Tag Archive: Furniture

Seems more and more the idea of “Concept Image” is piloting the design process. But is this useful in terms of catering a high level of service to clients?

More to the point, does the client wish to live in a magazine spread or an ad for the latest sofa?

My professional take on design happens to be that of developing a unique response to the client: their life-style, their life-habits, their life-pursuits and suitable for the life-time now and in the future.

So, developing an aesthetic or a design response becomes the primary goal. Where can you begin with the composition? Get yourself a furniture plan first – so at least you have an idea of what and how many and as well describe the circulation through the space.

Shopping. Often times that can be the starting point – falling in love with a piece – foundation or accessory – that may be the starting point for the whole room.

I am currently composing a family home. The family is dynamic. Traveled. Cultured. But they also don’t take themselves too seriously. A sense of humor is always important with an interior.

I am originally from Pennsylvania and the aniquing and thrifting is amazing. Most don’t understand exactly what they have so the price point is reasonable. But as well, the pieces themselves tend to be unique and not the habitual of what you see in many of the nesting magazines.

What caught my eye in my most recent trip were several Eastlake-styled occassional tables. Beautifully crafted with lovely patina-ed stone tops in softly honed carrara marble. I started thinking about how these might spawn an entire room – not a period one – but one that feels cozy, comfortable and with a storied past with each one holding treasured family heirlooms and accessories to pull the finishes together: Crystal, Silver, Ceramic and books.

A grandfather clock can be a great addition as it provides the auditory component in a room. The ticking and chiming assists in making it feel more like a home. I came an art deco inspired clock with a great burl framing the glass.

Layering next… This Great Room will be composed of multiple seating groups (which is also why unique occasional tables are so important as there will be so many of them) and the seating within the groups need to be varied in size, texture and finish. Upholstered pieces need to have foundation pieces – those that anchor the room – and pieces that can be moved around to pull up for a more intimate grouping as well as not crows the focal points.

More to come on this Room!



The trend in the last few decades have been homes with very large Great Rooms or Living Rooms or Family Rooms or just a place for the entire family – and the extended one – to hang out and enjoy each other’s company, watch a game, the Academy Awards or have a holiday moment.

These rooms are often overscaled with large windows, a higher ceiling and perhaps even sunken. The architectural elements are oversized and usually repetitive.

Usually, the square footage is there for everything to fit, but sometimes the shape is off – meaning long and narrow with windows and doors on each wall or a square with windows and doors and all walls. You can see what I am getting at – wall space is precious – not sure for the TV, but for Furniture, Art, Photography, etc.,…

As a designer, these are the spaces that are the most captivating- and challenging. It will be where the family spends the most time and it also needs to have enough seating – some of it flexible – to hold large gatherings but still be intimate for the immediate family. The challenge is developing a unique furniture plan where the pieces that compose the room, the order, color and texture and all complimentary.

I believe it comes down to the style of the room as to which direction of the quantity of pieces. If it is a more modern space, having a few large overscaled pieces can be very useful as it maintains the minimal nature of the aesthetic and you get a big bang with dramatic gestures – such as a large sectional, ottoman and chair-and-a-half.

If the space is more transitional – somewhere between modern and traditional – the piecesĀ  are of a normal scale and multiples of the pieces are the way to go – maybe two sofas, matching chairs and varying small tables and other occassional pieces.

But what about the arrangement? How should they be organized?

I like to first identify the focal points: View to the Outside, Fireplace, Television, etc.,… The more focal points, the bigger the challenge. If you have a chance to marry the focal points like putting the TV above the Fireplace, that might work – but bear in mind it can be sometimes confusing to group strong elements together. Once you have your focal points you now know where you want to be sitting in the room to take advantage of the focal points.

At this stage, there is the aesthetic and focal points that you know. The next should be the target of how many seats should be in the space – and will those seats be lounging or more sit-up-and-take-note kind of seating. Maybe even the furniture facing the TV is more lounge-like and the Fireplace more of the sit-up type…

In any event, a good rule of thumb is 15″-18″ between the front of a sofa or chair and a coffee table. Usually 18″-24″ between pieces of furniture is enough to navigate through a room. It is important to track an implied hallway through the room to get to those patio doors that are usually at the other end of the space. As well, if the family has small children, these rules need to be modified as an area for play needs to be determined.



Vintage Finds

When you are in the design business, it seems that friends enjoy asking your for your professional opinion about finds at flea markets and vintage stores.
Sometimes, these questions invariably are irritating. But there are a few, that strike your fantasy for those goldmines that are hidden and under-appreciated.
It isn’t the seller’s responsibility to know the exact pedigree of pieces they are selling. At the end of it all, it must be the buyer’s love of the piece.
Value isn’t guaranteed. After all, a piece will usually fetch more in an urban area than a suburban one.
Take for instance a friend locating two Asian inspired slipper chairs. They have a brass frame – very heavy – the lacquer looks in good condition and the upholstery appears to be original and as well art deco inspired.
She loved them because they were different.
She paid $40 for the pair which she thought wasn’t cheap.
I saw and wondered immediately where she got them.
Vintage she said.
It is at these times you go green with envy – just there in the eyes.
I had to do some research and stumbled across them on 1st dibs which then directed me to a high-end antique store in New York City.
I inquired for the price and even I was shocked.
$8500 for the pair.
What? That much?
Well, good for her.
What are her next steps? She just wants to enjoy them.