Game Time



How refreshing to have clients who appreciate the pleasure of an old-fashioned game room. We’re talking serious retro gamers, here, with an antique pinball machine, air hockey, foosball, pool, and a twelve foot shuffleboard with a lovely patina. Not to mention darts, of course. And in the second photo you can see a serious ping pong table in the adjacent room, with a monster Scrabble board on the wall. I love Scrabble, and I can’t imagine a more fun (and educational) indoor family activity. Take that, computer game zombies!

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I cannot help myself, I need to share what has been the major joy of our lives this past year…grandson Owen. We see him as much as humanly possible, and every time we do, we leave with a smile on our faces.

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Right Hand


I’ve worked with many assistants over the years, and they’ve ranged greatly in ability and experience, but I have to say that Rena, my assistant for the past three years, has a level of commitment and competence that sets a new standard. In the photo you can see us working together at a client presentation, always on the same page, finishing each other’s sentences. There are so many details in an interior design project, so many suppliers, so many balls that have to be kept in the air. Rena is at virtually all my client and supplier meetings, and when I have a question about a hardware finish or chandelier style or room dimension she either knows it or finds it. She mucks in with me to do all of the decidedly unglamorous parts of our work—shlepping, stitching, hammering, yesterday we were potting outdoor greenery. We’re a great team, and I am lucky to have her.

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My Plans Redux


I posted this last November 2, just as we started work on the complete restoration of our apartment in Montclair. We received permits in December, started demolition in January and finished in May. As always with these projects, it can be a trial, but when it’s done you conveniently forget the difficulties. Actually, in this case it was relatively painless. And we’re thrilled with the result. 

Here I’m doing what I do virtually everyday—working with a contractor on architects drawings. With one big difference: these plans are for my dream apartment in Montclair. I’ve posted about our move here. It’s a novel experience, being the client and designer. I like it. We’ll be doing extensive renovation: two new baths, new kitchen, central AC. There will be built in bookcases by my master cabinet maker. Existing walls will be taken down, and by combining kitchen and dining room I’ll free space for a second guest bedroom and studio for my forays into painting. Challenges include rerouting heating pipes, which at the moment bisect my guest bedroom’s bed. My intrepid contractor has solved much weightier problems than this, so I’m not worried. Permits are being pulled as we speak, and I’ll share all the trials and tribulations along the way.

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Suburban Renewal


I always thought I’d make a good landscape designer, and I enjoy when my interior work intersects with the outdoors of my client’s homes. Now that it’s spring, I can indulge my inner landscape designer at home and our studio in Short Hills. I find the hours I spend gardening fly by, although I usually feel the aches and pains day after. Visiting my local garden center is a renewing experience.

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Visiting England for the Weather


Had a glorious week in England in early January. And what weather! Sure, it rained, but it never poured, at least when we were outside. Temperature was mostly in the 50s, and we actually saw the sun with a remarkable degree of regularity. Here we’re checking out the tropical greenhouse in Kew Gardens, home to the world’s largest collection of living plants. As you can see, the grass, as in the rest of London’s many parks, is a lush green, year round. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that weather is the reason to go to England, but it sure beats New Jersey in January.

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Raising the Quality of Your Game (Room)




Game rooms are great, but they always look like, well, game rooms. This company produces perfectly useful, robust table games that happen to also be quite attractive. The foosball, ping pong (with faux rawhide net) and shuffle table have a warm, woody feel that I could work with. My game room featuring these pieces (think deep leather sofas and patterned wool rugs) would be as elegant as any room in the home. In fact, it would become a popular destination without actually having to play the games.

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“I think art just sort of heals me.”

Nathalie Trytell 2

Last year my daughter Nathalie’s artwork and poetry were featured in an exhibit at the Queens Museum in New York dedicated to those suffering from Neurofibromatosis Type 2, a degenerative illness that took the her life 4 years ago. Through the help of a friend, the exhibit is now showing at the Tufts University Art Gallery in Boston. I know Nathalie would be happy that her work is reaching a wider audience. She had to deal with huge challenges in her brief life, and her art was a vital ally in the struggle to give her life meaning. As she said in a video that was part of the original exhibit—art is “my way of being happy. I’ve gone through a lot of shit, and I think art just sort of heals me.”


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3-D Organization


I just received my 2015 organizer refill, and weathered the usual sarcasm from my husband about my insistence on using a bulky Filofax along with my iPhone.

For me, the digital world of organizers is missing one key element: dimension. My world of interior design is three-dimensional, as is my old-fashioned leather organizer. In addition to appointments and contact info, it allows me to store pertinent floor plans, fabric and paint color samples, brochures, and assorted paraphernalia vital to my work. The photo above may seem the height of disorganization to one of today’s smart-phoned executives, but for me it makes perfect sense. I have my iPhone for email and texts (and my Words With Friends app!), but I’ll never lose my Filofax.

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How to Spend a Painless Day at the Airport


Our trip to and from France this summer involved layovers in London of 8 hours in both directions. I found the perfect way to make a day at the airport as painless as possible: Yotel. This high-tech hotel is located in Terminal 4 at Heathrow. You arrive at an unassuming entrance to what might be an ordinary airport lounge. Inside, you enter what could double as a sci-fi interstellar transport module. The bed lowers from sofa to very comfortable king size, the complete bath features a powerful shower, there’s a flat screen TV and, most important, it is completely soundproofed. After our 8 hour womb-like retreat, we were refreshed and renewed as we braved the noisy crowds on the way to our gate. And at a little over $100, the price was very reasonable.

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