Magazine De-Cluttering Tip!

If you have a lot of magazines or newspapers you’ve been saving for one or two articles, this solution is for you: For under $20, get a nice 3-ring binder and some plastic sleeves, tear out the articles you want to save keeping only those in the binder, and toss the remaining 95% of the magazine into the recycle bin!

You have just done something to de-clutter your home, and you can always make a nice cover and spine for the binder on your computer to display it. (This is a great project for a snowy day like today!)

This also works for recipes, home decor inspiration photos, shopping ideas and info on places you’d like to travel!


Binder Sleeves Dividers Home Organization

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“Live” Plant Tip

Preserved Boxwood Topiary

Preserved Boxwood Topiary

If you have a room with limited sunlight, but still want to have the look of something “live”, try these preserved topiaries – they are natural boxwood plants, and will last for years and years with no maintenance at all! They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes from Restoration Hardware.

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First Steps in the Kitchen

When planning your Kitchen, the first step is allocating work areas: when you first walk in, there should be a place to SET DOWN and STORE groceries (pantry, fridge), then an area for PREP work (lots of counter space, kitchen tool drawers), then your COOKING area (stove, ovens) and your CLEAN-UP area (sink, dishwasher, garbage.)

Once you have a place for everything in a natural order, you are on your way to a fantastic kitchen for your home!

Organized Kitchen

A Well-Planned Kitchen

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Pillow Tip

Decorative Pillows are a great way to bring a pop of color to a room. But make sure to use the right scale: if you have a sofa over 7′-8′ long, you can get larger pillows at 22″ square, and if it’s a smaller sofa, use the 18″ pillows.

And have some fun with pattern, color and texture! This is an opportunity for you to go a little wild in the room, so do it!

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Snowy Day Tip

Stuck home on a snowy day? Why not make it productive? Grab some coffee and take on a small home project: clean out some kitchen cabinets, your linen/broom closet or purge some extra clothes to bring to your favorite charity shop when the snow melts. You’ll feel great after taking a couple of hours to clear out some space!

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Rug Tip

When buying rugs for high-traffic areas like the foyer, in front of the sink in the Kitchen and especially in the Bathroom with your bath mats, always buy TWO! That way when one is in the laundry or being cleaned, you can have the other on the floor, looking great!

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Countertop Clarification

The choices we have in countertops have increased dramatically since the days of the ubiquitous Formica kitchen. Durability and ease of maintenance are top questions we must ask ourselves, but at the end of the day, it has to look great too! Coordinating the style of the counter with the cabinets is also an important consideration. In an effort to explain the most popular and available options in the marketplace today, here goes:

The most popular stone countertop is Granite. It is extremely durable, heat-resistant, scratch-resistant and very easy to clean. It comes in a good array of colors, and gives a very timeless look. Slabs can be as much as 10 feet long to minimize seams in larger kitchens. Granite should be sealed every 10 years or so for protection, but otherwise, it’s a fantastic choice that is easy to find.

Gorgeous Granite

Gorgeous Granite

Soapstone is an interesting choice with more texture than Granite. It is a greenish-black stone that is porous, and should be sealed with mineral oil at least once a year to reduce staining. Slate, a similar, but more dense stone comes in black, green, red, grey and purple is a non-porous choice. Both options can be made into sinks to match the countertop, and add a more unified look.

Soap Stone with Integrated Sink

Soap Stone with Integrated Sink

Slate with Integrated Sink

Slate with Integrated Sink



Marble is fantastic, and is especially great for bakers, as it keeps cool when kneading dough. It should be sealed periodically. While it looks great, it can stain easily (especially my favorite, Carrara.) If you cook a lot of tomato sauce or drink a lot of red wine, you might skip this one. If you MUST have it, a possible solution would be to have Carrara counters in PART of your kitchen, away from the stove to cut down on splatters. Carrara, however is GREAT for Bathrooms, since water won’t stain the surface. Probably the most classically beautiful option of stone out there.

Carrara Marble Island

Carrara Marble Island

Soild surfaces (such as Corian) are man-made materials created from acrylic and/or polyester. These countertops are highly resistant to scratches and can be custom molded to virtually any shape. Scratches and burns can be easily sanded out. This is a great option if you’re creating a more custom-shaped kitchen with lots of interesting shapes and curves, as the material lends itself well to these applications.

A Fun Corian Application

A Fun Corian Application

Quartz is gorgeous. It was originally made to imitate granite and marble, but offers a more uniform look in lots of colors. It is very durable, very easy to clean, and resists scratches better than stone or marble. Composite Quartz counters consist of about 90% quartz material and 10% acrylic or epoxy binder. Brands such as Zodiaq, Silestone, Cambria and Caesarstone are readily available at prices similar to Granite.

Classic Quartz

Classic Quartz

Recycled Glass is a very eco-friendly choice and one that has been increasing in demand. They are crafted from up to 80-90% recycled material, come in a lots of colors – or with one single color of glass, very very easy to clean, and are also comparable to granite in durability and price.

Detail of White Recycled Glass Counter

Detail of White Recycled Glass Counter

Stainless Steel countertops are fantastic. They are naturally non-porous, anti-bacterial, durable and have a very modern industrial look. They are very easy to clean with soap and water, and should be dried with a clean cloth to reduce water spots. If you have stainless appliances, these can be a great way to coordinate a unified design in the Kitchen.

Ultra-Modern Stainless Steel

Ultra-Modern Stainless Steel

Butcher Block and Wood countertops are warm and unexpected; they offer a very different application from more traditional choices. Scratches are easily sanded away, and maintenance includes regular sealing with mineral oil to protect the wood from water damage. A smaller wood countertop (let’s say 3 feet long) among stone or steel countertops in the rest of the kitchen could look fantastic!! Rock Maple, Walnut, Cherry, teak and Oak are materials that are commonly used, and with the right application can be really beautiful!

Fantastic Butcher Block

Fantastic Butcher Block

Tile countertops are fun and can be as colorful as your imagination allows. They are heat-resistant and stain-resistant and a very economical choice to add a different idea in your kitchen. The tiles can chip now and then, so buy a few extra just in case. I like using tile as a backsplash: the surface then becomes easy to clean, but since you’re not handling food and tools directly on the tile, the probability of chipping is greatly reduced.

Baby Blue Ceramic Tile

Baby Blue Ceramic Tile

Concrete is an interesting choice and can be custom made into any shape and most colors. They are durable, but very very porous, and should be sealed with wax every 2-3 months for protection. This is a great choice for a modern, monolithic look.

Simple Concrete with Stainless Steel Sink

Simple Concrete with Stainless Steel Sink

The multitude of countertop options provides a wide range of aesthetics and functional properties. Ask your Designer to recommend the choices that fit into your own requirements, and once installed, make sure to maintain them as instructed to ensure years and years of great use! Most of all, enjoy them!

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The Mudroom

I really really love this idea: a functional entrance and exit to your house, not the grand one in the front, but maybe a smaller one on the side or in back. A less formal foyer, if you will. Easily accessible by driveway when you have packages. Somewhere to sit down, and put on or remove your shoes. A place for everyday coats and accessories. Once you have your own Mudroom, you won’t know how you got along without one!

The idea – as the name dictates – is that this is a place to remove boots caked with mud, so that dirt won’t be tracked onto your nice clean floors. Simple enough, as all good ideas are. This space has evolved into something even more useful, and at the same time, more beautiful too!

Here is a very good, well thought-out example. You’ve got some hooks for your coats, cubbies for your sweaters above, some drawers for accessories, a shoe rack, and a place to sit down to change footwear. The floor is tiled for easy clean-up with a throw rug for warmth underfoot.

The Mudroom above uses more of a locker system. Enclosed storage above holds more accessories like winter hats and gloves, and storage spaces with doors hold more coats which can be rotated seasonally. An office area was also integrated so everyone can check the internet on their way out the door.

This one is right up my alley. A Mudroom/Pantry combo! The room is easily accessible from the driveway and back door to the house, so there isn’t far to go with heavy bags from the market. There is a lot of well-planned space for fruit, vegetables, food items and wine! A fantastic and original take on the idea!

This is a great room if you’re very active. Minimalist decor, ample spaces for your helmets and sunglasses, and a great bench to change into your sneakers to go out and have some fun!

A far more chic option for the girl with lots of boots, hats and accessories. Labeled baskets above hold gloves, scarves and anything else you’ll need to walk out the door in style!

Here’s a great example for a rustic home in the woods or by a lake. There’s still room to change shoes, store a few shopping bags and a basket for the kids’ skateboards!

Whatever specifics you’ll want to include in your own mudroom will depend on what types of things you want to keep there, the activities your family does, and specific styles you like. Remember to include more storage than you think you’ll need (spaces tend to fill quickly,) ample room to sit down to change shoes, and somewhere close by to keep a broom and dustpan as well as a mop… these rooms are meant to get dirty! Enjoy!!

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What Makes a Good Rug?

Here’s a good one that will take a lot of guesswork out of your next purchase. Rugs and carpet are made from a variety of materials, and not all of them may be right for you. Here are some of the most popular materials and their properties, so that you can make a better informed decision when buying your next floor covering!



If you have a pile of money to spend (and, I mean, who doesn’t nowadays??) SILK is the most luxurious rug you can buy. It feels, well, like silk! Walking barefoot on one of these babies is an experience that would be a treat each and every day. It’s durable and naturally flame resistant. Better weavers can custom-make an area rug in countless colors and patterns. Prices start at around $100 per square foot, so that adds up pretty quickly. But, if we’re talking about what’s best, this is it.

A Silk Area Rug




Wool is also a very high-end choice for carpets or rugs. Better wools feel great to the touch, are naturally stain resistant, flame retardant and are very durable. This is a very good choice for most uses around the home. Wool can be dyed to just about any color, and comes in styles from traditional Persians to very contemporary. Again, price can add up, but in this case, you really do get what you pay for.

A Very Plush Wool Rug




Flokati rugs are made of wool, and are a very interesting variation. They are handmade shag rugs with long piles, and are a fun choice to add texture to a room. The natural color is off-white, but are commercially available in a couple dozen colors. They can be rectangular or round, and are a somewhat more economical choice. Vacuuming can be a chore, as with all shags, so take that into consideration when purchasing.

A Flokati Rug in the Dining Room




Sisal is a natural material made from dried woven banana leaves. It is very bold and adds a lot of texture to your floors. Thicknesses can range from only 1/4″ to an inch. Area rugs can be bound in a variety of colors. Since the surface is rough, it can literally be akin to getting a pedicure each time you walk on these rugs. The are also not the best for stain resistance. if you happen to spill a glass of red wine on sisal, your best bet is to just put a potted plant over the stain, because it’s just never going to come out!

A Chocolate Sisal Runner




Nylon is a man-made fiber that was created to mimic the properties of silk. It is stain resistant, durable, washable and has good elasticity. Since this a much more economical choice than silk, more people can afford it, and there are some great area rugs with a variety of colors, patterns and styles to choose from. This is good for high traffic areas and can stand up to a lot of wear. Nylon is also good for wall-to-wall carpet in your home as well as commercial and office spaces.

A Bedroom with Tone-on-Tone Nylon Carpet




Viscose is another economical choice for an area rug. It feels very soft and still has good strength. It does not have the best elasticity or resiliency, so this is not the choice for busy areas. Since the cost is low, these make good small accent rugs that will last a few years, until you are ready for a change in the room. It’s fun to make a bold statement with these, and to do something fun and fashionable, since you’ll only have it for a short time.

A Viscose Area Rug




Olefin is another good economical choice. It’s very strong, washable, and stain-resistant. It’s also not the best on elasticity or resiliency, so this probably won’t end up being a family heirloom. But, they can be fun, do a great job for a while, and for a couple hundred bucks, won’t do a whole lot of damage to your wallet!

A Bold Olefin Rug




These are only a few ideas for rugs and carpets. For more information, or if you’re looking for rugs for your home, check out my website!

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Design, Sans Color

OK, most of the time, I’m all about color. The more saturated, the better. Many times, the root of one of my designs is a color that the client likes, and we can take that in a bunch of different ways, depending on other choices of furnishings and accessories. But once in a while, hues gets the boot!

When designing without color, one must be especially creative in ways to add interest to the room! Now’s the time to reach into that big Mary-Poppins sized bag of tricks and make damn sure that the space is going to be interesting! Patterns, texture, scale… whatever it is must be magnified to add the needed appeal to the room.

Doing a room in tones of brown, beige, cream, etc. generally gives a feeling of calm and serenity. However, the Living Room below utilizes a play of scale, with the backs of seating pieces built up higher than usual, and the round elongated shape of the right part of the settee adds a great visual element. A wonderful patterned fabric appears both on the chair at left and sofa throw pillows, injecting movement of the eye around the room. Taking all that into account, the real “wow” factor here is the bold contrasts between the medium beige walls and fabrics, white trim and dark walnut wood finishes.

Another way to design a room without color, is to go with big distinctions of black and white, with gray to soften it up. Furnishings in modernized Rococco and Neo-Classic styles were chosen in ebony and pearl finishes to maximize contrast. A gray and white flocked patterned wallpaper moves the eye around the space, and the focal wall behind the bed demands to be noticed with an extreme close-up of a classic painting.

The floors were ebonized and accented with a luxurious white Flokati rug. A magnificent bed created with intrictate woodwork is flanked by two bombe nightstands in pearl finish and a pair of black glass lamps. A beautiful bombe dresser and mirror, both in pearl finish, coordinate with the other pieces as well.

Sometimes, it’s not the color in the room, but the detail and texture as well as senses of humor and glamor!

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