I love the organic rawness of wood.

I love the organic rawness of wood.  It is so beautiful and can be used in its simplest, natural form.  With so many types of wood, each with its own finish and texture, you have incredible design opportunities.  Instead of assigning wood to the floor or furniture, consider using it in a more unconventional place!

Amy Aidinis Hirsch Greenwich CT Design copy

1.  Kona Wood Rug, Crate and Barrel

2.  Arteriors Wood Chandelier

3.  Olga Guanabara Coffee Table

4.  Roost Wood Veneer Shades

5.  Jil Sander Lizard and Wood Shoe

6.  Divan Sofa from Hudson Furniture

7.  Design by Habachy Designs and Design Within Reach

8.  Wood iPad Case from Root Cases

9.  Wood Cuff Bracelet by Kara Ross

Cover image shows coffee table design by John Houshmand and lighting from Clubcu.




I love leather. It has a masculine, tailored feeling and grounds everything around it when you put it into an environment.

I love leather.  It has a masculine, tailored feeling and grounds everything around it when you put it into an environment.  I like to use it in unexpected ways, not just on your typical desk chair.  On surfaces, walls, pillows, and doors, as well as couches, leather imparts a rich, sumptuous look. There are so many colors and finishes available now, such as ostrich, python, and larger etchings, there’s no end to the possible uses of leather in interior design.

Starflower Engraved Belting Leather Tiles
Genevieve Bennett – Leather laser cut tiles. Totally off the wall!

There are many great sources of beautiful, quality leather.  One of my favorites is Edelman Leather.  They have a huge variety of colors and styles of leathers, each more gorgeous than the last.

Edelman Leather’s Ostrich in Grey Slate
Shagreen City Lights in Smoke, also from Edelman.
Edelman Leather’s Rose Petal City Lights in Smoke.

I find myself drawn to leather with a lot of tooling, unexpected details, and customization.  It looks old, but is done in new ways, leading to some amazing products.  Leather gets better as it ages, like a great pair of jeans.  It can be expensive and you need to be smart about how you use it, but the results can be stunning.

Holland & Sherry Interiors, Birdseye leather rug.
Samuel and Sons Passementerie Woven Italian Leather Braid. Makes a great detail trim!
3D leather wallpaper by Genevieve Bennett.

Macassa Leather in Cote D’Ivoire from Rose Tarlow. I upholstered the interior of library bookcases in this leather. Totally luscious in an inky blue color.

One of my favorite projects involved this leather door with nailhead trim.  When I first presented the idea to the client, their reaction was “It might look too S&M!”   However, once the door was installed, they loved it.  It gave the interior an unexpected aspect and grounded the rest of the space.  They had to see it in place to fully appreciate the effect of this amazing door.

Leather door with nailhead trim.

The look of leather is so attractive, but not suited to every room in the home.  If you want this look without the upkeep or possibility of damage in an area such as the kitchen or bath, take a look at these tiles from Walker Zanger.  They look so much like leather, you have to touch them to convince yourself they are really porcelain tiles!

Matouche Design by Walker Zanger
Another example of Walker Zanger’s Martouche Design

Have you, or would you, use leather in your home?


Snakeskin is a big texture I like to use in small doses.

Snakeskin is a big texture I love to use.  It’s not something to use in abundance, but in small doses snakeskin is very chic and trendy.  It definitely creates a look!  And with all this faux stuff available, snakeskin texture isn’t limited to belts and boots.  For accessories and accents, snakeskin gives a modern, edgy look.  You can find it in a variety of colors and patterns, but one thing all snakeskin has in common is a rich feel that people can’t help but want to touch.

Jimmy Choo Irena Shoe – My every day go to shoe!
Snakeskin sunglasses from Lanvin.


Python belt by Lara Bohinc.
Yves Saint Laurent snakeskin cuff.

The same approach to using snakeskin in fashion applies to interior design.  A little goes a log way and packs a big punch. Snakeskin isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great textile and medium to bring out a bit of daring — very graphic and sexy.

Boa vinyl wall covering from Osborne & Little
Snakeskin lamp by Robin Brooks NY
Two’s Company Ottoman
Living room with snake skin accents. Photo by Eric Roth.
Ashley Stark’s Entry – Vintage snakeskin bench.