Harvey Cedars, New Jersey Beach House

The view from the Dining Room into the Living Room

I have a habit of redesigning homes in my head.  So when my good friend, who happens to be a realtor, showed me this amazing home on Long Beach Island in Harvey Cedars, these images appeared in my head.

Starting with the dining area, I envisioned a classic round Saarinen tulip table surrounded by vintage wicker chairs.  

The living room is surrounded by a beautiful open staircase.  The modern meets vintage theme continues.  Grounding the area with a colorful wool rug, I (shamelessly?) envisioned one of our semi custom sofas, two wicker chairs and end table and a streamlined Serena and Lily coffee table.  The lighting is from Design Within Reach.

And of course…no view is complete without a hanging daybed.  
You might just find me there this weekend.  

Once the agreement is reviewed and signed, we collect a retainer – this fee is a percentage – based on the overall scope of work. (as outlined in the agreement)
Included in the agreement are future meeting dates based on both our client’s and our availability. This allows us all to plan our calendars while setting expectations of when tasks are to be accomplished.
Most often we’re on schedule, but… because there are so many moving parts and people involved in every project, sometimes it can be difficult to predict exactly how long a project will take.

The next step is our “Trade Day”! Stay tuned!

I’m always asked how we work so, of course, I thought this could be the perfect opportunity for a blog post.

It’s always starts with a phone call.   After a 10 – 20 conversation and we like what each other has to say, we’ll schedule an in-home 1.5 hour to 2 hour consultation.

This is a paid consult is where you’ll be left with a lot of creative and exciting ideas.   

Before our meeting, we ask (so when I say “we” I mean Leslie, my Project Manager, aka “work-wife”) that you fill out our online questionnaire.  In order to get the most out of our time, you’ll share your Pinterest inspiration boards or magazine clippings.

If you’re looking for help with your current home, we’ll start with a tour of your entire home and a run through of what you love and what you hate about it.  What are your challenges?  If it’s a new build, we’ll review the blueprints.

We’ll discuss if you’d like to work in stages (most do) or do you want the entire house designed at once (we can more than handle that too).   We’ll discuss the overall scope of work for your project and review a timeline or any deadlines you might have.

We’ll determine if the work will be turnkey (we design and implement) or if you are looking only for creative input (we hand our spec sheets over to you to handle all purchasing and project management)

We’ll then talk about which would benefit you more:  hourly or a flat fee? (need more details on that?  Stayed tuned for our next post!)

We won’t leave before reviewing your intended budget.  We’ll help you figure out what this might be by showing you similar size design projects that we’ve worked on in the past.  

I hope this helps to understand the first step of our Design Process.  

Have more questions?  I’d love to answer them. Please reach me at terri@fioriinteriordesign.com or call 201-848-9797.

In this month’s newsletter, we’re discussing the third installment of our six design principles: Spatial Planning.

A client recently asked us to re-design their large sized family room. Seating in the current layout consisted of only a sectional and a recliner.  
In our questionnaire we uncovered the fact that the wife usually found herself reading or relaxing in the adjoining room…while her husband and three kids would congregate in the family room in front of the TV. Although their family room is fairly large, there really wasn’t a place for her. We decided to change that by creating a “territory”  that would become her own personal space where she could still connect with her family.  

Research proves that “all humans are territorial as well as social and having a territory at home is important for our mental well-being”(Smith, 1994).

Here are two examples of nooks that we’ve created in the past:

I faithfully read the Wall Street Journal.   Surprisingly (or NOT…)  I typically don’t read the financial section but a bold headline in a recent wealth management report caught my eye. It read… “The Best Financial Advice I Ever Got”..  Manisha Thakor, VP of Financial well-being at wealth-management firm Brighton Jones quoted her grandfather who said: “buy few, but buy the best you can afford.”

Music to my ears. She goes on to say “each time you see, touch or use these items, you think  “Ahhh, I have made a good choice and feel content.  It’s much deeper than simply quality over quantity.  It’s a way to repeatedly appreciate what you have versus that which you do not”. I was raised with this same mentality so these words resonate with me.  It’s also true to how I run my business and the products that I offer to my clients.  (although I might not be as eloquent with my own words of wisdom:  “buy once, cry once”)When you own something of quality it should last at least a generation. Amortized over time, it could be one of the the best investments you will ever make.
The Urban Farmer

Several weeks ago we spent the weekend  in Philadelphia.  
The hotel’s restaurant, The Urban Farmer,  has such a cool vibe that I had to check out its back story. 

“The Urban Farmer backdrop is warm and elegant, yet quaint and rustic visually telling the life-story of the hardworking, country farmer who marries the cosmopolitan art-collector. The result is a space that is at once a restored farmhouse combined with an eclectically sophisticated art gallery. Each location of Urban Farmer, though inspired by the same unexpected couple, each have their own twist that is uniquely original and authentic to the city it lives within.”

Pretty cool.

Successful design always starts with a story…whether it’s about who you are, where you’ve been … or where you want to go.

So what story does your home tell?

Our design process always begins with your vision..and if you don’t know what that exact vision is…we’re able to interpret and then curate your vision through our processes.  

And how cool is that?

For the second year running, we are proud to announce that Fiori Interior Design has been awarded the Design Excellence Award by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for two of our projects.  

The first, which I will discuss briefly, fell under the category of “Specialty and Unique Spaces”.  

Our challenge for this Essex County, NJ project was what to do with that one last lonely bedroom now that the kids had all left the nest.  Actually not so much of a challenge as this client knew exactly what she wanted for her growing collection of new and vintage handbags and shoes!  

Details in this space included adding UV film to the windows to protect this client’s growing collection.  An Hermes window treatment hints of the treasures in this room.  
We chose to repeat the navy blue hue on the ceiling, aka the sixth wall. This richly dramatic contrasting hue completed the space and gave the room a feeling of intimacy and warmth.  
An upholstered faux cheetah bench subtly repeats the animal pattern in the roman shades while custom artwork recalls this client’s favorite pieces.

For more photos from this project (and others!) please visit our new website.   It perfectly captures the way I feel about design and the way my team and I approach our projects: with thoughtfulness and authenticity. And, as always, if my design work can be of service, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

A custom rug in a Tenafly New Jersey project.

Needless to say: vacuum regularly every 1-2 weeks.
What to do about a spill: If it’s dry wine use WD40 followed by 91% alcohol. (isopropal alcohol – available from CVS to remove any WD40 residue). If it’s still wet use soap and warm water followed by clear water. ALWAYS BLOT AND DO NOT SCRUB. Call us to clean if all else fails.
Another tip: Try club soda and blot – do not rub. Always use a clean rag. Never soak carpets with anything but water. Cleaning handmade carpets should be performed with the least amount of stress on the carpet fibers. No vacuum with strong suction should be used. No beater brush or other aggressive vacuum attachments should be used on handmade carpets.

FID offers a product called FiberShield protection: “An advanced stain repellent, fabric protectant and fabric flame retardant, FiberShield is is scientifically engineered for use on all types of area rugs, carpeting, upholstery, window treatments, wall fabrics, textiles and much more. FiberShield resists everyday soils, stains and wear, especially those in high traffic areas. FiberShield’s advanced technology helps to retain the color and texture of your fabrics without any change to the fabric, the look, the feel or color for years to come.

FiberShield enables future cleanings to be more effective as the textile is much more protected. Treated fibers and fabrics will demonstrate improved abrasion resistance (wear). Textiles will garner that deep-down protection on each and every fiber with NO COLOR CHANGE. Fiber-Shield will not wear off, therefore your fabric and textiles will be well protected against spills and stains. The patented state-of-the-art polymers in Fiber-Shield will actively fight oil-based stains to further the longevity and beauty of your investment.

Fiber Shield repels oil, water, virtually all food stains,  alcoholic beverages and dirt Fiber Shield is safe with it’s non-toxic, NON-FLAMMABLE, and hypoallergenic properties making it safe for use virtually anywhere in your home. Unlike fabric protection products of the past, FiberShield contains no chemical agents (ex. Teflon or Silicone) that will stiffen the textile or cause yellowing of the fabric. FiberShield is recommended by industry professionals today for new home furnishings, new carpeting, as well as recently cleaned items. This ensures full protection is achieved at the onset.”

Solid linen window treatment with a John Robshaw 6″ band

We advise vacuuming every few months with a brush attachment. Dry clean as needed. (which really shouldn’t be that often).

Fiori Interior Design offers a white glove service in which we will arrange to have someone come to your home, take down the treatments, and then reinstall the treatments once they are dry-cleaned.
For 100% linen fabrics, spot clean only with a water free dry cleaning solvent. Do not saturate or use water. When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. We recommended using a professional dry cleaning service.

Window Hardware:  Maintain the fine finish by simply dusting with a soft clean cloth.
And keep those kids with stick fingers away from the drapes. (ha)

Wood pieces like dining tables, chairs and end tables need to maintain their fine finish by simply dusting with a soft clean cloth, always rubbing with the grain.

If you use your dining table frequently, every six months, polish with a high quality furniture polish. Apply the polish in a thin, even coat with a dry cloth, rubbing with the wood grain. Buff with a fresh dry cloth while polish is still moist for a rich lustrous finish.
For dining tables, the best treatment while not in use is prevention – ask us who we recommend for custom table pads!

Always protect wood surfaces with felt protectors on lamp bases. Avoid putting plastic, hot dishes directly on the wood. These items will harm the finish. Use coasters for alcohol and water glasses. Address spills and smudges immediately.

Maintain hardware with regular dusting. Clean with mild soap and water and dry thoroughly to avoid water market.

NEVER place anything hot or wet onto a wooden surface as it can cause discoloration, Keep wooden furniture away from air vents, humidifiers and fireplaces, as well as direct sunlight. All can have drying and/or bleaching effects.

Multi-Function Rooms: Making the most of every inch of your home

We all have rooms in our homes that simply aren’t used as frequently as we would like. Perhaps these rooms have a more traditional function, and are not used as often as they were in the past. As an example, when was the last time you used your formal dining room to entertain guests?

For most families, a formal dining room and formal living room are large spaces that aren’t being used to their full potential. While they can certainly be useful for special occasions and large gatherings, they often aren’t designed to be functional for our day-to-day lives.

Designing these rooms to be multi-functional is key to bringing them into the present. With a few simple adjustments, you can transform these seldom used rooms into spaces your family loves and uses on a daily basis.

I talked about multi-functional rooms and showed some real-life examples on an episode of House Smarts, a home improvement and lifestyle TV series hosted by Lou Manfredini. You can watch my segment in the video below.
At Fiori Interior Design, we prioritize functionality to ensure the spaces you live in feel authentic and nurturing, so you and your family can live well. If you would like to know how you can make your home work better for your family and lifestyle, I would love to help – simply schedule a consultation here.

My mother taught me the art of embroidery when I was seven years old. I often think about how those invaluable lessons she taught me then are easily “woven” into how I approach my work today.

  1. Have a plan.  Know that all of your components are lined up in front of you before you even start.
  2. Have patience.  Nothing worth anything is ever rushed.  When things are rushed, they get sloppy and mistakes are made.
  3. What you see on the back end is just as important as what’s on the front.  Loose ends on the back end will eventually unravel and show up on the front.
  4. Appreciate that while you are repeating the same stitch, not one is ever truly the same.  That’s part of the beauty of the perfectly imperfect piece.  
  5. Take pride in your work.  Don’t be afraid to put it out there to share it with the world.

Incorporating unique, hand made pieces into each space I design breathes soul into a home. It elevates any space and gives it it’s own personal narrative. 

What story does your home tell?

I love when clients already have artwork that is the inspiration for a space because they’re typically personal pieces that tells a part of their story.   The challenge is when we seek out artwork for our clients. It needs to be approached in a thoughtful, creative, and authentic manner that lends itself to sharing their narrative.  

This is why, in our process, the art always is the “last piece of the puzzle”.   It’s after we’ve learn about what our clients love…and hate. Discovering to where they have traveled and how they spend their weekends and which books they’re reading and what shows they’re seeing.  It’s how we can choose pieces that truly reflect them. And oftentimes, we create original art for them.

The importance of art in a room not only adds beauty to a space but intrinsically meaning to the homeowners. It connects us.

Research has proven that certain colors will elicit certain emotions. 

But…there are so many variables involved when specifying color.  
One of the first questions we always ask our clients is “How do you want to feel in your space?”

We start by grouping colors as Cool versus Warm:

Cool colors are purples, blues and green – We have experience with these colors as having healing and calming influences and are stress-reducing.

Warm colors – reds, oranges and yellows – tend to induce excitement, increase blood pressure but can also cause fatigue without the balance of cool colors. 

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see how we design with warm versus cool colors to evoke different emotions. The example in this Bergen County home is an example of how we added warmth to this client’s family room.

Our interiors are designed to be highly personal.  We ensure that you’re surrounded with design that’s meaningful and represents you authentically—so that you’ll thrive.   Give us a call or email us.  We’d love to get to know you and help you create an uplifting environment.

Read the article here

The true vagabond has no home base—nothing to redecorate, nothing to vacuum. But who ever said the rest of us can’t catch the vagabond spirit, tapping the world’s visual variety for the homes we cherish? This month, Escapes takes a break from its usual wanderings for an armchair tour, courtesy of five northern New Jersey interior designers. We asked them to spill the beans about travel destinations that have sparked their creativity. If your next trip idea doesn’t spring to mind here, maybe a design notion will.

Barcelona, Spain:

“A recent family trip allowed me to explore the unique architecture and design of the great Antoni Gaudí. All of his work is inspiring, but my visit to the storied Casa Batlló left a lasting impression. Gaudí’s kaleidoscope of purple, blue and green inspired me to design a client’s dining room using this color combination. Gaudí is known for his organic shapes and layering of mosaic patterns, textures and materials like ceramic, glass and iron. Casa Batlló has reinforced my practice of adding unexpected whimsical elements to my designs—a reminder to us all not to take ourselves too seriously. For example, I hide a handcrafted decorative mushroom, whether wood or ceramic, in every project I complete.” —Terri Fiori, Fiori Interior Design, Mahwah

For some of her home projects, Terri Fiori, Fiori Interior Design, Mahwah, infuses the Spanish blue, purple and green color scheme found at the Sagrada Família (top) and Casa Batlló in Barcelona.

Years ago most kitchens were dark and full of autumn tones, like red, gold, and even orange. More recently, those bolder shades have given way to all-white kitchens. Why? Homeowners are building and renovating kitchens to be open to the rest of the floorplan, rather than segmented.

“Kitchens have basically become invisible to blend with the rest of the home. That really affects the paint you’re going to choose—the color has to flow effortlessly,” says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at The Home Depot. “Before when [the kitchen] was segmented, you could paint a kitchen one color and the dining room another.”

Lighter colors also help open up the space. “The general rule of thumb is to keep it light and neutral: Think white, light blue, even pale yellow. These colors will make the room look bigger, bring light into the space, and make the kitchen look and feel clean,” says Abra Landau, resident design expert at Fashion Furniture. “Don’t forget that your kitchen is not only a room for entertaining, but also a workspace that you want to keep looking as tidy as possible.”

But all-white certainly doesn’t mean drab—or even monotone. While walls are more muted, homeowners are having fun by experimenting with color on cabinets, doors, trim, and even ceilings. “Consumers are embracing colors in different ways, and they aren’t afraid of it,” Fishburne says. “It’s more individualized and intensified than ever before.”

Still, paint colors are fickle, and it’s tricky to find the right shade. So we asked the pros to help us wade through thousands of hues to find the best paint colors for a kitchen. The tones are mostly soft and light—grays, blues, whites, and taupe—but there are a few wildcards in the mix for those who want to step outside the box.

Farrow & Ball Shaded White

Farrow & Ball Shaded White is a favorite neutral for kitchens. It can be paired with just about any color on cabinets and still feel clean and light.” —Marika Meyer, designer

Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air

“A light blue with a bit of turquoise such as Benjamin Moore Breath of Fresh Air can open up a tiny kitchen. The watery sky color looks amazing with white or light maple cabinets.” —Leslie Saul, designer

Farrow & Ball Borrowed Light

“One of our favorite go-to colors in a kitchen is Farrow & Ball Borrowed Light. Depending on the direction of light, this blueish gray is neither too light nor too dark. It is the perfect backdrop against a light or dark countertop or cabinetry.” —Terri Fiori, designer

Benjamin Moore Sounds of Nature

“The kitchen is an area where you need to feel relaxed yet energized enough to cook and possibly entertain while doing so. Greens, specifically spring greens with heavy yellow undertones like Benjamin Moore’s Sounds of Nature and Shimmering Lime, are great examples that evoke both rejuvenation and transformation. The color can be used on the cabinets, walls, and the ceiling to help define small urban spaces, and pops of the color can be naturally introduced through plants and herb gardens, kitchen accessories, and dishware.” —Lori Weitzner, designer and author of Ode to Color

Benjamin Moore Nimbus

“This is an ethereal gray that provides just a hint of color. Nimbus creates a calm and inviting backdrop for your kitchen when applied to the walls and is incredibly versatile. It changes throughout the day depending on the light. Therefore, it will complement any decor style. If you are feeling bold, pair it with deep blue or, dark grey cabinetry—Hale Navy and Chelsea Grey work great—and brass finishes.” —Jacquelin C. Franklin, designer and Thumbtack pro

Farrow & Ball Skylight

“Soft and subtle, with just a touch of warm tone to it. Skylight is one of those colors that works perfectly as wall paint or even the ceiling color.” —Bradley Odom, founder of Dixon Rye

Benjamin Moore White Dove

“It’s a nicely balanced white that doesn’t skew too warm or cool for all different lighting styles. It can be coordinated perfectly with White Dove (cut down to 50 percent) for the cabinets. Creating these subtle differences will help distinguish between the elements, yet leave your space with a perfect tone-on-tone aesthetic. Of course, tone-on-tone is not for everyone, but choosing White Dovefor your walls will work for any color cabinets and be the perfect contrasting backdrop. Some fun cabinet colors that won’t wash out on the white background are Benjamin Moore Hale Navy or Benjamin Moore Hunter Green.” —Tracy Lynn, designer

Behr Marquee: Black Boudoir

“If you want to go outside the box, try a black wall with a white kitchen. Dark, rich colors really accentuate cabinetry, windows, and trim. It gives a beautiful blank canvas.” —Sarah Fishburne, The Home Depot director of trend and design

“My latest favorite color for kitchens is Farrow & Ball’s Inchyra Blue—it’s sexy and comforting and represents the warmth of the hearth and hospitality. It looks great with brass fixtures, and brings a bit of color to a stark modern kitchen. I’ve noticed it also puts people at ease.” —Mally Skok, designer

Kanye West is in rare form these days: Since rejoining Twitter on April 13, the rapper has been ranting about everything from politics to how he’s “nice at ping pong” (whatever that means).

Yet one topic he’s kept tightly under wraps? His home with Kim Kardashian West. That is, until now.

Ever since purchasing this Los Angeles estate in 2014 for $20 million, the couple has been renovating up a storm—yet, remarkably, the famously publicity-hungry pair have not released one photo or video of how it’s going. Even the crew for their reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” was forbidden to set foot inside.

But this week, midway through an especially lengthy (and controversial) pro-Trump Twitter rant, Kanye decided to give his followers a peek behind the curtain … and boy, were we surprised by what we saw.

A shocking glimpse inside Kanye West’s home … and mental state

West posted three photos from inside his 15,700-square-foot home: two shots of a cavernous-looking hallway, and one of what appears to be a living room. And what immediately struck us is wow, the decor is minimalist to the nth degree.

Take, for instance, the before-and-after shots of the hallway below. Keep in mind that the left photo is before they started renovating … and the right pic is how it looks now. They purged those nice lights, the artwork, everything!

Kanye West tweeted a photo of the hallway in his renovated Los Angeles home (right), which looks strikingly different from the listing photo in 2014 (left).

We’re not sure how far along they are in the renovation, but the overabundance of beige and under-abundance of furnishings in these photos seem to suggest that progress is slow-moving. Or, given that they’ve been working with architect Axel Vervoordt—who’s known for his minimalist, neutral aesthetic—maybe it’s completely finished, and this is just how they want Chez Kimye to look.

“Monastery chic,” says interior designer Ana Cummings of ANA Interiors. “It’s a cross between the simplicity of Zen paired with Vatican-styled lines. If Giorgio Armani designed a shrine in Kyoto, it would look like Kim and Kanye’s [home].”

“My initial reaction was that I felt like I was peeking into a monastery,” agrees Terri Fiori of Fiori Interior Design. And that’s not necessarily a good thing, she adds, explaining, “The space lacks warmth.”

In fact, this home’s decor style is totally consistent with the stripped-down aesthetic of West’s fashion line, Yeezy. The same signature beige hue is a constant in the clothing, shoes, and accessories he’s rolled out in six collections so far.

Kanye West at the finale of Yeezy Season 2 during New York Fashion Week at Skylight Modern on Sept. 16, 2015, in New York.

Some people were more complimentary of the space. “Structurally, I like the way the monochromatic hues highlight the architectural language of the space,” says Lauren Visco, an interior designer for DesignBridge Ltd. in Chicago. “Proportions are emphasized, while natural light plays off the curves of the arches.”

Yet while the home might be designed to play up the dramatic architecture, the limestone finishes and neutral color palette are not exactly child-friendly—which is a little sad, since the Wests do have three young kids.

“I don’t believe that it would appeal to many families with children or pets, because it’s all white!” says Mariko Baerg, a real estate agent with Bridgewell Real Estate Group. “Whether it’s markers on the walls, or spills and paws on the floor, it would be an absolute nightmare trying to keep that home clean all the time.”

Diana Stelin, a professional artist who used to run DTR Modern Galleries, agrees that “The walls look stark and cold, and it is lacking warmth and personality.” Yet she believes this is because the interior decorating might not be complete. She actually sold art to West a few years ago, including pieces from Andy WarholDamien Hirst, and Jeff Koons.

“Kanye has really great taste in art, so I’m assuming they just haven’t gotten to placing things in the right spaces,” Stelin says.

Or here’s another theory to explain this odd choice in decor.

“Perhaps they’re able to focus better on one another in this space without any distractions?” Fiori notes. “Since there is not much else, I’m thinking that the owners of this home want to take center stage.”

Kim and Kanye want to be the shining stars in their own home? Sounds about right.

For Showhouse Design and Residential Space Design