Inspiration from Clients

There is beauty in collaboration, and although I am surrounded by my own favorite and trusted sources, I appreciate being introduced to great resources by my clients.

When beginning a design project for a client’s home, I ask myself, “Who lives here?”  It’s important for the design to tell the client’s story, not my own.  With that in mind, I keep myself open to what my clients bring to the table.  There is beauty in collaboration, and although I am surrounded by my own favorite and trusted sources, I appreciate being introduced to great resources by my clients.  It broadens my horizons and adds to what I have to offer my future clients.  Here are some examples of products, artists, and other resources I’ve learned about from clients.

1.  Books by the Foot

Sets of books in earth tones.

Stocking a library or extensive bookshelves with antique books can be expensive.  You also want to collect books you would actually read.  However, putting together a set of books that also looks great with the room around them can be more of a challenge.  A client introduced me to Books by the Foot, where you can order books by color, in matched sets, vintage books, wrapped books, and even faux books.  This makes it possible to achieve just the pulled-together look you want in any style.  This is an amazing site, even offering coffee table books and sets for commercial interiors!

Vintage cloth books.

2.  Artists Ben Ham, Vik Muniz, and Eric Zener

Plantation Road by Ben Ham

Art changes the dynamic of a house and makes my work speak better.  It creates a visceral reaction that varies from person to person, which is why art choices sometimes have to come from the client and not from the designer.  When a client introduces me to an artist I am not familiar with, it’s such a gift!  The photography of Ben Ham (who I’ve written about in the past), Eric Zener’s paintings, and Vik Muniz’s eclectic modern art, were all brought to my attention by clients.  Expanding my knowledge of artists and having a relationship with a local gallery such as Samuel Owen Gallery, helps me collaborate with clients to find just the right art for each project.

Zebra, after George Stubbs by Vik Muniz
A New Direction by Eric Zener

3.  Trainspotters Industrial Lighting and Salvage

Opaline drum pendant salvaged from a chapel.

A client from London who bought a house here in the US sent me a link to Trainspotters website and I fell in love with their amazing lighting.  They have great scale and colors — I’d use these products in my own studio!  This lighting, salvaged from a huge variety of places around Europe, are authentic and interesting.  We used lighting from Trainspotters in my client’s kitchen and the results were fantastic!

Lighting salvaged from a hangar at Heathrow now installed in a hostelry in Portugal.
Czhech arms factory lights.

4.  House Beautiful’s Colors for your Home

Colors for your Home

This book is a great resource I first learned of from a client.  As a guide to color and creating a palette for a room, it’s an invaluable resource to share with clients.  With actual paint swatches from a variety of manufacturers and beautiful examples of rooms, Colors for your Home makes it easier for clients to visualize an unlimited number of color schemes.


Greenwich Shopping

Here in Greenwich, we are fortunate to have some really amazing places to shop.

One of the things I love about having my office in Greenwich is the great shopping.  Greenwich has become something of a shopping mecca for designers with some fantastic storefronts.  It’s so nice to have the option of shopping right here and supporting the community that supports my own business.  Along the center of town and down a couple of side streets, you can find these places that aren’t always your typical, mainstream store.  Here are some of my favorites:

Greenwich Tile:  This is my go-to source for tile in any size.  Vita, the owner, is creative and innovative.  Greenwich Tile isn’t just a supply house; they love design and will mix materials to create an energizing, unique palette.  You can visit them at 402 W Putnam Ave  or call (203) 869-4773.

One of my favorite designs from Greenwich Tile.
For a bathroom project.
For a master bathroom in progress.

Mark Inc.:  I’ve known Mark for a while now and he is such a great guy.  He does custom mohair rugs in hundreds of designs.  The level of capability that goes into his products in unbelievable!  The classical thinking behind his rugs is evident.  I love that you can even see progress photos of your rugs on the loom!  Mark Inc. is located at 34 E Putnam Ave.

Mark Inc hand knotted wool rug.
Hand knotted hemp rug from Mark Inc.

Exquisite Surfaces:  Amazing source for flooring, including salvaged and reclaimed options.  Visit them at 11 E Putnam Ave.

I love these strong graphic tiles from Exquisite Surfaces.
Antique Petit Granite flooring.

C. Parker Gallery:  The gallery’s storefront opens  at 17 E Putnam Ave with the holiday season, but this year has remained open.  With an extensive collection of impressionist paintings, the gallery is a wonderful source of art close to home.  I love the concept of C. Parker Gallery; they host events, are available for private consultations, and install purchased artwork.

Painting by Charles Levier
A client’s home with a painting from C. Parker Gallery.
Another painting from C. Parker Gallery in a living room I designed.

Trovare Home:  They have a great knack for mixing vintage items and reproductions with modern pieces.  The accessories are great, and you can really tell the owner has a clever eye.  Trovare Home, at 245 E Putnam Ave, also has good sized abstract art that’s well priced.  The store consists of such charming vignettes that you want to scoop them up and install them just the way they are.

From Trovare Home
One of the many unique finds at Trovare Home.

Room:  With a showroom in NYC as well, Room is a great addition to Greenwich shopping.  They feature custom crafted pieces by a variety of artisans and designers, but what I really like is their lighting.  I was once working on a project here in Greenwich with a short lead time.  Their bocce lamps were perfect — like jewelry for a room.  Everything is customizable too, making their pieces suitable for almost any decor.  You can find Room at 36 E. Putnam Ave.

Hanging bocce lighting from Room.
Great table lamp.

What kind of local shopping do you like to do?


New York International Gift Fair

I loved every minute I spent browsing through the Gift Fair!

Twice a year, the Javits Center and Piers 92 and 94 are home to the New York International Gift Fair.  This incredible Home Show is always really exciting for me.  There are so many neat products to discover from so many different designers and companies.  Last August, I had a great time at the Gift Fair and wrote about my favorite finds.  Once again, I loved every minute I spent browsing through the Gift Fair!

At this Fair, it seemed like every time I turned around, I saw another fantastic mirror.  So many styles and sizes to fall in love with!

Great mirror from Julien Chichester’s Mr. Brown line.
Daniella mirror from Made Goods
Serrat mirror from Made Goods
A work of art! By Emporium Home.
From Bliss Home
Mirror set from the Mr. Brown line.

I also saw plenty of gorgeous pillows!  These are perfect accents for a quick change and a good example of how not every aspect of design has to be custom.

Pillow from Callisto Home
Very chic!
Sparkly but sophisticated!
I can never have too much leopard!

One of the coolest things I saw at the Fair this year were these beautiful accents.  They appear to be real plants, but if you take a closer look, you can see they are made of hand-painted shells.  They look amazing in person!

Made by Karen Robertson. An exciting find!
So unusual, and so pretty!

NYIGF definitely has a little bit of everything.  I found inspiration everywhere I looked, so much that I was able to find design ideas for an entire living room project I’ve been working on!

Wonderful pottery!
A truly comfortable chair from the Mr. Brown line.
Also from Mr. Brown, this gorgeous mirrored piece.
Spectacular tulip lamp with quartz detail from Emporium Home.
More great pottery, and I love the screen too!
Coffee table with a shagreen top from Mr. Brown — must have!

When the Gift Fair returns in August, it will have a new name:  NY Now.  I’m already looking forward to it!

Phillip Jeffries

I’ve used Phillip Jeffries products for my own clients many times and their amazing collection never fails me.

I’ve used Phillip Jeffries products for my own clients many times and their amazing collection never fails me.  Founded three decades ago by Eric Bershad, this is truly a family business.  Eric’s sons Phillip and Jeffrey, the company’s namesakes, now run the business along with their father.  When Phillip Jeffries initially launched, they started with a selection of ten grasscloth wallpapers.  Now, their products include a wide range of high quality wallpapers like Silks, Linens, Japanese Paper Weaves, and much more.

Extra Fine Arrowroot – When in doubt, a great collection with tons of colors to select from.

Phillip Bershad recently came to my office with a presentation and it reminded me why I am such a big fan of their products.  Not only are their wallpapers beautifully designed and constructed, but the quality of Phillip Jeffries service makes them a fantastic source.  Once you approve a sample, you get it within only two days, as long as it’s in stock.  They are so reliable and will go to the ends of the earth to make things happen for clients.  Custom options are always available on select products.

Patterns and styles available from Phillip Jeffries vary widely, with a huge range of colors.  Whether I’m shopping for a client with more reserved taste or looking for something spunky to dress up an accent wall, I know I’ll find what I need with Phillip Jeffries.

Chinois Our Way – The color combination is sultry. What a great guest room!
Imperial Gates – Very crisp on the white and navy.

I do love it when I enjoy the confidence of a client and can implement a Phillip Jeffries design with a lot of color and texture.   Within the line, there’s the versatility of using a quieter touch for those that are more reserved.  One of these open patterns with a bigger, more modern impact is the kind of design I love to find the right client for!  In particular, I am a big fan of their Ikat!

Tease – I love the over-sized scale.
Indo Ikat – Fabulous color! I am crazy for this pattern and can’t wait to use it.

To see more examples of Phillip Jeffries product line, visit their website.  You can also find them on Facebook.

Maharam Fabrics

Maharam Fabrics began as a theatrical textile production company and evolved through the decades to become a source of high quality fabrics.

Maharam Fabrics began as a theatrical textile production company and evolved through the decades to become a source of high quality fabrics.  Maharam makes a good choice for both commercial and residential areas.  The product is thoughtful of use and doesn’t look contracted.

Maharam space in NYC.

I am a huge fan of Maharam’s wool fabrics, especially the wool with embroidery.  When I design, I go for quality over quantity, and Maharam exhibits superb quality.  The fabric has a great weight, with quiet and simple designs that aren’t too heavy or traditional.  I love the palette and stitching.  It’s really well executed.

Borders by Hella Jongarius in Charcoal. Great pillow fabric!
Layers Park in Mineral/Sky by Hella Jongerius.
Park in Copper/Timber by Hella Jongerius.
Layers Garden Double by Hella Jongerius.

The durability of Maharam’s wool products make it a good option for families with kids.  The solids are available in every spectrum of the rainbow.  In addition to being user-friendly and practically indestructible, Maharam fabrics are reliably in stock, making it a fantastic go-to product.

Divinia by Kvadrat. Yummy color!
Another great color. I love using this for large bolsters on a bed.

Maharam also produces these digital projects for large-scale wall installations.  Something like this takes just the right client, but I can’t wait to use this giraffe print!  It’s so unique, charming, and sweet!

Perfect for a child’s playroom!

To see more of Maharam’s products, visit their website or find them on Facebook.

New York International Gift Fair

Twice a year, every year, NYC is host to the New York International Gift Fair.

Twice a year, every year, NYC is host to the New York International Gift Fair.  This fair is so huge, it can’t be contained to one venue and sprawls across Piers 92 & 94 as well as the Javits Convention Center.  This year’s fair ran from August 18-22 and included a huge range of vendors displaying new products and lines for the upcoming year.

The Gift Fair just has to be experienced in order to have an idea of the magnitude of the event, but I can tell you, I was like a bat out of hell at this year’s fair!  There’s such a crush of people, all wanting to be the first to spot that must-have, hot item or trend.  Everyone from designers to retailers flocking from vendor to vendor so that I had to suppress the urge to yell at everyone to get out of my way because I had some serious looking to do.  It’s a lot of contagious energy, creativity, and enthusiasm for the incredible world of design that just permeates the atmosphere and inspires you to see and experience everything!

This year I stumbled across some really great things at the Gift Fair.  Some of the first vendors to catch my eye were Michael Partenio and Stacy Kunstel with Dunes and Duchess.  What I love about their line is that they focused on an idea and let that idea evolve.  Dunes and Duchess creates these stunning candelabra pieces, all made in Connecticut.  Used as-is or with a shade, the pieces are substantial with great shapes and a beautiful, high lacquer with so much sheen.  The colors are beautiful, but they can customize products using your own color choices.   They also make incredible tables in almost any size that are practical but very chic!

Another aspect of the Gift Fair I love is that it’s a great source for pre-made pillows.  There are a lot of great designs without having to go the custom route and sometimes a bit of instant gratification is really nice!  I found some wonderful pillows from Design Accents and their sister company NBR Home.  From Design Accents, these cowhide pillows with a hint of gold really present well in a room.  The quality is good and the metallic hint is subtle enough to avoid being gaudy.

NBR Home offers a more upscale product with some very cool designs and colors.

I definitely went a little lamp happy at this year’s Gift Fair.  Mr. Brown, a division of Julien Chichester, has these lamps with a mid-century vibe, just really stunning pieces.  I’m a big fan of the turquoise lamp.  It has a Kelly Wearstler, high-impact feel to it.  I also love the standing lamp.  It looks like a piece of sculpture and would make a great choice for ambient light.

As for furniture, I saw some pieces I love from Design Legacy.  They have a transitional kind of furniture that is really unique.  I am head over heels for the secretary desk.  It has great height and scale and a geometry on its face that I love.  With storage and a flip down desk, it’s a wonderful piece.  I also really like the table and the chair with a nod to one of my favorite designs, the Greek key.  These pieces are an ideal way to freshen up a space.

My last find at this Gift Fair actually involves a search that started a year ago.  While at the New York Gift Fair last August, I found a product that I knew would be perfect for a client.  I was so excited about it, but I somehow misplaced the information and could not find it anywhere.  This year, I went to the Gift Fair with a mission.  I was determined to find this one product again, even while knowing my search amounted to looking for a needle in a haystack.  I knew this product would be in an area of the fair with everything from tabletop items to Christmas decor, from kids’ stuff to books.  I made my way as closely as possible to where I remembered seeing this particular product last time and finally found what I was looking for!  It was the best moment of the Gift Fair for me!  What I’d been looking for were these amazing frames from Wexel Art.  Made of plexiglass and magnets, the frames are a contemporary way to display art or photographs.  Changing the art in the frame is a quick and easy process, making it particularly suited to displaying kids’ artwork or family photos.  The frames come in all sizes, including custom measurements.  I can’t wait to use these to create a whole gallery for a client.  This time, I absolutely won’t lose the information!

Lunch with Barbara Sallick of Waterworks

A couple of weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to have lunch with Barbara Sallick, owner of Waterworks.

Barbara Sallick

A couple of weeks ago, I had the fantastic opportunity to have lunch with Barbara Sallick, owner of Waterworks.  It was really nice to meet someone so inventive and to be able to pick her brain.  I found sitting with her and talking woman to woman to be so delightful.  As someone who focuses on creating interiors, it’s fascinating to me to speak to someone who instead focuses on creating a product.  What Waterworks does is very specific, constructing items that must be precise down the the millimeter while maintaining the high standards of elegance for the product.  They really must think of everything throughout this clever process.

Waterworks was founded as a plumbing supply company in 1925 by Sam Grogins, Barbara Sallick’s father.  In 1978, Barbara and her husband Robert set out to bring their vision of beauty and perfect performance to a part of home design that often lacked attention.  Their son Peter later joined the company and Waterworks became an industry leader with a well-deserved reputation for craftsmanship and design.  With the growth of Waterworks, the company hasn’t lost its vision or mom and pop feel.  They truly listen to designers and have honed in on an ideal balance of functionality and gorgeous design, inspired by history rather than trends.

Henry Collection. Great profile and industrial flare; the column also comes with a reeded texture.
Voltaire free standing tub.
Humboldt Four Leg Washstand: Great size for a powder room!
Tampico Brush: Very cool accessory for the bath!

What I love about Waterworks is the diverse styles they offer.  They don’t just offer fittings, they offer an entire bath experience that truly has something for everyone.  The Studio Line, for example, is very accessible and well done.  The Henry line is designed so beautifully, with so many different facets.  Honestly, I can see uses for Waterworks elements in the kitchen and beyond.

Thermostat Valve: A more modern approach and my favorite for childrens' rooms.
Worth Stationary Mirror: Available in white too! Love it!
Gilbert Light Fixture: Great to mix with others in a kitchen.
Drake metal and linen stool. Who says this has to be used in a bathroom?

If you want to also pick Barbara’s brain about her thoughts on design you can access her excellent ideas through her blog, The Perfect Bath.  Barbara is also the author of two books:  The Definitive Guide to Designing the Perfect Bath (self published, 2006) as well as Waterworks: Inventing Bath Style (Clarkson Potter, 2001).