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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

Fiori Interior Design is delighted to announce that we recently received two bronze awards by New Jersey Chapter of The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The winning categories were “Single Residential space” and “Show House design”  (woohoo!!) iori Interior Design is delighted to announce that we recently received two bronze awards by New Jersey Chapter of The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The winning categories were “Single Residential space” and “Show House design”  (woohoo!!) iori Interior Design is delighted to announce that we recently received two bronze awards by New Jersey Chapter of The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The winning categories were “Single Residential space” and “Show House design”  (woohoo!!)


2017 Saddle River Showhouse “Nanny’s Retreat”


Tenafly Living Room

The Healing Effects of Light: Wellness Principal #1

Until I started designing spaces for other people I didn’t realize that I had actually been “studying” design my entire life.

I was raised in a household where my mother wasn’t always healthy.   Many days I’d come home from school and find her sitting in our living room—the one room in our house that had been arranged to receive the most amount of sunlight.  I don’t know if she knew how beneficial it was to her or not…I just knew she was drawn to that space.
I saw first hand how my mother actually used design to her advantage – demonstrating how design can lift us up, and help us function at our highest level.

This is the foundation of how I design today.  I’ve incorporated my specific principles of design for wellness into my practice.  Because I believe – based on my own experience and what I’ve seen in my clients – is that when you’re in surroundings that support you…you thrive.


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.

Another view of one of our favorite projects.  Love it when our client’s great grandmother’s hand made throw happens to work in perfectly with the photo shoot!


This month’s Wellnotes delves into the principles of “Livable Design”, more commonly referred to as “aging in place”. When we think about “aging in place” we think of wider doorways or higher electrical outlets.  A recent statistic however, shifted our focus from a physical to an emotional point of view: “Half of nursing home residents are placed there, not for health reasons but the absence of social interaction due to a lack of accessibility”.  A large part of a designer’s job is to implement designs so that social connections aren’t lost and more importantly, don’t look like an after thought.   As Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) we can recommend many design options that not only speak to an aging population, but also benefits families with young children planning on staying in their homes indefinitely, such as:

  1. Levered door handles easily grasped by aging hands and small children.
  2. A slight entranceway ramp instead of stairs that are both wheelchair and stroller friendly.
  3. Entranceway cameras with an intercom system (with smartphone features) providing security to both the elderly and mothers with small children.
  4. Hallway motion sensor lights that illuminate objects benefiting both the elderly and toddler’s leaping out of bed in middle of the night.

Livable design is a thoughtful design process that can be implemented now and work for all ages.

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.

A beautiful first day of summer! Fortunately for us, designing with florals are back…and they’re bigger and better than ever!

We’re showcasing a few of our favorite manufacturers that are eco-friend.  Choosing manufactures that are members of the Sustainable Furnishings Council means that they incorporate eco-friendly practices.  For example, the majority of Vanguard’s cushions include a mix of duck feathers and down, which are all natural by-products…plus more than 80% of their coils used are from scrap or recycled materials.


Photo courtesy of Galbraith & Paul

This month’s Wellnotes reveals that Fiori Interior Design is now a Green Accredited Professional in eco-friendly furnishings!  This certification is granted by the Sustainable Furnishings Council, “a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry.”

As a company, we are always striving to be eco-friendly, so this news ties in perfectly with June’s wellness design principal #5: Nature’s Sustainability.

We learned a lot during our certification journey but one statistic really stood out:  Since 1994 the number of US asthma sufferers has doubled from 5 to 10% . Considering the average person spends 90% of their time indoors – where air pollution levels are typically 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors – these increases become especially alarming.

So what can be done to ensure your home is healthy?

Here are a few guidelines that we follow:

  1. Ensure that your home furnishings are healthy ones by choosing natural materials like organic cotton, silk, wool, linen and hemp.
  2. Reduce pollutants in the home by specifying low or zero-VOC paints, varnish and adhesives.
  3. Look to see if manufactures are using wood that is FSC certified (which means it’s been legally harvested).
  4. Look for products that are made closer to home.  (buy locally!)
  5. More importantly, always look for the GREENGUARD certification.

Design Principal #4:  Designing for Wellness: Visual & Sensory Elements

Can art help people connect? Research says yes.  One organization recently examined how its institutional art collection affected their employee’s mood and performance.  It was discovered that the staff garnered a connection to their work place. The artwork promoted social interactions, evoked emotional responses and facilitated personal connections.

As a design firm specializing in wellness, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of the artwork you choose to display in your home or workplace.  Art speaks to us about where we are and why.  If you’re surrounded by meaningful pieces, you’re reminded of what’s important…and that can never be a bad thing.

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.