Even on a Cloudy Day You Can See Manhattan



Just started work on a lovely apartment in a Montclair building constructed in 1901. The large windows bring bounteous light and offer an unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline. There are charming details like the stained glass above the entry to the living room, but the tall ceilings, traditional details and that knockout view make it special. Now that I’ve measured I will begin imagining the design, partnering with my sophisticated, knowledgeable clients.


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Moving Right Along

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Plans have been approved, orders have been placed, and it’s time for the design to start taking shape. The family room, featuring an octagonally shaped cove ceiling, is being painted in a high gloss color to reflect the recessed light around the open molding. The result will provide a welcoming glow for family gatherings.

The scratched and faded wood floors are being refinished throughout the house. Here, we’re deciding on the stain for the dining room. Every home is different, so we have to see how several stains look in the space. We chose the option with less of a red tint because the existing floor already has a reddish tint. As time goes on the red would become even more prominent. The process of refinishing is intensive—sanding, cleaning, resanding, staining, with 3 coats of oil finish varnish.

Next we install the carpets and window treatments…

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Water Worlds




It’s pool time in the Northeast, a client is thinking of installing one, so I was checking out some options when I came upon these photos. Not impressed by the décor but very impressed by the pools themselves. For underwater ballet you can’t beat the see-through version. Infinity pools are common these days, but the other two pictures are interesting variations. One is fitted to an elevated space like a tailored suit, while the other unites the pool with the surround seamlessly, imparting a restful, Zen-like ambience.

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From Night to Day



My client’s daughter’s room is starting to take shape. What had been a fairly dark, sad room is now upbeat, with bright blue walls, a soft white carpet and gleaming white ceiling. The bed frame is in, and when the bedding and lighting arrive, it will be a lively, cheerful place for a teen to hang out.


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Cozy Manhattan Pied à Terre





File this under jobs I wouldn’t turn down: A triplex co-op atop the Pierre Hotel, practically a steal after its price was cut in half to $63 million (!). The prewar French chateau-style residence, once owned by J. Paul Getty, has all the elegance that modern glass and steel buildings lack, with 23-foot ceilings in the ballroom, sweeping terraces and working fireplaces. The existing interior design is somewhat staid and unoriginal. I’d accentuate the high barrel ceilings, tall windows and expansive views, giving this magnificent space the presence and drama it deserves.


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When Bread and Butter isn’t Just Bread and Butter

After watching this video, you realize how bread and butter can be one of the most exquisite gastronomic experiences. At least it can when it’s served in Dan Richer’s restaurant in Jersey City.

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House Call


Few days pass without home furnishings reps paying us a visit. Some just stop by, updating our library and hoping for a few minutes to talk about their line. Others come by appointment to present extensive samples of their latest offerings. Sometimes we call them in to provide a solution for a pressing client need. In the photo above, I’m deciding on wood finish options for an upcoming client presentation.

While I go to the High Point Market every year, there is plenty that happens between markets, and the reps keep us plugged into the latest changes. The good ones are partners who perform a vital function. I’ve known many for years, and they’ve become valued members of the Belle Maison family. We look forward to their visits and invariably learn something that helps us do our job better.

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Take Your Sounds and Light with You


Our ancient, unloved home stereo components sit forlornly in the basement. Portable, wireless systems are so much easier and simpler, while not giving much in quality. Now you can have your portable sounds with light added in this clever lantern-like piece. LED bulbs and a wireless speaker provide 360 degrees of sound and light. Bluetooth connectivity makes your music library and controls accessible from any mobile device. Pick it up with the handy strap and take it with you to your porch, balcony, backyard, boat dock or camping adventure. I suppose you could use it inside as well, bringing music and a reading light to every nook and cranny. I also like the look of it, a modern take on the old fashioned lantern. Only this lantern has an 8 hour battery life and high-end audio.


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Pinball Wizard


As we assemble my client’s game room, pride of place goes to Spin Out, a restored 1970s pinball machine. When the action begins, colors and lights flashing, bells ringing and ball flying, the live, tactile excitement of this blast from the past puts those new fangled computer games in the shade.

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Quick Change

In 47 seconds Kelli O’Hara makes a quick costume change during this year’s Tony Awards. Don’t try this at home.

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