IDEA: Take a paint brush to furniture that is old and has no value. It may be worn out, but if the shape and style hold up, you can give it a good sanding and brush paint it a bold color in a semi gloss finish. This does wonders to brighten up a room and it could end up being the piece that everyone loves.

YOU MUST: consider a room, not only as architecture, in terms of the floor, walls, molding etc., but also as a LANDSCAPE. The eye wants to be directed up and down as it scans the room. It is simply more interesting. This is why proportion and scale are vital when choosing furniture. When the proportions are correct, it can literally make the eye swoon.

FACT: Curtains are an art form. Period. Fabric. Stitching. Hardware. Drape. Edging. Width. Length. Puddling. Curtains are in the same league as couture fashion. Period. I always recommend a designer for windows.

RIGHT NOW: My favorite color today: Cinnamon sticks.

BLING: When choosing tile for bath walls, here is a way to have impact but also save money. Choose a basic field tile, whether it is 3×6 or 4×4 or 6×6. Then select the most fabulous, jazzy, yummy, expensive, decorative tile that you CANNOT afford. Use that tile as a horizontal detail around the bath, just below the chair rail height. It will not break the budget and it will ALWAYS make you happy.

IDEA: Go to a granite FABRICATOR and see what they have laying around as remnants. They keep all the left over product from slabs that come in for counter tops. You can get them to cut and finish these remnants into a table top for much less money. Use it as a coffee table on a simple base, or dress up a glass console table that exists. Get your hands dusty and explore Long Island City granite fabricators…there are TONS.

NO BRAINER: Dyson vacuum cleaners. It’s all about the design. And they clean really well. NO BAGS. How irritating is it, to run out of the bags?? (Did I mention that there are NO BAGS?)

JUST SO YOU KNOW: There are two kinds of kitchen cabinet construction: framed doors, and unframed overlay doors. Framed construction is more expensive. Remember this when you are looking around the showrooms. This is good to know if you are on a budget and get your heart set on an image in a magazine, just to find out that it is 1/3 more expensive.

TO SOAK OR NOT TO SOAK: Unless you are a person who actually does use the bathtub to soak and take bubble baths, there is really no reason to spend a lot of money on a bathtub, in my expert/humble opinion. Also, if you have kids, a deep bathtub can be awkward to use when bathing the children, or when they need to get in and out. This can also be an issue as we age. I find that a lot of the deep tubs are actually not that comfortable because they don’t have the lower back slant for support. EXCEPTION: I LOVE the Kallista “Perfect”.

ILLUMINATION: I try and use lamps that have 3 way switches, up to 150 watts. I feel that lighting on a side table at the sofa or side chair must go up to 150 watts. Personal pet peeve of mine. Also, FYI: those eco friendly – energy efficient bulbs have mercury in them and cannot be thrown away in the garbage. The lighting industry is all over the place in terms of light bulbs. LED lighting, per current code, is required to be in 50% of new construction, but the glow is dim. I consider this to be a work in progress. We, in the design industry, are watching this play out with great interest.



  1. Don

    A great article to start the year! If everyone would listen, the world would be a more beautiful place. And BTW, how were you the only person at the Ann Hamilton installation??? Leave it to Marcia!!!


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