The “Magic Box” We Commonly Call The Oven

Great neck cottage 1As a kid I was obsessed with magicians and magic tricks. Alacazam!! and the rabbit disappears in the hat…. Alacazoo!!!! and a bauble appears in what was an empty hand. I was amazed. As an adult, I am still obsessed with what I consider a certain magic although it can also be explained as technology. I consider appliances, especially ovens, to be magic boxes of a very special sort. Allacazam! I shout to my grandson as I put the gooey egg mixture in the oven. Alacazzoooom!!! I shout this time, 16 minutes later when a perfect cheese soufflé emerges from the magic box we commonly call the oven. “Wow, look what happened!” he says as I did back when I was a kid. Ovens were magic back then. Now, although totally explainable they are still magic to me, nonetheless. Todays’ breed of appliances is even more amazing with the introduction of steam as well as the convection I have come to love. Although I love the cooktop and wall oven arrangement above, my current favorite “magic box” is the Pro Grand Steam range from Thermador.photo 2 This 48″ magic box includes seven cooking options. All of them are impressive and sure to thrill the home chef. I love this piece because everything is in easy reach for my “cooking station”. The built in warming drawer can warm my plates or allow my cauliflower gratin to stay moist and serving temperature while I’m searing steaks and my rosemary biscuits are magically rising in the conventional oven with convection option. The steam oven can be used to quickly make healthy meals from fresh wholesome ingredients without the need for added fats and oils. The steam oven can also be used for proofing. A nice feature for home bakers. The griddle option is perfect that leisurely Sunday morning pancake breakfast, warming drawer so useful for warming plates or keeping the pancakes just perfect so everyone can eat together. All in all, I find the amount of cooking versatility built into 48″ to be a pretty magical thing. Cooking appliances are where I start when planning your magical dream kitchen. The rabbit and top hat are optional!

Fifty Shades of… Nope! Not Grey

50 Shades of… Nope! Not Grey… (or The Glory of Gold)
You would have had to be marooned on a desert island  for a few years if you haven’t  heard all the buzz about “50 Shades of Grey”. The book, the coming movie, the spoofs and parodies are all over the media.
Well, what about “50 Shades of Gray”?  I adore pewter-y paint colors and finishes, carrera and statuary marble, silver leaf and deep grey chenille and velvet. Gray has been the in trend and I have done some beautiful gray kitchens and baths over the last few years. As for general thoughts on the color gray? I do not love gray days. I find gray to be the color of fog and depression. Other than being used as a soft backdrop to a vibrant life,  to me, shades of gray read non-committal in a world of vivid color and the glorious contrast of black and white.
So why am I concentrating on 50 Shades of Gold? Well, because I like it better.
Gold is the color of sunshine and kings. Gold says regal and queenly. Gold is the color of warmth and comfort. Gold is the color of the perfect French fry or caramelized onion. Fields of golden wheat attest to goodness. Gold is the bounty of pirates. Goldfinger was a very cool movie!  Gold is assigned to the enjoyment of aging as in “golden years”. Yes, I love gold.
Here are my 50 Shades of Gold, curated to add some glamour to your home.
Gold 1-10
                     1    Golden Gate fabric from Richloom
                     2    Easy Health Angel Juicer
                     3    Montecito stemware from ZGallerie
                     4    Diva Dish from Kelly Wearstler
                     5    Mepra “Ice Oro” flatware
                     6    Gold Zebra stacking dish from Jonathan Adler
                     7    Midas Ripple Lamp from John Richard Collection
                     8    Coasters from IndiaMART
                     9    Marc Blackwell Northern Hemisphere Double Old Fashioned Glass
                   10   Alustra blind from Hunter Douglas
Gold 2-20
                   11   Gold subway tile from Susan Jablon Mosaics
                   12   JCovington Design Groovy Metallic Chest JC4068
                   13   Verpan Spiral Pendant
                   14   Donghia Daphne Mirror in 22k gold over carved wood
                   15   Gold striped taffeta pillow from Deborah Main Designs
                   16   World Market mercury glass candle holders
                   17   Aerin gold linen frame
                   18   Astair nesting tables from ZGallerie
                   19   Bath Sensations Starlight Square vanity accessories with Swarovski crystal
                   20   Amber chandelier from Lorin Marsh
gold 21-30
                   21   Bashian Verona rug from Rugs-Abound
                   22   Kadur lighting from Shakuff, Breath Collection
                   23   Gold table from The Paris Apartment Boutique
                   24   Table Art Eucalyptus napkin ring
                   25   John Richard Collection gold vase
                   26   Gold frame from L’Objet
                   27   Windisch round gold jar with Swarovski crystal
                   28   Dwell Studio Franklin Media Cabinet
                   29   John Richard Collection tiger glass vases
                   30   Amber crackle stemware from Pier One
Gold 31-40
                   31   Donghia Windowpane gold wallcovering
                   32   Gold pedestal dish from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
                   33   Noritake Crestwood Gold dinnerware
                   34   Gold Leaf vase from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
                   35   Normandy 5 gold bar cart
                   36   Cynthia gold chandelier from Safavieh
                   37   Imports From Marrakesh gold Moroccan pouf
                   38   Gold Lame dinner napkin from Maison 24
                   39   Rex accent table from Safavieh
                   40   Baker Furmniture Nara Chest
gold 41-50
                   41   Reed & Barton Captiva flatware
                   42   Gold glass mosaic tile from Bisazza
                   43   Wall covering from the Phillip Jeffries Glam Grass collection
                   44   Gotas gold leaf armoire by Rotsen Furniture
                   45   Antique gold Branch & Bird Sconces from Dessau Home
                   46   Perch Table lamp- Rose Gold from West Elm
                   47   Gold rug from Macy’s rug collection
                   48   Antique gold Bamboo Float coffee table from Dessau Home
                   49   Cambria Rosslyn sold surface material with beautiful golden flecks
                   50   Fabulous gold faucets from THG Paris

Summing Up Design and Construction Week

show collage 4So what is Design and Construction Week? Let me sum it up with this little equation: Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) + International Builders’ Show (IBS) = Design and Construction Week.

As a new member of the K+BB Editorial Advisory Board, I made my best effort to walk the entire show, seeking out beauty, function and innovation. I really enjoyed the fabulous booths from some of my industry favorites like Kohler, Wellborn, Robern and Brizo. I also loved the retro Merillat kitchen set up as a mid-century modern photo booth. A show highlight for me was finding the booth featuring the Falmec Mare E.Ion hood that I helped to select as winner of the Kitchen Product of the Year in the K+BB Product Innovator Awards. Another highlight came on Thursday morning. During a light drizzle, I took the bus ride out to The 2014 New American Home. The home was fabulous! Although a two story, indoor water fall may not be practical for most of my market, I was inspired to see some stunning wall treatments, innovative outdoor living spaces, beautiful baths and …you guessed it… an open kitchen plan.

Now for my show favorite, and let me say it is true I might be biased in favor of certain lines. I have long been a fan of Thermador . From the introduction of the pro grand range and refrigeration columns through to the steam ovens, coffee systems, and now the frameless induction cooktop series, I have enjoyed showing my foodie clients all that this line has to offer. My unabashed enthusiasm for this appliance company with the tag line “No Dinner Party Too Large”  has actually led to a position on their design council and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Thermador + Bosch + Caesarstone + Genius Design of Mick de Giulio = One Killer IBS Booth!

So, yes, happily biased, but all that aside, the IBS booth featuring Thermador, Bosch and Caesarstone, designed by Mick de Giulio was amazing! The simple, clean lines, open flow and textural choices were stunning. I especially loved the use of polished steel in one of the Caesarstone countertops. I really enjoyed watching Chef Kyle create the perfect tuna bite on the new induction cooktop with accessory Teppanyaki pan. I enjoyed eating it, too! Relaxing in the lounge area adjoining the functioning kitchen, I took in the Caesarstone presentation of the “House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year Retrospective”. It reinforced all that I believe about kitchen-centric design. I have always felt that open kitchen plans honor the foodie, the entertainer and most simply, the family.

So I will close with this equation: Open Kitchen + Innovative Design + Friends and Family = Good Living!

Purple Grows Up…

Purple Grows Up…

Purple

 

You can admit it, you think purple is just for little girl’s rooms.

How could Radiant Orchid be the 2014 color of the year?
According to Pantone, the selector of this color of the year and well respected color authority, “Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.”
According to my internet research, “Purple  is the color of good judgment. It is the color of people seeking spiritual fulfillment. It is said if you surround yourself with purple you will have peace of mind. Purple has been used to symbolize magic and mystery, as well as royalty. “
According to me, Radiant Orchid and purple in general are just fabulous!
A pinch of purple can add  romance to a classic black and white color palette, is a great juxtaposition to a sunny gold and can transform drab grey to a regal pewtery vibrancy.
My love for purple is longstanding. As a child, I loved it. Purple spider lilies were my garden favorites and purple potatoes mystified me. I remember wondering why there were not more purple cars and purple houses.
I remember thinking purple was just for kids.
Well, not anymore! I have a home in a community with some Victorians in yes, the color purple and I have seen some beautiful grown up furnishings in all sorts of lovely purple shades. needless to say I’m overjoyed to see a childhood love getting some respect!
 Cheers to Radiant Orchid and the color purple and here’s to 2014 bringing in magic, mystery and piece of mind!

 

Making Selections That Fit Just Right

black and white selectionsHow do you do it? Here is part of my thought process for creating something that is both striking and comforting. This Valentino purse and fabric from a vintage Evan Picone skirt were instrumental in making the selections for this bath in progress. The amount of products on the market can be overwhelming so taking cues from a client’s closet is my way of narrowing the options and creating a space the client can really live in. I love rich texture, shine, and compelling patterns. So does my client. Getting the feel of the client’s style by creating custom border with black glass inserts that coordinated to the floor pattern that gives the feel of vintage fashion were how we created this “master-ful” bath palette that the client really loves!

Are you overwhelmed by the selection process? Drop me a note and we can create a space that fits just right!

Are You Happy In The Kitchen?

Well. are you?

If you are a foodie, a kitchen that makes you happy is a true necessity. Having gadgets and makers, a few great cookbooks and recipes, along with great cookware and a good set of knives are essential in my view. Gramps always said that you need the right tool to do a good job. I find that there is nothing like standing at the rangetop and grabbing the wisk from the adjacent drawer as you whip up that Hollandaise! Or looking into your well organized, partitioned drawer and grabbing your pancake flipper just before that batter starts to bubble. Maybe you need a lowered counter surface for baking and rolling out dough. A cookbook shelf may be something you need or a spot for that European style coffee maker you just have to have? What about that cheese curler you can also use for chocolate. Such a great gift, just what you wanted but where, oh where, are you going to put it? Designing a kitchen that flows with organization and looks like a dream is where I come in. I am knowledgeable and actually passionate about such things as warming drawers that will take a full sized catering sheet, ventilation cfm’s and convertible refrigeration. I will discuss your shopping habits, fresh food needs and storage requirements for both the things you already have and those you haven’t gotten yet because you had no place to put them. And then? I bet you’ll be truly happy in your kitchen!

A Gift That Keeps On Giving……

As a young child, I ate very well. Dishes some might consider exotic but always freshly prepared with ingredients from the local farm stand and butcher were the norm. A few years later a change in circumstance introduced Tang, Pop-Tarts and Tuna Cassarole to my diet. This was not a good thing. I realized that preservatives did not make the consumer live longer and began a love affair with cooking and farm fresh ingredients as soon as I could drive. I would read a cookbook, cover to cover, before endeavoring to create anything. I would read the ingredients and also assess the required tools for success. I would spend time perusing the cellar at Macy’s. Stainless pots, knives, colanders and bakeware became my favorite gifts. Cooking became my not so secret passion. Obsessing over organizing the kitchen for the best possible culinary experience became my career.
Hundreds of clients and kitchens later, in search of a gift my foodie clients would really enjoy, I found The Hamptons And Long Island Homegrown Cookbook. This book is not just a cookbook but an eating philosophy and a fabulous food tour of the East End of Long Island. After buying two dozen books I met the author, Leeann Lavin. My devotion to kitchen-centric design led to Leeann’s invitation to be her “plus one” at Author’s Night, a fabulous event in the Hamptons, one lovely summer evening.  The first part of the evening was an incredible fundraising event for the East Hampton Library, sponsored in part by the Alec Baldwin Foundation. As I tippled and snacked under a huge tent, I literally bumped elbows with Alec as he and his lovely wife perused the aisles of the likes of Gwynneth Paltrow, my new friend Leeann, and other celebrities signing their books for the fundraising patrons. I then accompanied Leeann to a fabulous party at he home of Michael Braverman, editor-at-large of Hamptons Magazine and Gotham Magazine honoring some of the featured authors, including Leeann. Amazing how my love of kitchens, culinary arts and fabulous food have opened so many interesting doors. As you think of holiday gifts for the foodies in your life, or maybe even yourself, I highly encourage you to check out this book and bring some fresh homegrown love to the kitchens in your life. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Because design is simply everywhere…

design perspective 3

According to Miriam Webster design is a verb, defined as : to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose.

Why do I love being an interior designer? Well, because design is simply everywhere, in everything we see, everything we use…

The past few weeks brought a set of ups and downs that had me looking around long and hard for directional cues. Breakdowns in technology hardware and software had me assessing the benefits of purchases to upgrade my tools like never before and really focusing on what design really means in my world.

Early this week, working on the total renovation of a kitchen on suburban Long Island had me assessing the needs of a family with young children, drawing out the space, providing computer aided drawings, and offering algebra advice to the daughter of a client.

Spending time with Andrea, a man from Italy, here in the US to establish a brand presence for an Italian cabinet company had us talking universal design, changing lifestyles, durability of materials, cost factors and the emotion that an interior creates when we are in it. We spent time walking the kitchen showrooms of the A&D looking for innovations and making comparisons in the myriad of products meant to enhance the enjoyment of this all important room.

Attending the “What’s New, What’s Next” event at the NYDC had me viewing the latest and greatest at some of the designer showrooms and I learned from a colleague that “slipper chairs” were actually designed for women in corsets to be able to reach their feet to put on their slippers. Form following function…….

An internet twitter chat yielded a great conversation on the benefits of radiant heat. A company called Warmboard has a newish product that actually performs well with wood flooring. I find this to be truly innovative and a great benefit in the kitchen. I have always loved toasty toes and the ability to design a cabinetry filled room without the encumbrance of baseboard heat. Truly a good design.

A visit from my daughter’s family to celebrate some family milestones had us enjoying the large scale beauty of Oheka Castle, designed for Otto Kahn as a true single family palace before the Great Depression, and appreciating the design of Central Park, with play grounds, ball fields, food carts, restaurants, nature conservancy and much to amuse worked into the 778 acres centrally located in my favorite city. I also thought about someone actually designing that brightly colored sippy cup that kept the spring water from pouring all over my grandson’s jersey.

So where did that leave me? Loving the career I have chosen and excited about my new computer, printer and in particular the new version of software I have chosen that will aid me in presenting my room designs to the clients I serve.

If your kitchen isn’t the “HEART” of your home, maybe it should be…

Thanks to my wonderful client for sending me this photo.

Thanks to my wonderful client for sending me this photo.

As an interior designer I find my work to be Kitchen-centric. What do I mean? That the kitchen is the heart of the homes I work in. I don’t think you can overstate the importance of the kitchen and bath industry in our ever changing culture. There is the desire by “Boomers” to “age-in-place” and the economy has created the necessity for more multigenerational families. This combined with the popularity of the FOOD NETWORK and what is being referred to as the “slow food’ culture really accentuate the need for good design in these all important spaces in our homes. In regard to the kitchen, our fast paced lifestyle has given rise to the need for quality down time, enjoyed sharing meals with our family and friends. Creating a space that meets cooking, entertaining and storage needs can really enhance your life. Most of my clients are foodies or they would like to be. I have also noticed more people shopping with increasing regularity at the fresh markets popping up all over my beloved New York City and Long Island. Sales of luxury appliances are on the rise at my favorite local appliance haunt, showing that people are willing to invest in this all important room. I feel that having a kitchen open to an adjoining space really makes for better living. It just needs to be well designed so that the chaos and clutter are minimized. Even creating a simple dinner seems less of a chore in a well designed open environment. Have the tools you need at hand and ample storage for the ingredients and it all seems so much simpler. Thinking about the mail and magazines and matchbox cars on the counter? We can make a place for that. Need a computer station or TV in the kitchen to catch the morning news while having breakfast? We can make a place for that, too. Maybe it is that all important family command center with calendars and notices, or drawers for crayons and kids things…regardless … life happens in the kitchen. Creating your perfect kitchen-centric design is my job. If you’re looking to get your home in working order for a life that works start with the kitchen and drop me a note.

The Land Of Milk And Honey

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Given a big great room-kitchen addition and a blank slate, I was dreaming up ideas for a client that loves to cook for her family. I started thinking comfort food…. Rice pudding? Chicken soup? Steak and eggs?
Then I thought of honey. As a kid, I would happily watch the golden drizzle puddle on my toast. That rich amber tone of a glistening bottle of organic honey became my inspiration.
The water jet deco glass tiles in the splash really bring that honey amber tone to life. Paired with the milky tone of the glazed white cabinets, it was a natural. These warm tones mixed with the cinnamon in the stone tops create homey warmth that doesn’t overpower in a large room that doesn’t have a high ceiling. All in all a recipe for comfortable family living.

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