Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back to the Drawing Board...

One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the creative process is usually...getting started. There are so many ideas and inspirations swirling around that it becomes difficult to edit them. Trying to formulate a cohesive plan is often a huge roadblock in design.

Keeping an idea file is a great reference for everyone. A notebook filled with magazine tear-sheets, fabric snippets, paint swatches, photographs, and anything else that catches your minds eye. These files can be of great assistance when getting the creative juices flowing.

For me, due to my painting & art background, sketching what my fantasy for a project is usually where I start. I find that some of my clients have a difficult time visualizing my ideas....A sketch often shines a revealing light onto a prospective idea.
Sketches are helpful in so many ways...For example, furniture placement and finding the holes where you can now create a furniture 'wish list.' I always do my best to incorporate pieces a client already possesses and show them how they will be transformed into the new space. Whether it be by re-upholstery or a change of paint & hardware....If it has great bones it's worth the effort and expense to transform it.

Of course, color is extremely important when sketching as well. I live and breathe color and therefore am always incorporating it into my drawings. It is such a vital part of my design process that it can help convince a color-reluctant client to take that leap of faith. Once they do....Watch out because color is powerful once it's unleashed!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Great interior design is often a series of exercises in problem solving. They usually require us to think outside of the box. Or, in this case, inside the box of my New York City apartment.
For better or worse, apartment dwellers get to know their neighbors intimately. One of the challenges I face is trying to create a calm, quiet, and serene retreat in the midst of this hectic city. Here are some great tips from my contribution to Time Out New York....After the ceiling is soundproofed a clever way to finish it off is by using wallpaper. I find that wallpaper often solves many design dilemmas. For my dining room I choose a bold look that I'm experimenting with for several other projects I'm working on. Wolf Gordon makes a fabulous smooth patent wall-covering in many beautiful shimmery colors. I chose a metallic bronze that reflects the light of the chandelier. Not only does this create a great finishing touch, it also gives the illusion of additional space....Something every New Yorker yearns for in their apartments. The use of the grosgrain ribbon from MJ Trimming and silver nail heads add a finished appeal as well as architectural interest. This project really freshened up my cozy dining room. Definitely pick up a copy of this Home Design Issue of TimeOut NY...There are so many great ideas!

"Believe it is possible to solve your problem. Tremendous things happen to the believer. So believe the answer will come. It will." - Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Made to Order

Sometimes I just can't seem to find the perfect piece to finish off a project...So it's off to the drawing board.
Mixed metal, diamond shaped fireplace screen in your exact dimensions......The appropriate size coffee table for intimate seating & conversation.....The perfect bench with hard to resist Greek Key details....Designer Katherine not included!
Oh, the myriad of seating
options....It's always a question of which one works best? I love to mix it up....even in the same room. Traditional sofas and chairs can sometimes be so expected and way too structured. These alternatives provide ample flexibility....From the Tet-e-Tet to comfy floor cushions to an easy to place slipper chair, the prospects are endless.

This shadow box filled with specimen butterflies is one of my all-time favorite custom projects.
"The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail." - Charles R. Swindoll

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Curtain Call

No room is complete without the perfect window treatments. It's my favorite area of the design process, because I am able to flex my creative muscles. It's the perfect pairing of using fabulous fabrics with couture details to create a one-of-a-kind look.
This luscious Albert Hadley fabric that dresses these windows take the room from drab to fab!

By adding the fun blue ring detail to these seemingly predictable sheers the panels are transformed from simple to sophisticated.

I can never get enough of this color combo...I'm just crazy about that Lee Jofa fabric! The blending of the panels and the roman shade add so much depth and interest to the room. One more layer of texture and color...

These window treatments look as if they can dance right off the windows. They rock!

An explosion of color! Who said matchy-matchy doesn't work? I had a blast styling ads for Duralee

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” -Coco Chanel

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Balancing Act

Sometimes two seemingly dissimilar elements can create an undeniable chemistry!

"I relate color to music, and on their own neither the gray nor the yellow works for me. But together they are harmonious and complement each other perfectly."

I am so thrilled that my work was chosen to grace the cover of the October issue of Traditional Home. I have to give a special Thank You to the lovely Krissa Rossbund. Krissa's beautifully written story is the perfect accompaniment to the images....Her words breathe life into the room. Thank you Krissa for your hard work and continued support. My wonderful team and the amazing staff at Duralee Fabrics ...without all of you none of this would be possible. And Thank You Traditional Home for perfectly melding "classic taste with modern life".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Two Heads Are Better Than One!

Summer is coming to an end and that means back to school and back to work. Here at the EKB Shop we head back to our design workroom to begin scheming! Refreshed after many lazy summer days we are ready to get back to creating beautiful color stories for our clients.

It's true that you are only as good as those talented individuals you surround yourself with. In my profession creativity is such a collaborative process! My right-hand and fabric guru, Creative Design Director Beth, is an integral part of the EKB design team. She is always fabric scheming and researching innovative and exciting color stories. She's amazing! Like myself, Beth takes many of her design cues from her chic fashion sense!

There is really only one way to describe the pulling together of a showhouse project and that is CRAZY! Deadlines, last-minute changes, and unforeseen mishaps are all part of the job. We need to be ready for anything! My team is just so unbelievable when it comes to multi-tasking and problem solving. Beth is always my oasis of calm in a sea of chaos....I don't know what I would do without her!

And at last, the finished product! I am so proud of my team and all that we accomplished with this beautiful room! I loved using all of those Duralee fabrics and furniture....There was so much great product to choose from and Beth and I had to use our editing-eyes to make this room pure perfection!

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." -Henry Ford

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mirror, Mirror.....Reflections on Design

Great mirrors reflect the soul of the house.....That's why I take careful consideration when selecting a mirror because the placement is so critical. Whether it be bringing the outdoors inside or simply reflecting life within....Mirrors can be functional or fashionable.

Art is given a new perspective through reflection in this mirror. Light was such an important element in my Hamptons Showhouse room....What a fabulous custom amplifies and captures that unique light element found only at the East End.

In yet another one of my projects, I choose to incorporate a custom faux-snakeskin mirror as a foil to the hot pink and orange palette used throughout the design scheme.

At first the large scale of this old home was a bit intimidating....However, instead of trying to play down the scale of the soaring space I decided to run with it! By introducing this trio of custom made mirrors the room was instantly pulled together and an intimate feel was created!
And on a much smaller but no less important scale, this convex starburst mirror is the perfect little "jewelry" element for this quaint living space.

How can you have a commercial space like this high-end vintage clothing boutique without mirrors that are equally as fabulous as the items within! I love the flexibility of this floor- standing custom can be easily moved when ever things need to be freshened up!

Everyone and everything that shows up in our life is a reflection of something that is happening inside of us. -Alan Cohen

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Green With Envy....

I never know when it's going to hit me! Whether I am at the reptile house in the Bronx Zoo or a street corner market in Paris.....I find inspiration in the most unusual places! The serpentine lines of this chair, paired with the fabulous GREEN mix of fabrics, brought a piece of the Bronx and Paris to my showhouse in the Hamptons.

From walking to my office in Manhattan to my shop and studio in Huntington.....GREEN inspirations just keep following me everywhere I go! Even a small element, like these custom cushions on a clients kitchen chairs, makes such a bold impact within the neutral framework.

I loved incorporating theses beautiful natural GREEN touches on my tabletop design for a House & Garden Event. Eco-Chic at its best for sure!

"One touch of nature makes the whole world kin."-Shakespeare

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Dog Days of Summer....

Always keep a sense of whimsy in the forefront of your design scheme....There is nothing worse than someone that takes themselves too seriously when putting together a room! This piece does just that! The unexpected round frame and large scale make this puppy come to life. In this vignette, found in my shop, I've incorporated faux-animal print pillows on the accompanying sofa. Although the palette remains neutral an element of fun still shines through loud and clear!

The Zebra print carpet is a great way to transform a traditional landscape into a modern oasis! Its playful edge is just enough to wow people when they walk through the door, but not overwhelm them! I even chose to use it running up my front stairs....It's the first thing you see when you enter my home and it says "welcome!"

My shop stylist Lois recently revamped one of my window stories. I love her use of these versatile Duralee ottomans upholstered in a faux-snakeskin, trimmed out with nickel nail heads. This cohesive look sets the stage for a fabulous vintage glass & Lucite table and the mid-century modern chair, which are all tied together by a fun faux-cowhide rug! I love this look....whimsical, playful, & perfect!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Color Me Happy With Wallpaper!

One of my favorite tricks for brightening up a space is achieved by taking a piece of MDF and covering it with a striking wallpaper. To finish the look, I add molding around the edges to give the wallpaper a framed finish. Many of my clients fall in love with these dramatic and enticing papers but are hesitant to use them on their walls. This is a great way to ease these fun prints into your home without the permanence of actually wallpapering.

Another way to incorporate exciting wallpapers into a space is to pick a focal point to be highlighted. I often find that choosing one wall or designated area for the wallpaper helps it to shine. In the EKB Shop, I emphasized the fireplace with this Designer's Guild floral print which compliments the lavender and purple wall colors. This space now draws your eye immediately, adding interest and depth to the room.

Now, if you are that rare individual who isn't afraid of bold patterns and colors.....completely wallpapering a space can make a small room majorly POP! This is my personal powder room at the Shop and every time I walk in I'm instantly inspired! If you do decide to use artwork in a space like this, it must be graphic and simple. Don't let it fight with the wallpaper for attention!

Everyone always forgets the ceiling....But why not take advantage of this great space and wallpaper it! In my new showhouse, I used a very subdued shade and pattern of wallpaper to further enhance the light airiness of the room. It really added an extra level of completeness to the space....And why should you leave any corner of a room undesigned? Wallpapers have come along way over the years and it's time to start embracing them into our homes and lives!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's All in the Details!

For me, a trip into my closet to pull together a chic outfit isn't all that different from how I begin designing a room. The color combinations are endless...Couture details are such a critical part of my design aesthetic...No outfit or room is ever completely finished without great accessories, whether it be a statement piece of jewelry or an opulent chandelier. It always surprises me how many possibilities you can derive from mixing fashion and interior design.

When vacationing in Nantucket, I came across the work of Peter Gee, renowned colorist. I was visiting a good friend, Vanessa
Noel, owner of Cafe V and her namesake Hotel, and she had many of his pieces displayed. This particular piece reminded me so much of my 'Day Dream Believer' Showhouse room.

I just love this color combination! These refreshing sorbet-esque splashes layered with this soft neutral ground create a livable and inspiring space! And isn't that what we are all looking for at the end of a tough day? Elements of good design are attainable at any price point...Pick up an issue of Vogue for the fashion inspirations that can carry over into reviving that sanctuary that we all call home!