Ellen Winkler: Lifetime Commitment to Design

Ellen_WinklerThe design business is filled with semi-professionals and those looking to find their way, but not Ellen Winkler. A leader in the design business for more than two decades, she’s a reliable leader, and accomplished designer.

Thanks for joining us, Ellen. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.

My grandmother was an excellent seamstress, so I had an inherent interest in fabrics and design.  I owned and managed a workroom for several years and then enrolled in an interior design program.  I went on to pass my NCIDQ  (National Committee of Interior Design Qualification) and was President of the New England Chapter of the ASID (American Society of Interior Design) in 2000-2001.

New England is a wonderful place to work with design.  Which classic New England features do you try and incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?

I’ve found design trends in New England are influenced by several factors, including the location (mountains, lakefront, oceanside, rural) combined with the homeowners’ personal taste.  Many of our clients have second homes in the Lake Sunapee area and while they want their home to be indicative of a lake home, they often blend this style with a more contemporary or eclectic one, which is exactly what I strive to help them achieve.

We work with clients closely throughout the design process.  At the first consultation I do much more listening than talking, allowing the homeowners to tell me their likes, dislikes, goals, and dreams.  We develop the design through a collaborative processing involving sketches and samples to visualize the end result of the space.

Describe some of your more challenging spaces? Does a unique layout benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or does it limit options?

Spaces that can be particularly challenging, especially in regard to space planning and furniture layout, are long rectangular rooms with a lot of windows, doors, and large fireplaces.  One recent client had such a room, where an oversized stone fireplace and hearth took up one end wall with a door located to the side of it.  Typically, the fireplace creates a focal point for seating to be arranged, but in this case there was only enough room for two chairs and small end tables to be located at the end of the room with the fireplace and door, leaving the rest of the room in want.  I drew several floor plan options for the client with two separate seating areas, incorporating chairs and an ottoman that are easily movable to accommodate large or small parties.

Unique layouts do force the designer to be more creative.  Traditional New England homes have many additions onto a main structure which mean more doorways to work around, and often older homes have more than one fireplace not particularly in the best location.  By understanding how the clients want to use their space and their current lifestyles, I can suggest storage techniques that will work in their space, i.e. built ins, cabinets, shelves, hidden storage in a coffee table, etc.

Options are only limited by the designer’s imagination and the clients’ receptiveness to his or her ideas.  The better we know the client, the more options we have to present.

Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow.  How do you ensure against clutter, and that the occupant always feels stress-free in that space?

Traffic flow is an extremely important interior design consideration.  Open floor plans present more of a challenge in that basically everything is visible to the guest; however, there are several design options that can organize clutter, limit it, or at the very least contain it.  The kitchen pantry is a godsend for the client who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, housing large and small equipment, mixing bowls, and even food items which would normally present a storage challenge in an open, contemporary kitchen layout.   Open pantries can be organized in such a way as to focus on specific items, such as a collection of dishes, rather than the ordinary items generally found in the pantry.

Built-in entertainment centers in family rooms can also be useful in keeping books, games, and sports memorabilia contained while creating a showcase for personal achievements such as metals and trophies.

Area rugs are versatile. New England homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

It’s true New England homes and businesses have a lot of hardwood floors, but seldom do you see one without an area rug.  Area rugs contribute so much to the design of a room.  I love designing rooms around colorful area rugs and often let the rug selection dictate the other design elements in the room.  I also design the rug and select the color palette for the perfect piece in a room.

After interviewing my clients and developing a color scheme, we start researching rugs with the colors and pattern style that will complement the space.  Our vendors who work with custom made rugs email pictures of their current supply of rugs that might match the space for our consideration, or if we are designing a whole house, we travel to the vendor’s warehouse to select all of the rugs at once, ensuring they work together and create a design flow from space to space in the home.  The area rug references the theme of the room and often repeats design elements.  Both color and texture reinforce and influence the activities use of the room.

Rugs can also help create a cohesive design when bringing furniture from one location to a new one, or combining furniture from two homes into one.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

I really select rugs on a case by case basis, but I typically use 100% wool with vegetable dyes for the clarity of color tones and durability.  Man-made components such as nylon give years of service in more utilitarian areas.

Are there price limits when it comes to rugs? 

There really is no price limit on rugs.  Most are made in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal by true craftsmen who have worked in the trade for decades.   Some, with intricate designs and a high knot count, can easily reach $10,000, depending on the size and thread count.  Antique rugs area a wonderful alternative and often fit best with no budget.  There are several good options, though, to keep within any budget.

Do you have any final words of design advice?

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

Our website showcases our portfolio of projects all over the country.  We travel to potential clients’ homes for consultations, or if it is more convenient, we have two office locations for appointments – our Showroom and Design Center in New London, New Hampshire, and a satellite office in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 

 

Lisa Buyuk: From Drab to Fab!

When it comes to a full-room makeover look no further than Lisa Buyuk, who uses intelligent design to turn your spaces from sad and drab to fab!

Thanks for joining us, Lisa! Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.

I graduated from college with a Bachelors Degree in Art History and French Language and Literature.  I knew that I didn’t want to go the traditional route and get a job in a museum or auction house.  I prefer working with objects the way that a sculptor or painter works with their medium.  Being in such institutionalized environments felt stifling to me. Understanding this, I worked for a time selling French and English antiques and contemporary art at two prominent galleries in Boston.  I finally got my big break when a gallery owner refereed me to work for an established design firm.  From there I spent several years working for two of Boston’s top interior design firms.  As a result, I was exposed to some incredible design projects.  Those years were a lot of fun…  Of course there is a big difference between working for a designer and having your own firm, so I invested the time in my education, obtaining my Master’s Degree in Interior Design and completing the NCIDQ exam.  At the end of the day Interior Design is a profession.  My early work experience with licensed design professionals and my credentials are the foundation for my success as an Interior Designer.

What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist, or is it a meet and greet to feel out their personality?

When I first meet with a client in their space there is generally a lot to absorb.  Communication is paramount.  For this reason I look to see if their words and descriptions are matching what they are showing me.  Understanding how a client communicates is the key to meeting expectations.  Once you understand how they use their words the design that follows is effortless.

Working as a designer is committing to a career filled with difficult challenges. Which problems do you face most often? Clients or space? Do you have a method to work through those problems?

There are always going to be problems – clients or spaces.  Luckily I consider myself to be a problem solver and I find inspiration in challenges.  With any problem it is important to establish what is not working and why.  For a room the problem can be spatial disorganization.  For a client the problem might be difficulty visualizing change.  Having a clear understanding of the problem allows you to implement the right tools for a solution.

Design shows are very popular on television right now. How have they influenced your business? In what ways do your clients now interact with you that they might not have before the popularity of the shows?

I think that design shows have excited the public and made design more accessible.  Of course, as with anything “Hollywood” there is often a suspension of reality and a distortion of the actual amount of time that it takes to achieve results.  Because of this some clients operate under the impression that once a decision is made the design should be complete a week later.  They forget that things take time and coordination.  These shows have massive production teams that operate behind the scenes to coordinate everything.  Educating the homeowner about all that is involved from design concept the completion and the value of the interior design professional’s role is paramount.

From the outside it seems like New England focuses on incorporating it’s rich history into many designs! Is that something many clients want? Describe if/how you might incorporate a sense of history into your designs.

Design in New England can be a challenge.  Our nation’s history began here and in some ways we are the heart of the proverbial “melting pot”.  More than anything I think that clients want their homes to be personal.  As a designer, this means that I have a responsibility to use objects, colors and textiles that speak to the personalities and heritage of my clients.  Because New England is culturally diverse and rich in history I get to pull my resources from a bigger “toy box.”  Design could not be more fun!

Do you have a design project you are most proud to have completed? What did it look like before? After?

In the preceding question you asked about the rich history of New England.  For this reason I think that this project is a wonderful example of the challenges that a designer can face and the power of the creative eye.  It is also a great segue way into your next question about rugs…

A young homeowner purchased a condominium in a new construction urban high rise.  She had some existing traditional oak furniture pieces that had tremendous sentimental value and family history and despite another designer’s council, she refused to toss them for more modern items.  The challenge was to honor the client’s feelings and integrate the traditional pieces in a modern built environment.

 

Before: Drab and sad

Before 1   Before 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After: Cool and Serene

After 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The problem was how to make something old, new again.  With a little imagination, some stain, new upholstery and a nod to modern living the transformation was miraculous.  A cool color palette plays off of the richness of the newly stained pieces.  Tailored window treatments and the use of the hide rug keep this room from feeling heavy and dated.  The client was so happy with the transformation of this room that we moved on to other areas of her home.

We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use area rugs in your designs? Are there designs where you’re more likely to use a rug? Less?

Rugs are wonderful.  They can be wonderful tools for spatial organization.  In the example above I selected a hide rug.  Had I chosen a traditional rectangular rug in a wool or silk it would have weighed the room down.  The client’s existing furniture was heavy and rich in detail.  I needed to find a way to provide some warmth underfoot without weighing the room down.  The organic shape of the hide was the perfect solution.

Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?

I think that you have to have an understanding of the use of the room when specifying rugs.  A custom woven silk rug might be durable (silk is the strongest natural fiber), but it is not appropriate for a high traffic walk off matt in a mud room.  For this application I might suggest a modern vinyl weave (like Bolon) or perhaps a natural coco fiber matt…  Context is everything.  Once you know the context, application of the material is easy.

We know as well as anyone that rugs can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?

I recently faced this problem when designing a bachelor pad for a young finance professional.  He has a great apartment overlooking Boston Common in Beacon Hill.  Because his background is in finance, every decision was weighed for profitability over long term use.  In this scenario, the apartment was going to be flipped for a better investment in 5 years.  The challenge was to furnish it with meaningful pieces that would grow as my client grew.  Unfortunately, for our budget this meant that the woven leather and horsehair rug that I wanted to specify for his living area was cost prohibitive.  The compromise resulted in re-using his traditional 5×7 Oriental and layering it over less expensive carpet tiles to give the warmth and coverage that we needed.  The look is cool and modern and in budget!

Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!

For personalized solutions to you your design problems contact me at buyukinteriors.com!

 

Shelley McGinity: On the FLIP to Design

imageFew designers know more about how design can increase the value of a home more than former house flipper, Shelley McGinity.   

Thanks for joining us, Shelley! Tell us a little bit about how you got into the design business.

My husband has been a general contractor for the past 40 years, and when we were located in San Francisco, we started flipping houses. I went back to design school at that time and also received my NCIDQ certification.

What are some of the first things you try to notice when meeting a new client at their space? Do you have a checklist, or is it a meet and greet to feel out their personality?

I am always very aware of MY first hit when walking into a new space that I may be working in. What do I like, dislike, question, feel comfortable/uncomfortable with, etc. Then I usually start my client interview with objectives and their intentions.

Working as a designer is committing to a career filled with difficult challenges. Which problems do you face most often? Clients or space? Do you have a method to work through those problems?

Depending on the type of job… With residential, it is more often the client (much more emotion involved). Contract/hospitality is a more defined- space and budget issue.

Design shows are very popular on television right now. How have they influenced your business? In what ways do your clients now interact with you that they might not have before the popularity of the shows?

Having done a few of my own design shows locally, and just speaking to my (residential) clients, they are under the impression that design and implementation is far easier than it really is. I find that my clients want to be more involved initially, until the project becomes more complicated and timely, and they step back and increase my scope of work.

From the outside it seems like California focuses on incorporating its rich history into many designs! Is that something many clients want? Describe if/how you might incorporate a sense of history into your designs

Over the last decade, Craftsman design has been revived and become hugely popular. Because we have such a call for this style in my area (Lake Tahoe) I have often done some blending of styles to compliment the Craftsman and bring in other elements to lighten up the scale as well as incorporate the outside experience, views and available natural light.

Do you have a design project you are most proud to have completed? What did it look like before? After?

I am proud of most of the projects I have designed. Again, being in a more isolated area, it is important to be very flexible in what design projects you seek. I have done new construction consultation thru to completion, to many bathroom/kitchen remodels, color consultations, and “finished” projects that other designers did not finish or they were released. I must say that taking a 1970′s, very tired condominium in Northstar (psudo-contemporary outside/ hot mountain mess inside) and turning it into a beautiful, open floorplan with all contemporary finish, including adding a bathroom in a reclaimed closet, was the most fun and rewarding projects I have done to date!

We love rugs. Can you take us through how you use area rugs in your designs? Are there designs where you’re more likely to use a rug? Less?

I love rugs! I often treat area rugs as functional art. They are an investment that can take my projects (residential, contract, medical, hopitality, etc.) to the next level. I like to work from the ground up, with a layering affect, when planning interior spaces.

Which area rugs do you find most durable? Least durable?

New Zealand wool is sooo yummy, especially in our colder climate- summer and winter! I tend to stay away from any rugs that have silk in them, especially for this area, because the harsh sunlight at this elevation (6000 ft. +-) is not kind to certain materials.

We know as well as anyone that rugs can be expensive. Any assistance on how to cut down on the initial price?

I shop around a lot, keeping an ear to the ground for good deals. There are times, however, that I do go custom, and the option to have my client participate in the design of their rug is something that I have done several times and my clients really enjoy the process and outcome!

Thanks for your time today! Any more hints for our readers!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts!

 

Jeanette Cataldo: Let’s Design It!

JeanetteFrom the moment she took her first internship in college Jeanette Cataldo knew she wanted to be a designer. The Boston-based interior designer now has more than 40 years of business know-how and a satisfied client base.

Thanks for joining us, Jeanette. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.

In 1975 I took a summer course at New England School of Art & Design and knew at that time this was the profession I wanted to pursue. Some stories are long and complicated but mine was straightforward. I wanted to be a designer.

New England is a wonderful place to work with design.  Which classic New England features do you try and incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?

Boston has wonderful history filled with so many different features. It really depends on the project, I can work with Classic New England or Cosmopolitan….

Describe some of your more challenging spaces? Does a unique layout benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or does it limit options?

Yes, I believe you always need a challenge. It keeps your creative energies alive. In my opinion, design has no limits. It’s all up to you to find the most creative and functional solution.

Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow.  How do you ensure against clutter, and that the occupant always feels stress-free in that space?

I personally love to design an open floor plan. I try to create invisible boundaries. I think my clients always get a great sense from those types of designs.

Area rugs are versatile. New England homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

I like to design an area rug that is shaped to the space. Very few of my rug designs are your typical  shapes which might be expensive, or not, but it’s a necessary part of the perfect design.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

I would say that finding the right rug is most certainly a case-by-case basis.

Are there price limits when it comes to rugs? 

In design I there are price limits on everything. However, my clients will go a little over their price limit for a unique rug. It’s a great addition to most rooms!

Do you have any final words of design advice?

Specialize! I feel in this economy along with all the do-it-yourself shows people are looking for expertise. Find an area in design that you love and specialize in it.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

www.cataldointeriors.com  781-231-0238

 

Jennifer Griffin: A Balanced Look

Jennifer_GriffinWhen the design calls for balance and attention to details, clients rely on the expertise of Jennifer Griffin to give them all they want at an affordable price.

Thanks for joining us, Jennifer. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.

Like many designers, I truly got started as a child.  I would decorate my bedroom by buying stuff with babysitting money or bringing home a broken chair or dresser, fix it up, paint it and use it or sell it at yard sales. It kind of drove my mother crazy but I knew as a child that I was born to be an Interior Designer.

New England is a wonderful place to work with design.  Which classic New England features do you try and incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?

I like to use classic furniture styles originating from England and Europe.  Many clients these days, have a contemporary, casual style but it is possible to combine both styles.  I believe that they soften each other and make a nice balance of casual elegance, so perfect for our Colonial houses. A great wing back chair near a roaring fire is a New England favorite and always a perfect fit, whether the chair is classic or contemporary in style.  I love our 4 seasons – fall, winter, spring and summer and always incorporate them into my designs.  Whether it is framing a view from a window with simple window treatments or not limiting sunlight during our long winters or using colors that help warm up a dark space.

Describe some of your more challenging spaces? Does a unique layout benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or does it limit options?

Honestly, I think that every space I have ever worked on has its’ challenges and I learn and grow from every one of them.  The project might cause lost sleep at the beginning as I figure out how to handle the space but usually ends up being the best, most unique projects.  The more the challenge, the more I am pushed to think and be creative.  I think the most difficult space I have worked on was a master bedroom that had many eaves and small windows – how to place furniture, how to lift the walls, how to lighten up the room?  It was fun and had a terrific outcome.  The homeowners were very happy with the results.

Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow.  How do you ensure against clutter, and that the occupant always feels stress-free in that space?

By providing proper storage and places for organization from cabinetry or furniture.  Planning an open floor plan can be tricky so get help from a good designer.

Area rugs are versatile. New England homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

I always use rugs over hardwood floors because they add warmth, decoration from pattern and color and soften the hardness of wood.   I always use natural fibers like wool and silk because they wear well and are easily cleaned.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

My rugs and interiors are always a case-by-case basis.  Some of my designs have been complicated custom unique rugs costing $50,000 and up, with  9-12 months wait time for weaving and others are off the shelf cut carpets that have been bound for a more cost effective approach.  One thing though,  I always use natural fibers – this is key to a long lasting rug and healthy environment.

Are there price limits when it comes to rugs? 

Of course.  It always depends on the client and the budget.  I try to learn the expectations up front so that I can work within my clients budget.

Do you have any final words of design advice?

Buy the best that you can.  Quality always saves money in the end, this is especially important when you renovate a kitchen or bath.  Most cabinets are meant to last 10 years – not the cabinets I sell.  They are built to last a lifetime and then some.  I have this quote on my email from Benjamin Franklin “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”  To me, it says it all.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation? 

They can check out my website, now under construction…..  Or call my office 978-317-7801 to make an appointment.   Thank you so much for listening!

 

Eric Haydel: Embracing Tradition

Eric HaydelModern design can often mean the intrusion of unnecessary add-ons, but as Eric Haydel has figured out the best designs incorporate the traditional and beautiful woodworking of centuries past to create comfortable and functional spaces.

Thanks for joining us, Eric. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.

My career in interior design began by chance when I was offered an opportunity to work under a designer in South Louisiana, where I grew up. She was an amazing inspiration, but I never thought that I could make a career out of something that was so fun. After completing an undergraduate degree in public relations, I went on to work for a U.S. Senator doing fundraising and event planning. This early start at a challenging career forced me to discover both passion and profession.  After a failed attempt at a new fundraising career in New England, I started in a continuing education course for interior decoration. The overwhelming support I received from my instructors propelled me to work on my master’s degree and soon open an interior design business.

New England is a wonderful place to work with design.  Which classic New England features do you try to incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?

New England is indeed a wonderful place to design. For all practical purposes, it is the home of all things American. History is alive in almost every building you enter here and parts of our past are uncovered in the most unsuspecting places.  Some periods are revered in what we’re doing today, while others are important because they inform our design past. There is a real sensibility and practicality here in New England that should be embraced. When looking at historic homes in the region, many were built with beautiful craftsmanship and great attention to detail, both of which are a value to the design industry. Later we see the homes being ripped apart to add modern amenities. As a designer, I try to limit the intrusive characteristics of today’s modern world. I try to look at how we can incorporate things into a space rather than just place them there because we need them.

Describe some of your more challenging spaces? Does a unique layout benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or does it limit options?

The most challenging spaces are often the really small ones. In today’s marketplace, and in publications, we see these large spaces with beautiful pieces of furniture and lots of accessories. The challenge is to take that same ideas and put them into a smaller apartment or townhouse in the city. I say challenge because that’s what I love as an interior designer, a good challenge.  Americans are downsizing but that does not mean giving up the characteristics of great design. No matter the size of space, a conversational layout is key and all the other components will fall into place. Never focus a space layout around a TV or some other form of entertainment. Instead focus that space on individuals and the people that you want to welcome into that space.

Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow.  How do you ensure against clutter, and that the occupant always feels stress-free in that space?

It is important to remember that open spaces do not mean big space, as in “over-sizes” or “over- stuffed.” Spaces must be divided into groupings that make sense for the user. Several smaller seating areas to read comfortably or visit with guest are a better way to keep spaces stress-free and manage the space. If nothing else, smaller spaces are easier to clean than larger ones.

Area rugs are versatile. New England homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

Area rugs have the ability to transform any old space into a new one and a new space into an older-feeling one; here in New England we embrace this idea to the fullest. With four seasons, it’s key to select the rug that can accomplish this transformation all year round. When working with clients, I look for a rug that offers texture and depth over color and pattern. These two traits work closely to ensure we give our space a complete feel of luxury and comfort.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

As a designer, it is important to remember that each space is different and each should be approached as such. However, I must admit that I do have a love for a wool and silk rug. In the market today, these two textures are the most beautiful combinations offered to the consumer. No matter the season, you can find a reason to take off your shoes and walk, or even lay down on the floor, and experience the beauty in these organic fabrics.

Are there price limits when it comes to rugs? 

Many rugs are made to last a lifetime and be passed from generation to generation. When it comes to a rug, it is extremely important to consider the price, but never let that price be a deterring factor in the purchase. Rugs are simply artwork for your floor, truly one of best investment you can make for your home.

Do you have any final words of design advice?

Many clients make the mistake so often by buying things they like, or just think they like. It is important to select a rug or any piece for your home that you love. Often I walk into client’s homes and I see many items that they have collected they just like, and they are only clutter and dust collectors. Purchase what you love and leave what you like.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

Readers can visit our website, www.emhdesigninc.com or contact us directly at 617-562-6027 for a one on one consultation.

 

Cheryl McCracken: Renovation Design Specialist

Cheryl McCracken business photoFrom hiding oversized televisions to finding the right area rug, Cheryl McCracken works hard to design functional spaces for clients in the middle of renovations. 

Thanks for joining us, Cheryl. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in interior design?

I was a design assistant after graduating from Endicott College for a few years, then went to work for a whole sale kitchen company where I learned how to design kitchens and bathrooms. Then went off to work in a plumbing show room that helped me to start my own company 28years ago. Clients were sent in by their builders to choose the plumbing and before they left the appointment I usually was hired for the interior design. Since then my specialty has been many building and renovation projects.

You live and work in New England. What are some New England themes you carry into your design. Is there a prevalent nautical influence in area designs? Which elements do you use?

Many New England clients are traditional with a little eclecticism thrown in. However if it’s a beach house on the cape it could be shabby chic and colorful with some nautical or it could be a condominium in the North end that is very contemporary. It’s all what the client’s needs and wants are. They hire me to make their house a home.

All spaces are unique, but in New England you must find that there are design features every client wants. Which are most popular? Any type of furniture or finishing you find dependable in pleasing your client? 

As far as a design feature, comfortable pieces of upholstery are always important. Finding a fabulous accent piece in case good furniture or a special rug always makes the space unique.

My challenge in many rooms today is hiding the over sized flat screen television.

If a carpenter is involved it might be adding wainscoting or crown molding.

Custom window treatments always complete a room along with the right accessories and art.

What are you first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your design experiences and current forms of inspiration.

To understand what their wants and needs are in the space. Look at anything they currently own and ask if anything they have will be incorporated. If it is a yes on certain items I start my design plan with those pieces in mind.

I create a master plan for the room or rooms, ask for some sort of budget.

Then begin with a furniture floor plan and research fabrics and furniture and present.

New England has plenty of homes from the 19th and 18th century and with that comes nice hardwood floors, and eventually area rugs. Tell us how you use area rugs in your designs.

With area rugs I prefer to design the room first with fabrics and furniture, unless the client already owns the rug. Once the room is complete and waiting for the right rug, I can usually bring in half a dozen rugs and end up keep the perfect rug for the room.

Do you have a type of area rugs that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

Rugs are always a case-by case decision. Every room is different, every job is different, it is always the clients preference in pattern, color and price with my guidance.

Is there a price limit on what you’ll spend on the area rug? 

Price is not up to me so the answer is I don’t have a limit. It depends on the client and their budget. I have sold rugs from $500.00 to $30,000.00.

Any words of design advice for the wannabe’s out there?!

Educate yourself! There are a lot of furniture and rugs that the prices are too good to be true and usually the quality is lacking. Always have a master plan before you start to purchase. It’s worth it to hire a Design professional because if you hire the right one you won’t make mistakes. Decorating is an investment the last thing you want to do is make a mistake.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

Please visit my website at www.cherylmcrackeninteriors.com, also on Facebook ,Houzz and Pintrest.

Thanks for your time! 

Thank you!

 

Bruce Benning: In Search of Perfection

Bruce_BenningDesign veteran Bruce Benning knows that to create a smart and livable space, you need a well-organized and creative design team willing to work with your vision. 

Thanks for joining us, Bruce. Tell us a little bit about how you got started in interior design.

You are asking me to travel way into the past. Actually, my parents were in the furniture business when I was a kid and I caught the bug early.

California is a wonderful place to work with design.  Which classic Cali features do you try and incorporate into your designs? How do you try and limit it?

With California being so broad and diverse, we have a large aesthetic range to work within. San Francisco is much different than say, Palm Desert or Lake Tahoe. If there is a common thread present in our work and that is consistent with our sense of style, I would like to think it represents a relaxed and comfortable attitude and lifestyle, punctuated with a bit of drama.

Describe some of your more challenging spaces? Does a unique layout benefit the designer by expanding their ability to be creative? Or does it limit options?

The former most definitely. We approach every design with the question,  what can we bring to the table that another firm cannot. Otherwise why engage us. I suspect every designer is in the business to be creative. Challenging projects and spaces allow us to do just that. Parameters are welcomed because definition enables us to be specific. As far as challenging spaces go, we are working on a challenging project right now in Hawaii. Challenging because of the scope and size but mostly because we not only want it right, we want perfection.

Open floor plans are more popular than ever and many clients are consumed with the idea of flow. How do you ensure against clutter, and that the occupant always feels stress-free in that space?

Well, we are back to parameters again. In office design (or any for that matter), organizations is key. We typically allow for personalization within a given amount of space. We dedicate that space to a uniform and specific size to ensure consistency.

Area rugs are versatile. California homes and businesses use lots of hardwood floors. Explain how you incorporate area rugs into your designs.

Hardwood yes, but every other hard surface flooring as well. Stone, tile, etc. Area rugs allow for the creation of a focalized area. Often to create a sense of intimacy, and congeniality. In addition it usually helps us to interject the relaxed attitude we subscribe to.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

Case by case. We are across the board. Leather, hand knotted, shag, and when we get the opportunity, a custom designed and colored, piece de resistance.

Are there price limits when it comes to rugs? 

Not when you view them as an art investment. On a unit price basis they are most often, exceedingly inexpensive.

Do you have any final words of design advice?

For the client, the process can and should be, introspective. That is not always easy but the design should simply be a reflection of the occupants. Done well, it will not only be an aesthetic success but contribute and enhance one’s enjoyment of life.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

We are located in Sacramento CA. and can be reached at info@benningdesign.com. On the web, our work can be seen on our website, Houzz.com and asidcanv.org.

 

Barbara Bradlee: Expression and Expertise

BarbaraTo design the perfect space Barbara Bradlee listens to her clients, scouts their space, and focuses on creating a comfortable and colorful space.

Thanks for joining us, Barbara. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in interior design and about your time as President of the New England ASID.

I tell my clients that I have two degrees, one in psychology from Harvard University and the other in interior design from Endicott College, and both degrees are very useful in my current profession.  After graduating from Harvard, I went to work for big business, IBM and AT&T. I soon realized that although I loved the world of business and project management, I needed a job where I could express my creativity.  I wanted something tangible to show for my work, I wanted results that would make life better for people, not just numbers on an annual report.  I was always fascinated by art and architecture and I decided to go in that direction.  I went back to school and earned a degree in interior design.  I love the world of interior design; to me it is functional art.  I know that when the built environment is both attractive and well suited to its purpose, it has a profound, positive impact on the people who live and work in it, and that is very rewarding to me.

I took my new profession seriously.  I passed the national accreditation examination for interior designers as soon as I was qualified to take it and I joined ASID (the American Society of Interior Designers).  I had the honor of serving as the New England Chapter President from 2010-2011.  I have met so many wonderful colleagues, trade and industry partners, magazine editors, and of course clients through my involvement in ASID.

You live and work in New England. What are some New England themes you carry into your design. Is there a prevalent nautical influence in area designs? Which elements do you use?

Design in New England is wrought with history, and for many years, interior design style was primarily traditional.  I see a trend in the last few years of New England’s design aesthetic expanding.  Transitional, contemporary, and modern urban design are much more popular now.   I believe that attention to architectural details and interior finishes are what my clients are looking for in whatever style we are working.

I never assert my personal design style on my client, it is my job to listen and determine the style that most fits my client’s taste.  Whether the client’s home is a beach house on the Cape or a stately colonial in Chestnut Hill, it is my goal to make the end result personal and feel like home.  As a client once said to me when we completed her project, “my house looks like a designer has been here, but my family can live here.”

All spaces are unique, but in New England you must find that there are design features every client wants. Which are most popular? Any type of furniture or finishing you find dependable in pleasing your client? 

I always start first with the bones of the space.  How is the flow, does the space function?  I then develop a design concept which includes the furnishings, carpet, color palette, art and accessories.  If architectural details such as moldings or hard wood floors are needed, we add them first.  Then the soft elements follow.  Color is a trademark of my work.  I love color and all my spaces reflect a deep appreciation for the use of color.

What are you first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your design experiences and current forms of inspiration?

When I first meet a new client, I ask them to tour me through the space and tell me what they like or don’t like about it.  How they use the room will dictate how we will arrange the space and what the pieces and fabrics we will select to furnish it.  I must marry the two elements of a client’s personal taste and current design trends.  I pull from many sources of inspiration when I develop a design plan: nature, art, travel, and trade media.  I use a number of sources to illustrate my concepts to my clients, the world of social media and design websites has actually made my job easier to communicate and present ideas and specific products to my clients.  In the end, I tell my clients that it is my job to propose and explain what I believe to be the best design solution, but it is their house and ultimately they get to decide whether to take my advice or not.

New England has plenty of homes from the 19th and 18th century and with that comes nice hardwood floors, and eventually area rugs. Tell us how you use area rugs in your designs.

I use area rugs in almost all of my projects.  In New England, we find great value in beautiful hardwood floors.  Many of my projects start by refinishing existing floors or adding new wood floors where they don’t exist.  Area rugs define the use of space.   The size and placement can determine intimate groupings or can unite a large space.  The color, pattern, or texture of the carpet is part of every design concept; the carpet may be quiet and serene or may be that pop with colors that unite all the other elements.

Do you have a type of area rugs that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

I like to use many types of area rugs in my work.  Traditional oriental carpets are often found in New England homes because of our history of the East India trade dating back to colonial times.  These carpets withstand the test of time and use and many are handed down from generation to generation.  A more modern variation of these carpets are Tibetan rugs.  Wool area rugs in textured or subtle colors or graphic patterns are lovely and I use them often, especially in bedrooms.  I have also had custom carpets designed for my clients to truly personalize their space and complement the design elements used throughout the room.

Is there a price limit on what you’ll spend on the area rug? 

In my experience, a good quality wool area rug will run from $2000 to $10,000.  I work within my client’s budget to determine what will work best for them and the space.

Any words of design advice for the wannabe’s out there?!

I have been a mentor to design students and emerging professionals for many years.  I encourage new designers to realize it is a profession, not a hobby.  Get a design degree and learn where your interest lies; commercial, residential, or hospitality design.  Go work for someone for a while, there is so much to know you will be more successful and more confident if you learn while working for a professional.  But go for it, express yourself and make the world beautiful.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

I invite readers to visit my website BradleeDesign.com to see examples of my work.  I post my design ideas and works in progress on my blog at   http://barbarabradleedesign.blogspot.com/ and on my Facebook page called Bradlee Design.  Please call with inquiries or for a consultation at 781.942.0844.

Thanks for your time

My pleasure!

Jamie Herzlinger: From Fashion to Design

head shotFormer fashion designer Jamie Herzelinger has taken her fashion sense and created a successful interior design business in Arizona.

Thanks for joining us, Jamie. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in interior design?

Thank you for asking me.  I had an unusual start in my Interior Design career.  I grew up in Manhattan, and really was raised in the garment center.  My great grandfather had tanneries in Vienna and supplied the clothing industry in those years.  When my family came to America in 1905 my grandfather began a women’s coat company called Herzlinger coats.  He specialized in a beautiful woolen fabric with fur trim collars and cuffs.  He had a nickname of “King of the Foxes” as he was always doing business with the Canadian trappers.  He then went into licensing couture brands such as Pierre Cardin, Nina Ricci and his company grew to be one of the top coat manufacturers in the country.  My father naturally joined him.  My mother and Ann Klein were the top fashion designers in the 60’s and 70’s so truly the guests of my family were the people who made fashion.  I too had my own label, Jamie Herzlinger, and specialized in a high fashion sportswear that sold all over the country.  Twenty years ago I made the leap into Interior Design.  And from there it’s all history.

You live and work in Arizona. What are some Arizona-like themes you carry into your design. Is there a big Mexican influence in the designs you see in the area?

I love living in Arizona, and Arizona has influenced my approach to interiors as far as a more elegant casual lifestyle approach.  As for interiors in Scottsdale, people tend to think because we are a border state that Mexico influences our design and it does not, as far as Scottsdale and Phoenix.  Scottsdale and Phoenix are more cosmopolitan and the trends really follow more California.

All spaces are unique, but in Arizona you must find that there are design features every client wants. Which are most popular? Any type of furniture or finishing you find dependable in pleasing your client? 

I would say that the question you are asking really pertains to lifestyle, and that for Arizona is greatly influenced by our weather.  So the design element that is always requested is a lot of attention to outdoor living.  Where in the East Coast- your out door lives are mostly the true summer months, in Arizona we consider our outdoor living all year round.

What are you first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your design experiences and current forms of inspiration?

My first priority when meeting a client for the first time is to understand what their expectations of the design of their new home is.  I am always matching their needs to my experience, as that is why they have hired me.

Arizona has grand hallways and with that comes nice hardwood floors, and eventually some area rugs. Tell us how you use rugs in your designs.

Because Arizona has the land to spread out, our larger homes do have grand hallways-that is definitely a request we get when designing a new home or remodel-to have large hallways.  Rugs are a very important aspect as I use them as I would use art on a wall.

Do you have a type of area rug that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

I don’t have a set type of rug that I use in my design work, I usually design my rugs to fit the design theme.

Is there a price limit on what you’ll spend on the rug? 

My budgets are dictated by my client  and the price for rugs is always predicated on whether they are hand knotted or machine made.

Any words of design advice for the wannabe’s out there?!

My pearls of wisdom for anyone wanting to go into this fold would be to work for a while in a design company whose aesthetic they like

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

Reader can see my work at Jamieherzlinger.com and they can call 1-800-983-0031