You Say Minimalism, …I Say Maximalism…?

Ok, truth be told, I appreciate both.  Last year, I read and blogged about The More of Less, a great book by Joshua Becker about the joys of Minimalism.  It really inspired me! Recently I watched a great documentary, Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which I highly recommend!  It runs just a little over an hour, you can find it on Netflix.  As a result of this documentary, I am editing yet again; it must be a Spring thing!

However, anyone who knows me would probably not think “Minimalist”.  I always tell my friends minimalism means different things to different people.  Some people might think 6 pairs of shoes is excessive, some may think 6 is the bare minimum.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Yet, Maximalism in design is on the rise!  Interiors are definitely becoming more layered and colorful.  Maximalism’s motto is “more is more”.  I am ok with this idea, but just remember there is a big difference between maximalism and clutter!  Be careful!  A successful Maximalist room is well planned, with special attention to mixing patterns , colors, and styles.
Here are some of my favorite minimalist and maximalist rooms:


Manual 17



How would you describe your decorating, more minimalist or maximalist?  I would love to know!


Did you miss “1865 City House” last week?

I was not able to post last week and I hope some of you noticed! “1865 City House” blog just celebrated a 2 year anniversary! It’s a wonderful creative outlet for me and I always enjoy hearing your comments! As a result of changing the format a couple times I have lost some of my favorite followers and posts. The likes of “Black is My Happy Color” and “Does this Sofa Make Me look Fat” are lost forever! I hope my followers are not lost as well. If you like the blog, please hit the “Follow” button and receive it in your inbox. If you already follow, please share it with a friend. Thank you!  Have a great day!

Designed for Success

I have always been fascinated with the connection between interior design and it’s affect on how’ve we feel and act. There are many reasons for these feelings and none of them are by accident. Volumes have been written about the psychological affects of color on behavior, and countless studies on how well-designed spaces affect productivity and cognitive thinking. Yet many people think they have to wait until they are successful to plan a great work space or office. The opposite, however, is true. It is a fact; our surroundings affect the way we feel and perform.

So what makes a great work space?

1. Good lighting, natural is best, with overhead and task options.
2. A functional desk, bigger is better.
3. Lots of storage and display space.
4. At least one window, a beautiful view is ideal.
5. Supportive seating.
6. Ample storage.
7. Absence of clutter.
8. Room for guests.
9. Artwork that inspires.
10. Plants and flowers that bring the outdoors in.

Natural Light

Plenty of Storage

Room for Guests
Whether your work space is a home office or a public space, paying attention to the details that are unique to who you are and who you aspire to be are essential. I have a good friend who’s mantra is “Dress well to test well”. I apply this concept to design as well. “Design well to perform well”. The last thing you want is a mismatched and cluttered space in any room you spend time in, especially not in a space where you need to be focused and creative. Have a design plan and create a space you feel great in. Work will be a pleasure and your success will follow.

Thats So 2016!

We are now happily welcoming Spring! A time of renewal, and also the perfect time for updating our homes!  A common concern when redecorating is what’s “in” for 2017, and what’s “out” (so 2016!).  So here’s the inside scoop:

So Hot!

Brass.  Not the shinny stuff from the 80s but the good old stuff with some weight and patina:


Brass is where it’s at!

Jewel Tones.  More Russian Tea Room and less Scandinavian Cafeteria:



Mixed cabinets and materials in kitchens. Kitchens have never been more eclectic!


Mix it Up!

Graphic tiles.  Why do subway. When you can create a dramatic statement!



Statement light fixtures. These are the jewelry for your rooms, have fun!


Make a Statement!

What’s So 2016:

Ombré, it was fun while it lasted:



Cowhide, I never understood this.



Rosy Metallics, they just don’t mix the way the other metals do:



Excessive Mid Century Modern, moderation in all things.



Chevron.   So overdone!



Naturally we all want to be current, but always remember:


So true!

When Bad Decorating Happens to Good People

As an Interior Designer people are always asking me if I mentally redesign homes I visit, even when I am not working.  Of course, the answer is yes.  I just can’t help it. There is always great potential in all the homes I visit, and many frankly are just perfect.  However, when things aren’t working it is because of one of these common mistakes:

  1.  Furniture pushed up to the walls.  Better to arrange furniture in conversational groupings.


2.  Rugs too small.  Better to have large scale rugs that anchor conversation.


3.  Lamps too small. Lighting should be layered, with the ability to dim and brighten, but attention to scale is a must.


Lamp heights too different. Ideally the base of the shade should be at eye level for reading.  Do layer your lighting. Every room should have more than one light source. Dimmers are an easy install and give a lot of flexibility. Have several lamps providing task and ambient lighting.


4.  Art work and mirrors too high. The ideal center of an art piece or painting should be 54 inches from the floor.  If you are hanging a grouping the center of the group should be at the 54″ mark.


5.  Seat heights too different. Best is to keep the range of seating to a difference of two to three inches.


6.  Occasional tables too high or too low in relation to height of chairs, sofas, and beds. A practical consideration. Similar heights allow for easy access with cups and glasses.


7.  Window treatments too long/short.   Just like pants, they need to be the correct length.


8.  Absence of focal point. Essential for drawing the eye into space.


9.  Lack of visual flow from room to room. Ideally the room colors should compliment one another. Some think of this as a cross pollination type idea. For example, red room with green accents and a green room with red accents.


Congratulations!  Follow these guidelines and your rooms will be perfect!

  • image


Branching Out

I am so glad February is a short month.  No offense to all the February birthdays, the only redeeming aspects of this dark and cold month actually, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for having your birthday in February.  Aside from the birthdays I have little to look forward to and just do a countdown to March 1st.  Really, I wish I could just hibernate.  Maybe Florida next year!

February is also the month I miss my garden the most!  I start dreaming of tulips and daffodils.  While waiting impatiently for this glorious event, I like using branches and twigs in lieu of flowers to bring the outdoors in.   You can collect them on your nature walks or purchase them at a craft store.  Branches can be interesting, they add a sculpture like quality to any lonely corner patiently waiting for summer’s gladioli or peonies.

Here are some of my favorite arrangements:




And if your want to really “branch out” and take it to the the next level here are some great branch ideas:




Hope you have fun “Branching Out”  and remember, spring is just around the corner!



My New Favorite


Recently I was in NYC for the weekend.  Each time I visit I like to stay in a different part of town and explore.  This time, a somewhat new hotel came up on my search called The Edition.  Located near Madison Square Park, it is the original Met life building, which was once the tallest building in NYC.  I love historic buildings that have respect for the past, but also incorporate a modern vibe.  The perfect mix of past and present, if you will.  The building is distinctive with its clock tower and gold dome.  I was so happy with this hotel, I can’t wait to go back!

This hotel hit all my interior design boxes and then some!  I especially like the play of dark and light woods through all of the hotel.  Much the same way the mix of metals like silver and gold can make fashion more modern and approachable, this mix of woods presents a very modern vibe.

lets start with the lobby:


So simple, so elegant!

Across from the lobby, is a lounge and bar.  It is mostly candlelit in the evening and the sound system and music selection are amazing!


At the end of the lounge is a cozy sitting area and a curved staircase leading to the second floor:


Once upstairs, many wonderful choices:






Dinner – amazing dinner!

And last but not least:


A room with a view!  Also, these wonderful curved ceilings.  Beautiful to look at and designed to absorb sound.  Very beneficial as all the flooring is a light wood, not carpeting.  As a germaphobe, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!

In a way it’s too bad this amazing hotel is in the city with so many fun things to do – I really didn’t want to leave.  If you are in the city, I definitely recommend it.






Care to Hygee?

Funny how you can live your whole life and never hear a certain word, then out of the blue it seems you are hearing it everywhere.  In fact you realize the bookstore has whole display tables on the subject.  How could I have missed this you may ask?  In my case the word is “Hygee”.

Here is how it started.  I was at a Christmas party last month when a friend mentioned she was visiting Copenhagen and looking forward to hygeeing.  Excuse me? I said.  She then explained it was a lovely custom of spending a relaxed time with friends and enjoying the simple pleasures of the season.  And just in case I am not the last person on the planet to know this word and/or custom, here is Wikipedia’s take on Hygee:

Hygee is a Danish and Norwegian word with a unique definition. “Hygge” as a noun includes a feeling, a social atmosphere, and an action.  The word is also used in compositions such as “Julehygge” (Christmas-hygge). “Hygge” is also a verb, e.g. “Lets hygge”; and as an adjective, e.g. “A small, hyggeligt house with grass on the roof.”  

The noun “Hygge” includes something nice, cozy, safe and known, referring to a psychological state. “Hygge” is a state where all psychological needs are in balance.

Sounds lovely right?  Interested in what it takes to have the full Hygee experience?

Here is the short list:

A fire, the bigger the better.



Candles, lots!


Friends and loved ones.


Cozy blankets and comfy chairs.



Lots of warm sweaters and soft flannel.



Delicious comfort food.


Enthuastic cooks.


And wine, lots of wine.

So there you have it.  A simple plan to make it through a cold February.

BTW Hygee parties are becoming all the rage.  Any ideas for a good play list?


Paint Magic

Yes, I know I said I would stop painting furniture, and I did mean it at the time. However, the days are long and paint is cheap.

Here is my latest project’s before:


I have had this curio forever.  I like its slim profile and mirrored back. What I didn’t t like was the way it blended right in with the wall. So of course my happy color “black” to the rescue:

img_2850  img_2853

The hardest part was remembering how to put the hinges back on. I recommmend taking close up photos before disassembly. Also, having a partner helps when rehanging the doors. Trust me, it’s difficult, but not impossible (quite hilarious actually) hanging the doors by yourself.



Good luck with your next project!

Colors for 2017

Benjamin Moore and Pantone both recently announced their picks for color of the year.  Benjamin Moore’s pick is “Shadow”: deep and moody from the purple family.  Pantone’s pick is “Greenery”: lively and rich from the green (duh) family.  How can this be you may ask? Two colors of the year?   Well, while different, they do have some similarities.   Both are beautiful jewel tones.  Just think of amethyst and emerald! They work beautifully together.

Let’s look at Shadow:

Amethyst, aubergine, shadow,  all beautiful soft muted colors! I love to use them all on interior walls and accents.  As a matter of fact I used a very similar aubergine for a historic show house a few years back:


It is a timeless color that can be historic or contemporary.  From a design perspective it’s a great backdrop for furniture and accessories.  Much the same way jewelery stores will use dark backdrops to display gems to their best advantage, this wonderful jewel tone does the same for your interiors.

Let’s look at “Greenery”.  Fresh as newly cut grass, full of promise.  Here is what Pantone has to say:


“Greenery”, also a beautiful jewel tone, is reminiscent of emerald, peridot, and tourmaline.  A timeless and elegant look:


These 2017 colors are absolutely wonderful and will go the design distance.  Use them boldly and with confidence!