I’m always looking for ways to update our apartment (much to my husband’s dismay, although I will say, he does usually see the aesthetic “value” after my updates are complete). We live in a rental, so I try to be smart about the changes that we make. Our little kitchen is one particular sore spot, the finishes and fixtures are certainly not what I would have picked had I been able to choose. I recently swapped out kitchen hardware in a client’s rental apartment and was quite surprised by the dramatic impact this seemingly small change had on the space. Inspired by the transformation, I decided to go on the hunt for new hardware for my kitchen!
My requirements: hardware with a single hole installation (easily interchangeable with our land lord’s existing hardware), as well as hardware that was simple, clean, and contemporary. I also looked for hardware with a polished finish (or stainless steel), I like a little shine and think it helps to make pieces look more expensive. Lastly, since the quantity of pieces I needed was on the high side, it was important to look for affordable hardware. Check out some of my favorites…
This past weekend I toured the 2015 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. The firm I work for did not have a room this year, but it was nice to pull my head out of the sand for a few hours and check out the fabulous work of fellow designers. This year’s show house is being held in the Arthur Sachs Mansion (which is all yours for a cool $35 million). 22 designers and architects decked out the sprawling 7 floors of the mansion. For your viewing pleasure, below is a peek into some of my favorite spaces in this year’s show house.
My little brother graduated from college a few weeks ago and in a few more weeks he will head off to Houston, Texas to start a new job and join the rest of us in the real world (dun, dun, dun, dunnn…). He is moving into a studio apartment and has a very, very tight decorative budget (by the way, he would probably be horrified if I insinuated that he used the term “decorative budget,” this is my design speak). So, having a big sis who is a designer and also someone who has grown accustomed to living in teeny, tiny spaces in NYC, he called me to help!
There’s an emerging trend called “E-Design” in which designers work with clients virtually, designing rooms and houses entirely via email, phone, video chat, and digital documents. This mini-project for my little brother has sort of allowed me to dip my toe in the e-design water. I’d love to do more of this pending clients who want to hire me!
Below you’ll find one of a few furniture plans I laid out for my brother’s space. His apartment is somewhere around 550 square feet total (by New York standards this is a huge studio) and is a loft with 14 foot high ceilings. In terms of the layout, his only request was to add a little privacy to his sleeping space. I wanted to ensure he also had designated spaces for entertaining and dining, but at the same time, it was important that the whole apartment be cohesive with an open feel.
In terms of furniture and decorative items, my brother is bringing with him an existing bed, dresser, and desk. He really didn’t have any special requests for the new items needed to furnish his apartment. Because one space will be used for sleeping, eating, entertaining, etc., my design intentions were to keep things simple, clean, and neutral. Appropriately scaled furniture was key, but I was also conscious of making sure furniture didn’t look too bite-size (too small furniture is a big mistake in small space design). I selected an open bookshelf to maximize storage and serve the dual purpose of room divider. I chose crisp white pieces to blend in and not take up too much visual space. Pieces with mixed metals, wood, and leather will give the apartment a masculine punch. Floor to ceiling windows, along with books and personal items to fill the bookshelves will add another layer of color, texture, and personality. As part of the “e-design” package, he was sent a source list with multiple options for every item needed. Below are my favorites.
What do you think of my ideas for my brother’s post grad pad? I’d love your feedback in the comments section below! Interested in “E-Design” for your space? Contact me at email@example.com to discuss!
One of my favorite parts of my job is going art shopping with clients and finally, installing art in completed projects. For me, art is the final touch that really makes a space come alive. If a room were an outfit, art would be the jewelry. Some outfits demand a statement necklace or a bunch of bangles or an antique watch – curating art for a room is similar. I’ve been lucky enough to see some serious, museum-worthy art up close and in person. If you can afford museum-worthy art, more power to ya, but as for the rest of us, I’m going to fill you in on how to find original, affordable art without stepping foot in a chain home decor store.
Lately I’ve been loving all things marble. It’s clean, cool, classic, and the perfect thing to “mix in” with warmer decor. For those of us who aren’t blessed with marble bathrooms, floors, or countertops (maybe one day…), marble accessories are the perfect alternative. Check out some of my favorite pieces below, along with ideas about how to make them work in your space.
I literally just ordered this gorgeous pastry slab for my kitchen (thank you wedding gift card!). This piece is large and in charge, just what the awful kitchen countertops in our rental need. This slab of marble will be a permanent fixture on our counter, and, with a little luck, I’m hoping that it will help our awful countertops (seriously. bad.) disappear. Renters in the same boat? You need this pastry slab!
This lovely little side table is the perfect addition to entertaining spaces. It offers a touch of polish and provides an extra place for guests to set drinks on. Did I mention that it is currently on an amazing sale?
Plant this art object in a bookshelf or on a stack of papers on your desk for instant style. This is the accessory you never knew you needed!
I am cravinggg these bookends for my living room bookshelf. They are my ideal combination of quirky and classic. I could also see these in a child’s room along side colorful books.
The marble of this utensil holder would look lovely juxtaposed with wood and metal kitchen tools. I’m starting to think my new pastry slab may need a friend?
These marble boxes are advertised as “bath accessories” and would certainly make for beautiful bath accessories, but I would use these everywhere… in a bookshelf, on an entry console to stash keys in, on a desk or vanity, everywhere. They also happen to be on sale, can you tell I’m a sucker for a sale?
This marble tray would be a perfect dresser/nightstand/vanity accessory as a catchall for jewelry, watches, and the like. I’m loving its simplicity.
Because after you go crazy purchasing all of these fabulous marble finds, you will need something to clean them with! I’m a little bit of a freak when it comes to cleaning stone and countertops, the right product is key.
I pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe interior design, architecture, and all things decoration, so, I plan to feature a lot of that on my blog. “The Look for Less” is an idea I had for a series of reoccurring posts that offer affordable suggestions and ideas for design, inspired by a celebrity’s apartment.
I’ve been a huge Cameron Diaz fan for a long time now. I loved (and hated) her in My Best Friend’s Wedding and have had a goal of achieving her hairstyle from The Holiday since it came out (despite having the exact opposite hair characteristics myself). I first laid eyes on Cameron Diaz’s glam Manhattan apartment (a collaboration with designer Kelly Wearstler) when it graced the cover of Elle Decor in October of 2013. I recently stumbled upon the issue again (I hoard magazines, it’s kind of a problem), and thought it would be the perfect inspiration for my first “The Look for Less” post.
So, this is Cameron’s living room, pretty lovely right? Most of what you see here is either custom or vintage, both of which we do a whole lot of at the design firm I work for, but are not necessarily must haves for a beautiful space. When hunting for pieces inspired by this look, I thought about the room’s glam jewel tones, soft neutrals, pops of yellow, and a little bit of black to ground the space. I also looked for furniture that was again, glam, with a vintage vibe and a touch of tradition. The finishing touches are accessories that are organic and tribal. The layers of style in this room sound odd on paper (or a computer screen), but I love the look and hope you love the look for less…