Month: March 2017

Interior designers and their clients spend countless hours considering and finalizing their choices for a home’s color palette, flooring material, ceiling details, cabinetry, finishes, and furnishings. Obviously, each of these elements is essential to the interior design puzzle. As accomplished designers know, however, there is another element that ultimately unifies the entire look and feeling of a home: accessories. For designers, the term “accessories” can mean many things – paintings or photographs, sculptural art pieces, vases, accent pillows, area rugs, colorful throws, books, collected items, or treasured keepsakes. Think of the items placed throughout your home. Now imagine how your living spaces would look without them. Accessories speak to what is important to you. They can personalize a design and enliven or bring a soothing note to a room with splashes of color. In doing so, accessories complete the look of a home.

“Accessories are the finishing touches of an interior design,” said Vogue Interiors President Debbie De Maria, ASID, IDS. “It’s like putting on a dress and then adding the earrings, the necklace, the shoes, and the purse to finish off the whole look. Accessorization brings life to the different areas of a home. It brings everything together and provides a sense of feeling, a sense of serenity, or a sense of excitement. Just having furniture alone doesn’t really do anything.”

The effective use of accessories requires a balanced approach. For example, art selections can include a mix of paintings, sculpted pieces, and colorful pieces of blown glass. Coffee table books can serve as conversation starters. Bookcases can serve as perfect places for displaying collected items. Another key is to not overdo the approach. Using too many accessories can diminish the importance of the elements that truly contribute to personalizing and completing the design.

“I’ve found it’s better to use less so things that are important stand out,” said Debbie. “We ask our clients to give us the treasures they want displayed. Then we place them in ways that are meaningful. Family photos can be scattered throughout the home. Bookcases are perfect places for other family related items. It’s important they’re placed at eye height so they can be seen and appreciated. Displaying books can be important because they say a lot about who a person is and their interests.”

Many of today’s interior designs feature neutral-toned background colors. The colors found in a home’s accessories are often left to define the serenity or vibrancy of the overall look.

“Instead of colorizing a home in the furniture, it’s usually better to do it with accessories,” said Debbie. “That way the look is not overwhelmed with color. The right piece of art placed against a neutral background can bring in a splash of color, vibrancy, or calmness. Area rugs can add a sense of depth and color that can be complemented by other accessory items and accent pillows. Again, the key to achieving the perfect look is to be balanced in the approach.”

Vogue Interiors announced award-winning designer Leslie Gebert, Allied Member, ASID has completed the remodeling of a 4,148 square feet beachfront residence at Miromar Lakes. Gebert transformed the ornate, outdated Tuscan interior of the four bedroom plus study, four bath home designed by Weber Design Group into an oasis with a fresh, contemporary feeling. The floor plan of the spacious residence also includes a formal dining room, an immense great room, and a huge island kitchen and breakfast nook that seamlessly flow together to offer an outstanding living area. The great room, breakfast nook, master bedroom, and one of the guest bedrooms all open to an expansive outdoor living area with multiple covered spaces, a fireplace, an outdoor kitchen and bar, and a pool and spa surrounded by a spacious deck. The outdoor areas take full advantage of the home’s beach, boat dock, and lake views.

Even a home built only twelve years ago can seem hopelessly dated if it still embodies the ornate and formal hallmarks of once-trendy Tuscan design. The new owners of this Miromar home were familiar with the property and knew it was the perfect location for their active family. With the large open areas, the pool, a boat dock, and the beach beyond, a renovation plan was imperative. First came determining the scope of the renovation. A soon as they decided to keep the existing flooring, it became a design challenge to update the home with a fresh, bright and comfortably stylish new look.

In the iconic film “The Wizard of Oz”, there is a moment when the film changes from black and white to glorious color. That is the incredible effect Gebert has realized in this ultimate Tuscan-to-today home makeover. The breathtaking transformation begins where the original ornate iron door once welcomed visitors. Now a streamlined mahogany and glass entry door allows light to cascade into the foyer where a contemporary chrome light fixture serves as a prelude to the stunning views straight through the large great room to the owners’ pool, the wide inviting beach, and the shimmering lake beyond.

The dining room has been transformed from a dark, formal space to a comfortable, contemporary entertainment oasis. The heavy furnishings have been replaced with a pale gray wood dining table and clean-lined upholstered dining chairs with a quilted beige linen fabric on the back and a textured saffron tweed fabric on the front. Above the table, a daring chrome and glass LED chandelier adds a sculptural touch. On one side of the room, a custom console has glass door panels backed with a textured raffia fabric and is done in a taupy grey wood finish with chrome hardware. Above the console hangs a 92-inch wide abstract painting with a creamy white background and splashes of rich chocolate brown and vibrant orange. Simple sheer linen panels frame the windows.

Exemplifying the design challenges imposed by remodeling around the original flooring, the butler’s pantry was completely and successfully transformed. The original porcelain tile footprint remains, but all the cabinetry has been replaced with custom cabinets in a soft dusty gray finish and an exotic black and dark taupe granite with white veining covers all the countertops and backsplashes and then runs 7 feet up the arched wall cabinet adjoining the kitchen. A wine rack and glass front cabinets in the arch are all LED illuminated. A contemporary bar sink and sculptural faucet face sleek new barstools upholstered in white crocodile embossed leather.

Entering the great room, where heavy ornate draperies and formal furniture once held court, the feature wall now boasts a pair of 36-inch wide illuminated glass shelves holding colorful family collectibles. The glass shelves flank a contemporary dove gray finished media console fitted with large round pewter hardware. The wall mounted television sits above the console on a mica wallpapered panel which reflects and catches the light. Opposite the feature wall, an off-white leather winged sofa is accented with pillows done in a mix of metallic and leather and a contemporary cream and salmon stripe. A round chiseled stone cocktail table with an ivory stone top sits in front of the sofa. Two pale salmon upholstered recliners sit beside snakeskin leather nesting tables atop the cream and taupe fluffy wool area rug. Sheer drapery panels have replaced the original chenille window treatments.

The original medium wood finished kitchen cabinets work well with the redesign scheme and are now paired nicely with new light taupe Taj Mahal granite used on the perimeter countertops and replacing the dated brown glass tile backsplashes. The countertops rise to a bar height to host six backless barstools where the family enjoys casual dining and entertaining. Four dramatic chrome and LED pendants form a striking sleek curve above the bar.

The once-dark breakfast nook now features a rectangular Italian glass extendable table with a chrome base and updated simple armless woven chairs with bright orange tweed upholstered. On one wall in the nook, a large original contemporary painting provides vivid splashes of citrus tones.

The color scheme in the romantic master suite is now a soft and dreamy combination of ivory and mocha taupe with subtle accents of metallic terracotta. Its original design was overwhelmed with heavy gold chenille bedding, ornate brocade window treatments with swag cornices and braid trim, and heavily carved dark mahogany furniture. The breezy new custom draperies are done in a horizontal stripe of ivory and taupe sateen and mounted with modern brushed chrome grommets and the contemporary custom king bed is upholstered in textured natural taupe linen.
The bed is dressed with a coverlet of hand-knotted pale sateen, simple boxed Euro pillows and a long horizontal bolster. The seating area has double doors to the outdoor living space. The existing loveseat has been recovered in a soft salmon linen and accented with shimmering metallic pillows and faces a contemporary chrome and glass cocktail table.

In the spacious master bath, the original neutral-toned porcelain tile has been incorporated into the fresh new design to transform the bath. The dark brown vanity cabinetry has been refinished in a sharp high-gloss white and fitted with transitional clean-lined brushed chrome hardware. The original heavy faux finish on the walls has been replaced with a simple modern wall finish in cream with subtle silver metallic vertical strokes. The dated original shower fixtures have been replaced with a rain-head shower fixture mounted considerably higher to accommodate the tall new owners. The existing terracotta-colored marble countertops were refinished and polished to a high gloss to compliment the new design.

All that remains of the original faux-brick painted outdoor kitchen is the footprint. Refreshed paint colors and natural cream and gray granite countertops and backsplashes have brought the area up to the current style. The outdoor living area now has a breezy tongue-in- groove cypress ceiling tray and a contemporary ceiling fan and the original high and boxy fireplace has been replaced with a dramatic long and low fire box that now allows a view toward the lake. Matching fire boxes set in chiseled stone also flank the outdoor spa.

The success of an interior design can be measured by the degree to which it reflects the personal tastes, styles, and interests of the homeowner. While the finishes and color choices are important to note, a home’s furnishings speak volumes about the owner’s personal preferences. Satisfying those preferences is often a difficult task when relying on standard selections from furniture manufacturers. In many cases, the designer must create customized pieces that more accurately reflect the owner’s personality and tastes. While the art of creating customized furnishings can be challenging, it is an aspect of interior design that accomplished designers relish.

“I’m interested in my clients’ personal likes and dislikes and in how they’ll be living within their home,” said Vogue Interiors’ Interior Designer Salvatore Giso, IDS. “Are they a family who will be gathering to play games on the floor, people who want to put their feet up, or do they want furnishings that are like pieces of art? Knowing that allows me to create custom pieces with the functionality and style that will work.”

Salvatore has found that standard furniture selections are often not suited to today’s architectural styles. The trend to open-concept floor plans has introduced expansive living areas with great rooms, kitchens, and dining areas that share the same footprint. These larger spaces demand appropriately scaled furnishings.

“Today’s homebuyers don’t want formal spaces that don’t get used very often,” said Salvatore. “Architects and builders have responded with big great room floor plans that need to be furnished differently. These are not standard furniture pieces a designer can go to a resource and purchase. It involves creating a custom piece aligned with the client’s personal interests, the functionality required, and that is sized appropriately.”

For Salvatore, gauging the client’s personal interests is an exciting aspect of the custom design process. For one couple, both of whom are pilots, he designed a coffee table using a jet engine as the base and a circular glass top. He also designed a dining table with an aerodynamic looking 120-inch wooden plank top and an iron metal base. Another client did not want to have a huge dining table, but still wanted to be able to entertain. Salvatore created a 64-inch table with hidden hinged leaves that come out of the base to form an 84-inch round table. In the great room, he created a 70-inch square entertainment table that serves as a cocktail table and a game table. A client who is a sports fan wanted an ottoman to serve as a table while watching games. Salvatore created a piece with a flat surface in the middle surrounded by leather padding for those who want to put their feet up and relax.

“Creating custom furniture is exciting,” said Salvatore. “Recognizing a client’s personal tastes, understanding the functionality and what they find visually appealing is one thing. Creating a piece that reflects those aspects and scaled to the space is the challenging part that I enjoy most.”

Top-tier interior designers are known for their ability to create elegant yet exceptionally inviting living spaces that are in alignment with their clients’ unique personal tastes. Throughout the design process, enormous attention is devoted to color palettes, flooring material, ceiling details, cabinetry and countertop choices, furnishings, draperies, and accessories. To be sure, all of these considerations are essential to creating a cohesive, visually appealing design. Yet there is another critically important design element that often gets overlooked that can elevate a design beyond the norm. That element is lighting.

“I believe lighting is one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of interior design,” said Vogue Interiors’ Deborah Paulin, ASID, NCIDQ. “A successful design will present memory points. Effective lighting allows the designer to emphasize those things he or she wants people to remember. Path lighting can be used to lead a person through an interior and experience the impact of the memory points along the way. Lighting can be used to warm up a space and to create a mood. Pink light bulbs that are very flattering to skin tones can be put on dimmers in the master bedroom and bath. So in addition to providing base illumination for day to day activities, lighting can be used to ensure people see those things the homeowner really wants them to see.”

Paulin’s interiors incorporate thoughtfully considered lighting designs. Her artwork and accessory items are spotlighted in a way that reflects their importance within her design concept. Glass objects are often backlit to enhance their prominence. Cove lighting and pin lights bring additional drama and visual appeal to her architectural details, including adding a glow to faux finished coffered ceiling treatments that can bring a sense of warmth and comfort to even the grandest spaces. When tall drapery treatments are included in her design, down lighting is used to provide highlights. All of these lighting elements can be effectively used in concert with a gorgeous chandelier that serves as a room’s most prominent memory point.

“I personally like using halogen lighting for the art and accessory lighting because it most resembles natural light, it’s extremely flexible, and it’s easy to work with,” said Paulin. “The halogen fixtures can be aimed very precisely to keep the eye focused on the art, even to the point that the art can be beautifully illuminated while the surrounding walls are dark. Cove lighting and art lighting can create a wonderfully appealing look in the master bedroom. If the bed happens to be on a platform, rope lighting can add to the ambiance while also illuminating the step-down at night. At the same time, though, I’m very careful to not overdo the mood created by the lighting. For instance, while a dimmer controlled chandelier set over a dining table might sound romantic, if the table is long, people may not be able to see what they’re eating. Sometimes it’s necessary to use more than one chandelier.”