I have always been interested in art. Growing up in Long Island, I loved working with my hands and creative writing. I did not know Interior Design was a career. In college, I concentrated in public relations, and after graduating with a Bachelors of Art degree in Communications, was looking for a job in that industry. A winding road then led me to the interior design world, to growing my business in Pennsylvania, and I am thankful for that!
Who is your ideal client?
I look for three things in an ideal client. 1. Respect for the service I offer. 2. Allows my team to develop the design vision without pause. 3. Likes to communicate and ask questions.
Have you ever designed against your will? A project that went against what you believed just to appease a difficult client?
That is such a good question! I have been running my firm for over fifteen years. I have learned, through trial and error, that when you let your client control and change the direction of your design, just to appease them, it never turns out well. For this very reason, I have a policy that I stick to. I create the vision as a whole, and present it fully designed. Then, if the client wishes to tweak some colors, or building material choices, the foundation is there already, and their project will still align with the original vision.
How has business changed in the face of COVID-19? New hurdles? Surprises?
I live in Pennsylvania, and our projects were completely shut down. We are up and running again, at this time, as best we can. So much of my business, and the industry as a whole, has become humanized. Our personal and professional lives have collided, with working from home, to home schooling kids, to setting up work schedules for our contractors that work within the confines of the state of PA, and making sure our clients are comfortable with it all. I feel very fortunate that we are staying busy, and we have become more savvy with how we present designs, and utilizing Zoom. The hardest part, at the moment, is the wait time for furniture and building materials. I have to be very clear with clients about timelines.
Your 3 biggest design influences?
The three I am going to mention truly made a mark on me to keep moving forward with design. 1. Sarah Richardson – Her style is casual chic, and I love rooms that are livable and luxe. Her TV show Room Service was remarkable for me. The way she personalized the spaces by highlighting local crafters, and added DIY projects, was a fun outcome! She is genius! 2. Martyn Lawrence Bullard – his designs are an aphrodisiac for me. I was very influenced by his bold black and white graphics, and the way he infuses Moroccan design. He is a bold and fun designer. 3. Vincente Wolf – his design work always looks ‘traveled’. I am a big fan of his use of white space so the décor objects are the focus. I think that is a hard thing to do, and he does it so effortlessly.
Your favorite design project?
Last year our team transformed a little ranch home in the Poconos, for the sweetest client. It was meaningful to all of us because the ranch was a foreclosure that sat on the market for a while. Our lovely client bought it, and asked us to renovate the entire home, along with adding an addition to it. I questioned why she would invest three times the cost of the homes value. She smiled and said "I want to live right near my daughter, and have lots of room to bake with her." I then met her daughter, and understood the meaning of love is priceless. We put so much thought and sweat into the remodel. Our entire team fell in love with this mother-daughter relationship. That is why it's my favorite.
What are you most proud of?
Seeing myself in a positive way. With age and experience, comes wisdom. I am proud of being happy with myself at this moment. In the past, I have found myself overwhelmed with negative thoughts. I was uncomfortable in my body, too concerned about what others thought about me, and I was leading my life with love. I have a sign on my fridge that reads "did you drink enough water and lead with love today?"It is powerful to me.
One piece of furniture you can't live without?
An antique piano stool with glass ball and claw feet. It has a broken seat, that was mended by my grandfather in the 1980s. I have memories of sitting on it and spinning around as a child. Another item I love is my grandfather’s large wooden painters palette. He was a very talented artist. The palette is full of dried up acrylic paints. I keep it on my shelf in my studio.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope be enjoying the same quality of life as I am now. In five years my daughter will be halfway thru college, so maybe that will be the time I come up with a long term plan.
See? Instagram isn't all mindless scrolling. Sometimes it can take you home in the most meaningful ways.