Do You Consider the Whole of Your Space?

Wonderment at Macy's

Wonderment at Macy’s

What do I mean the “Whole of Your Space?”

Here are some thoughts to ponder:

Comfort – Are all the seats comfortable and appropriate of your function, not the SEAT, but YOU.

Light –  The right lighting in the interior but are you capturing as much of the natural space from the outside.

Air – I know you are questioning this – but a space needs to breathe just as you do –  this means not every wall needs something on or against it – float a chair or sofa away from the wall.   Not every corner needs to be filled –  by leaving areas open – not only are you allowing a breathe to be taken, but your eyes can rest and appreciate what’s there.

Expansion –   I’ve addressed this on several occasions –  you can create visually more space simply by creating volume by grabbing outdoors –  How?

By taking one of the colors outside your window and using it as a wall color or an accent color;  By incorporating plants and flower arrangements into the space;

By  laying out the outdoor space as a “room” and becoming part of your interior!      By using holidays to express  what these events and occasions mean to you.

Whether its for my clients or for myself,  I bring a piece of all these elements into my designs.     Since I’m traveling this holiday, a tall glass cylinder fills with glass decorations and small gift boxes offered a festive lift for the short time I am in the City.      Wandering the City during this time of year, experiencing the stores decorated interiors and festive windows,  offers us all a great uplift and joy in the moment.

While we all anticipate the coming New Year – lets find time to reflect what this past year has brought – and just maybe the New Year will bring us Peace on Earth and in our Hearts.;


A simple DYI touch in your home!

A simple DYI touch in your home!








Kitchen of the Future in time for the holidays!!!

I recently attended a symposium regarding the kitchen of the Future offered by NKBA at the Hafele showroom here in NYC.

As this is the week before Thanksgiving and we all are looking forward to be with family and friends and share this day. It is a time to reflect on this year coming to an end and appreciate what we have. Sometimes, the little things bring us more acknowledgment of our gratitude – the sunshine that greets us every morning, the falling leaf that offers us simple beauty in its shape and golden colors. A simple walk in the park and watching children frolic gleefully.

So since the kitchen is the heart of the home and will no doubt be the center of hustle and bustle, laughter and comradery, I would like to share with you the future of the kitchen. The design triangle of the layout is no longer valid – the stove refrigerator and sink making a triangle was developed when the kitchen was used by one person, our mother, our grandmother. Today the preparation of food has become the social center – the open plan so that no one is left out of the fun and laughter.

Technology not only has entered our lives through ipads, iphones, social media – but it has come into the kitchen!!! We can look forward to back splashes that will be our communication center – bring up favorite holiday recipes – connect with relatives who are preparing dishes to add to your menu – get the weather report, traffic for guests who are traveling – this instead of tile, stone or paint! Cooktops will become additional working surfaces as the heating coils will be hidden below the surface and will be activated by the placement of a pot! Sinks will become bigger to be used by more than one person – no more crowding the water! Cooktops will be able to be linear with burners in a row rather than stacked as shown by one of the panelists, Ray K Mann of RK Studios. She left a 9″ space in front of the burners to be used for chopping, utensils for stirring – everything immediately in front of the booking process. Cabinetry emphasizes the use of drawers over doors – which I’ve been doing in my designs for clients – Having drawers allows you to see everything before you, rather than digging out items that creep to the back of the cabinets!

                              Technology is here to stay and we should be open to it and embrace it!!! There is a whole new world before us.

With or without all the horns and whistles, I wish you and yours a wonderful and spirited Thanksgiving and find joy in the smile of your elders,
the laughter of your children and be grateful for the freedoms and blessings we have as Americans as so many live with fear and poverty
who run from those who live and instill hate for the sake of hate.

                                                                                                                 HAPPY THANKSGIVING.


Your Outdoor Space – A Bonus Room

Almost any outdoor space can  be transformed into an outdoor room that reflects your style; the choice is yours whether to use the style you have created inside your home, punch it up a bit, or change style completely!

The obvious choice would be to extend the style of your home right into the outdoor area. You are already comfortable with this design mode, and by keeping it consistent, the transition between spaces will be effortless.    If your color palette is subdued or pastel, consider punching it up with bolder colors and accents.   It actually will visually enlarge your interior space by drawing the eye outdoors!
Your outdoor space also offers a way to experiment with and experience a new style of decor, one that differs from your home’s interior. Walking through the doorway between the interior and exterior offers a natural feeling of transition, allowing a different style outdoors to work. To add some continuity and connection to your interior space, keep a few common elements such as one of your interior colors. That way, there is something that stays familiar and creates a bridge between the two environments.

Landscaping can become part of the outdoor design, defining both the physical space as well as composing part of the color palette. Consider shape and size, color and blooming time when selecting your plants and flowers. Keep in mind scent – a strongly scented flower may not be appealing right next to your seating area or dining table. It may also attract more bugs than a less fragrant plant.

There are many ways to add more color or accents to your outdoor room:

Landscaping – include flowers, bushes and trees. Plan for the entire lifespan of the space and vegetation – keeping in mind that the sapling you plant will grow, and may not enhance your space the same way in 5 years. Consider the blooming season; plants may only bloom for part of your outdoor season, so you will want to plan to have different plants flowering throughout the entire season.20150520_101121

Furniture –  Outdoor furniture comes in a variety of colors and textures which can add color to your outdoor space. You can also repaint most furniture to the color of your liking; just make sure you use a paint that is specifically created for outdoor use. Wrought iron furniture can be completely transformed in a half hour using a can of spray paint!                                                                                                                                                  KIPS BAY Showhouse – Rich Heller .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   for Greener by Design.

20150517_155432   Mill Neck Manor Showhouse, Long Island.

Be creative with furniture also – with wood and bricks or old metal carts repainted can become your beverage center – or old columns or fencing can create a defined seating or dining area – with outdoor drapery and lighting – you have now created a dining room!   No longer stop at candles – use chandeliers hung from tall tree branches!

Accessories and Accents – flower pots and planters can add bold color splashes to accent and add a finished look to your outdoor decor.  Pillows can add both color and patternern, as well as a sense of comfort to your room.   Bring some of the accessories that you have used inside your home and repeat that theme outdoors!

Your outdoor space should be a wonderful addition to your home. Well designed it is a reflection of you, and a sanctuary to be enjoyed – differently and in addition to your interior space. 


Romancing the Stone – Tips For Creating Romance in Your Home Year Round

Whether you live in a center hall colonial, cottage by the sea, a ranch in the high sierras, or a midtown apartment, there are ways to keep the romantic fires burning under your roof, every day of the year.

Yes, I know Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and with it, short-lived romantic gestures and much anxiety. There will be tons of chocolates and dozens of roses bought – and by the next morning, half eaten chocolates end up in the fridge and the resulting guilt sends you running to the gym as your roses are dropping petals on the floor and the water in their vase is already turning murky!!!

Why should romance be only once a year!   Your home, your private sanctuary from the gruel of everyday living need not be devoid of romance all the time.  Here are my top tips for creating a romantic atmosphere in your home:


As I’ve talked about before in my blog and in conversations with my clients, lighting can break or make a room.  It sets the tone for relaxation and comfort as well as creating a pleasing atmosphere. It is the easiest, way to change your ambiance and create romance. Here are a few of the most effective ways to use lighting in your home:

Dimmers can be added to all the light switches in your rooms. From dining rooms to bedrooms, dimmers can change the mood of a room in the second it takes to move the dial, changing bright light into a soothing, romantic feel.

Under cabinet lighting can transform utilitarian rooms like the kitchen into pleasing, warm spaces. Once this room has served its purpose for the day, switch to under cabinet lights and enjoy their effect on decompressing you from the day’s tasks.

Candles are the standard and obvious choice for romantic dates and special occasions in restaurants and at home. I believe they should be on display daily to lend atmosphere and romance to your home.  One of my favorite ways to use candles is with large lantern style holders; they should be part of the décor and can be placed in every room.  Pottery Barn and West Elm are two places where you can find affordable options for these candleholders.

A group of lanterns can take the place of a fireplace when there  isn’t  one – they can be used as a source of light when watching your favorite movie and a great relaxer for simply enjoying a conversation.  Set up a trio of candles in every room of your home.


 While it’s always lovely to receive beautiful flowers that make us feel special – this treat should be shared by everyone under your roof – make it part of your weekly shopping ritual and bring home a bouquet.

You can get more mileage and pleasure out of a bouquet by utilizing a variety of arrangements from a single bud in a small vase, a flower or two floating in a small bowl of water, or the full bouquet. Unusual and unexpected floral displays add variety and a sense of play. Everyday items can make for attractive and unexpected floral containers – from mason jars, simple drinking glasses, to metal water cans. Every room can become more romantic with the addition of even a single flower, from your bedroom nightstand or dresser, the bathroom vanity or your kitchen counter.

  Flowers are always appreciated, and bring a smile even on the dreariest, rainy day.  

Not just for Special Occasions

 Treat yourself specially every day. Two things that are always underutilized in a home, because they are thought of for “special occasions only” are formal dinnerware and formal dining rooms.  I’ve always wondered why do we wait to have a special occasion to use our “special stuff”?

Treat yourself as though you are special, and every day is a special occasion! So many people have kept “special things” in boxes and rarely get to enjoy them, when they can provide joy and romance on a regular basis. While it is not always relaxing to enjoy these moments when we have small children – they can serve as part of the special occasion – we use them to teach a lesson in social graces, as well as treating oneself well – two concepts that are sadly getting lost in our fast paced high tech world.

To insure the feeling of calm and romance, keep cell phones and chargers in your home office or entryway. Never in the bedroom or living room; there is nothing that is that important to disturb the most private and serene rooms in your home!!!

Your home should be treated as your sanctuary – a shelter from all the frenzy created in this fast paced world.

 Make Valentine’s Day everyday in your home.  




You’re Bringing WHAT? How to Select House Gifts For the Holiday

Tis’ the season and all that good stuff. Lots of parties, invitations for cocktails and dinners and visits to friends and family alike.

And because you’re read your Emily Post and always want to do the right thing you know that you mustn’t go to these events empty-handed…not at all. You want to show your appreciation and gratitude for the invite and that means, yes, a “hostess” gift.

If you Google “hostess gifts’ you get 10,400,000 hits in 0.28 seconds. (Wow, try to get on page 1 in this category!) A quick perusal of the listings and sites show items that are downright inexpensive to those that are quite costly, things you could readily see yourself carrying to the door and other items, well not so much.

So how do you make your decision anyway? How do you select the best, most wonderful house gift for the holidays (or for anytime at all)?

It’s Not About You.
The first thing that you have to remember is that you are buying a gift for someone else and that means that you have to think about the recipient of the gift, the type of home that they have (if you know) and what you believe that THEY will like. The less you know, the more your gift will need to be somewhat “general” and less personalized.

The Price Isn’t As Relevant as The Thought.
A very expensive gift that is totally inappropriate for the recipient is significantly less thoughtful than a more modest gift that was selected with care. Yes, it takes time and thought to really “nail” a great house gift but, of course, it can be done and it’s well worth it when you see the look of happiness on their face when your gift is opened.

Be Careful About Food and Scented Products.
People have strong opinions about food and scent (candles and such). If you are going to bring something in either of these two categories it might be best to find out if there are any allergies at play.

Be Sensitive to People’s Tastes.
An individual with a very modern design aesthetic would probably not appreciate something with an Early American slant and vice versa. Think carefully about the “style” of the person’s home and if you don’t know it, then select something with more “universal” appeal.

Do They Have Young Children?
People with young children pretty much strip down their homes for several years when their children are at the stage when they touch…and then break…everything. Sure they can put it away for future use, but it is just as easy to bring something that they might be able to use NOW.

Does It Have to be For Their Home?
Your gift doesn’t have to be for the home. Gift certificates, tickets for an event (theater, sports, concert) and other non-tangible things are always well received.

Bottom-line, showing your appreciation is mandatory. Making the effort to “wow” the recipients is not but is certainly something to strive for.

Enjoy the Comforts of Home During Troubled Times

The New Year brings with it a time of reflection, and many of us, undoubtedly, are still thinking about the traumatic events that rocked 2012. Hurricane Sandy and the Newtown tragedy are still at the top of our minds.

During difficult times, your home can serve as the ultimate sanctuary for peace, hope and happiness. In tough months and joyous ones, I hope that you, your friends and family can find solace in a safe and comfortable dwelling space. After all, sharing special moments with our loved ones is what makes any year worthwhile.

Best wishes for 2013,


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