The holidays are in full swing!  Needless to say, it’s been a busy season of wining and dining, hoping and coping; but above all, loving and laughing.

First, I want share some of my holiday decorating tips that made their way into People Magazine’s Special Holiday Issue.

Simple, easy and affordable!  My ideas are sure to put a twinkle in your eye for no more than a swirl from your candy cane.  You know I love ornaments; designed a million of them for HSN shoppers a few years back, so the idea of studding fruit with cloves to make pomanders for the tree is right up my alley. Read more…

In getting to know a client and better understand his or her personal style, I’ve developed a series of thought-provoking questions; one of which I shared with you in an earlier post Object of My Affection.

Because so many of you chimed in with great interest, I thought sharing another question with you would be equally as useful.  So here goes…

If you could anywhere in the world tomorrow, no worries, just hop on a plane, where would you go?  Why?

Over the years I’ve learned that the way in which people describe their ideal getaway spot is similar to how they would love to describe their own place.  Therefore, the answer to this question may very well provide you with some great insight into your personal style and preferences toward silhouettes, color schemes, textures and use of space. Read more…

On the heels of a very successful inaugural year, Design For A Difference has officially launched year two in showrooms across the country.  To see last year’s Grand Prize Winner and their complete makeover video click here.

Brought to you by the International Design Guild, the next incarnation of this fantastic contest will give one talented designer $25,000 in goods and resources to makeover a space at a local charity of choice.  Yes, we’ve upped the prize from $20,000 last year.

Click on the logo below to watch the exclusive promo video for 2014.

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In addition to the Grand Prize winner, four regional winners will each be awarded $2,000 to jump start their makeover at their nominated charity.  All five winners will then be flown to the Grand Prize city to be a part of the makeover process which will be professionally shot and produced to premiere on IDGdesigner.com and other on-line sites in early 2015.  And I will be there to collaborate with the team every step of the way.

Read more…

With great anticipation, the New Year is finally here!  The promise of a new adventure and all the excitement are always enough to put a little pep in my step.  But this year, I’m doing things a little different.

Typically, the ending of a year sparks a lot of lofty goals; eat less meat, plan more vacations, practice more yoga, go to bed early, save more money; my list is often long and all-encompassing.  And most likely, you have a list of your own.

Well, it’s time to get real about that list.  Instead of hitching our desires to a list of hopes and promises we make in haste once a year, how about we ground them to who we consistently know ourselves to be all year long?  The idea here is simple.  Seeing our goals as an expansion of what we already know versus starting something lofty and new new will not only give you the know how to move forward, but it will provide the perfect amount of oomph to get you moving. Read more…

Over the years, I’ve developed a battery of thought-provoking questions that I ask clients before taking on a design project.  With 33 questions in all, here’s one that always gets people thinking:

If your house were burning down, what’s the one thing you would grab?  And why?

Minus other family members, pets and all family pictures, if you were standing on your front lawn, what one object would you safely go in and grab knowing that you are leaving everything else behind?  It can be large or small, light or heavy, that doesn’t matter.  It’s more about choosing an item than it is about rationalizing the logistics of moving it.

Giving this question some serious thought, I thought it would be interesting to turn the tables and answer it for myself.  So here goes… Read more…

Welcome to Clutter Cocktail, a sparkling blend of useful information for living clutter free!

This week, Pat from Philly writes ‘I like to think if I de-clutter it, they will come.  I am trying to build relationships and I feel like I have this constant weight of clutter on my shoulders.  Please help!”

Pat, I love Philly… the city of brotherly love, cheese steaks and now clutter.  This calls for a Mojito!


For those of you haven’t ingratiated yourself to the 100 year old Cuban drink, I suggest you do.  I rely on it heavily to remind me that muddling, a process of blending the lime with the mint, is the key to its sweet success.  As Tito Bacardi once told me at Mandalay Bay, ‘If you don’t muddle it, no amount of white rum will make it right’.

Pat, it’s time to learn the art of muddling! Read more…

The Campaign for Wool is the brainchild of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

Bringing together a team of industry experts including fashion designers, carpet manufacturers, architects and interior designers, Prince Charles launched his grand plan in early 2010 to get the whole industry to work together to make wool fashionable again.  Turns out, I’ve been a big fan for years.

So when asked as an American designer to give an interview for The Wool Book which was released in NYC at Fashion Week; it seemed a natural fit. Read more…

Art is subjective; at least in my world.  Although there are established parameters in which to appreciate and appraise art, any observer will tell you that loving or not loving a piece of art is a gut feeling; and often times hard to describe in actual words.

Whether it’s a painting, sculpture or photograph, I enjoy and employ art in a variety of ways.  As a designer, it’s the perfect way to inspire a space in the beginning of a design or to bring the entire room together in the end.  As a student of life, however, it’s a potential cue as to someone’s true self; revealing a hidden nuance longing to emerge.

One of my first pieces of original art was acquired in Soho in 1996.  Seen above, it’s called ‘Quiet Room II’ by Michael Babyak.

When I first met the struggling artist, I instantly felt a kindred spirit.  More than willing to pay $150 for an original work, only recently did I discover that Michael hails from my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and that we both uprooted ourselves in pursuit of our artistic endeavors.  Turns out, Michael has done quite well for himself. Read more…

 

This was my first Polynesian-inspired design appropriately done for a family in Honolulu.  It’s a play on pattern that takes a modest-sized room of 10′ x 12′ and expands it visually.  The story between the strong graphic elements and the solid colors expand the space and put down the welcome mat.

Patterns are a great way to plus size your space but they can be tricky when overused.  The rule of thumb when it comes to how much pattern vs. solids to put into a space is generally no more than 30% pattern, but who likes rules?  Some may see this space as overkill whereas others may wish there was more.  For the family of four who resides here, the overall transformation from a lifeless, lackluster storage bin to a livable, lush, island-inspired den was well-received.

The key to its success?  Choose an odd number of strong patterns, evenly distribute them throughout the space then make sure they are framed with solid colors. Read more…

As an interior designer, I’ve constructed designs for 100s of rooms across America.  But when it came to designing the perfect plate for one of the biggest celebrations of the year (after all, our country is turning 236), my partner Eddie and I decided to pull out all the stops and get the party started early.

We put our heads together and created what we believe is the perfect Americana fare.  And as two people who absolutely love food, we had to test everything before the big event so we did a trial run with a close group of close family &  friends.

First up, a Cherry Infused Meyer Lemon Punch with Prosecco and Vodka.  At our house, the grill doesn’t get hot without mixing a Meyer lemon from our tree in something.  Hats off to Eddie for concocting fireworks in a glass.  It’s two parts lemonade, one part vodka and one part Prosecco for the perfect fizz.  Garnish with pitted cherries and lime.  But watch out!  They can sneak up on you like bottle rockets.  Beeeeeuuuuuuuuuuuu.  Read more…