darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_guest-suite-sitting-room

design inspiration: inside kyoto's breathtaking aman hotel

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_nature-trail

my friend, pour yourself a glass of something soothing and journey with me for a moment…

we’re walking along a remote path, deep in a lush forest surrounded by 80 acres of the most beautiful, secluded garden you’ve ever seen. the melody of a babbling brook reaches your ears and notes of cedar, cypress, and camellia waft through the air.

you leave the shadows of a tree-laden path and your eyes land upon a pristinely clean-lined yet deliciously dark structure nestled among the dense foliage. your breath catches as you step closer, the deep hues intriguing you and drawing you in. birds sing in the treetops, and you can’t help but deeply breathe in the beauty that surrounds you.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_exterior-elevation

this is the stunning aman hotel in kyoto.

its beauty has been on my mind and heart ever since i first laid eyes on it. the stunning natural landscape coupled with the seemingly-effortless, yet perfectly-thought-out design details... ah. and you know i can't resist sharing a work of art like this with my fellow connoisseurs of taste. ;)

designed by late australian architect kerry hill (known for his “tropical modernism”), this high-end resort pays homage to the culture and nature that surround it.

i believe the exterior of this hotel uses the shou sugi ban technique of treating the cypress panels with fire to preserve it from the elements, leaving behind that jaw-dropping, deep charcoal finish. beautiful in it’s natural simplicity, isn’t it?!

design inspiration: i envision a stunning accent wall in a guest room with this same technique, providing an unparalleled backdrop to a modern bedroom set that provides a peaceful night sleep to anyone privileged enough to spend the night in its presence. can you imagine?

drink still in hand? (you didn't drop it in shock, did you?) then let's look inside...

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_guest-bedroom-suite

with each suite’s decor individually curated as well as the play of dark exteriors with light interiors, the guest rooms are the epitome of balance and harmony.

the simple, yet impactful, linear design of the tall, light-toned wooden slats in each room add height and levity to the spaces, giving the guest pause to take a deep breath in their airy surroundings.

design inspiration: i picture various uses for these tall, detailed wooden panels in a city chic apartment. it would bring an aspect of japanese architecture and serenity to an upscale, modern design.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_seating-in-guest-room_view-out-window

the dark window frames throughout the resort perfectly enclose sweeping views of the trees outside, showcasing seasonal color in a brilliant display. (fall and spring must be soooo dreamy.)

the simple, yet detailed furnishings feature curved backs for ultimate comfort, paired with an exposed wooden frame. this creates a custom, modern look that draws the eye without taking attention away from the rest of the space. and both straight lines and curved feel cohesive.

design inspiration: the details make the chair! (and any other piece of furniture…) throughout the aman hotel, whether in the guest suites or dining rooms, all of the chairs feature exposed frames, but each has a new take on the materials used or the details included. i would love to replicate this in downtown nyc, using various iterations of a single chair concept throughout a home for cohesion and interest.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_outside-spa-area

the spa areas, or onsens, both inside and outside, are bathed in dark wood... ceiling, walls, and flooring (where applicable). these cozy, quiet enclosures elicit feelings of safety, warmth, solace, and the promise of renewal.

design inspiration: i dream of doing an entire room in a dark finish - ceiling, walls, flooring, etc. this could work perfectly in a man’s study, an upscale cocktail lounge, or even in replicating this stunning spa for a home setting. can you imagine how suave yet cozy it would be?

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_restaurant-dining-room

the variety of contrasting elements in the dining room create an aesthetic masterpiece that feels simultaneously invigorating and soothing... exactly the type of setting where you want to enjoy a vibrant conversation with a dear friend while slowly sipping on your beverage of choice. (you still have it, right?) the ancient art of japanese hospitality is beautifully on display.

the dark dining room, adorned with carefully-selected light fixtures and light-colored furniture provides a complementary backdrop for any meal. the juxtaposition of the rigid, linear wall treatments with the soft curvature of the chairs creates a perfect balance in the space... modern yet organic. masculine and feminine.

design inspiration: the mixture of dark and light is inspiring. any city flat could benefit from this contrast, which adds drama and interest to a space without being overpowering.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_curved-furniture_custom-tiled-wall

the neutral interior of the dining room also features the work of local artisans, like the custom-made ceramic tiles that accent the dark walls throughout the restaurant. these tiles provide a rustic quality in the upscale space that blends perfectly with the gorgeous display of nature just outside the windows.

design inspiration: while i already pride myself in my ability to source artwork for clients, this high-end hotel inspires me to consider additional ways to feature design details handmade by artisans throughout the world.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_sunken-patio_fire-pit

and the last space... the one on my heart... i love absolutely everything about the sunken outdoor seating area. all of the clean lines, the minimal use of materials, the dark and moody design set against the lushness of the landscape beyond... just, wow!

the round fire pit and side tables break up all of the straight lines, yet the simplistic design of each curated element makes sure not to distract from the breathtaking surroundings. great design gives every element a voice.

if i'm being really honest, i find myself daydreaming about sipping any one of the famous award-winning japanese whiskeys by the glow of this magnificent fire pit. the drinks and the design... both so good, they’re dangerous! ;)

design inspiration: the use of curves to soften straight lines isn’t a new concept...but the use of the round and linear contrast in such a modern application definitely has me thinking of ways to incorporate this design more often into modern city apartments, as well as luxury suburban homes.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_finding-creative-inspiration-in-the-luxurious-forests-of-japan_aman-hotel-feature_guest-suite-sitting-room

to wrap it all up, there is something sooooo serene about japanese design: its simple forms, clean use of materials, nothing overdone. it is quiet, soothing, and inviting. and now, more than ever, the calming presence this style of design brings is oh-so-important. in fact, the entire high-end resort hotel is like a giant exhale... can you feel it, too?

fun fact: our park ave. client featured in a recent post sure can! he is currently living in tokyo for a 2-year business stint. he has already let me know that when he returns to new york, he plans to build a house in the hamptons that incorporates these simple (not to be confused with easy) design elements that are so clearly displayed in japanese architecture and design. can't wait!

he, like us, finds the subtle materials used in creative and natural ways, to be gorgeous, relaxing, and inspiring in every way. embracing wabi sabi, the philosophy of finding beauty in imperfections, will also play a key role in our design for him... but that’s a story for another day.

if this luxurious, upscale japanese resort has you craving a serene space of your own, let’s chat. the dhny team would be delighted to incorporate any or all of these design ideas into a space perfectly suited to you and your lifestyle. let’s design something that elevates the beauty and peace of the everyday.

darci hether interior designer signature

photos sourced from aman hotel and habitus living


darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_behind-the-scenes-of-a-modern-renovation-with-an-old-nyc-feel_living-room-chair

behind the scenes: a modern apartment design with a twist

modern apartment tribeca abstract art built in banquette custom pillows

our client, one part family man with a beautiful home in the suburbs and one part financier who stays in nyc 2-4 nights per week, came to us ready to make a change.

regular hotel living was exhausting, and he wanted a place to call his second home. somewhere he could relax after work, live beyond the limits of a hotel suite, and (just in case) provide a location for his college-aged children to stay as well, should they decide to intern in the city.

he found a great spot — a new build in tribeca — and gave us a call. (fun fact: it's kiddie corner from this apartment we also designed in tribeca!)

with all of these factors at play, the dhny team got to work. we aimed to design an upscale, modern, family-friendly nyc apartment that would allow our client to relax and really enjoy those 2-4 days each week. (100-200 days per year!)

project goals

we knew we had to design a space that reflected our client's multi-faceted lifestyle but also provided enough space for his family to feel at home. we wanted to...

  • create a place that would be soothing, moody, textural, comfortable, and contemporary
  • design a space that would provide enough seating for the client’s family but would be cozy enough to feel comfortable when he is staying there alone
  • strike a balance between the sophistication of old downtown nyc and the updated comfort of modern design
  • incorporate remembrances from our client's time living in japan

challenging? not for our team... we were eager to put our brains together and come up with a worldly, refined, welcoming place for our client to call his “home away from home." won't you come inside?

entryway: design is in the details

darci hether new york modern apartment design tribeca entryway textured wall paper soothing gray

from the moment you walk into our client’s apartment, you can feel a soothing ambiance. dark gray, deeply textured wallpaper. oversized artwork that welcomes you into the space. a black metal table reminiscent of a refined i-beam. this entryway is calming and modern with a nod to industrial nyc charm.

fun fact: when we first presented this wallpaper to the client, he was concerned it might be too dark. once he saw it in person, he couldn’t have been happier. at that point, he understood the calming nature of this textured accent, stating,

“it’s soothing to walk into — which I need to see after a hectic day. it’s a place of respite before entering the rest of the apartment…. and it’s not too dark at all."

auxiliary furnishings and accessories in the entryway and beyond played a major role in blending our client’s modern tastes with his adoration of the historical allure of the industrial age in nyc.

past this sophisticated entrance, the rest of this contemporary, ready-for-relaxation apartment awaits…

open and inviting modern kitchen

modern kitchen interior design tribeca darci hether new york pendants waterfall counter wood cabinets

the kitchen is luxurious, modern, and enticing. as a new build, the home came with this gorgeous waterfall stone countertop and these sleek cabinets. we added elegant geometric pendant lighting to fit the luxury of the space and art in a brass frame to bring it all together.

darci hether modern kitchen interior design apartment tribeca dining table chairs lighting

the ability to share this space with his family was a priority, so we knew our client needed ample seating in the kitchen and dining area. we added 4 bar stools at the kitchen counter and 6 modern chairs around the updated traditional dining table. now, this space boasts enough room for entertaining family, coworkers, and friends.

modern contemporary living room

modern contemporary living room design upholstered blue swivel chairs lamp darci hether new york

displaying sweeping city views by day. cloaked in stunning jewel-toned blackout curtains by night. the large windows in this living room provide a stunning backdrop for any occasion... quiet weekday evenings. lively family conversations. even entertaining, should the moment arise.

the antique gear between the blue armchairs coupled with the blackened steel side table next to the sofa play a significant role. they help blend the textured, contemporary furniture and throw pillows with the urbane nyc-of-old vibe that our client desired.

apartment design tribeca modern lamp contemporary furniture rug japanese art

other important, personal touches include the japanese art, the stone buddha, and a nod to japanese wabi-sabi in the dried lavender and vase.

p.s. throughout the entire space, our team helped select all of the artwork, which provides that fully completed look. not only was the artwork unique to our client’s style, but we had an expert hang them. trust me, professional installation makes a noticeable difference!

tribeca modern furniture interior apartment abstract art textured rug comfortable luxury dhny

our client helped approve this stunning artwork, but when he saw it up close and personal on his walls, it blew him away. he said everything looked better than he imagined. not to be missed — this textured chair and rug help make this space the elevated yet cozy retreat our client envisioned.

fully stocked and effortlessly classy bar cart

modern bar cart design olive branch wabi-sabi art craft liquors martini glasses tribeca

not only did our client love the idea of a stocked-and-ready-at-all-times stylish bar cart to complete the living room area, but the large artwork that we selected  conceals a very large, unattractive electrical panel — surprise! stunning aesthetics and utility combined? we call that a design win-win. (and you know we're no strangers to a good craft cocktail!)

relaxing master bedroom

darci hether new york tribeca modern apartment interior design upholstered gray headboard wallpaper blue pillow

to add interest to the room, we chose this wallpaper as a focal point. it softens the modern headboard while infusing an almost elemental quality, reminiscent of a japanese kimono.

although not pictured, the dresser in this bedroom has a chic concrete top. it adds just a subtle touch of industrial character to this elegant and luxurious suite.

modern chic powder room

stunning powder room tribeca chic abstract art modern pendants brass dhny

our client even wanted his guests to enjoy luxury! modern brass pendants. warm-toned natural stone. deep-toned walls. organic-inspired artwork. these elements work together to uplevel the elegance of this space. of course, to seamlessly meld our client’s desired nyc downtown look, we added small, masculine touches — a mix of black metals and antique brass. perfection!

the verdict

it is an understatement to say that our client loves his new tribeca space. he sung our praises, complimented the art, and praised the design choices that brought comfort into his after-work abode. mission accomplished and champagne poured!

if this classy space has sparked ideas for your home, what are you waiting for? let’s chat and start creating a space that elevates your life every day of the week — or whenever you're around. ;)

darci hether interior designer signature

 

 

 

all photography by the amazing emily gilbert photography


darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_behind-the-scenes-of-a-stress-free-city-space-update_city-views_dining-table

how to design & renovate your nyc flat from afar

.darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_behind-the-scenes-of-a-stress-free-city-space-update_city-views_dining-table

photography by will ellis

 

did you know? even prior to the social distancing required over the last 5-6 months, our team managed city projects for clients who were out in the burbs, down in 30a, or heck, halfway across the world on a pleasure jaunt... okay, or for business.

the truth is that (at least before covid-19) our clients rarely lead static lifestyles. we designed spaces that welcomed them home after a long day (or extra long business trip). spaces that reflected their cultural experiences and travels. and we injected confidence and ease into every moment of the design (or renovation) process.

now... many people are leaving the city, and several of our clients have asked us to renovate their city apartments while they're away. i can't tell you how brilliant of an idea this is. being out of your space is the perfect time to get it renovated, remodeled and/or redesigned. you won't have to lift a finger, and you won't be forced to live in a construction zone either.

you get to enjoy your fabulous life and come back to the city to a drop-dead gorgeous space. (i'll cheers to that!)

today, i want to show you our process for making this happen, because frankly, it takes real orchestrating to pull off. but first...

 

spoiler alert: projects we pulled off while our clients were away

pied-à-terre off 5th

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_behind-the-scenes-of-a-stress-free-city-space-update_pied-a-terre-off-5th_kitchen_living-room

photography by will ellis

located right off of 5th avenue and walking distance to the moma, this apartment serves as the perfect pied-à-terre. the client, whose primary residence is in the philippines, selected this building — museum tower — for its idyllic location and hotel-quality accommodations. our team perfectly balanced this client’s love of the arts with a desire for the utmost comfort.

pied-à-terre, upper west side

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_behind-the-scenes-of-a-stress-free-city-space-update_pied-a-terre-central-park-west_bedroom_entryway

photography by emily gilbert

as frequent theater-goers who live in jersey, our clients found themselves constantly checking into upscale hotel rooms all over manhattan. tired of the transient lifestyle, these city-lovers decided there was only one thing to do — build the perfect pied-à-terre on the upper west side. our team blended brand new pieces with updated classic elements to add history and depth to this modern city haven.

bespoke bachelor pad on park ave.

admittedly, this client wasn't completely out of the city. he came and went while the project was underway, leaving in long stretches for business trips and trusting the logistics to us. i recently featured this stunning project here.

darci hether new york bespoke bachelor pad managed from afar

photography by emily gilbert

so, how did we do it? come peek behind the scenes...

 

step 1: our approach to building client relationships

every project starts with creating a strong relationship with our clients. this means spending time with you upfront (in-person or via zoom). we ask questions and dig deep into who you are, how you live (or want to live), what your pain points are (countertops too low?). we'll also explore your likes and dislikes, how and who you entertain... right down to what your favorite cocktail is. (believe me, this one matters later on.)

this process gets real personal real quick, but that's the foundation of excellent design. yes, we ask questions like what side of the bed each partner sleeps on and what storage is needed for bedside tables. because these intimate details matter when crafting a bespoke space perfectly suited to your specific needs.

for most of our busy professional clients, having these conversations in person (even before covid) just wasn’t realistic. they spend their time on work trips, vacationing in the hamptons, and living life on their terms... which we wholeheartedly support.

these intro conversations (yes, even over zoom) allow us to support your priorities, design for your life, and get you as many items on your dream list as possible.

darci hether new york mood board flat lay lush textiles moddy black beige

photography by V. Carvalho

step 2: creating design concepts and soliciting feedback

the first step is creating and then presenting mood board images to our clients. this ensures that we have a full understanding of your desired design direction and your wants and needs. we'll present our design direction to you for approval — again, in-person or via zoom.

darla hether new york mood board design concept images gold black taupe refined elegant interiors

once the direction is approved, we move to sourcing and selecting high-end fixtures, finishes and furnishings in preparation for our client presentation. since we design to completion, the entire design is established before we present it to you. this gives you a full picture of the stunning city space update you can expect.

with all of the pieces in place, we send material selections (architectural as well as furnishings samples) to you. two days later (typically), we have our client presentation via zoom. all of the material selections you receive ahead of time are clearly marked. we review them together, along with imagery of the custom furnishings and completed space plans.

if i'm being honest, this meeting is serious business... but fun, too!

darci hether interior designer floor plans measurement bespoke custom nyc apartment

photography by V. Carvalho

step 3: project task list

no matter where in the world you are, we'll handle the process from start to stunning finish. what does that include? well, here is a quick snapshot of everything on our immaculately designed plate:

  • all project management - whether your city space project is a gut renovation or a decor job, we oversee everything!
  • site visits - from essential showroom trips to on-site visits so we can examine the work being done in your space. we are regularly on-the-go to keep projects running smoothly.
  • communication - between contractors, trades, and vendors, there are a lot of moving parts and people. we make sure to keep everyone abreast of each little detail.
  • ordering - from the time of placement to the delivery at our receivers and then the final installation, we place, track, follow, and install all ordered materials.
  • progress reports - every friday we send a “friday follow-up” email to our clients, communicating what is happening on their project so they can stay in-the-know at a distance.
  • final installation - our team is on-site for installations, even though the clients aren’t... we oversee all deliveries, location of furnishings, and hand-place the accessories and final touches ourselves.

darci-hether-new-york_interior-designer_behind-the-scenes-of-a-stress-free-city-space-update_reveal-day_champagne-toast

photography by emily gilbert

welcome home: your reveal day

imagine the most exciting surprise party you’ve ever been invited to... that's reveal day with the dhny team!

while our process can be completed with clients living remotely, there is simply no way to replicate the pomp and pizzazz of reveal day at a distance. so, when everything is in its place — all the decorative elements are on display, the artwork is hung, and everything is sparkly clean — we invite our clients to their city space for the reveal.

we greet our clients at their door, hand them a glass of bubbly (or their favorite cocktail... now you know why we needed that info, right?), and then together, we walk into their newly completed home.

our team takes a step back, listening to all of the oohs and aahs... sometimes even witnessing tears of happiness. and hey, no judgment. i might get a little teary too. it's a magical moment for all of us.

if you can't find the words to adequately describe your joy in the moment... don't worry. we're accustomed to receiving emails or phone calls a couple days later. you know, once reality sinks in. ;)

darci hether pied-a-terre upper west side modern classic elegance bespoke wallpaper sconces holly hunt sofa

from our pied-à-terre, upper west side, photography by emily gilbert

and there you have it. the dhny team's process for managing and executing stunning city-chic projects without any stress added for you.

so if you’re ready to update that city home, let’s chat. no matter where you are in the world, we would be delighted to transform your ny (or 30a) space into a luxurious abode you’re proud to call home.

darci hether interior designer signature

 

 

 

 


darci hether new york interior design firm nyc manhattan westchester

how interior design is like a well-crafted cocktail

darci hether new york interior design firm nyc manhattan westchester

as a craft cocktail connoisseur, i know a quality drink when i see it... and taste it. the presentation, the garnish, the ingredients, the glass, that first impression as it touches your lips. each component of consequence comes together to create a symphony that is the perfect cocktail.

we could even go so far as to say that a perfect cocktail is the architect of an unforgettable encounter. a moment of pause that makes us survey everything we taste in order to appreciate all of the subtle nuances and brilliant decisions that went into it.

where am i going with this, you ask? (other than my at-home bar, of course) well, my point is this... 

the goal in creating an exemplary cocktail is no different than that of designing a stunningly sophisticated and perfectly unique space: to curate singularly delightful elements with an artful eye that results in an elevated and unforgettable experience.

below, i’m sharing 6 ways interior design is like a craft cocktail, along with my favorite bar cart essentials...

darci hether new york martini olive gin vodka marble counter vase interior design

how interior design is like a well-crafted cocktail

1. high-quality ingredients make a difference

any expert in craft cocktails will tell you that the ingredients used in a drink make all the difference. the best mixologists understand that every ingredient used must be of top quality. it’s noticeable. with top-shelf liquor, high-end tinctures, and artisan-level garnishes, the creative cocktail possibilities are endless.

the same goes for luxury interior design...sub-par finishes lead to mediocre spaces, but quality custom furniture, designer draperies, and opulent accessories result in exquisite rooms tailored to our high-end lifestyles. even if we don’t know the exact level of quality, our eyes can certainly distinguish the difference.

2. every flavor note plays a role

we all know that a classic old fashioned is made with bourbon, sugar, and bitters, then garnished with an orange peel. obviously no cocktail would be complete without the liquor, and the sugar adds a hint of sweetness, but why the bitters when it is well known that they don’t contribute much in the way of taste? 

well, because they add a level of complexity to a cocktail...accentuating the sweet notes of the drink. they add a depth of flavor that wouldn’t be present without them. 

the same can be said for interior design.

alongside the larger items, like furniture, floor coverings, and window treatments, every piece we choose has a role. we incorporate lighting that adds depth and variety to the room. decor that affixes a touch of the unexpected. finishing touches (like accent pillows and throws) that garnish the space with elegant comfort.

3. the order of mixology matters

a bartender would never dream of straining the bourbon or whiskey, sweet vermouth, and angostura bitters before shaking them into a cohesive cocktail. the ingredients must be carefully combined, then strained, in order to produce the delicious manhattan that we all know and love.

whether starting with a single inspiration piece and designing from there, or beginning with a blank slate and bringing elements in piece by piece, the order of the interior design process matters as well. 

it would be irresponsible to select window treatments prior to determining a client’s design style or knowing the fixed elements (like flooring or a stone fireplace surround) first. it would be inconceivable to go furniture shopping without a determined color scheme in mind. process and order are what allow for creativity to flow into a remarkably complex, yet innovative and coordinated space.

orange bitters cocktail marble counter vase ice tongs interior design

4. we sip with our eyes first

when a delectable dinner that was thoughtfully ordered at a high-end restaurant is placed in front of us, we feast with our eyes first. whether consciously or not, we do the same with any cocktail we are handed...we take in the temperature of the glassware, the color of the beverage, and quality, shape, and appearance of the garnish. 

if any of these components seem askew, our perception is shaken (and not in a good way). when they’re done right, we slow down and savor the beverage.

when entering any well-designed space, presentation is just as key. at dhny, we seek to craft interiors that bring the visual wow-factor. yes, we seamlessly infuse plush comfort and elevated living (every space we design is a dream to experience) but each luxuriously livable home is designed to make jaws drop at first glance… and inspire daily savoring.

5. a well-crafted cocktail takes time

whether ordering a vesper martini that demands careful shaking or a smoked whiskey cocktail that requires time for infusion, the best drinks come to those who wait. cocktails are a craft that take time to execute and patience to perfect. 

no surprises here, interior design is a process that takes time as well. from initial consultations with our clients to preliminary drawings, from product management to installation and photography, the design process is not one to be rushed. it takes time to manifest a one-of-a-kind, grandiose design that exceeds our clients’ wildest dreams. trust me, chic and sophisticated homes are well worth waiting for. (and our full-service design means you can literally sit back with cocktails in the meantime!)

6. infusing something unexpected makes the cocktail sing

the new york sour, an updated twist on the whiskey sour, incorporates red wine (in addition, not in place of, the whiskey). this unexpected infusion adds strength and richness to a well-loved cocktail that is both surprising and delicious. you don’t have to take my word for it...seriously, give it a try! (i’m sure you have some wine lying around…)

as we move through the design process, i always try to integrate something unexpected in the finished space of any project...whether it is an eclectic piece of art from a client’s collection, a youthful element of decor that brings levity to the room, or a pop of color that is unexpected but awe-inspiring. 

an unexpected element makes you take notice and is distinctly memorable. 

marble counter tapas granite whiskey orange peel garnish gold accents

directions for crafting the perfect cocktail (and room)

1. start with the main ingredients 

gather the gin, vodka, tequila, brandy, bourbon, and whiskey - the stars of any quality craft cocktail.

interior design counterpart: these are the big ticket items… the imported area rugs and large, bespoke furniture pieces. the items that make up the essence of the room.

2. add in some mixers 

blend in your favorite mixer, whether that might be herb-infused campari bitters, sweet and dry vermouth, or even a fruit-forward grand marnier liqueur.

interior design counterpart: think designer accent chairs, artfully structured side tables, layers of decorative lighting, sumptuous textiles, and more. the elements that give the room flavor and texture.

3. finish it off with a beautiful garnish!

delicately place a lemon, lime, or orange twist on top. or situate classic bourbon cherries on a stunning skewer to adorn the top of the glass (please no sickly sweet, bright red maraschino cherries, though…)

interior design counterpart: hand-selected decor, exotic art from your travels abroad, and thoughtful accessories finish off any room, taking a space from well-designed to extraordinary.

top bar cart essentials

in addition to a selection of high-quality, varied glassware (perfect for any cocktail and every occasion), a fabulous at-home bar cart setup includes a great cocktail shaker, strainer, jigger, ice bucket and tongs. 

don’t forget some top-notch garnishing tools, like my favorite peeler and zester/channel knife, and some gorgeous conversation-starting skewers.

keep your pantry well-stocked with multiple varieties of indulgent bourbon cocktail cherries and also these luxe maraschino cherries (the good kind, promise).

and lastly, no bar cart worth its salt is complete without gorgeous cocktail recipe books. here are a few of my favorite go-tos:

maybe you need more than a simple bar cart upgrade and are looking to install or renovate your at-home bar...if so, this guide to styling a contemporary bar might be just what you’re searching for. 

or heck, if you’re feeling really inspired to add a cocktail lounge to your space, let’s chat. you can be confident that at-home bars are in my zone of genius… whether it’s 5 o’clock or not. ;)

cheers~
darci

 

all photography by the amazing emily gilbert photography


darci hether city chic style for suburbs westchester hamptons

how to achieve city-chic style in the suburbs

darci hether city chic style for suburbs westchester hamptons

have you noticed what feels like a mass exodus from nyc to the suburbs? to westchester, connecticut, even to the hamptons?

it makes sense. our on-the-go, city lifestyles have come to a screeching halt. and while our various obligations might not have changed, having your whole household around 24/7, well… it’s likely that your chic downtown flat isn’t serving you as well anymore. 

luckily, leaving the city doesn’t mean leaving sophistication and style behind. suburban life can (and should) still support an elevated style that brings you all the luxury and comfort you’ve come to expect and love. 

case in point: we just started renovating our clients’ 3-story westchester home last month and have received several other inquiries to do the same. we’re planning amenities and features that will turn what was once their weekend retreat into their primary residence, one that will rival their nyc pad. 

which, of course, feels like the perfect opportunity to show you your suburban home’s true potential. below, i’m sharing 5 ways that we’re bringing elevated, city-chic style into everyday life in the ‘burbs.

1. open up and elevate your living spaces

i know this seems like a fairly vague recommendation (more specific ones to follow), but it’s rare that we see a suburban home renovation that doesn’t involve opening up living spaces. and even if your nyc flat isn’t overly spacious, there’s something very chic about high-ceilinged, elegantly expansive living areas.

who doesn’t want lighter, brighter, and more social spaces in which to mingle and enjoy each other’s company? or (dare i be optimistic) to entertain guests? it’s also worth mentioning that closed-off, dark spaces do not a happy person make. in a time where our well-being is as emotional as it is physical, having expansive spaces is critical to feeling in control and unfettered. 

for our westchester clients in particular, the kitchen is getting a full gut, a modern update, and we’re removing a wall to open the space to the living and dining rooms. not to mention the option of adding other amenities: a wine fridge (obviously essential), updated appliances, and an island for storage and extra seating.

so, what do your spaces look like? is your kitchen secluded from your living area? if you were living there permanently, would you appreciate more natural light and room for free movement? if so, talk to us about options to open the space up and elevate your home from “nice” to a sumptuous retreat.

darci hether new york westchester hamptons interior design firm living room dining room city chic

2. create a stunning and productive office

i know without a shadow of a doubt that our westchester clients are not alone in needing an updated home office. working from home is becoming the new normal, and even companies like google and amazon have office return dates planned for early to mid 2021. (we’re in it for the long hall, my friends.)

our westchester clients’ home office is getting upgraded with more functional work spaces, ample storage and both dramatic and task lighting. and don’t forget, they’ll be getting upgraded decor in a style worthy of the execs that they are (gotta look sharp leading those zoom calls, right?). 

funny enough, we’re also renovating the home office in these same clients’ nyc apartment. they thought, since it’s currently empty and hasn’t seen any designer love in the 12 years since we last worked on it, why not take advantage? couldn’t agree more.

what does your home office need to be functional, supportive, and totally chic? to fit with your workflow and elevate the everyday?

darci hether home office design westchester hamptons chic

3. make your home gym irresistible

last year, i shared this advice for creating an at-home gym. as a business owner and mom, it was simply convenient to have a fitness center in the house that i could use whenever i found made a spare moment. 

now, an at-home gym is less of a luxury and more of a necessity. it’s a way to prioritize your health. boost your mood with endorphins. tone that bod. and of course, balance out all those cocktails… guilty. ;)

but you don’t just want an empty room where your peloton lives… you want a space that inspires you to kick it into high gear and have a space that actually excites you (hello, sonos speakers) or relaxes you with a great view. 

whatever you need to actually enjoy your fitness routine…. let’s do it. it will truly change how well you live at home.

home gym darci hether new york peloton

source: peloton

 

4. level up your home bar or lounge

ok, i’ll be honest with you… i wasn’t originally going to include a home bar on my list. in fact, our westchester clients were more adamant about increasing storage space with a mudroom and two walk-in closets than adding a bar… but come on… you know me, how could i leave an in-home bar off this list?? 

i think we have all been enjoying at-home cocktails more than usual these days, and there’s something about an in-home bar that reminds us of our favorite city-chic watering hole we used to enjoy. don’t you think?

so how can you design a home bar or lounge that whisks you back to memories of the nyc nightlife you used to love? well, together, let’s look at your favorite cocktail lounges for inspiration… what were the colors in the space? (moody hues, bright ones?) the materials? (velvet, leather, woods or bright metals?) what was the overall vibe? (sexy, social, intimate?)

this can help us decide what you want in your own home bar, whether it’s a full lounge, a built-in within another room, or a well-stocked and styled bar cart. i do have some home bar styling tips for you here, but if it’s a feature you’re ready to add to your suburban home, dhny has your back!

darci hether new york westchester hamptons in-home bar area interior design flower wall mural

now imagine this space with the lights dimmed… ;)

5. embrace style you genuinely love

a home that elevates your life and supports you doesn’t just offer physical comfort. it’s also visually and emotionally uplifting. yes, i’m talking about style…

quality furnishings that look beautiful and well-crafted. window treatments that add elegance and luxury. decor and a color palette that reflect your personality and your passions. (example: the art gallery entryway from our 5th ave bachelor pad.)

in other words, a home that reflects your style and stimulates your senses is one that keeps you happy, entertained, and not missing your other place for a new york minute. not sure of your aesthetic preferences? don’t worry, we’ll explore them together and transform your interests and tastes into a luxurious design that comforts and delights you every single day. who knew your suburban home could do that? oh, it can. ;)

elegant luxury bathroom design renovation darci hether new york

if this was your suburban master suite, i don’t think you would miss your nyc pad!

so, what does your 2nd home need to become your main residence? what would make it feel indulgent, chic, and elevated? give it some thought, and when you’re ready for the magic to happen, let’s talk.

cheers~
darci

 

all photography by the amazing emily gilbert photography


behind the scenes of a bespoke bachelor pad renovation

when our client returned to new york city after living overseas for 5 years, he had knew what he was looking for. after all, he had just left an ideal european bachelor pad behind, and firmly believed it could be recreated (only bigger and better) here in nyc. 

it didn’t take long to locate the perfect apartment on park ave. but there was a catch. as an estate sale, the space had not seen any updates since it was initially built… wait for it... 45 years prior. 

we both knew a full gut renovation was on the horizon!

next order of business… what would it become? our world-traveling business executive imagined a space where he could unwind at the end of each jaunt to europe or asia. where he could entertain his guests in the sophisticated yet relaxed manner he was accustomed to. where he could live in ultimate style and comfort.

on cue, the dhny team set about designing a space that would recreate the welcoming, effortlessly chic ambiance of his european abode.

ready to see how it all turned out?

darci hether new york upper east side park ave bachelor pad renovation

project goals

keeping with our client’s personality, we knew the space needed to be modern, elevated, and approachable. it also needed to work well for our client’s lifestyle...

  • create a place that our client could relax and indulge
  • design a space that accommodates all types of entertaining, from intimate dinners to cocktail parties to larger events
  • strike the perfect balance of worldly refinement, custom pieces, and comfort (this bachelor pad might be elegant but it’s no museum!)

sound like a challenge? we call it fun. ;)

design is in the details

it only takes one swift glance into this client’s bachelor pad to see how comfortable, yet sophisticated it feels. we achieved the look with clean lines, a symphony of neutrals, and occasional pops of slate and emerald green… not to mention this one-of-a-kind, stunning inlay flooring.

park ave ny bachelor pad renovation modern contemporary art gallery collection entryway bespoke stone floor

well-traveled and with an eye for style, our client had amassed an art collection we couldn’t wait to feature. in this entryway-turned-gallery space, we kept the walls neutral and let his taste shine. we chose a high-gloss lacquered wallpaper for the ceiling (why not reflect that gorgeous floor?), framed it with custom moulding, and chose a modern light fixture and svelte table to complete the look.

beyond the awe-inspiring beauty of the gallery space, the rest of the apartment awaits. on the left, a dramatic and magnetic dining room…

grand dining room

holly hunt chairs modern branched lighting custom bespoke upholstered bench dining room renovation

as an avid entertainer, our client prioritized an inviting and elegant dining room… and we wanted to make it unforgettable. in a twist of genius (if i do say so myself) our team shifted the dining table to one wall, allowing one of the table sides to feature a custom freestanding, upholstered banquette. 

would you look at this high-backed beauty?? it boasts comfort and grandeur all in one, whether you’re reclining at ease on its cushions or soaking up the view from across the table, martini in hand. ;) 

speaking of, those who don’t win a seat at the banquette are sure to be happy in second place with these luxuriously comfortable holly hunt dining chairs. this is one dining room where everyone is well taken care of.

lastly, and not to be missed, the dark herringbone patterned hardwood floors are a work of art. and this lindsey adelman agnus branched light fixture brings an air of timeless elegance, unexpected surprise, and undeniable comfort to this transcendent space.

bespoke living room 

darci hether new york tribeca interior designer luxury holly hunt coffee table

learning from an ongoing frustration with his former apartment in europe, our client was adamant about having the ability to entertain his guests in the living room while remaining an excellent host. this meant not having to leave the room in order to freshen up cocktails or refill the hors d’oeuvres, so we knew the living room needed to provide space for all bar essentials, including refrigeration. 

to circumvent this issue, i designed a custom cabinet/sofa back console. you can’t see it in the photo above, but it’s right under the regal elephant, who is practically trumpeting the glory of his spoils: a freezer and a refrigerator in two pull-out drawers. and cabinets on either side of the drawers house glassware and liquor. (ingenious, right?) the console can also be easily cleared off and set up for a full-service bar when needed.

as an hermès loyalist, our client was eager for us to use accessories and textiles from the french high fashion luxury goods manufacturer. we incorporated their textiles in the form of custom floor cushions to sit on the living room area rug, decorative throw pillows in the living room and dining area, and a classic avalon throw blanket in his bedroom.

darci hether new york park ave living room renovation black stone fireplace art collection luxury

here, a glimpse of the holly hunt coffee table with bronze inlay, more from our client’s vast art collection, and a marble fireplace surround that commands attention with its dark beauty.

enviable kitchen

darci hether new york bachelor pad renovation kitchen white marble contemporary elegant luxury

in contrast to the moody neutrals throughout the rest of the home, the kitchen offers a bright morning refresh. natural light streams into this space highlighting the beautiful marble veining of the stone slab backsplash and counters. 

master suite 

a professional who spends as much time abroad as at home needs a bedroom that offers the ultimate reprieve. we filled the room with light and levity by adding a simple-yet-sophisticated textured grasscloth wallcovering in a serene neutral hue.

bachelor pad renovation park ave ny luxury interior design hermes inspired

the space had no room for a dresser, so we creatively incorporated custom built-in storage. its clean-lined, rich in hue, and totally functional for our client’s needs.

bachelor pad renovation park ave ny luxury interior design built in dresser shelving bespoke

because no retreat is complete without a spa, we outfitted the master bath almost entirely in white marble, added a custom contrasting vanity, and allowed natural light to stream in. our team took great pride in creating this truly bespoke space...the crown jewel in such a stately renovation.

bachelor pad renovation park ave ny luxury interior design all marble shower spa white black vanity

from the big picture to the little details, it's all there. impressive and inviting, rich and relaxing, and a tasteful blend of european elegance and contemporary living. it quickly became one of our team’s favorite projects!

if this bespoke bachelor pad has sparked ideas for the transformation of your own home, let’s chat. the dhny team would love to design a space perfectly suited to you and your lifestyle. 

cheers~
darci


Darci-Heather-New-York_Luxury-Interior-Design_How-to-Know-when-to-Hire-an-Interior-Designer bathroom nyc view

is the timing right to hire an interior designer?

Darci-Heather-New-York_Luxury-Interior-Design_How-to-Know-when-to-Hire-an-Interior-Designer bathroom nyc view

home. it’s the place where you unwind after a full day. it’s where you host intimate dinners or stage larger fêtes that draw a beautiful crowd (in normal times, that is). it’s the place that brings you pride, honors your refined taste, and starts conversations faster than bourbon on an empty stomach. 

given the current situation, your home may not be feeling quite as luxurious and serene now. maybe it's not meeting your new demands for it — to serve as home office, cocktail lounge, day spa, and fitness center. or, hey, maybe you have cabin fever and could use a stay at your vacation home in 30a, but you know it needs a good renovation before you get there. 

my point is, now more than ever, having a unique, comfortable, and cutting-edge place to call home is so important to our quality of life. if you feel the same, you’re in good company! 

now the big question is… is it the right time to hire an interior designer?

 

Darci-Heather-New-York_Luxury-Interior-Design_How-to-Know-when-to-Hire-an-Interior-Designer glamorous dining room

this stunning light fixture is a statement piece and major talking point for our 5th avenue clients.

 

1. does the timeline work for you?

how do you decide if now is the right time to book a spot on your designer’s calendar? well, when do you want to enjoy the final result? 

whether you want a vacation-ready home in the hamptons or a renovated flat on the upper west side, the timeline of your project depends on its scope. it’s difficult to give you an exact answer without knowing your specific project, but for you, i’ll share my best estimates anyway. ;)

• a typical décor project, which consists of furnishings, window treatments, paint or wallpaper and more averages 6-8 months.

• renovations, in which our team guts the home and completes it with turnkey furnishings, can range anywhere from 12-24 months based on the scope of the project, size of the home, etc.

• a new build is the lengthiest of our service offerings, typically taking 18-24 months from start to finish.

dhny tip: given the current social climate, i suggest starting now if you need renovations for a vacation home for next year.

 

Darci-Heather-New-York_Luxury-Interior-Design_How-to-Know-when-to-Hire-an-Interior-Designer-bespoke-bathroom

in love with this moody bathroom and vanity we custom designed for our park avenue project

 

2. are you ready to invest in yourself?

i might be biased, but to me, interior design is always a wise investment. it elevates your lifestyle, brings peace into your routine, and turns a night of glamorous hosting into an affair guests will be talking about long into the future.

but investing in yourself isn’t solely about enjoying the final work of art. it’s about getting to keep your full and fast-paced life along the way. no pause button required.

with full service interior design, you are hiring our design expertise and our buttoned-up process for managing your project every step of the way. in fact, we have many clients who live in their main residences while we design their second homes either on location or remotely. and they love how easy it is to keep calm and carry on.

so when it really comes down to it, your investment is in yourself — honoring your valuable time, your peace of mind, and your full lifestyle.

 

Darci-Heather-New-York_Luxury-Interior-Design_How-to-Know-when-to-Hire-an-Interior-Designer-dining-overlook-5th-ave-nyc

a dining area that complements our clients’ view at pied-à-terre off 5th

 

3. do you know what you want?

luxury full-service interior design is perfect for clients who don’t want to lift a finger, but we believe that the best designs are inspired by the people who live in them: your taste. your history. your travels and accomplishments.

after all, our designs aren’t made for us… they are specifically crafted to enhance how you live your life. you can trust that we’ll express a unique and personal design vision for your home that you’ll never — god forbid — see replicated at a colleague’s house!

if you aren’t sure of your design style, or maybe the last time you worked with a designer was ages ago, take a quick moment to reevaluate your preferences first. a little check-in goes a long way toward a result you’ll be proud to call home.

if, however, you already know what you want, what you like, and are open to having a little fun along the way too, you’re ready. and better yet, we will get along splendidly. ;)

 

Darci-Heather-New-York_Luxury-Interior-Design_How-to-Know-when-to-Hire-an-Interior-Designer luxury bedroom

from our bespoke interior design project on central park west

 

that’s it, and yes, it really is that simple. know the timeline. know what you’re investing in. know what you want. if these are all green lights in your book, it’s time to get on ours. let’s chat, my friend.

cheers,
darci