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DESIGNTV WITH STEVEN G. – EPISODE 14

In this episode of DesignTV With Steven G., everyone’s favorite Miami interior designer shows a gorgeous piece of pop art and then gives tips on how to replicate the look in your own home.

OUR FAVORITE HIGH END INTERIOR DESIGN BLOG POSTS

As on almost every Friday, here are my choices for the best high end interior design blogs of this week. And this time it’s an especially fun bunch!

Click the headlines below to see each article.

Returning Home – Interior Design Shrink

Our blog is called The Psychology of Design, so how could we not love our newest discovery…a site called The Interior Design Shrink. This article touches on one of our favorite themes: Finding balance inside before creating beauty outside.

House Tour: Angela Dunn + Colin Radcliffe’s Gorgeous London Home

When we see an example of amazing quality interior design, we have to bring it to your attention. Take a look inside to see some of the best work we’ve seen in awhile.

Lisa’s Vegas Regret

Not only is Lisa Hochstein from The Real Housewives of Miami a client of ours, she’s funny, dramatic, and always interesting. Check out her blog here at Bravo before the launch of her new site Lisa’s World.

12 Deadly Decorating Sins

Houzz contributor Kurt Cyr really hits the nail on the head with this one.

Toilets 101

A hilarious article about something every home needs but not everyone likes to talk about.


THE MACROBIOTIC GUIDE TO HIGH END INTERIOR DESIGN

I was once friendly with a man who was very handsome, fit, and had a larger than life personality. He could make anyone laugh at the worst of times. I started to date him. Sadly,  soon after, he received a diagnosis that he had Stage 4 lung cancer.

His prognosis was bad. After watching him deteriorate from Chemo and radiation treatments I was determined to convince him to get off the conventional medical treatments and try macrobiotics.

I had read so many things about how people survived the worst of diagnoses and lived long, quality lives. I took off to the Kushi institute in Massachusetts. He was too ill to come along. I went through the program and was convinced further that macrobiotics was the answer. Not only for him but for myself as well.

Macrobiotics has improved my health and my personal and professional life in so many ways. Furthermore, it has improved my technique as an high end interior designer. I use the two principles of Yin and Yang to create quality interior designs (similar to the principles of Feng Shui). In fact, you could say Macrobiotics is Feng Shui for the body.

Macrobiotics incorporate an ever-moving relationship between opposites but complementary energies of Yin and Yang. The idea is to balance the energies— hard with soft, opening with contracting, expansive with inward.

The translation into quality interior design is quite easy: Balance the Light/dark, large/ small space, big prints/small prints. Once you understand the balance of the energy of all things, it will become easier to make decisions for yourself.

MAINTAIN BALANCE
When we balance our bodies with the correct foods our whole life improves. We become more balanced human beings, not needing so many conventional medications. Our thought process changes. We are not so hostile as a result of not feeling well (many of us don’t even recognize that we are not feeling well).

A more balanced, healthy society is a more peaceful society. It’s a more compassionate and loving society…less greedy and needy for things that do not serve us.

The same holds true for your environment, of which quality interior design is a part. Every item in a room, every line, should relate to each other in a balanced way.

PURGE TOXINS

Toxic food can lead to disease. Look around at all the cancer and newly labeled disorders we are giving our children and ourselves. Not to mention, the needless medications that are being prescribed.  This should be proof enough that something is not right. Most turn a blind eye.

A healthy, well balanced environment leads a good, long life.The same is true for your home environment. Clutter and poor lines lead to clogged energy flow, which leads to unhappiness and disharmony. When thinking about your home design, keep in mind the Yin and Yang principles.

Allow air to flow freely through the space. Plenty of fresh flowers and real plants help clean the air you breath with in your home. Balance your space so there is not too much of any one color. Use a well-balanced assortment of furniture.

We don’t need to fill every corner or wall. It’s OK to have free space. Let the positive energy flow through your home. Travel and collect things you love. Place the love in your home.Trust me, the colors do not have to match. Where there is love in an environment there is no room for toxic, negative, sick energy.

Wake up world, a new light is dawning. Like our bodies, when thinking about making quality interior design decisions, beauty can be important, but it’s the heath and well being of our homes that make the most difference.

Post your comments below. 


WHAT MY COUSIN MEADOW SOPRANO TAUGHT ME ABOUT INTERIOR DESIGN

Confession: Jamie Lynn Sigler, who played the character, Meadow Soprano on HBO’s hit drama series, The Sopranos, is my cousin.

I consider the series to be one of the most influential television dramas of our time (not biased). While having a relative be part of this television phenomenon is, admittedly, a pretty cool thing, it’s also kind of interesting to share the story of how she landed the role of a lifetime and how it has inspired my design sensibility.

My cousin had no idea what she was about to get herself into.  Jamie, being a talented theater singer/actress since the age of 7, was first called in to audition for the Meadow Soprano role, knowing little or nothing about the premise of the show.

In fact, she thought it might be about opera singers, something she was very comfortable with and encouraged to pursue. When she figured out what the role entailed, 16-year-old Jamie carried a slight edge of negative attitude because she felt she didn’t stand a chance. Ironically, it was that very attitude that won her the role.

Although The Sopranos went on to be a massive hit, it’s crazy to learn that the show’s creator, David Chase had a hard time convincing primetime TV networks that his script was a worthy creation.

FOX Network expressed interest but they decided to pass it up.  Eventually it was HBO that decided to fund the first pilot premier of the show.  Although HBO did not go through with it right away and placed the show on hold for several months, they eventually decided to produce the 13-episode first season.

Good move because The Sopranos was a major ratings success. Despite being aired on premium cable network HBO, which is available in significantly fewer American homes than regular networks, the show frequently attracted equal or larger audiences than most popular network shows of the time.

It is this very dynamic that gives me inspiration in my own life as an interior designer.  I think to myself, if David Chase had given up pitching his creation, he may never have experienced the greatest success of his life.  If Jamie hadn’t gone out of her comfort zone and taken a risk, she would have missed the most challenging and rewarding role of her life.

David Chase did not allow the fact that his script was not standard fare for the time keep him from carrying on his vision of what viewers would, in fact, relate to.  It was this raw account of human storytelling that gave way to what is now considered one of the best TV series ever.

QUALITY INTERIOR DESIGN DOESN’T EQUAL TRENDY

If anything can be taken from this is that the best strategy can be not following the trends.  Designing for what is thought to be the popular, one-size-fits all approach or what’s “in”, does not allow for real freedom of personal interpretation.  Many people are afraid to take risks for fear that it is not popularly accepted.

As a high end interior designer I encourage my clients to trust their own instincts and allow their own self-expression to reflect their personal style.  It is a main part of the designer-client relationship, to learn every client’s needs, wants and lifestyles to tailor fit their design to their specific way of life.

CHOOSE WHAT’S BEST OVER WHAT’S “IN”

Replace what’s “in” with what’s best for you. If you are not into straight, clean-line furniture, don’t feel pressure to have it in your home just because it’s what’s in fashion. You won’t feel comfortable.  Opt for equally stylish but more transitional lines that can easily fit into any quality interior design scheme.

The Sopranos didn’t appeal to everyone; it was viewed by some as an unrealistic (or at least, uncomfortable) view of the mob life.  Perhaps it didn’t have the glamour that some thought it should, based on previous mobster movies like The Godfather.  It was a show that was its own, it didn’t follow anything that had already been done, and not everyone understood this in the beginning.

In the end, quality interior design equals uncommon, tailor made, unique work that stands the test of time.  Frankly, sometimes that takes guts.

Look to my cousin Jamie-Lynn Sigler as an example. By stepping outside your comfort zone,  If you don’t follow what is widely accepted and trust yourself, you open the doors to new possibilities and accomplishments that you may never have experienced, had you not taken a chance and challenged yourself to do the unexpected. This applies to as much to interior design as it does to every other area of life.

Post your comments below.


STEAL FROM ART AND FASHION TO FIND YOUR HOME’S PERFECT LOOK

When I worked for an art gallery in a past life, we never thought about about current trends. It was always all about the story of each piece, how it evolves, and the placement of each item in a space.

Artists explore visual imagery by layering meaning and their personal reactions their two or three- dimensional surfaces. They are analytical, conceptual, creative, forward thinkers. They set trends rather than following them.

When I worked at Dior, it was a similar story—I was surprised to find that the fashion industry was less about to-the-minute trends than most people think.

“Fashionistas” look at fashion as an art. They see bodies as canvasses and are constantly at work on developing their own sense of style.

Now as a high end interior designer, I apply the lessons from art and fashion to my approach. Whatever role you play in making your home’s design come true, you could do worse than to look at these fields for inspiration.

FIND INSPIRATION ALL OVER

Armani’s classic clean lines and Zen approach is subtle and timeless.

Andy Warhol’s iconic graphics of famous people and shoes have influenced Dior collections.

The Greats reference their influences. I try to do the same when working with my clients.

Identify the artists and fashion designers who mean something to you and then apply their ideas to your living space.

TO GET STARTED

To use art and fashion to help create quality interior design, here are some things you can do…

1. Define who you are and your interests.

Are you a minimalist, traditional, eclectic or bohemian chic?

Do you like pop art, abstract expressionism or Italian Renaissance paintings?

2. Travel to new places…explore and absorb the experience and surroundings.

Is there a story to bring home to share? It could be a piece of art, on a print on a sofa or texture on a wall.

3. Immerse yourself in culture.

Art galleries and boutiques are always great places to learn about new artists and see the latest fashion and colors forecasts.

Adding new stories is like layering a room with history you create and that represent who you are.

This me at the Gagosian Gallery in Rome…wearing my everyday favorite, lulu lemon.

Namaste.

Tell us where you get your inspiration. Post your comments below.


“WE KILLED NOBODY THIS WEEK”

In this episode of DesignTV With Steven G., I talk about why animal prints are back. Find out how people are using them in their homes and high end interior design projects in a very 21st century way. No animals were harmed in the production of this video blog.

NOW BY STEVEN G

On this episode of Design TV With Steven G., we give you an inside look of NOW by Steven G. Interior Design Showrooms.

Let’s get started.


3 QUALITY INTERIOR DESIGN QUESTIONS

Every so often, we interview one of our designers to give you a behind-the-scene glimpse of how the magic happens.

Today we talk one of our premier interior designers, Sandy Fandre, who comes from the windy city of Chicago. After working for a decade for the  well-known architectural firm, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, she decided to move to the warmer climate of Florida.

IBSG is lucky to have her use her multiple talents and vision of clear, pure design for both residential and commercial projects.

IBSG: How does the use of color affect your design?

Sandy: To me, color is a means to an end.  Color allows us to achieve special effects and fulfill our client’s expectations of an overall ambiance.  To follow color trends and treat high end interior design as an extension of the fashion industry is just not taking advantage of the power that color yields.

I have always thought that it was wrong to refer to color schemes with a single color, like a favorite color as a child, when the most interesting things happen when you juxtapose multiple colors or play lights against darks, brights against subdued colors.

I studied color at Northwestern University, where the head of the Art Department had traveled to Germany to take a course on how to teach color given by Joseph Albers, who painted Homage to a Square.  There was a beautiful art book that was published by Albers to go with this course.  It was a very hands-on course, mixing paints and layering silk screened papers.

The object of the course was to demonstrate that color does not exist without adjacent colors changing it.  The same color will appear one way against one setting and be a completely unrecognizable color when used a different way, so how can you name or define it, if it is so elusive.

You can combine colors in such a way that they actually vibrate.  Accents can be calculated to the best advantage.  I have been playing with color ever since.  I love to use color to create a feeling of warmth, or peace, or excitement, or whatever the client wishes.

Homage to a Square, by Joseph Albers

A tranquil design is created with color, with a little passion thrown in.

A soft mix of warm inviting colors and patterns.

In the same residence, a more dramatic expression of the warm color scheme.

Purple in the master bedroom adds a sophisticated and elegant sense of a retreat from the chaos of South Beach.

IBSG: What determines the style of furniture you decide to use in a residence?

Sandy: As visual storytellers, quality interior designers rely on furniture as their words, their vocabulary.

This custom dresser was inspired by the beauty of the artistic pulls – the punctuation in the vocabulary of design.  The pulls cost over a thousand dollars, so they really should be regarded as artistic.

This master bedroom was designed to be light and airy.  The furniture floats.  The glass and lacquer nightstands are supported by the wall, an expensive coordination by the general contractor, glass fabricator, and millworker.  The glass and mirror in the room are treated as structural and are deceivingly durable and easily maintained.

This credenza was designed to add texture and an organic feel to a background that is peaceful and understated.

This custom commercial Wii cabinet for a club room is part of an interesting story with the simplest of elements.  The television bracket was the most extravagant expense – $500.  If we would have had a bigger budget we would have used similar brackets to float the cabinet, as well.

IBSG: What is the future of quality interior design, as you see it?

Sandy: Design is changing most rapidly in the field of lighting, with ceilings and walls contorting and following the lines of the new expressions of light.  The possibilities are exciting.

The sculptural ceiling defines the furniture layout below.  It is no accident that the area rug is the color of a shadow of the ceiling above.

Light as art

Sculptural light fixtures, lights designed in studios as art, floating in space.

When sconces would disturb the lines of the space, a light slot in the mirror meets the need to see.


THE BEST HIGH END INTERIOR DESIGN BLOGS OF THE WEEK

As usual, we bring you our favorite other high end interior design blog posts so you don’t have to go out and find them yourselves.

Click on the headlines below to check out each article! And enjoy!

Double Decker: Weekend Retreat High Above Hardy’s Bay

We couldn’t do what we do without architects. Check out this example of how a fabulous architect completely transformed a home that seemed past its prime.

The Next Big Thing In Miami

As a Miami interior designer, I feel lucky to be part of the world’s hottest…and most high quality interior design scene. This post details a new development that is the best of everything Miami has to offer.

Biodegradable Lamp Grows From Mushrooms

There are few things more important to executing a premium interior design project than the furnishings–large and small. So you can imagine how much fun I had with this article about a design company that actually grew an attractive table lamp…from mushrooms.

I’m Still Here Just Away

Those of you who read our blog regularly know what fans we are of Slim Paley. So we couldn’t have been more relieved when we came across this article telling us her reasons for her recent pause on posting new material.


HOW TO FIND THE ONE PIECE THAT WILL PULL YOUR ENTIRE HOME TOGETHER

Miami interior designer Steven G. talks about why the one piece you need to make your home really work is usually not where you expect it. Then he tells you how to find it.