Monday, August 20, 2012


What comes to mind when you hear someone talk about modern interior design? Cold, uncomfortable surfaces, white walls, dark floors, and unbearable furnishings?  Yeah, you might not be far off the mark there, but the first thing that usually pops into my head is how expensive many of the modern trends have become, and I'm not exactly sure why.  Designing homes in New York feels worlds away from my clients in sunny, mid-century modern Southern California where terms like minimalist and simple are as different as Bonjoir and Hola.  In a quintessentially modern dwelling in Southern California, for example, to be a minimalist often means to place nothing in the space if it doesn't serve a purpose in the overall design.  In New York that could mean simply removing one or two of the 30 animal busts hanging in the hunting room of an upstate estate.  So, when asked to help a west coast transplant design an upstate New York cottage into a simple, chic, modern space, I had to slide off my garden clogs and slip back into a more modern way of thinking.  One of my favorite retail stores in LA for modern furniture is Design Within Reach (which always makes me laugh because the prices are so ridiculous, only about 1% of the population can actually reach into their wallets to pay for this stuff)!  Because our modern dollars don't stretch as far as we'd like them to, I had to be creative with this relatively tight budget.  The bottom photo is a dining set from Design Within Reach, where the table costs a whopping $5,300 but for $230 (including shipping) I found a similar table at and had it shipped in less time than it took my client to pick her jaw up off the floor!
A MODERN SIDEBAR: My clients budget wasn't the only tight thing this week I had to work with, her schedule was just as challenging.  After closing on her cottage she wanted to have the entire place set up, from tip to toe, in two weeks.  If you've shopped for furniture lately, you know many retailers can take up to 12 weeks (or more) for custom pieces.  To meet the modern demands of busy people, furniture stores have created new lines ready in less time.  Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel (and Crate and Barrel's modern sibling, CB2) have "quick ship" pieces that ship in less than two weeks, Room & Board has similar offerings,  Ethan Allen has a new "Express" line of more modern pieces that are available in a week.  Weather your in a hurry or just looking for a good deal, slow down, take a deep breath and do your research.  Great deals and fabulous pieces are within reach!