Meeting the Design Icon: Chapter II with Vladimir Kagan

We met during life transitions. Vladimir Kagan was officially retired and delving into some collaborative design arrangements in a different industry sector such as the one he had with my boss giorgio. At that time, I was contemplating leaving my cush Fortune 500 life to honor the creative side of my being. This is when our paths converged in High Point, North Carolina from our respective homes in New York and Los Angeles.  At that time, I had no idea how prolific this man’s influence had been in the design world and that his business had hit a bid of a slump which led to his stint in High Point. End Chapter I.

Skip a few years and Chapter II picks up in Southern California. Every February, Palm Springs Modernism Week is full of incredible people and events. It is a week that I look forward to attending to meet new people, hear inspirational stories, swoon over the impeccable designs. This year, it was all about reconnecting with Vladimir Kagan. Elle Decor coordinated an evening of intimate conversation with Mr. Kagan featuring a slideshow presentation accompanied by stories of his career highlights from the past to the present. The evening was capped under the clear starlit, desert skies with food, libations, design enthusiasts and book signings by Mr. Kagan.

During the evening, I thought how amazing life is when it comes full circle. This year, I am still in the early stages of beginning another transition. I have returned to the interior/furniture design industry from my brand/marketing/ad industry days. Mr. Kagan is enjoying the fruitages of his return to his core business.  In his late eighties, he continues to see his brand grow with expanded international popularity and demand for his products. His innovative genius is an influence for the best-of-the-best in design across multiple disciplines.

Sometimes life provides you an opportunity to cross the same person’s path a few times. I’m grateful that Vladimir Kagan has passed my path a few times. This time with an autographed copy of his book (with a hug and kiss to boot) and memories of his delightful charm. What an inspiration for a beautiful life. His visit reminds me to keep designing, keep dreaming and continue to hold gratitude close to your heart. Everything is possible.






10 Interior Design Trends for 2016

Every year I read several publications’ annual predictions for the interior and fashion industries. This year, I decided to compile my own list of 10 design considerations that mimic cultural shifts plus ones that I would like to move forward.

Pastel Palettes

Pantone named two colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity, for the 2016 Color of the Year – an unprecedented move on the color giant’s part.  These colors are the exact opposite of last year’s Marsala, a deep burgundy hue.  In my opinion, these softer tones reflect the fragile, uncertain  state of humanity. The gemstone rose quartz is a symbol of love and blue is the anthem for calm. These two patels beckon a call to calmer, quieter times. In times of extreme violence and uncertainty, people seek peaceful environments and engage in more stress releasing activities such as yoga. Decorating with these colors will bring a soothing energy to your space.

Warm Metals

Rose gold emerged as the top metallic color of 2015.  Some think that its trend patina will fade, however; it, along with brass and copper, are showing staying power. In fact, metallic colors are becoming the new neutrals.  Black and gold are still popular, timeless options. This year, I believe that we will see more matte metallic finishes plus the mixing of metals in tone and finish (matte to shiny). Super shiny finishes, especially in silver,  for furniture and accessories will decline. Matte black kitchen appliances, like cars,  will spike on the trend radar.

Organic Shapes

The influence of more organic, geometric and curved shapes and materials (from the woods to the water) will continue to surface and become a preference over generic, linear lines. More reclaimed wood furniture will appear on the luxury end of the spectrum as will sustainable textiles. This trend correlates closely to the first one in regards to our pursuit of tranquility and comfort through the grounding and healing effect of nature.

Layered Patterns

One way for people to quickly change the look of their space is through patterned accessories. Pattern mixing is either a rhythmic composition of melodic playfulness and/or a harmonic juxtaposition of shapes, colors, scale and texture.  With some risk-taking artistry, you can create a big wow factor with a monochromatic palette, a metallic mix of matte to satin or a complex color/pattern combo to create vivid design stories.

The ’70’s

My favorite era, the lost days of disco, retains its staying power.  The furniture and design from this period was often bright, uniquely shaped and comprised of bold and daring patterns.  Sound familiar? We continue our lust for this high-voltage period with new interpretations of popular pieces and limited edition designs . The prices for furniture from this area continue to climb.  The innovation from this period continues to inform the world’s contemporary designers.

Custom Combos

In an effort to break free  from cookie-cutter decor, as well as lifestyles, an increasing number of people will embrace life with boldness.  This means, seeking high-style across all price points and combining styles, colors, textures that relate to their distinct personalities. I also see more people taking risks with their homes, owned or rented, to personalize their space. Another portion of this trend is the continuing thirst for unusual architecture which is driving desire, and pricing, for mid-century modern homes as well as furniture.  Although the catalog look is still popular, people are putting their own spins on the pages of their space by mixing design genres and styles to create their own.

Fashion Infusion

The latest fashion directions are finally exciting again.  Sculptured designs are strong in shape yet  graceful when interpreted in pastels.  A broad selection of color is laying the foundation for original patterns in complicated, visually riveting combinations These influences are slowly seeping into interior design.  I am seeing more independent designers reimagining pieces with the eye of  fashion designer through their selection of patterns, colors and finishing details.


A new generation of microdwellings are fueling ideas for multifunctional space usage and furniture design.  Some of these terrific ideas are so enticing that they are being adapted to suit larger spaces.

Made in…

Although China has dominated global manufacturing for decades, there is a continuing resurgence to return manufacturing to the United States or explore opportunities in Mexico and India. The made in and by story is emerging in importance. Stay tuned to these developments.

Quality vs. Quantity

People seek more artisan decor for uniqueness and quality of craftsmanship.  This mindset is always driving more people to purge the junk in order to splurge on one coveted, special item.  People want engaging and exciting shopping experiences and in return will pay for quality merchandise. As their appetite for poor to mediocre mass merchandise decreases, we will continue to see larger retail chains decline and a resurgence in shopping in locally-owned boutiques and continued patronage to specialty online purveyors. Remember, the story and experience are the keys to success.




Image credits (left-to-right; top-to-bottom): A Blissful Nest, Adara, Lemonoosh, House of Blu, David Adjaye for Knoll, MyDomaine,  Gaetayo Sciolari,  Room Decor, Clei, Aphro Chic Kilims, Etro



14 Modern Fireplaces for Your Space

It’s an ideal remedy for a chilly climate, melancholy mood and romantic rendezvous. A fire serves as a necessary and desirable feature in our lives from the moments on the beach to huddling around a hearth in sub zero temperatures.  Fireplaces as a home feature vary according to regions, environment (wood-burning bans), design styles and property value. Today’s technology and architectural designs allow for options beyond traditional wall, wood-burning units to include electric and ventless options.

A traditional fireplace has a few consistent features such as a hearth and mantle which are continually being redefined through design in modern interiors. You can mount a fireplace to your wall, incorporate glass and other materials around it (depending on construction) and center it in the middle of a room.

If you are considering a home with a fireplace, remodeling your existing one or building a custom space, here are a few globally-inspired design options that can define your space and bring you joyful flames.

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 Right click images for image sources (labeled when available).

Fireplaces, especially wood-burning units, require ongoing maintenance for functional and safety reasons. It is important to make sure that everything is in working order prior to fireplace season beginning.  This document provides safety tips for your review.


Gold + Glam + Glitter

A new year often brings our focus to modify our inner and outer spaces.  We look for insight to clearly light our new path.  We certainly look to light to illuminate our spaces.

Designers make lighting for a variety of tastes from reserved to bold.  I tend to the bold side of life, so this collection of lighting caught my eye. These pieces are from a collection of  gold and brass designs that bring a lot of glam and glitter to your space.  Enjoy this overview of statement lighting styles for transitional, modern and contemporary interiors and tips. First, let’s start with scaling for size.


Determining the size of a lighting fixture is simple. Just add the room dimensions together and represent that answer into inches. For example, if you have a 10′ x 10′ room, then the ideal lighting diameter is 20″.   Next, consider the height of your ceilings along with the functionality of a room.  The idea is to avoid having the chandelier appear to small or hang too low.

When installing sconces, it is important to consider the length and height of the wall and the furniture that the sconces might anchor in order to place these fixtures in a balanced space.


Waterfalls are simultaneously dramatic and graceful. Those characteristics are infused into the chandelier and pendant fabricated with brass and ribbed glass tubes.  The tubes reflect light and add that distinct touch of glamour and glitz with the natural element of grace.

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McQueen Throne

These lighting fixtures are inspired by the deceased British fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s eccentric imagination and majestic style. The hammered brass and gold plated  flowers are kissed with butterscotch-colored Swarovski crystal centers.


Empire State of Mind

The Empire style is a cascading chandelier with descending sizes of gold brass and crystals. The pendant and scone round out this collection. A fun lighting design feature that I’ve employed is to install multiple pendants at different lengths to create volume and visual interest in a room.




This year is deemed to be a year of grand, bold proclamations and achievements. Let this type of energy surround you internally and externally.

The lighting featured here is available to the trade. Please contact me for purchase inquiries.


Gianfranco Ferré: The Ultimate White Shirt Designer

Perhaps your mother shared the same advice with you as mine did with me; always have a white shirt in your closet.  My white shirts – T-shirts to blouses – have come to my rescue a few times throughout the years.  A woman’s individualized pronouncement of a white shirt and its many roles became Italian fashion designer Gianfranco Ferré’s focus for discerning women around the world.

The ubiquitous white shirt is appropriate and fashionable for nearly any occasion. The white shirt pairs perfectly with denim shorts to tuxedo slacks.  The white shirt serves as the quintessential symbol of authority in women’s and men’s business wardrobes.

Prior to becoming a commanding fashion voice and the perfector of the white shirt, Gianfranco Ferré was an architect. He traded concrete for women’s accessories and a few years later for silk. He always allowed the fabric to dictate the design lines. His white shirt designs explore the versatility, strength and grace found in silk organza, taffeta, chiffon and satin with occasional features of tulle and cotton.  The intricacy of his designs convince you that each is handmade and defy the logic (and reality) of mass production. His supreme attention to detail and his architectural approach led to his designing couture, serving as the Stylistic Director of Dior and earning him numerous, prestigious awards prior to his 2007 death.

This exhibit is a tribute to his genius and symbolic of contemporary Italian design. Each white shirt is fitted on a matte black torso. Each torso is suspended and anchored by circular hoops that connect to the top and bottom of the torso through silver-threaded cones. The lacquered black base of each row reflects the image of each shirt. The down and up lighting throughout the gallery is placed with laser-like precision. The exhibit is a wonderland of stark, yet warm contrasting black and white imagery in a mystical, moonlit fantasy.

Each white shirt’s fantastical design is explained through an inspiration statement and accompanied by his original sketch and fashion ads. He often combined design influences that originated from novels, uniforms, geometric-shaped objects, foreign cultures and films. He freely experimented with techniques and gave fluid, harmonious form to the duplicity of concepts such as feminine and masculine. He communicated his architectural expertise by precisely interpreting complex geometric patterns into minimalistic designs. He is to contemporary fashion what Frank Gehry is to contemporary architecture.  Can you imagine what a collaboration between them would have looked like? Perhaps, a pairing of their collective works could be the subject of a future exhibition.

Great design; timeless design is the most difficult design that few can master. Gianfranco Ferré proves that his design talent transcends boundaries. He exclaims, “For me designing is both a necessity as well as a passion.” The exhibition clearly articulates his words and these images are attempts to communicate his undeniable passion.



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The exhibition is designed by the Milan based Gianfranco Ferre Foundation and the Prato Textile Museum Foundation.





5 Fall Fab Home Fashion Pics

It’s that time of the year when the leaves and temperature chill to a slight crisp. It’s the perfect time to switch out our wardrobes and home decor.

Dressing up your interiors to accommodate the colors, mood and temperature of fall involves some simple solutions. Here is my list of five fall favorites:

Color Pops

One of the easiest, fastest and most versatile tricks that I implement to change a vibe is through paint. Paint to me is like an unlimited box of crayons. Try some darker, richer hues to accent a wall, small space or transform an entire room with a seasonal color picks. The opulent, luxurious colors in this palette sum up fall’s strongest selections. Versions of hunter green and yellow round out the dominant hues.



Sharp lemon to buttery yellow colors remind me of the gorgeous colors of changing maple tree leaves when fall summons. These colors dressed in a tactile textile like velvet, leather or suede are ideal for the season. Yellows can be surprising versatile with other colors including the fall color features above.




Some call it crazy and others a borderline addiction. I call it a complete a total passionate love affair with pillows. Pillows are like statement jewelry to your little black dress. Pillows can easily be changed to shift with your color palette, texture desires and the seasons. They can express themselves with pattern, texture and words. Try a few of these pillows on your furniture or bed to add some additional luxury and warmth for the fall season. This Mongolian lamb fur, available in real or faux choices, remain one of my seasonal preference options.


Oversized Throws

An oversized throw equates to an all-day invitation to cuddle. This large, hand knitted style is one of my favorite and can work in casual to transitional decor tastes.


Area Rug

You know you like it. So do millions of other people. The feeling of wriggling your toes and shuffling your feet in a pile of soft shag can feel like a little slice of heaven. Select an area rug with a sense of humor. A vibrant rug in a geometric pattern is a perfect choice to ward off cooler weather  cabin blues.


Of course, you can customize your fall decor with images of nature, holidays and other musings. The foundational key to great design is to honor your individuality and live authentically.




10 Modern Tile Trends To Get Right Now

Its alluring and mesmerizing artistic details and designs flow like the rhythm of well-penned prose. Tile adorns ancient and contemporary residential and commercial architecture, both on the exterior and interior, around the globe. Tile design details aesthetically translate cultural nuances and uniqueness. Tile dazzles doorways and punctuates walls like symmetrical sculptures or abstract paintings.

Ancient artists formed tile out of clay and created decorative impressions prior to drying. Hand-painted details and glazes, if optioned, were applied afterwards, much like today. It is said that tile design achieved perfection and prominence by Persian artisans. Exquisite tile designs from that period and throughout that part is Asia are readily found in the study of decorative arts. The decadent, sacred geometry tile designs found in Islamic art still radiate with people today across all cultures. Tile’s reach extends to gracing Egyptian pyramids and enchanting Mexican home facades.

Its versatility, beauty and durability are the essence of its enduring appeal. These attributes open the spectrum for abundant options in design, color, pattern, shape, size, texture and materials;  each element informing the other.


If you can dream it, it can be done. What is currently trending are tiles in vibrant colors, retro hues, metallics and neutral colors made from some of the innovative materials like stainless steel an leather. When choosing your tile colors, consider the flow of those colors with the surrounding paint and/or wallpaper, the flooring,  plus the flow of colors from that room to surrounding rooms.


Innovative technology allows for a wide range of materials such as wood, acrylic, river-rock, porcelain, aluminum, cork, cement, glass and leather. Just like wallpaper, the rules of the application and removal of tile are far less restrictive. Look for more materials and the advent of  wood and leather to tile a space.


There are so many fresh shapes that offer symphonic compositions. You will continue to see the more advanced geometrical shapes like hexagons and polygons that allow for interlocking pieces that offer structured and free-flowing stories. Consider the repetition of shapes in other room decor including furniture, textile patterns, flooring, etc.


The tactile charm of traditional clay or ceramics is available in different forms like leather, cork, river rock and other materials. The 3D revolution also provides a foray into a playground of new textures that accommodate new colors, shapes and patterns.


Traditional florals, lines, circles, fruit, icons and landscapes are just some of the patterns that are being redefined for modern times. It is customary to see tiles in from previous centuries that tell stories about indigenous environments, cultural celebrations or daily life. The same holds true today including more story lines with clever presentations in lines, circles and symbols. As with printing on paper or other substrates, some patterns are embossed or debossed to create a different dimension. Today’s patterns include playful prints from fun color-blocked options to intricately stunning arrangements that look like murals or wallpaper. You will continue to see people select bold patterns that are distinct representations of their style.


Most often trims, borders and liners, moldings and cornices accent tiles like matting and a frame complements a painting. Finishes are also a part of the visual dialogue that can enhance your design desires.

Grout is keeping in step with these advances and is becoming a design detail on its own. You can design with a monochromatic theme by choosing grout that is the same color as the dominant color in your tile (the one consistently close to the edges), choose a contrasting color  grout for visual effect or even add other tile elements like glass to decorate grout lines for maximum glamour.

Tile and wallpaper now share similar traits of offering stunning design details with more flexible application and lifelines. Take advantage of these technological advances to distinguish your space. As with all other choices in your space, check on maintenance options to select the right mix of elements that work for your lifestyle.

Tile lends itself to limitless design stories by combining all of the above elements in various scales, arrangements and places. Enjoy the diversity and splendor, including eco-conscious options, of trend-setting tile options for your décor. Tile gives you a broad creative range, like an art installation, that shares your stories with an infusion of soul and style.










9 Ways to Dramafy Your Ceiling

When is the last time you looked up at your ceilings? Are they plain white? Do they feature an outdated painted motif? Or, heaven forbid, are they still popping corn?

Ceilings are such a fabulous, untouched surface in most spaces when they could be a crown jewel of style and design to frame your rooms. You can make your ceilings come to life and punctuate your style with some attention and creativity.

Get inspired with these designs that include paint, stencils, wallpaper, tile, wood and more to decorate your room.



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