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.


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 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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


I was trained as a fine arts painter.  As a painter I learned that how colors go together deeply affects the way one feels.  I also learned that artists that used the trendy colors and looks of the day never stood the test of time, no matter how popular they were at the moment.

The same is true for quality interior design.

Why is this?

It was while I was in art school that I first recognized that our modern world is a color controlled world.  I later discovered that it all comes down to marketing.  Why are all the cars red or muted green this year?  Why are so many items of clothing dark brown and dark blue?  Why does the color of the shirt I purchased last year look old?

Believe it or not, it’s all  due to a grand worldwide color and fashion marketing scheme that feeds itself off of its own change.  It is self-perpetuating and it has to be for companies to make back the massive money they spend.

Avocado green appliances?  Avocado cars!  Avocado clothing, carpet, fabrics….!  What was going on in the Seventies? People actually loved the way that stuff looked. Now they mock it.

Trendy colors are a trap.  Most people use them because they subconsciously want everyone else to see that that they are part of the current movement. This is no accident. It’s called branding. The companies that sell these products subtly guide your taste. It happens to all of us.

But beware once you buy into it.  Trends are already on their way out the moment they come in…by design.

You see, most fashion and colors are created by fashion forecasting companies.

When I worked in retail design, I learned that popular fashion and color results from a huge, well coordinated marketing endeavours.

In today’s world, most fashion doesn’t come from some cool kids down the street that show up in coffee shops wearing ethnic accessories.  Even the big time fashion designers are given a general color palate and an outline of the fashion direction for two years down the road.

This phenomenon goes well beyond clothing. The same process holds true for everything that involves color choices, which includes high end interior design.

If you buy fashionable clothing, that’s one thing.  Clothing is relatively inexpensive as compared to quality interior design.

That’s why instead of letting external trends determine which colors you choose, it’s essential to first look inside yourself.

At the core of every person there is a true authentic self that is not influenced by trends or fashions. I always encourage my people choose colors for your home from this place.It’s not always easy. For example, when a color is “not popular”, finding a fabric for your sofa or chair often becomes more difficult and making it all fit together requires more creativity.

It’s well worth it. Because your core is consistent, choosing your colors from that place will make your home timeless rather than trendy.

I would love to hear your thoughts on color trends.  Tell me what you think by posting your opinion in the Comments Section below.


On this episode of Design TV With Steven G., we give you an inside look of one of our most recent home design projects.

Let’s get started…


Steven G. shows us a piece of the kind of Art Deco furniture that Miami interior design made popular and ties it into his latest lesson that “it’s never black and white in quality interior design.”

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