For over 30 years, Harlem-based interior designer Sheila Bridges has been creating sophisticated, elegant spaces for clients the world over. Her style is both chic and effortless, glamorous yet relaxed. Her work is steeped in the classical, but never boring - sweetened with color, texture, luxurious fabrics, and great art. With a strong and fearless point of view, she has built an exciting career, and inspired a new generation of young designers. I admire her refined style, and her work has a timeless appeal that will last for ages - that's why I consider Sheila Bridges one of my Designer Icons. Keep reading to see more pictures of her work, and learn more about her background and prolific career:Read More
Listen up, friends. If you're still using incandescent light bulbs, it's time to consider making the switch to LED lighting. Light bulbs have come a long way in the past few years, and the light-emitting diode or LED is one of the most energy efficient options out there. You can start saving energy, and money on your monthly electricity bill once you switch your incandescent bulbs for LED's. The color rendering of a soft white LED bulb is similar to incandescent light, and much nicer than compact fluorescents aka CFL bulbs - which often cast a sickly bluish glow. I prefer the warm glow of a "soft white light" - look for a color temperature of 2700K and keep it consistent throughout your home. Keep reading to learn more about the cost savings and benefits of LED lighting:Read More
Less is more in this minimalist Williamsburg apartment. The client had a good idea what she was looking for, but needed help pulling it all together. With soft grey walls in the living room, and crisp white in the bedroom, this apartment is a peaceful retreat from busy city life. Clean, simple furnishings define the space, while a few pieces of art add some color and personality. Keep reading for more pics and some tips on designing with less:Read More
I've always been a big fan of the round dining table. I enjoy hosting small, intimate gatherings, and I love that everyone is seated equally around the table. There's one conversation, and everyone is a part of it. In tight corners, a round dining table can bet a great space saver. A 48" round dining table is a nice, compact size that will seat 4-6 people. If space is very limited, you can fit 2-4 people around a 30" table. A pedestal base will free up even more space for the chairs around the table. There are so many great options in wood, stone, glass, and metal. Here are just a few that caught my eye. Keep reading for more details, and to see some inspiration images for how to incorporate a round dining table into your space:Read More
There aren't a ton of restaurants in my neighborhood, so I was super excited to discover a lovely new Italian place just a block from my home! Da Claudio specializes in seasonal Italian fare, and is located at 21 Ann Street in the Financial District. The owners, Claudio and Linda Marini, previously owned the beloved neighborhood restaurant, Barbarini, until it was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Their new restaurant, Da Claudio, opened last November and serves authentic Italian cuisine in a sleek new setting. Not your typical trattoria, the decor is chic and contemporary with concrete floors, brass light fixtures, and warm leather banquettes. With a beautiful marble bar serving wine and Italian liqueurs, this is a great spot for after-work drinks or a relaxed dinner with family and friends. Keep reading to see pics of the space and learn more about this delicious new addition to the neighborhood:Read More
Happy Summer everyone! I hope you are all enjoying this gorgeous weather. I'm currently on vacation in Miami, and having the most wonderful time. I've got lots of exciting design projects in the works, and can't wait to share them with you soon. In the meantime, check out this blog post I contributed to Domino.com about my sister Lisa's bedroom mini-makeover.
I am happy to share with you that this past April I graduated from Kula Yoga Project's 200-hr Teacher Training Program. I've been dreaming of becoming a yoga teacher for some time, and this was a truly amazing experience. While I will continue to focus on interior design projects, I hope to begin teaching a class or two in the city soon. I learned so much during this training, and I highly recommend the Kula program to anyone who wants to learn more about yoga and become a teacher. I am just getting started, and yoga has already transformed my life in so many ways. I am so grateful to all the dedicated and inspiring teachers who led us during the training, and especially to Nikki Vilella who managed the program. Keep reading for my reflections on the experience:Read More
Eco-Brooklyn's Green Show House highlights the best green building practices for brownstone renovations in the NY metropolitan area, and is the real home of Gennaro Brooks-Church. Gennaro is the founder of an innovative green contracting and design firm, Eco-Brooklyn, and he aims to turn New York green. I recently got to visit this very cool home located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and learn more about green building practices. Keep reading to see more pics of the space - including the amazing roof garden and luscious backyard with a 2-story treehouse!Read More
One trend I've noticed in design lately is that more and more clients want a simple, minimal bedroom. I think with the influx of new technology, it's more important than ever that the bedroom is a soothing and relaxing space - a sanctuary from the stress and chaos of the modern world. By stripping down to the bare essentials, you can eliminate a lot of the noise and distraction. While a minimalist look is not for everyone, it's a great way to make a strong design statement without spending a ton of money. When you are only purchasing a few items, you'll have more energy to really think about what you want in your space. Minimal doesn't have to be boring - choose objects that are clean and simple with interesting details. I've put together a few items that would work great in a simple bedroom. Keep reading for more details, and a few inspiration images featuring minimalist chic bedrooms.Read More
It was a long cold winter, but we finally made it! Spring is here, and New York City is in full bloom. A few months ago I was feeling blue due to Seasonal Affective Disorder. But I've been spending a lot of time outdoors lately, and it's amazing how invigorating this beautiful weather can be. The gray days of winter have been replaced with exploding blossoms of color, and the city takes your breath away at every corner. Like the trees, we all die a little each winter to be born anew in spring. This is the perfect season to let go of bad habits, and make room for good ones to bloom. Keep reading for 3 ways I'm starting fresh this spring:Read More
Check out some photos from a project I recently completed. The goal was to create a warm and inviting home for the client in this new-construction apartment. A striped entry wall invites you into the space. The living room is a soothing neutral tone while navy blue walls create a warm and cozy atmosphere in the bedroom. We selected clean, simple furnishings with a couple of vintage pieces to add some character. All photos were taken by my super talented sister, Lisa.Read More
I've been hearing a lot about coconut oil lately, and it seems like the whole world is going coco-crazy. This creamy and delicious all-natural substance is way more than just a cooking oil. It can also be used as a make-up remover, face wash, toothpaste, and moisturizer. I decided to give it a shot, and let me tell you my mind is blown! I purchased my first tub of coconut oil last fall when I signed up for the Awaken Your Health cleanse. I've used it a little bit for cooking, but I recently discovered that this versatile paste can be used for lots of other things too - including cleaning and skincare. I picked up a few tips from friends and bloggers that have totally changed my daily habits. Keep reading for 3 easy ways to incorporate coconut oil into your life:Read More
Last summer I wrote a post about my visit to Build It Green! Brooklyn, and I recently had a chance to check out their 2nd location in Astoria Queens. Build It Green! NYC is a non-profit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. They collect donations of unwanted building materials and furnishings, and sell them at discounted prices at their locations in Queens and Brooklyn. They have everything from appliances and plumbing fixtures to furniture and hardwood flooring. Keep reading to see some pics from their huge warehouse, and learn more about how you can support green building:Read More
Buying custom-made furniture is a great way to make your home unique and special while also supporting small businesses, artists, and craftsmen. With so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to start. The new CustomMade website is a good place to check out to find the right craftsperson for your project. CustomMade is an online marketplace that connects customers who want one-of-a-kind creations with professional and passionate makers. You can find everything from custom-made tables and chairs to jewelry and clothing. You can even propose your own custom project idea, and get estimates on how much it would cost to make. I've put together an industrial-chic dining room using pieces I found on the CustomMade website. Take a look:
1. Stained Glass Candle Covers - Starting at $50
Add some color to your tabletop with these beautiful stained glass candle covers. They have an open bottom and sit directly over a tea-light or votive candle. Made in Pennsylvania by artist John J Walker.
2. Octolight - Starting at $300
I love the simple lines and bold geometry of this vintage-inspired pendant light by Oblik studio, made with modern steel and welded bronze joints. It comes with a 60W Edison bulb, required hardware, ceiling canopy cover, wall plug and rayon vintage reproduction cord. You can customize your fixture in a variety of cool geometric shapes.
3. Custom Salt Cellar Carved Out of Stone - Starting at $110
These beautiful salt cellars are hand-carved by Robin Antar out of different colors of alabaster and polished to perfection. Each piece has a unique, organic shape, and adds a touch of sculptural beauty and stone texture to your tabletop.
4. Reclaimed Pine Joist Table - $3,750
This table is perfect if you are looking for a relaxed, industrial feel. The top is made with reclaimed pine wood from an 18th century New York City townhouse. The legs are made of 1" steel black plumbing pipe. These tables are custom made to order by Mark Jupiter of Brooklyn, NY, and ship in 12 weeks.
5. Contemporary Custom Upholstered Dining Chair - Starting at $495
This classic style dining chair can be customized to meet your needs. I think a beige linen chair with nailhead trim would look great with this dining room. Beige works well for a natural, industrial vibe, and the nailhead trim adds a touch of glam.
6. Recycled Sari Silk Rug Series - Starting at $4,590
These colorful, hand-knotted rugs are woven with Tibetan wool and recycled Indian Sari silk yarn. Available in custom sizes to meet your needs. The bold color and pattern brings warmth to the room, and hides stains well.
7. Reclaimed Barnboard & Custom Raw Steel Stools - $325
If you need to pull up an extra seat at the table, these industrial stools made by Ron Corl are stylish and sturdy. The seats are made with 100 year old reclaimed Ohio barn wood, and the legs are 1" square steel tubing. Great for your home, and durable enough for a bar or restaurant setting.
Big news in the world of IKEA kitchens! If you've ever purchased a kitchen from IKEA before, you may know that the AKURUM line has been their staple kitchen system for the past 20+ years. But this February they launched a brand new kitchen series called SEKTION - a versatile, modular system that can be customized for a variety of different looks. While the new SEKTION system is comparable in price to the AKURUM line, it is not compatible. The AKURUM line has been phased out, but you can still purchase replacement parts through the end of September.
I've always been a big fan of IKEA kitchens. The quality is pretty nice given the price points, and the cabinets can be customized in any style you like. You'd be surprised how many "high-end" kitchen designs feature IKEA cabinets. The downside to IKEA kitchens is that their customer service can be pretty spotty. There are lots of different parts and pieces you need to order, and it can be tricky to figure out everything you need. Keep reading to take a peek at the many new looks of SEKTION.Read More
Ooof! Last week was a doozy in New York City. We got pummeled with snow and slush and more snow. If you've been feeling blue, and think you might be going crazy - you're not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder aka S.A.D. is totally a thing, and it affects millions of people - especially young women - each year. The reduced levels of sunlight during winter months can affect your circadian rhythm, serotonin, and melatonin levels - causing you to feel irritable, hopeless and depressed. But hang in there friends - spring is right around the corner! Keep reading to learn how SAD affects me:Read More
Last week real estate blog, Curbed, celebrated small-space living with the first-ever Micro Week - a week full of stories and articles featuring some of New York's tiniest apartments. With housing costs on the rise, many New Yorkers are accustomed to sharing small spaces, and need creative solutions to the challenges of crowded city life. With urban dwellers in mind, NYFU aka "New York Functional Furniture" just opened a brand new showroom on 18th street in Chelsea. The company was founded a few years ago by a group of international designers who all ended up living in New York City. They've put together a unique line of furniture with lots of creative, multi-functional pieces. The sofa beds are streamlined and modern, and come in a range of color options. Shipping is free in New York and New Jersey, and items can be delivered in 48 hours! Keep reading to see pics from my visit to the brand new showroom, and a few of my favorite pieces:Read More
Have you guys heard about Blue Apron? It's a pretty cool service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to your home. Each week you receive a box of groceries with everything you need to make 3 delicious meals for 2 (or 4) people. I paid $59.94 for 1 week - which works out to $9.99 per meal, per person. Not bad considering these turned out to be super yummy, restaurant-quality meals. Plus, I usually ended up with enough leftovers for lunch the next day.
I was pretty impressed by the tastiness of the meals I whipped up, especially since my cooking skills are fairly remedial. I tried a bunch of new foods, and picked up a lot of different cooking techniques. It's more work than I care to handle every week, but you can cancel as often as you like. Once a month is ideal for me. My biggest concern is the amount of plastic packaging used for all the individual ingredients - supposedly it's all recyclable, but I hope Blue Apron will look into less wasteful packaging options for the future.
Overall, the concept is pretty mind-blowing to me, and it's especially helpful for busy New Yorkers - who know how grocery shopping in the city can be an epic task. I'm really bad at meal planning and grocery shopping, but Blue Apron makes it easy to cook new things. Want to know what I ate? Keep reading for the full scoop.Read More
The final step in Lisa's Bedroom Mini Makeover was to give her nightstands a little style refresh. Accessories are often overlooked, but these are the finishing touches that bring warmth and personality to your space. Shopping at a local thrift store or flea market is a great way to find really unique pieces without spending a fortune. For Lisa's room, I used a combination of items she already owned, and mixed in a few new items from the Park Slope Flea Market, Build it Green!, and Housing Works Thrift. Keep reading for all sourcing details, and I'll reveal the grand total costs for this 4 step bedroom makeover.Read More
A few weeks ago I showed you my sister Lisa's 4 step bedroom makeover. Today I'll be talking about Step 3 - DIY Lamp Shades. This is a super quick and easy way that you can customize your lamp shades with a little craft paint. I followed the instructions from this great blog "P.S. - I made this". A subtle ombre effect is a great option because it looks sophisticated, but it's hard to mess up. I'm not a particularly gifted crafter, but this requires minimal supplies and is totally doable. If you already have some shades to work with, it only costs about $5 for the paint and brushes. I did a pretty turquoise color, but there are lots of options that could look cool - sunset pink, golden yellow, or deep blue indigo. Have fun with it and make it your own! Keep reading for more details, pics, and instructions.Read More