Nineteen percent of US households now have more than one adult generation living under the same roof.   That percentage is rising and is equivalent to the 1950’s.   #multigenerational

Why are these numbers on the rise? These statistics will help to understand the surprising uptick:

  • The average cost per year of Assisted Living in the Northeast is currently a whopping $120,000/year.
  • Student debt has risen to $1.4 trillion for US college graduates according to the Federal Reserve.
  • Annual child care costs $24,000 in NYC is (DC and Massachusetts is even higher)

With these statistics, It’s no wonder that multigenerational households are on the rise.

As an interior designer and Certified Aging in Place Specialist, the question I’m often asked is: How do I differentiate designing for families with young children versus ones that share a home with an aging parent?

My answer: It’s a very similar approach. Parents with toddlers know of the many difficulties of pushing a stroller into a home.  Children of older  parents know that those steps leading into a home could one day prevent wheelchair access.

I’m very familiar with these situations because I live in a multi generational household.   My husband and I renovated our home so that his mother could live with us after his dad passed.  Our renovation made our home more “livable” and gave us each our necessary privacy.   Fourteen years later this arrangement still works.

If you are thinking of renovating, there’s so much more you can do to accommodate all ages, and allow you to remain in your home. Our free guide offers a wealth of information so that you can live in your “Forever Home”: Sign up now to download this indispensable guide.


The project started the way most things in life start (at least, the best things). With a search.

A search for the perfect chair.

The one that reminded me of my favorite chair; the one from my grandmother’s home. With its deep comfy seat and its soft rolled arms, it was a place to sit for half a minute, or maybe half a day.

But times changed, and so did our bodies and our needs. And so the search changed too.  The chair needed a more streamlined silhouette. It needed just the right scale, and its legs needed to show just the right amount of wood.

And so, as the vision of that perfect chair became clearer in my mind, the search shifted to a workroom that could realize my design: that of an updated re-imagining of the chair I loved.

Today, the frame is still there, but with straight arms that give it a sleeker look. The legs are lovely, offering more of a reveal than just a hint of wood.

And its beauty is more than skin deep. The beauty of each bespoke piece lies in the way its arms, legs and back are customizable to fit your needs, effortlessly transforming my memory of a favorite into yours. Most importantly, these are pieces that work for every generation.

From this one chair a collaboration of customized heirloom pieces, including sofas, chaises and ottomans was born, ones that transports us back to homes we knew…the ones we loved.

Together, we will design pieces that transport you back to the home you knew and loved, personalizing everything from its structure to its upholstery to create a treasured piece of furniture that will be handed down from generation to generation. 

To make your appointment and begin the personalization process, please give me a call at 201.848.9797.

Or if you prefer to schedule a time online, please click here.

Our goal for any space we are designing is that it becomes a place where you will gravitate.

Here are our top five (simple yet effective) wellness tips for creating a space that is bound to make your guests want to stay longer.

1. Inject color – How do you want to feel in this space? Our client wanted this room to energize her as it’s also her home office. So we used saturated oranges and electric blues to do just that. Fun fact: orange is associated with joy and radiates warmth. In the body, it’s associated with circulation and the nervous system.

2. Material selections – Use materials that can alter your guest’s experience of warmth – when people are physically warmer, their levels of interpersonal warmth increase.  Because who needs a cranky guest? Simple additions include adding a warm throw and a few colorful pillows on the bed. Soft fabrics on upholstered pieces such as the chair in this space add to the comfort of this room.  (teaser for our next post!)

3. Lighting control – Lift your guest’s mood with natural sunlight but also give them the ability to control the amount of sunlight the room. Window treatments should not only be operable but also have black out lining to ensure a good night’s rest. (Did you know that direct access to daylight and views reduces blood pressure, lowers the incidence of headaches, and in healthcare setting results in the need for less pain medication and shorter stays in the hospital?)

4. If you have bare wood floors, adding a throw rug serves two purposes: added warmth to the space (who wants to wake up and put their feet on a bare floor?) and also addresses any acoustical challenges. The bold, large scaled striped throw rug that we used for this project injects personality and warmth to this space.

5. Artwork – We chose artwork that energizes…that “sparks joy” in our client. Artwork personalizes the room and becomes the perfect finishing touch.

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Are you thinking of building a second home? Not just another home but one with subtle nuances that will accommodate your family into the future? We call adding these inconspicuous refinements “livable design details”. Proactive design that enhances and welcomes every generation.

A “simple” first step is to find a house plan (or blueprints) that appeal to you. Start by paying attention to the overall flow of the floor plan…prior to meeting your architect. Envision yourself walking through the space and living there. This will enable you to initiate a productive in-depth conversation with your architect and designer about how you want your home to function for you and your family. (stay tuned for a future post where we go deep into what we recommend be in every second home)

Five tips to keep in mind when developing a livable design plan:

1. Look for a home with a single story floor plan that has a zero step entrance. If you prefer a multi storied home, the layout of the main areas should have at least one (master) bedroom suite on the main floor.

This traditional style cottage (above) could easily adapt to include a zero step entrance while the contemporary home, below, is a perfect example.

2. Thinking of adding an elevator? You don’t have to commit right away. Add a closet to the floor plan to be easily converted at a later date. To add one that is ADA compliant, (Americans with Disability Act) the minimum door width for an elevator interior is 36″. The depth of the interior must be at least 51″, and the width must be at least 68″, (unless the elevator has center-opening doors, in which case at least 80″ is required). Although this size may seem large, it’s important to plan to have enough space for not only the wheelchair bound person but also a caregiver.

Example of ADA compliant elevator.

3. Need to accommodate for family with special needs? Hallways and door openings should allow for a minimum of 32″ wide doorways and 36″ – 42″ for hallways.

4. Is bigger always better? In this case, yes. Think about increasing each room size to account for furniture plans that allow for a minimum 36″ pass by space should a wheelchair become necessary. Keeping this in mind – bathrooms need a turning radius of five foot minimum while kitchens need a pass through area of 42 – 48″.

A example of how a five foot turning radius affects the size of even a small bathroom.

5. Increase the amount of accessible walk-in storage. Not only will this hide clutter and prevent items from being left out, it will also help to prevent falls. Maximizing floor-to-ceiling storage increases orderliness throughout the home.

Bonus: Situate your home in a southern exposure for maximum light! Read more about how light affects design in our blog post entitled “The Healing effects of Light”

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.

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.

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.

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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.
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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.

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:

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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.

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.

 

                                                                                                                
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.

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I recently read a statistic that said the highest population of baby boomers live in Califorina.   It should really comes as no surprise.  As we age, we naturally yearn for more natural sunlight…simply because it makes us feel better.

So, if you don’t live on the West Coast, here are a few easy tips as to how you can maximize the comfort and performance in your home from lighting expert Mariana Figueiro.

  • Lighting on a task area surface should be brighter than the surrounding space
  • Minimize glare by curbing the use of glossy materials
  • Lighting so shadows are “softer” (ones that don’t cast harsh shadows)
  • Balance light levels in an area
  • To keep circadian rhythms in sync: during the daytime hours (or at
    least for 2 hours in the morning) increase light levels and use bluish white for at least 2 hrs in the
    morning.”  In addition,  during the evening hours decrease light levels and use lights with a wam yellowish tint.

I can sometimes tolerate a room without windows on a dreary day but on a sunny day… it’s unbearable!  Most people tend to gravitate to the areas of their homes that provide them with the most sunlight and the best views.
Why?  Because it’s been repeatedly proven that natural light is healing – stress levels decrease and mental energy is replenished in spaces that provide natural light and provide views of nature.
Do you have a favorite place in your home where you can 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.

“Art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time”.

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Photo Sourced from Soundwall.com

I saw this quote online and it really
resonated with me.  My kids are always amazed at how I can
remember the year and exactly where I was whenever we hear a song from the 80’s
or 90’s.

One of our recent favorite finds is called
Soundwall. Soundwall is art that also happens to be
a speaker.

Made of “specially –crafted aluminum, Soundwall generates a natural and uniform sound throughout your space”.  You can even stream music to it.

One of the reasons we love it is because it
touches on several of our Wellness Design Principles: in this case Sensory Elements , but also
Lighting.  (yup, it can also be illuminated from behind).

                                                                                                          

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.

I typically don’t make New Year’s resolutions….personally or professionally.

2017 just feels different.

This year I will focus on what resonates most with my clients and myself and that is the idea of designing for wellness.

When we’re in spaces that are designed to fit us perfectly, we feel, relate and live well.   These are spaces that let us function at our highest level, make us feel great and let us thrive.

It has been proven that healthier lives are lived in healthier spaces.

Our monthly newsletters and weekly postings will continue to reinforce our focus by touching on six design principles that collectively elevate a space:

  • Lighting
  • Color
  • Space
  • Sensory Elements
  • Nature & Sustainability
  • Livable Design (aka Universal Design)

These principles are rooted in research on how design can make us feel, relate and live well in our surroundings.

Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest as we share how you may apply these principles to your own environment.

Because everyone deserves a space where they can 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.