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.
“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.
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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!
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.
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 Warhol, Damien 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 (FID) is a boutique design firm that creates beautiful wellness environments. Our mission is to transform our clients’ homes into uplifting places – where everyone, regardless of their age— functions at their highest level.