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Project Sneak Peek: CALISTA Superfoods

May 12, 2010
SPARK display preview

CALISTA Superfoods, NYC

So excited to share a few snapshots  that I took of a recently completed project in Manhattan, a design for a new healthy fast food restaurant  called CALISTA.   The design is fresh, modern and uses sustainable materials to evoke a sense of health and well-being.

This location is on Lexington Avenue between 82nd & 83rd – stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.  And, of course CALISTA delivers so check out their tasty menu and order on-line.   Next location on 49th & 2nd opening in June!

More photos coming soon!


CALISTA Superfoods, NYC


BRAHMIN Handbags: Atlanta Photos + Design Drawings

May 4, 2010

BRAHMIN storefront | Atlanta, LenoxBRAHMIN storefront | Atlanta, Lenox

[click images to enlarge]

I’m really excited to finally be able to share some photos and design drawings of this retail design project that has recently completed.   The client is BRAHMIN, a family-owned handbag company with design, operations and manufacturing headquarters in Fairhaven, Massachusetts [continue reading here].

BRAHMIN is expanding and the store concept was to create an elegant space that blends modern lines with traditional elements and rich materials to echo the quality and craftsmanship of the handbags.  The new design will establish a standard for the brand and set the tone for future stores.  This was such a fun project made even better because it was a creative collaboration between my design firm, MANDARINA STUDIO and MDG Brand Innovation.

The BRAHMIN store at Atlanta, Lenox had their Grand Opening event last Thursday [see photos] and the Dallas Grand Opening event is scheduled for May 13th.  Please stop by to say hello if you are in Dallas – I’ll be there!

BRAHMIN Atlanta: Floor Plan | MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

BRAHMIN Atlanta: Floor Plan | MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

The footprint of the store presented a challenge because it was divided into two segments with a narrow opening between the two areas which could have made the store feel disjointed.  The final Floor Plan above turns this into a positive feature by creating a long display wall that joins the two areas – this not only directs the traffic pattern and leads shoppers to the rear of the store, it also creates a bit of drama as the store and collection is slowly revealed to the customer.   The new collection is displayed in the front of the store while the rear is for the classic collection.

BRAHMIN Atlanta: Design Elevations Sheet 1 | MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

BRAHMIN Atlanta: Design Elevations Sheet 1 | MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

BRAHMIN Atlanta: Design Elevations Sheet 2 | MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

BRAHMIN Atlanta: Design Elevations Sheet 2 | MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

BEFORE: Storefront, Atlanta Lenox

BEFORE: Storefront, Atlanta Lenox

The BEFORE storefront above has a glass corner that reveals the entire store from the mall.  The new design in the AFTER image below has a solid corner clad in elegant stellar white marble slabs.  The effect reinforces the idea of mystery and slowly unfolding the store to pique the interest of shoppers.

AFTER: New BRAHMIN Storefront

AFTER: New BRAHMIN Storefront

Please stop by if your in Atlanta, we’d love to hear what you think of the store design and the wonderful BRAHMIN handbags!!

AFTER: New BRAHMIN storefront, North Side

AFTER: New BRAHMIN storefront, North Side

store photography source: BRAHMIN

Gray + Gold

March 23, 2010

A gray + gold color palette for an interior is sophisticated and timeless.  I can envision an entire home in this palette – of course, varying the values and combined with rich textures and finishes.  One could also incorporate an additional accent color if desired but it’s definitely not needed.

Love the style of this room – and the chevron pattern wood flooring is fabulous!

Pale cool gray walls and drapery are warmed up by the gold tones of mirror and wood.

Crisp. Fresh. Warm. = perfect bedroom.

[note: I would be a little scared of those mirrors while sleeping]

A neutral palette of  grays is relaxing – the accents of gold add sparkle and a bit of drama.

Gray washed woods and gray carpet are refreshed

with yellow lamps and gold chair upholstery.

Relatively formal dining room yet the colors impart a laid back, subdued vibe.

Ok, it’s not quite ‘gold’  but I love this yellow door with the gray painted brick!

This Manhattan living room by Nate Berkus (I believe) for Billy Joel is

gorgeous and classic with a modern feeling.  Love it.

The color scheme can also be done high contrast and be quite bold.

images: this is glamorous, elle decor, elle decor, decorno,
willow decor, ?, domino via flickr, domino via flickr

Mirror, Mirror

March 21, 2010

I absolutely love introducing mirror, especially antiqued, into the kitchen.  Beautiful as a backsplash, it adds depths to a space and is also practical since it’s easy to clean.

Dramatic and glamorous as a backsplash and countertop!

[especially when paired with black lacquer cabinetry a la Miles Redd]

Adds depth to a small space.

Fresh and charming – also love the double height glass cabinets here.

Chic and elegant inserted into panels of cabinet doors in this beautiful kitchen.  I adore this kitchen and actually have this image filed away as inspiration for my own one day….it has many of my favorites elements including:

crisp white cabinetry of which I don’t think I would ever tire.
carrera marble countertops and full height backsplash.
three different types of cabinetry hardware – bin pulls and  rectangular pulls in polished nickel and I believe I spy crystal pulls up top!
wide plank wood flooring.
wide stainless steel hood with display shelf above [notice only two items are carefully placed like sculpture and this is not full of stuff!]
the only things missing are some great pendant lights or chandeliers [I’m obviously not a serious chef because I’d probably swap out the hanging pot rack for the lighting!]

Images: Southern Living, Miles Redd via HGTV, Miles Redd via NY Social Diary, Domino, Decorati.

My Youngest Client [a little girl’s room]

January 31, 2010

Finally, after a long break from blogging, I’m back!   Sorry for the long lapse but I’ve been so busy with some exciting projects and traveling A LOT between NYC + Boston which I will tell more about on upcoming posts.   For this post, however, I thought it would be fun to share some details of a current project: the bedroom design for my youngest and dearest client, Lily [my niece], age: 2 yrs 3 months.  Lily is ready for her first ‘big girl’ room including a twin bed!  She  is vacating her baby nursery to free it up for her new soon-to-be baby sister [due: july 2010.  name: TBD].   Below are the Design Boards.

[click images to enlarge]

The concept was really one of color that was inspired by the headboard fabric and combines varying values of lilacs and blue.   It was important for the room to feel childlike and whimsical, yet chic and feminine.  And really important to the client’s mom [my sister] that the room be able to grow with Lily and take her into at least her early teens with minor modifications.  Here are the items on the boards – going clockwise from top left corner:

Design Board #1:

1.   The bed will be a custom upholstered daybed designed by MANDARINA STUDIO done in the inspiration fabric, a colorful print that includes giraffes called Echino by Etsuko Furuya.

2.   The next four fabrics are for the duvet and banding on window treatments, bolster pillows, chair upholstery and pillows.  All fabrics by Schumacher [one of my favorites].

3.   Chest of drawers from Bungalow 5,  the light blue is so pretty and a little more fun and unexpected than white.

4.  Window treatments will be custom drapery panels done in a simple white cotton with a decorative banding on the leading edge and bottom of panel in the same fabric as the duvet cover.  The panels will have pinch pleats and hung with rings on a drapery rod [either a white painted wood or satin nickel].  Underneath will be flat roman shades in the same fabrics with decorative banding.

5.  Bedside tables from Arteriors Home [another favorite, they have great lighting too].

6. The sheeting will be crisp white cotton percale with either blue or lilac embroidery.

Design Board #2:

7. Lamps by Christopher Spitzmiller.  May change the shades to white drum style and customize it with a grosgrain ribbon trim.

8.  Dandelion Pendant light by Moooi because I like to throw in something to set things off a bit – and it’s important to expose my niece to contemporary design.  Plus, it is absolutely dazzling when lit!

9.  Eiffel Bookcase from Argington has a clean design and tons of concealed storage.  A very functional and attractive piece – my sister loved this.

10.  Moroccan poofs in lilac – I’ve used these before and kids love them.   Also great for extra seating or footstools for adults.  Add nice pops of color.

11.  I scored a chair similar to this style at a local antiques shop and having it reupholstered in the Popover fabric by Schumacher.

12. Area rug is Madeline Weinrib’s Ikat with Boarder.

Still working on the artwork but will post when it’s finished.

Home Design Tips {7 Do’s and Don’ts}

December 4, 2009

As an interior designer, I am often asked for design tips so I have put together this list to address some of the most common mistakes that people make in their home.  Are you guilty of any of these?

Point 1:

  • Don’t use furniture that is too large for the space.  This will make the room feel cramped and smaller.
  • Do use furniture that is appropriately scaled for the space. This not only makes a space feel larger but enhances it and is also more attractive.

Point 2:

  • Don’t use only one type of lighting.
  • Do provide flexibility. Use a variety of lighting types including table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, chandeliers, pendants, etc.   Install a dimmer on each.

Point 3:

  • Don’t buy all furniture from one catalog or chain store. It is not only boring and unimaginative but significantly increases the likelihood that your family room will look identical to your neighbor’s.  In addition, avoid purchasing “sets” of furniture.  Using a bedroom set or living room set  is a tired and dated approach to furnishing a home.
  • Do mix pieces of different styles, periods and/or price points.  Create a customized and unique home.

Point 4:

  • Don’t install granite countertops in the kitchen. Sorry, I know many of you have this and that’s part of the problem – it’s everywhere!   It is a fine choice but predictable and not the only option.  (I am not suggesting to tear out your newly installed granite counters but for those planning a remodel, please see the next bullet point).
  • Do consider alternatives before going straight for granite. Some other materials include recycled glass, soapstone and marble (yes, marble.  I know that you’ve heard it stains so please read this.)

Point 5:

  • Don’t forget the foyer. First impression. 
  • Do make it special and memorable.

Point 6:

  • Don’t place the flat screen TV in the living room. If you must, don’t showcase it as though it is artwork.
  • Do highlight other features of the living room.  A focal point could be a fireplace, art piece or cozy conversation area created with a furniture arrangement.  Consider concealing the TV in custom cabinetry, furniture or recessed in the wall behind a painting.   Pay attention to scale and proportion and be careful not to purchase a giant media center that will dominate the space.

Point 7:

  • Don’t buy cheaply made furniture items  that you will toss in a year or two. This produces a huge amount of waste and negatively impacts the environment.
  • Do invest in quality vs. quantity. If budget is a concern, shop vintage and antique stores.  This is not only a cost-effective and easy way to be “green”, but a  great way to create a personalized  interior that won’t look like your neighbor’s.

I love comments and questions, so please feel free to leave them here or contact me directly through my website MANDARINASTUDIO.

Before + After: Brightwaters Residence + Color Tip!

November 12, 2009

I haven’t yet posted this project on my website, MANDARINA STUDIO, but thought I’d share “Before” and “After” shots here as well as a brief description of this recently completed residence on Long Island.  (Be sure to read my tip about color at the end of this post).

For this project, the goal was to create a formal  living room that is elegant yet comfortable for the family of four.  The client is a fashionable young couple with two small children so it was important to incorporate fabrics that are chic yet durable and cleanable.   The design and color concept was inspired by both the clients’ love of the sea and the homes proximity to Long Island’s Great South Bay.   Employing an analogous color scheme (colors that are adjacent on the color wheel) composed of  pale blues paired with lavender in accents such as the pillows, Moroccan poofs, rug and decorative objects, the effect is harmonious and sophisticated.

Living Room_Before

Living Room_Before

Living Room_After

Living Room_After

DESIGN TIP:   If you have just moved into a new home or are interested in redesigning your existing home and are stumped about color, I recommend finding an inspiration.  There are endless sources of color inspiration and here are my top 3 recommendations:

1.  ART:  whether you own it or it hangs in a museum, whether it be a painting or a textile, look to art for inspiration on color.  Artists are often color masters and combine colors in unique and/or beautiful ways.  Let them guide you.

2.  NATURE:  whether it be the Fall in New England, the Mediterranean seas or the desert landscape, look outside and be inspired by the colors of nature.  This does not necessarily mean to literally translate a beach theme with a nautical feel.  For example, while the project shown here was inspired by the sea, it does not feel “beachy” or “nautical”, instead it feels elegant and sophisticated.

3. YOUR WARDROBE: look inside your closet, what colors do you wear and buy most often?  How do these colors make you feel?  The colors you wear most frequently are the colors you love – think about how they make you feel and what you like about them.  Consider incorporating these colors into your home.

Of course, if you still need help, you can always contact me : )

Interior Design:  MANDARINA STUDIO

“After” Photography:  Tim Williams