It was magical! Like walking off into the sunset on a rainbow

•May 28, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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What a spectacular show at the Met! Robert Lepage’s Rheingold is a sophisticated approach to Wagner’s mythical realms. The scenery was amazing and the intricate sets were bathed in a vivid, dramatic lighting. A focal set piece was a cleverly designed floor that looked like row of giant piano keys. They would twist, turn and react to the people moving on them. There was a moment when a few opera divas slid down between them while sitting on rocks. It was magical! Like walking off into the sunset on a rainbow … to me it was reminiscent of the wizard of oz.

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Rheingold reinforces my belief that lighting is such an important element to consider when designing interiors. The multidimensional and sophisticated use of lighting is not just for the theater! You can make any space feel dramatic, vivid, sunny, restful, joyful or sexy just by the use of lighting.

How have you used lighting to shape the mood of your space?

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“Creating Heaven on Earth”

•April 3, 2013 • 2 Comments

I was listening to an interview with Dr. Christine Northrup, who is a very popular, immensely educated physician and leader in whole body health.  She is an internationally known speaker, has written at least 6 books and dedicated her life to teaching women how to flourish. (That is very understated, this is her website: http://www.drnorthrup.com/ if you want to read more about her) One of the questions she was asked was, ” what do you REALLY love about your life?”

To my surprise she said,  ” I created a home that when I drive in the house hugs me, the trees hug me, the flowers hug me. I have created heaven on earth for myself on the tidal river in Maine…it was a lifetime of work and I am sooo happy there.” My dream is that everybody feels that way about their home, especially the interior.  The experience of designing my first dream/custom space for myself, that I was in a financial position to make exactly the way I wanted it to be, hooked me. I would come home and immediately feel “ahhhhh”, I am safe, this is so beautiful, I am so proud to live here, etc. That experience shaped not only who I am as an interior designer, but also as a person. I grew mentally, physically and spiritually into exactly what I dreamed of partly by being supported by my environment.  This space was also my first space that was published in an eight page spread for a prestigious magazine, which to me meant be true to yourself in all aspects of your life and it shines through. Since then my dreams have changed and I have created a few other spaces that reflect who I am today.

When Dr Northrup says, “it was a lifetime of work” I do not think she was referring to how slow her designer was, but rather that she changed her space as time went on to fit each change in her life. When events in our lives change (kids leave, promotion comes, new career,etc.)we can make adjustments in the space that we have and/or we get a new space and start anew. I recently received my real estate licence because I been consulting  with my clients on the purchase of the home because I (and they) realize it’s “the trees, the bushes”, the lobby, the elevator  that greet you first, then when you open the door the intimate part of who you are unfolds. May we all live in our own creation of heaven on earth:-)

 

 

 

Looking from a Different Perspective 2013

•January 29, 2013 • Leave a Comment

One of my favorite things to do, like a lot of others, is to view the store windows in the holiday season.  I view New York’s and then I go to Paris and view theirs.   This gives me a good perspective on style, what happened the previous year and where we might be headed.   This year the window I thought was most telling was at Bergdorf Goodman’s, as pictured here.  It is looking at the world in a new perspective. This window showed looking down on a room, as if it were a floorplan or bird’s eye view.  This coordinates with the idea of a new “awakening”, which is easy to go with because the alternative, the world ending, did not happen. We are to look at the world with new eyes and reassess in a new way.

Christmas Window 2012 New Future

The black and white scheme is popular this year in interiors and one of my biggest attractions…although easier to look at then live  with unless done perfectly for the situation. When I was thirteen or fourteen my parents built a house in the beautiful Berkshires. We moved up there from Long island New York (Nassau County) at that age I was not particularly thrilled about it, nor did I notice the beauty:-)  After many years of sharing a bedroom, we each were allowed to design our own space.  For mine I chose black and white. A patterned psychedelic wallpaper was on one wall with a desk that hung from chains on another. We made the desk from Spanish faux leather (looked exactly like incised leather, amazing in recollection) and the white walls and white shag rug pulled everything together. I loved that room! Perhaps it was the beginning of my career.

The change is perspective is so happening, albeit slowly. This is evidenced by many positive stories I saw on TV New Year’s Day. There were two shows that were totally given from the positive side. One talked about the benefits of being in business at this time  Leaders like Toni Robbins (motivational speaker), Sara Blakely (started Spanx) and Warren Buffet (no explanation needed) were on the same panel speaking about starting from the bottom and why the direction of the economy did not have to affect the overall success you may attain. Another show was about the integration of alternative medicines, with MD’s and alternative practtioners on the same side of the table. Next year I hope to have a segment on how transformational healthy “living” environments can be and how they contribute to your mind, spirit,  body and mainly the quality of your life. They quietly support your every day life.

I just know 2013 will be a lucky year for the world!

Thoughts of life, love and healing…and interior design

•March 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Thoughts of life, love and healing…and interior design

 

My father was recently in the hospital. He was in the intensive care unit which was

“Intense”. My family decided one of us would spend the night with him each night. When my turn came the night nurse that knew us was not on that night and not everybody is open to our ways. This nurse was gruff for the beginning part of the night and I continually tried to smooth the waters to no avail. She was very upset that I made a little bed for myself in the corner, as it really was not acceptable. (It was behind the equipment, not in the way of anybody that could enter the room.)  Finally, I said well I think this room  is  designed poorly. Certainly I was not the first person to stay overnight with a family member in the ICU and there should be accommodations for that. That was the turning point…she was delighted to talk about the design of the ICU in general and specifically to the rooms. The sink had a faucet that turned on with motion, leaving no way to fill tubs and had no temperature control so the water was too hot for drinking, yet too cold for bathing. The space was inadequate to have the number of people (hospital employees) that sometimes needed to be in the room all at once without everybody in a specific location which meant the patient had to be just so. The place had been designed 3 years earlier and none of the wires were accommodated for inside the walls. The nurses station was a narrow vertical design so you would trip over others trying to get in and out or mostly they asked each other to move. Interior design saved me again we were pals. It does make me appreciate the work I do as a custom interior designer. We get to take in the details of how people live instead of going for the broad stoke. We also interview everybody using the space, as in commercial design it is not always possible to interview and accommodate all the many functions of a limited space and the money it has to produce.

 

My father was then moved to the “step down” unit. This was so ugly and cramped once my father woke up and asked if he was in the veterans hospital. (no he was not losing his marbles, just an observation) The window could not be seen from the bed, which when a patient can see the window, it is a huge boost to healing. Also, there was no color. Also, there was very little room to hang our chakra artwork and origami birds of many colors my nieces made specifically for his healing. (Although we did figure that out.) The second day he was there my sister brought in some large scarves of many colors. She hung one on a door and placed one on the end of the bed. The change in atmosphere was astounding. The nurses seemed to have a little more levity and I am certain it contributed to my fathers uplift in attitude therefore facilitating his recovery.

 

Then he went to the regular room, no longer in life threatening danger. This had just been redone. It had a subtle but colorful yellowish wallpaper with a coordinating accent wall. There was a large window with the beautiful Berkshire mountain   view which was easily viewable from the bed. There was plenty of space for visitors and a chair to encourage patients to get out of bed.  Odd that the spaces that were paid the best design attention were where the healthier people stayed. This could lead me down the road of our view of health by the medical field  in the US, but I will not right now:-)  I will say the healing arts (of which I consider interior design one of them) are edging there way in, even to hospitals.

The magic factor is arriving, albeit slowly. Thankfully my father is making a full recovery.

Design, Health and Home

•January 24, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Although most days when I wake up I start with something that will set my day up for happy, peaceful and joyful experiences, today I went on-line first thing. I was struck this morning while reading the aol headlines (yes, i am still stuck on the aol format) about a young actress and her husband’s death. ( Brittany Murphy and Simon Monjack)  This was illegibly due to mold in their home. While starting a recent project in Boca Raton, Florida we uncovered a large amount of black mold. I was surprised, as I have not run into it much lately in the northeast, but given the humidity in Florida I would imagine it is more prevalent there. Immediately, we demoed the space and resheetrocked. At that time I did not really comprehend what an important health discovery it was. My client already has a chronic sinus issue and asthma. I am not sure we (the design community , home owners and in particular new buyers) consider looking for hidden toxins  in our environment when we are not feeling well or looking to buy. After taking a quick look at resources I see the ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors) is educating their members to look for toxins. Also, many healers are taking air quality into account. My favorite medical healer, Dr. Manik, had us buy high quality air purifiers years ago. I think I will start to use them again, as the air in NYC is quite different from that of the Berkshires or even Ct. (All of which I spend good amounts of time in.) Now that it is front page news in the entertainment section it should be more in the forefront for the public. Have a joyous and easy breathing day!

 

 

 

Out with the Old in the the Older…

•January 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have decided to increase my design firms presence in the Berkshires. (addition to Hartford and Manhattan presence) Not having a great yearning to make my office in any town in particular I decided to try an old building in Adams, Ma. that my family owns. I figure it will give me a familiar place to work while I check out the county over time. The building was an old church (late 1700’s) and in the early 1900’s became a furniture store with apartments above. My office is one apartment, which has been renovated over time, but in need of updates.

I read this morning about the “Wing Luke Asian Museum” in Seattle  and it’s rehab using mostly objects and materials from within the building. IE stairs made from floorboards taken out of other areas, etc. Also, its original use was to lodge Asian Americans that were denied proper accomodations  elsewhere (because of prejudice). This is inspiring me to not only to use materials from the building as I rehab, (it’s a good thing I am very creative as some of the things found are not recognizable or been touched in many years)and  the aura of the  building itself, a church, a haven for entrepreneurs that lived and worked in the same building, inspires a sense of important action. Even though I have been a designer for over 20 years there is such a feeling of starting over for me here and walking with the energy of history.

My first office was in a Royal typewriter  building in Hartford, CT, so time traveling in spaces is comfortable for me. That office was the typing pool for “women” to work in with a lofted pace for the” boss” to oversee them. It had great energy of some of the first women to work outside their homes. I have much to discover about this space and plenty to be inspired about! I do love an old building:-)

Color Forcast

•October 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just took Ben Moore’s Color Pulse 2011 webinar. It was great…nothing shocking, but always representative of the times we live in, the current art, fashion and politics.  The four main categories stated were:

Farm…hay, dirt, greens, sky purples, burlap (popular this year in bags, dresses and maybe even wall finish??)

Tribal…everything from the earth tones (Navaho white Carmel, sienna, burnt sienna, etc.)to the bright colors of tribal wear (purple seems big, bright greens, blues, yellow, etc.)……really fun…

Order….warm greys, structure, black and white (always happy to see that!), but safer, for example stripes

Escape…Lighting is making the escape with fanciful unstructured wire fixtures in neutrals…white is wonderful and dreamy, fabrics to watch are the white on white layered textures, voile, princess pink, etc….

It does seem there is a wide arrange of colors in play and will continue to be, but they mentioned no neon colors in our near future.

Happy fall and all the many colors it brings!