purge. More often this begins with the “purge”, we look around and determine what we need and what we do not need anymore, be it clothes, books, furnishing, objects…basically anything that when we look at it we say “do I need this?” as we whisper to ourselves, maybe again…”do I really need this?”

It begins with a bag or a box and a fierce motivation to be productive, to rid ourselves of unwanted items and inevitably, make room for new ones.  Part of this purge is to create space for that new item, new piece of furniture, new wardrobe, new shoes… We have to be honest and admit that we like new things…

There is also a desire to organize the spaces we do have to create more efficiency… more space…

I think one of the most essential elements to a home is Closets. What “type A” organizational type does not love the words “walk in closet”. It has  a symphony of possibilities. Well appointed closets make us feel grown up and “together”.

When I am designing a new home or doing a renovation I always ask my Client to highlight what is most important to them in their home and a vast majority say ” more storage”, be it closets with built in shelving, a Kitchen island with large pull outs or a Pantry or Cabinet that conceals all their belongings behind a luxurious piece of furniture.

In these images presented   are custom closets in two of my NYC Projects: Both Modern and both offering the client space, ingenuity, function and beauty. I designed specific areas for every item of personal clothing, shoes, accessories. When you enter the closet you are able to find things quickly and store things in their place. It becomes an oasis of calm in comparison to a chaotic world. It can be used as a dressing area along with providing storage. The boxes within the closet that is dark wood, only takes that organizational aesthetic to a new level.  Without being obtrusive, these boxes are elegant and also maintain a sense of privacy and safety for fragile items.

The glass and white  closets are a window to the heart of a truly organized and pristine vision for a closet. Beautiful crisp  shirts lined up with space in between to avoid any wrinkles is really a dream . In the way that the storage boxes conceal, this glass front creates a display case for the belongings inside.  Storage areas are a necessity to an efficient space that works with you, not against you. Having   functional and well designed closets  are a luxury and essential for the maintenance of a well run home.

As a Designer we must tap into the needs of our Clients and Closets are primary in their vision for a  wonderful  space.

For a Complete Visual Tour of ORA studio’s Projects

Click Here to Get Inspired: