Interior Design Room of the Month - Bedroom Essentials

Top on my list of interior room design schemes that brings out the romantic in me is the bedroom. While some constraint must be exercised in a home’s public spaces, those design rules need not apply in the bedroom. It’s a private oasis, an inner sanctum that few are given entrée and so gives license for complete personal expression. A bedroom can exude your character and personality, designed any way you want.

So although general rules of design don’t apply, there are certain key elements to include that will achieve the perfect retreat for relaxation and renewal, not just for sleeping.

A soft, warm rug to greet your feet when first getting out of bed mornings is far more pleasant than stepping onto a cold, hard floor. Wall to wall carpeting is one option, but many of my clients prefer to maintain continuity and install stone or wood flooring throughout their homes. One solution is the addition of an area rug that creates a neat border around the bed, although ¾ of it is under the bed, thus lost from view. A less expensive and more practical alternative are runners or small area rugs placed on each side of the bed. This choice is also preferable if you plan to use a bench at the foot of the bed.

Clients who opt for a single area rug often make the mistake of purchasing one that’s too large. A border of 30-36” is all that’s needed on the bed’s sides and foot end. It should reach up to the night stands without extending under them. It gives the arrangement a trim, more contemporary look.

Wasted space is one of the biggest bedroom design issues. With the availability of building well-outfitted closets, and purchasing night stands with drawers, there's no need for traditional bedroom furniture - dressers, armoires, and the like. By eliminating these oversized, unnecessary case goods, There’s plenty of space available to create a cozy conversation/reading area or add a desk/vanity.  

Night tables flanking the bed are a must for storage, and easy access for things needed during the course of an evening. I place an alarm clock, note pad and pen for midnight inspirations, a coaster for a glass of water on top, and keep a box of tissues, book, flashlight, remotes, and other necessities in a drawer. Reading lamps are essential whether placed on the tables, or if space I want to save space, I wall-mount swing arm lamps or install recessed ceiling pinpoint lights with a bedside switch.

Speaking of lamps, layered lighting offers total control of the bedroom’s atmosphere. All fixtures should be on dimmers. For drama and romance, I love the look of a chandelier in the center of the ceiling. A floor lamp or table fixture is needed to illuminate the desk or reading area. Sconces would look charming flanking a mirror hung over a vanity table.

The purpose of window treatments is to augment the bedroom’s design scheme or to
frame a beautiful view. Keep them simple but interesting; they shouldn’t be a focal point. Choices are limitless. Some options include drapery panels, shades, and shutters in fabrics, matchstick, or wood. Choices depend on the style of the window and personal preference. If you want the room to appear larger, opt for a color that blends with the wall, but use textured or patterned fabrications to avoid the room from looking bland. Window treatments in contrasting colors break up long stretches of walls of a large room. Small windows can be made to appear larger; uneven windows can be camouflaged to look symmetrical. Blackout shades need not be heavy or cumbersome for light control. Light weight shades provide complete darkness, and roll up out of sight when unneeded.

 If I were to have a signature element, something I use consistently in every interior design
project, it’s a mirror. I believe almost every room should have one, if not for checking out your image, but for reflecting a beautiful view, reflecting light, adding a sense of space and sparkle to a room. Standing screens, decorative or fully mirrored, can be moved anywhere, and are very effective in brightening a dark corner.

Upholstered headboards work for any interior design style. They add a feeling of soft luxury to the room. For a cohesive and trim look, I like to have the headboard and box upholstered in the same fabric, and avoid using a dust ruffle. Tufted textured fabric adds interest and is both tailored and elegant. Leather is masculine while jacquards and prints are more feminine.

This brings us to color. Both body and mind need rest and the opportunity to unwind. One
way to achieve both is a space for the eyes to gaze in a quiet way, moving gently around the space without anything jarring to interrupt the flow. I use few colors in bedrooms. For walls, I use colors like the soft, mellow yellow of the sun, the blue of the gentle movement of water, rolling hills of lavender, or vast fields of lazily swaying stalks of wheat. Perhaps wallpaper in a soft toile, a tone on tone stripe, or diamond pattern in calming earth tones. All provide soothing and restful images.

Regardless of the design scheme or color palette, I use bed linens in shades that range from pure white to creamy ivory. White, yes… bland, no! Textural interest, colorful taping or embroidery, passementerie, and other unique touches add a beautifully custom look.

A bedroom is your private domain. It is here where design expresses its greatest value and supports our deepest needs.

For more inspiration and ideas, browse my website or view my portfolio.

Innovative Kitchen Design Trends - Customization

Yesterday (July 31), I had a wonderful time researching the newest kitchen design trends and products at DCOTA (Design Center of the Americas) in Dania Beach, FL. Every element in kitchen construction can be customized, so my totally enjoyable tour of showrooms was filled with previewing an abundance of versatile options.

Cabinet doors are available in flat, recessed or 
raised paneled, textured, or smooth
finished styles in a variety of materials. Likewise, counter top choices are available from laminates to high quality wood or stone. Finishes can be matt, honed, or gloss.

While white is the “new neutral”, you can have your cake and eat it too by adding unique color accents. There are infinite choices of handle colors and styles that can be changed at whim.

Kitchens can be further customized with open shelving in contrasting colors, and islands in any configuration. Prefer enclosed cabinetry? Glass door fronts are available in a multitude of options from transparent, to opaque, or patterned, allowing a subtle peek of color to show through.

Kitchen manufacturers are providing additional 
functionality with configurations of interior
drawers that are tailored to unique needs. Proper planning can add 30% more storage space.

In addition to elegant and highly functional spaces, eco-friendly and sustainable materials are increasingly being incorporated into kitchen design.

With open concept interior architecture, the trend is to integrate the kitchen with the overall interior design scheme. Closed kitchens can be designed to shine with their own unique character. So what’s the major trend in kitchen design? Simply, customization!

Email for a FREE, 30 minute phone consultation without obligation.

Browse more kitchen renovations on my portfolio on Houzz.

The Globalization of Interior Design

South Florida is experiencing a tremendous influx of international visitors, investors, and residents, resulting in globalization of every social, economical, and political aspect. Defining international influences was the focus of a panel discussion hosted by Drew Limsky, editor of Modern Luxury magazine, held at DCOTA (Design Center of the Americas) in Dania Beach, FL on July 24th. Contributors to the discussion were international experts Nevio Boccanera, Executive Director of Italy-American Chamber of Commerce Southeast, Carlos Marica, Board Member and 2013 President of the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, Jay Parker, CEO of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, and Brazilian Interior Designer Guimar Urbina.

The group discussed the importance of recognizing the cultural diversity of South Florida,
and stressed the vast opportunities provided by collaboration of international business interests. It was unanimously agreed that the success of South Florida businesses relies upon creating multi-cultural relationships and improving management techniques across the board while maintaining cultural diversity that adds enormous value to the area.

Growth has come primarily from Venezuela, Argentina while populations from Canada, Italy, and China, are on the rise. They’re bringing tremendous changes to real estate markets, affecting the type and quality of architecture and design. South Florida demographics has changed drastically over the years, evolving from a meager location for elderly couples to retire to a vibrant center of business, education, culture, and entertainment. Homes are being purchased as primary residences instead of vacation or investment properties.

In addition to impacting real estate, the influx of the populace provides amazing
opportunities for the design industry. The luxury market is experiencing tremendous growth. Greater attention is being given to design and décor to create warm, welcoming, elegant, and sophisticated.

So it is not surprising that design schemes are more complex, requiring designers to become knowledgeable about a vast range of cultural preferences. Professional designers must have a full and ready arsenal of ideas, interpretive abilities, depth of resources, knowledge, as well as organizational and business skills to devise and complete an entire project that satisfies every client.

It’s no wonder then, that every project I’ve had the opportunity of being hired to create has been very diverse in every aspect – color, style, materials, function. They’ve all been challenging and most rewarding. 

Color palettes from neutral camel, cafe au lait, whites, and bronze accessories to gray, black, white, and chrome trim, or colorful red, coral, green, white, and antiques.

Dark or light; serene or bright; textures in solid colors or prints; design schemes are limitless.  
For complete images of each project visit my portfolio on Houzz

Abundant inspirational ideas can be found on my website.

Initial consultations are FREE! So act now so your home will be ready for the holidays.


Bringing Outdoor Desing In - or - The Sunroom/Conservatory Effect

There’s nothing as inspiring as a naturally bright, light filled room that creates of feeling of living outdoors. It’s not difficult to create a bright, open, and airy atmosphere in almost any room. The concept is bring elements typically found outdoors inside.

Make the most of natural light by enhancing windows. Use light weight window treatments such as sheer fabric panels or shades or nothing at all! Shutters or bamboo blinds are traditional outdoor statements. If you need light control or privacy, install solar or blackout shades that can be rolled up out of sight when not needed. Keep the design simple. If your windows have deep reveals, mirroring enlarges them.

Walls, when painted a neutral hue, seem to recede - dark shades actually work better. Wall coverings like grass cloth and naturally colored wallpaper adds the colors and textures of the outdoors. Imaginative use of tile on the floor and carried up the wall as wainscoting creates the feeling of a terrace or patio. Another option is adding lattice to the walls and/or ceiling.

Painting ceilings a light blue gives the feeling of being outside and adds height to the room. Be a little daring by adding a few fluffy white clouds which add to the illusion.

Generate more light by adding furnishings in glass, mirror, or metallic materials. Their reflective qualities also serve to increase an illusion of more space. If your room is dark, use a grouping of mirrors to create the suggestion of a window.

Avoid heavily upholstered furnishings. Exposed legs are more open and airy than those with skirts or upholstery that reaches the floor. Fauteuils (chairs with wood frames) used as pull up chairs are lighter in feel than club chairs. Wicker furniture is an elegant choice.

 Select open shelving with light accessories. Leave some shelves empty to maintain a spacious feeling.

A water feature such as a fountain is soothing both visually and audibly, while an aquarium provides a wonderful focal point filled with color and movement.

Bring in a sculptural element that would ordinarily be found outdoors.

Entertaining? Decorate with strings of party lights for the occasion.

Of course, judicious use of plants and flowers are ideal accessories to complete the look.

Make an appointment NOW for a 30 minute, no obligation, FREE telephone consultation.

Browse my portfolio on Houzz.


Interior Design Trends: Bold & Unexpected

It’s easy to create a design scheme that’s a blank canvas. The challenge with this particular project was the client’s desire for a new look – more contemporary in feel, yet she wanted to use her existing furnishings, art, and antiques. This did not give me much latitude.

Another consideration was the client’s age. At 90+, I wanted to include age appropriate features like non-slip flooring, lighting, grab bars, etc.

The only new furniture purchased was a dresser for the master bedroom, guest room bed, dining table, and bistro table and chairs for the kitchen. I added a wall shelving system in the den to include a work surface, wall-mounted tv, shelves, cabinets and drawers for

The apartment renovation came alive with rich colors, period details, and art. So this project is awash in reds and corals with splashes of yellow, green, and white, incorporating as many of her antiques and furnishings from her existing apartment without looking too pristine and 'old'. 

Visit Houzz to view the complete story.

More inspiration is available on my website.