Design Magic on Monday: Big Bambu

Due to technical glitches in my computer, I missed blogging about the Big Bambu last week.

My husband and I were able to sneak away for a NYC day, while our daughter stayed with Nonna and Papa.  In the morning I met with my client who is having me renovate her Florida bath.  Then we were off to Lincoln Center for an afternoon concert with the New York Philharmonic.

Following that, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a cocktail on the roof under the special installation Big Bambu.  It was the perfect night.  We visited several other exhibits, which I will show you in future posts.  But today is all about the magic of Big Bambu.

The one of a kind structure by identical twins, Doug and Mike Starn, measures 100 feet long by 50 feet wide by 50 feet high.  Yes, that is a ramp that you can take up or down on the guided tour.  I was wearing my oh so pretty cocktail sandals, which were not considered nearly practical enough so we will have to wait for our next trip and bring a pair of sneakers.

This is the view looking up and it’s pretty amazing to think that people walk on that structure made of 50,000 bamboo poles and 50 miles of nylon rope.  What’s most fascinating is that they are still in the process of building it – art meets architecture meets performance art?

The view of Central Park alone is worth the trip.  The continuing building of the installation is meant to “suggest the complexity and energy of an ever-changing organism.”

Because of the complexity and density of the poles at first I did not realize that I was taking a photo of the reflection on the glass wall of the museum.

A view of the steps up to the ramp.  Ready for an unusual urban trek?

I love to hear from you.  What are some of your favorite places to go in the city nearest you?


Nate Day (or Why this Interior Designer Still Loves Social Media)

If you are hanging out in the world of Social Media, then you know that thanks to the Moggit Girls and Julianne (aka @creategirl) the twitterverse is all atwitter about Nate day.  But if you have been under a rock or generally not very knowledgeable about the world of social media then you have missed the Nate Berkus movement!  Run, don’t walk, to sign up for Twitter.  I’ll wait for you.  Ok, time to catch you up.

First, the Moggit Girls, Janet and Joy, blog about all things bad and ugly (that’s right, except for Nate, skip the good) in the world of interior design under such titles as “seriously” and “no you didn’t”.  They are in a word hilarious!  They decided that Nate’s opening show on September 13th should be filled with an audience of design bloggers.  Amazing how the world of social media works – they asked, Nate answered and it’s on!

Having done several room interior redesigns on tight budgets, I have an appreciation for just how much work is involved.  We interior designers just make it look easy.

So my Nate Day tribute is to share with you my top three favorite designs (and why) from his Oprah Winfrey days.

This room has a great mix of traditional and contemporary – not stuffy at all – in a word livable.  I love the clean lines of the kitchen cabinetry contrasted with the dark tones of the wood in the furniture, drawer handles and walls in the breakfast area.  How great is that super long table in front of the window for get-togethers with family and friends!

Things I love in a great girl’s room: green for the walls (really in no time they are over pink), the quilt and draperies kept simple and oh so grown-up (room to transition), the whimsical curlicue detail on the mirror and above the bed.

I could not believe this was the result of a country makeover until I saw the before picture.  Love how the light colors allow the floor to shine.  The great bead board ceiling painted in bright green is unbelievable!  I love how Nate connects it with the green apples and throw pillows.  The apple green color works because everything else in the room is so neutral.

So that’s Nate in a nutshell.

I love to hear from you.  Which is your favorite Nate Berkus room?

Interior Design: Office Spaces

Today’s Wednesday Word is the word on office interior design.

This client’s office space was bright and open, but lacked the calm and professional feeling that he desired while he was at work.  He is a Music Director of a local church and we worked on our project in the off season this past summer.


The original color was much better with his original lighter furniture.  But my client found an office closeout sale and fell in love with a mahogany desk – a much richer looking wood that required a more sedate color to offset it.

Offices should be first about function. Not only did I draw a plan, I taped out on the floor the best location for the two largest items – the desk and the sofa.  Filing cabinets are in arm’s reach of the desk, there are several options for seating, natural light streams in from the window and his view is into the Music Room.

Desk and Filing Area

Purchasing office furniture from an office that is closing is a great way to save on your office expenses.

I specified a much richer color on the wall to complement the warm wood tones of the new desk and file cabinets.  Trim and doors are a warmer off-white for contrast and warmth.

Seating Area

His gorgeous white sofa has a new home in his office where the old bookshelf used to be. It pops against the Mozart Blue walls and provides a quiet relaxing spot, tucked away from the youngest of his musical students.  We moved his bookshelf just to the right of the sofa so that he can pick out a book and relax for a moment between rehearsal and the next concert.

The area rug provides a homey warmth that we could not get with the existing commercial floors.  Not only was the rug the inspiration for the wall color, it provides a division of areas: creative relaxation separated from day-to-day work.

A few plants, some pillows, and occasional chairs, this office is ready for the creative process and demanding schedule of the musical year to come.

We had so much fun with this project that he and I are now working on the Music Room and its adjoining Library.  I enjoy nothing more than the opportunity to work with such a great client all over again.

I love to hear from you.  What does your dream office look like?

Lazy Days of Summer…and so they Begin

Pre-School Graduation

So today my baby, (my babyaaaagh) graduated from pre-school.  Where did five years go?  It seems like only yesterday she was figuring out how to say Dada and struggling to get to her feet.  Don’t even tell me about college; I’m still struggling with the word kindergarten.

And now the lazy days of summer begin.  Well except for the part where I work…but I love my work and I work for myself so that’s okay.

Tonight, my husband and I sat on the deck (while our daughter chose to watch Blues Clues) and had grilled burgers and corn and beer of choice, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale — heaven.  If I ever want to pretend it’s summer in the dead doldrums of February, I crack open a bottle and am transported if only momentarily.  Funny, how certain things we associate with seasons.  Can’t really imagine lighting the fire and drinking a glass of port tonight, right?

View from the Deck

If ever I need a gratitude moment, I stare in awe at the view from my deck (I joke that it’s my favorite room in the house).  Our lawn sprawls back to the golf course and our property has so many beautiful trees.  When we chose this property (well house but really it was all about the property), I was drawn to it.  It was completely overgrown and yet still, I sensed something.

My husband, bless him, is a landscape architect and he saw that something too and declared that we would clear all of the brambles out.  I was of the mind that we would save the lilies etc. growing within, but being allergic to poison ivy there was no chance of me doing that.  And he was right.  We pulled out the old growth, grew grass, defined gardens, removed a few dead trees and now…breath-taking.

The best part is the huge oak tree.  When I took the bus to school as a child, we passed a huge oak tree on the left.  Years later I went back and the tree was gone. My childhood oak tree is what drew me here.

Nature Walk

We’re going outside and discovering…come…

Love to hear from you!  What will you do to celebrate summer?

Interior Design Magic on Monday: The Libeskind Villa

I have a passion for international interior design magazines.  My favorite by far is Objekt International out of the Netherlands, which recently featured the work of Daniel Libeskind.


I am always fascinated by the design process and so enjoy seeing an initial concept sketch take form.

The Villa is the result of a collaboration with proportion GmbH of Basle whose aim is “to make modern architecture by famous architects accessible to individuals” (Objekt Internatioal, issue #49).  The Villa will be made in a limited edition of 30 and is structured with eco-friendly and sustainable materials.


The house is clad in zinc which Libeskind chose, because zinc is “very organic…reacts to the sky in a way that is truly sustainable…never just a flat dull funish”.

Night and Light

I love this house lit up at night – enchanting.  It glows with possibility and makes its own statement on and within the surrounding landscape.  According to Libeskind, the house “brings light from unexpected places, illuminates the house in a 360 degree panorama … truly a house lived in the round.”

Living, Kitchen and Light

The interior design is just as breath-taking.  Note how the narrow angular skylights throw light and shadow across the room making the interior organic and ever-changing.  The furnishings are kept simple to allow the architecture and views from the window to be the stars.  Libeskind describes the interior space as “intimate and dramatic…fluid…combined activities… such that life becomes a choreographed experience”.


The sense of the dark dramatic stainless steel staircase floating behind the glass enhances the interplay of light and shadow.  Note how the diagonal lines on the glass interact with the diagonal lines of the skylights.

Bedroom and Bath

The bedroom and bath suite are filled with the shadows of the exterior structure with the pendant lamp mimicking their form.  Note how the glass wall continues up beyond the height of the ceiling.  No detail however small is missed in this house.

I love to hear from you.  Which room is your favorite?

(Photos from Objekt International issue #49 and

Going back in the Closet: 3 Steps to Organizing your Stuff

I am in the throes of closet makeovers for three clients.  Some require a professional organizer, others are less complicated, but all require considering function first.  In total, there are two office supply closets, three adult closets, one hall closet, a toy storage closet and two children’s closets.  I am keeping busy.

So let’s talk about the three steps to organizing your storage!

1. Closet Objective

First and foremost, determine your closet objective.  Meaning, what do you plan to use the closet for?  Is it for office supplies, linens, children’s clothing, boots and coats?

Is the closet in the right spot for that need?  You may wonder why I mention this, but one of my clients wanted the closet furthest from the front door to be the coat closet and the closet off the main hall to be the children’s toy storage.  I switched them, because the furthest closet is closest to the family room area and where their children will be playing with their toys.  The closet on the main hall is en route to the powder room and my client’s office – ideal.

Will you be storing both seasons of clothes in the closet or have out of season storage in another closet or the dry cleaner’s?

Who is going to use the closet and how tall are they?  This is especially important for children – don’t you want your children to reach their own clothes in the morning?

2. Space Needs

Now that you have determined the who and the what, you need to assess how much of what you have.

Ladies This means getting a rough estimate in inches of width of all of your long hanging: long skirts, dresses, coats vs. short hanging: blouses, slacks, skirts.  Then determine how much space you need for folded items: sweaters, casual t-shirts, workout clothes, etc.  Finally, the fun part!  Count how many pairs of shoes you have.  Ok ladies, let’s not underestimate – we all know you have a lot of shoes…  Make a note of how many of these are tall winter boots.  Take into account thick hangers if you prefer them.  I like to hang my “work” sweaters on these.

Gents You need to determine your number of suits, dress shirts and slacks – a rough estimate in inches will work.  Then you will need to calculate your folded needs: t-shirts, sweaters, workout clothes etc.  I don’t know about most gents, but mine has a lot of shoes!  So count them gentleman.  Take into account, how many are work boots.  Do you want to keep those in your main closet or in a separate space like the mud room or garage?

Children Parents, first you will need to take into consideration the age of your child.  If your children are very young, I recommend low hanging and some bins for toys/socks/shoes etc…  Have some long hanging available for the future teenage years.  Many closet systems are set up so that you can take out some shelves and reconfigure fairly easily as junior grows up.  Get a rough estimate of hanging vs. folded.  Also, take into account typical number of shoes: dress shoes, school shoes, sneakers and flip-flops are the norm in my five year old daughter’s world.

Linens, Pantry, Office Supplies Have more than one height of shelving if possible.  It never hurts to measure what is going in the closet.  For example, how wide are your towels when they are folded?  What height is your tallest bottle of olive oil?  How tall is your largest magazine rack?

3. Closet Design Rules of Thumb

This is my favorite part!

Man's Walk-in Closet

For this Man’s Walk-In Closet, I provided plenty of hanging for suits, shirts and slacks and just enough space for shoes.  My husband would need twice as much space for his shoes – many of them boots.  As a landscape architect, he is frequently measuring outside and needs work shoes that can go from office to mud.  This gentleman only has three pairs of shoes, so we may eliminate the shoe shelves entirely.  His wife joked that her extras could fit there.  Note how there are lots of shelves for sweaters and gym clothes.  They did not want drawers as they have a large dresser, but as you can see in the first photo, drawers are an option in closets.

Plans are drawn from precise measurements of the space. This is so important.  I used for all of my drawings.  Note that there are three walls and one wall is not as deep so only could accommodate shelves.  You need at least 22 inches of depth for hanging.  Allow 39″ in height for a typical man’s suit.

Woman's Walk-In-Closet

For a Woman’s Closet, I allow much more space for shoes (and this client loves shoes), lots of short hanging for blouses, skirts and slacks and I add long hanging for dresses.  36″ is a good rule of thumb for short hanging and 66-67″ for long hanging.  Remember to take into account shelf space for handbags and hanging space for belts, scarves and other accessories.

Small Teen's Closet

This Small Reach-In Closet was a design challenge. The teenage daughter in the family is not super tall, so I was able to reduce the height of the long hanging to about 53″ to allow for some shelf space.  Her mom said she doesn’t have any dresses, but Prom is not far away, Mom.  Sorry did I just freak you out?

Think I forgot her shoes?  I am putting a hanging rack on the back of the door.  I could not sacrifice hanging space in less than 36″.  She will have a bureau for her folded clothes, so did not need much shelf space.

Larger Reach-In Closet

This larger Reach-In Closet was much easier to configure.  Two girls share this space as well as a large dresser.  The youngest will have the low hanging to the left hand side and the older will have the medium hanging to the right.

All still seem overwhelming?  Interior Designers work with space planning and closet planning every day.  Please let me know if you need help with yours.  I’ll be in my closet, straightening out my sweaters.  LOL!

I love to hear from you.  Are your closets tidy and a dream come true or are you struggling to find that favorite blouse? Let me know!

Why I did not Finish Writing my Post Today

Sometimes, it’s just not about interior design…

I could have finished my post about closets this afternoon, but instead I chose to do this.

Can you blame me?

Until tomorrow.

Refreshingly yours,


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