Thursday, December 17, 2009

HOW TO DECORATE WITH PHOTOGRAPHS (click title for more info)

Decorating with photographs can be a lot of fun as well as a good design tool. Photos can be used in a decorative way or in a fine art way. Consider taking family photos cropping and blowing up to emphasize certain features. With Photo shop and Picasa on our computers, it's easy to do. Make your pictures fun. They don't have to be perfectly posed. Show action and it does not matter if some of the picture is not perfectly in focus! That was only George Eastman's idea.
This little guy is a riot! Consider doing a gallery wall in a boring hallway, like the one on the way to the laundry room, or up the stairs!
Below is another good idea.... Flank your child's artwork with pictures of him or her. The blow-up of this little girl's expressions shown in multiple ways is pure genius!

Photos can be used in a contemporary way and this is a great example.

Another way to use photos is more decorative. Consider having a cloth bulletin board made to match the decor. Be consistent and consider using only black and white photos of the same size, look at the effect below....decorative upholstery tacks were used to keep ribbons in place. Artwork or some type of story can be used in the center if you wish.

Another decorative way to use photos is shown here as a tray, below.

Now we get to the fine art part. Where do you find photographic fine art and where do you put it? I am an novice photographer and art collector and feel that fine art photography can hang anywhere you would consider putting a painting. I make no distinction. If you contact your local galleries they will usually carry a portfolio of works from the photographers just like any other artist. My personal style as a photographer is one of collage and human images. I enjoy color but I also like to work in sepia tones. Digital art is something new and has exciting possibilities. Have a look below and see what you think!

This is a digital photo collage. It is composed of layers of "see through images".

The last photo below is more "traditional" in the approach but I used sepia tones.


Now you see the different ways in which photos may be thought of and where you might think to place them in your home.
If you have a grouping and are unsure where to make that first hole, here's a trick. Trace each framed photo on parcel post paper, cut out and tack to the wall. Move around until you get them where you want them! Lastly, what types of frames should be used? The simple answer is, make sure they are not too decorative, keep them plain. Ikea has some great frames. You might do a whole wall in white frames or all black frames, its a great look and a great way to personalize a space.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Last month I had the pleasure of going to a lovely show house in Westchester county, New York. This was a 17,000 square foot spec home in Purchase . The ample floor plan served as an impressive showcase for many New York designers. Each room was tastefully decorated and well appointed. What jumped out at me in every room were the unusual and varied shapes of end tables and benches. Often, these small items are hidden in the context of a room and trumped by upholstery and accessories.... not this time! Each room was punctuated by shiny, furry, funny, sexy, and textural shapes. Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as i did, here goes!

This pierced ceramic table works well with the curves of the chair as well as the textured upholstery. below is a close up, just love all the dots.

Notice how this designer uses two tables beside the bed. The organic carved wood pieces, reminiscent of a Brancusi sculpture, are extremely functional and work well with the minimalist lines of the bedding.

How about fur? soft and sensual, this adds a sumptuous quality to this woman's study.

Paired with a high back upholstered chair, this floccati bench adds whimsy to this living room. the long fibers accentuate not only the lines of the piece but work as a nice contrast to the geometry of the rug.

Suede was also a favorite for not only benches, but console tables as well. The addition of nail head trim at the base of the table is a great touch. In addition, notice the mitered top on the benches. The application of fabric as well as contrast trims on a piece of upholstery make interesting details.

Glass always reflects sunlight and is an important "texture" in any room. It will add function and at the same time will not add volume. What is also worth pointing out here is how the circular composition of the table echoes the circular arm of the chair.

What is interesting to note about this next table is the way it is paired with a floor lamp. This is a similar to the bedding with the use of two tables, and why not? The scale of the chair allowed the designer to mix shapes without overpowering the upholstery, I promise not to cut off feet next time! I just love the playfulness of this vignette.

This last table is one of my favorites. What is interesting to note is that the side of the sofa acts as a backdrop . The two tiers are wonderfully designed. The opportunity exists to use the top tier for a lamp or vase and the bottom tier for accessories. This is a good table to use near an entrance where you might see the side of the sofa first, you've got lots to look at!

I hope you've enjoyed looking at these and that it gives you some good ideas. Some of the best tables can be found at flea markets. You may also find a great bench at a flea market and opt to cover it with fur. Some cool websites to check out are, and HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


German born Ingo Maurer is one of the most prolific and respected artist/designers working today. Fascinated by what he calls the magical and mystical properties of light, Maurer constructs luminous atmospheres that play with traditional concepts of color, brightness and shadow. Since 1966, Maurer has created more than 150 different lights and lighting systems for private commissions, fashion runways and public buildings. He uses unexpected materials and found objects to create light. He is also a pioneer in the usage of new lighting technologies.

Pictured above is Maurer’s Mamo Nouchies series. This series reflects the artist’s fascination with japanese paper and his deep respect for japanese art.
The name mamo was created by using the first two letters of Maurer’s last name, combined with the first 2 letters of his collaborator, Dagmar Momback. Momback developed a technique for transforming paper that gave life to Maurer’s creative vision. The name Nouchies was a pun on Noguchias. The pair wished to pay homage to the japanese designer and artist Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi’s ideas were based on a traditional japanese craft involving paper called akari.

These poetic forms are paper folded around paper illuminated from within. The pieces enchant the space around them with a soft dancing radiance.

This next photo is one of Maurer’s best-known fixtures called “winged light bulb”. This piece crossed over from design to contemporary art. He playfully takes iconic images and transforms them into a visual pun. The series can be seen as a single bulb, or clustered together as a chandelier with movable wires to create a flock of birds aptly named “birdies”, shown below.

In my portfolio here you will see one of the Mamo Nouchies as well as one of the clustered winged bulbs. The clustered chandelier bulbs were playfully used in the eaves of a foyer in a farmhouse that is surrounded by glass windows and trees. The birds look as if they are flying towards the trees when you are standing in the entryway.

Last year the Smithsonian’s national design museum, the Cooper-Hewitt in New York City exhibited a retrospective of Maurer’s work called Provoking Magic. To view the show, just go to shown below are a few more examples of Maurer's work

The most faq’s about lighting……..

What is a lighting designer?
Most people have never heard of a lighting designer. I enjoy working with them. Once a floor plan is created by me, my lighting designer will create layers of light in a space that will not only give you general lighting but provide mood and drama. It is important to have color, texture and harmonious shapes in a room. The addition of well placed lighting has the ability to enhance these features and add visual depth to the interior . Depending on what level of design you are looking for, many companies offer this service. is one example of a design firm that has lighting specialists to meet your needs.

How do you know what size chandelier / multiple pendant lights to hang over a dining room table?

This is the rule of thumb..... the size of the chandelier over a table should not exceed 1/2 the width of a table. If your table is 44", the diameter of the fixture should be around 22". With regard to multiple pendant lights over a table, island, or bar remember the following.... measure 12" in from each end of the surface, then center the first pendant and place the others at equal distance from the center fixture. whether you are hanging a chandelier or pendant over a surface, it should hang 30-36" above it.

What is color temperature?

Color temperature is the yellowness or blueness of a light source. a yellow light is a cooler light and a white or blue light is a hotter light.

What types of lighting should be used in a room?

General lighting illuminates the entire room with either artificial light or natural light.

Task lighting gives you the ability to illuminate specific areas for work. For reading, a lamp shade should hit the shoulder level.

Accent lighting will add mood and drama to a room, focus on artwork or illuminate specific architectural features.

What types of bulbs should be used and what is the most energy efficient?

Incandescent bulbs are the most common and what we most often think of as a "regular bulb". These bulbs use a light source created by a tungsten filament. It produces a desirable yellow light. They are not very efficient because it uses too much heat to create the light.

Halogen bulbs are also type of incandescent, but are more energy efficient than the tungsten incandescent. They produce a higher color temperature and a whiter light. Colors in a room appear more vibrant.

Compact fluorescent bulbs (cfl’s) are the most efficient because they do not use heat to create light; they use a gas that produces an ultra violet light. These bulbs have a higher color temperature, produce an undesirable blue-ish light, and visually are not particularly pleasing. Until recently, all you could purchase were bulbs that looked like spirals. Now, cfl’s are available in a bulb shape, have more of the desirable yellow glow and can now be used with dimmers and three way lamps. To give you an idea of how much energy you are saving, a “regular” bulb uses 60 watts of electricity, while a cfl “regular” bulb only uses 13 watts of electricity.


Do not forget about corners of a room and fill them with light! Now that you know what types of bulbs to use, consider using a floor plant in the corner of a room, put a cfl up light on the floor under the leaves, and then set the light on a timer. When the general lighting in a room has disappeared at dusk, activate your timer. The appearance of this accent lighting at night shining through the leaves and bouncing off the ceiling and adjacent walls will create a dramatic effect.

When placing lighting in a bathroom near the sink to illuminate your face, consider the light source coming from the sides, so the light falls on either side of your face. Even consider using a pink bulb, your skin tone will look great. Overhead lighting over a sink in a bathroom is very harsh and creates dark caverns on the face.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Furniture designer Douglas Homer has found an innovative way to revitalize Harry Bertoia's classic diamond chair. He sands and re-welds destroyed frames, treats them with new powder coat, and handknots individual strands of closed-cell extruded sponge cord to the frame. It's a cross between the iconic silhouette and a sheepdog. The Bertoia chair, both whimsical and comfortable , is available in different sizes and colors. To see how i used a smaller version of the chair paired with a Lucite desk, check out my Portflio. A complete view of Homer's work can be found at his website

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Make a Room Feel Larger

We all want our homes to feel warm and inviting, but often a room needs to appear larger. A good way to achieve this effect is to mount window treatments several inches above the window. For example, in a room with an 8' ceiling, if you mount a window treatment under a crown moulding or just below the ceiling, not only will the room appear larger but the ceiling height will appear taller as well. Another tip to maximize the illusion of greater ceiling height is to avoid adding a cornice with a straight bottom mounted at the top of a window. Below I have created a rendering with our "Minutes Matter Studio" graphic design software to illustrate the different look achieved when a cornice is mounted at the top of the window, as contrasted to a cornice that is mounted nearer to the crown moulding or ceiling. Notice in the design on the right how much taller the ceiling height appears and how much larger the room appears!

Here is another design tip when trying to make a ceiling look higher. Try adding a shape to the bottom of the cornice. By introducing an element of movement at the bottom of the cornice, the eye is tricked into moving up and down, prompting the eye not to stop at the longest point of the cornice.

You can also achieve the illusion of added ceiling height by using drapery panels and a decorative rod. Notice the difference when the drapery is mounted under the crown moulding or near the ceiling, as compared to mounting at the top of the window.

We recommend giving all rooms that extra lift. Would you like to see how new window treatments could change your room? As part of my service, I create computerized renderings to help my clients visualize how new window treatments will look on their windows. Pleas feel free to call!