From architecture to art, designers draw inspiration from many places and things. But whether it’s new construction or a complete redesign, local professionals agree that their clients’ lifestyles, tastes and favorite things are the chief considerations for any design project.

Tamsin Mascetti, ELLEN J DESIGN

• When I approach a new project, the most critical component is creating a plan—prioritizing and setting a realistic budget. I ask my clients to think about how they will live in the space, and I encourage them to look at magazines for inspiration.

• One couple I worked with was from the West Coast, and they missed that ‘Cali-cool with a touch of old Hollywood glitz’ vibe. For their bedroom, they wanted a rejuvenating oasis where they could linger in bed on Sunday mornings with the newspaper or relax at night watching a movie. The color scheme reflects their beloved California beach: sand, sky and waves. A voluptuous velvet bed is the centerpiece, and a glamorous pendant light fixture and retro bedside tables add to the sanctuary feeling.

Renée Céleste Flanders, RENÉE CÉLESTE FLANDERS

• The inspiration for my design concepts come with the harmonizing of clients’ dreams and interests and the architectural style of their new home. The design concept could begin with a favorite piece of furniture, a rug, work of art, or in this case, a portrait of the client’s children. Personalized items can then help color schemes and stylistic directions to evolve.

• It’s important to establish comfort and relaxation by addressing the homeowners’ basic day-to-day needs. The front hall requires a table to collect mail and keys, a seat to put on boots and a mirror. Orchestrated space planning, color and design schemes are imperative to making the client feel at home.


• One thing that we try to do is to look at the period of the home and its original architecture, whether it’s new or built in the late-1800s. And then we talk with the client to find out what their needs are and what’s functional to them.

• I like to go to antique malls. I actually have in my home, which was built in the late-1800s, an entire dining room set that I got for a really good price. And it’s appropriate for the home—it’s solid oak and beautiful, and you just can’t find that anymore.


• A good place to begin is with the client—interviewing them and asking them what they like and what their style is. A client who I’m currently working with initially thought she would keep some pieces, but as it has turned out, she has completely replaced everything in the home.

• In the dining room, I began with covering the windows with beautiful Roman shades in white linen. Then she decided to replace her original dining room set. Also, she and her husband had lived in Asia, and she had collected some wonderful Asian artwork. She had niches (four total) built into the walls to display some of the pieces. We painted them a charcoal color, which allows the vases to really pop. It turned into a really simple, elegant dining room in a transitional home that is very livable and very fresh. They are a young family with a very active lifestyle, and they want to live in their house and all of its spaces.

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