grey blue patterned area rug - fifth avenue living room - darci hether new york - interior design

get the look... patterned area rugs

how to use a patterned area rug to define a room - grey blue patterned area rug - fifth avenue living room - darci hether new york - interior design

patterned area rugs ground the room

i’m often asked just exactly where i start when i dive into designing a new space for my clients. what is my jumping off point? where do i begin? well, it usually goes a little something like this……

once i am armed with all of the juicy answers we gather from our clients' intake questionnaire — what are your favorite colors and textures? what moods are you hoping to create? how do you want to feel in your space? etc — i hit the ground running. ...and i start by running to some of my favorite area rug vendors!

while my design aesthetic decidedly encompasses crisp lines, clean silhouettes, simple color palettes, yummy textures, and fun touches of glamour, i always want to ground each space with a stunning area rug. for me, beautifully designed area rugs are like works of art that just happen to be on the floor instead of the wall! whether they are bold and dramatic or subtle and soothing, patterned area rugs are just the thing to help create an elegant and chic room!

take, for example, this photo from my fifth ave living room (above), the patterned area rug adds a whisper of soft movement to the floor, like a babbling brook. it's elegant, chic, and adds visual interest and movement.

patterned aera rugs hamptons - bridgehampton - darci hether new york - interior design

in this bridgehampton home, i chose soft grey rugs with subtle linear patterns. they ground the rooms they inhabit and add a touch of visual interest.  did i mention how soft they are to step on? swoon!!

 

patterned rugs showhouse - showhouse bedroom - transitional - gold accents - darci hether new york

when i designed this showhouse bedroom above, i really wanted the draperies and area rug to steal the show. mission accomplished! the grey wool lavender herringbone pattern is highlighted by the silk champagne yarns.

shopping for the perfect area rug

i have quite a few favorite places to shop for that perfect patterned area rug! below are just a few of my favorite vendors, showcasing some of their rugs in a finished room setting.

fort street studio

picking the right area rug can be a challenge! (interior by Sara Story) - Darci Hether New York

i love, love, love this space designed by sara story using fort street studio’s “twig light” rug to ground this stunning living space! like the description on fort street’s website says, this rug “creates shimmery softness underfoot” and it does so with a beautifully organic chartreuse design.

tai ping
this stunning tai ping area rug makes the room - learn more about how to use patterned area rugs in your space! -darci hether new york

i don’t even have words for this incredibly designed yacht by michele reverberi showcasing a gorgeous tai ping area rug. simply stunning!

holly hunt
holly hunt's rug explorer is a great design tool for picking a patterned area rug for your space! - Darci Hether New York
left: arabesque. right: chain maille

holly hunt has this amazing feature on their website where you can see one of their “beyond borders” area rugs in situation and — the best part — you can change the colors of the pattern to see how it might change the overall look of the room. these are a few of my favorites!

the rug company

the rug company's stunning monarch smoke rug is a patterned area rug that can really complete a room - darci hether new york

the “monarch smoke” area rug shown here from the rug company is a great example of how an amazing patterned area set against chic yet simplistic furnishings can really bring a space together and make the room pop!

picking an area rug

finding the right area rug for your space is a journey. the floor is a room's largest canvas, and i like to approach selecting a rug as one might select a piece of artwork. in the mood boards i create for client presentations, i often start with the drama of the area rug as my foundation, and build up.

mood boards living room dining room - darci hether new york - patterned area rugs

in these three mood boards (master bedroom, dining room, & living room), you can see how the rug creates a foundation for the space, but everything on top of it has a soft, muted, quiet tone. i like to let the rug really sing!

 

swatching patterned area rugs - darci hether new york

after i've found the perfect rug, i start swatching other textiles and architectural materials to bring it all together. interested in learning more about my design process? check out my behind-the-scenes blog post about my recent florida project, or my post debunking 5 myths about interior design.

 

process shots - installing patterned area rugs - darci hether new york

on the far left is a custom rug i did for a recent upper west side project. this graphic pattern really comes to life with the soft grey silks playing off the darker grey wool background.

the middle photo is from a recent master bedroom install. here’s another example of using some color and pattern on the floor, while keeping everything else quiet and simple.

on the far right, i had so much fun swooning over the possibilities when revis studio came to visit to show us their latest beautiful samples. i just couldn't stop petting this gorgeous mongolian wool below... 

 

...

with so many possibilities and so much eye candy, it can be overwhelming to get started! do you need help pulling your room together or finding the perfect area rug for your space? our finishing touches or designer on-call services might be right for you!

 

cheers ~ darci

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martini-ready for spring! darci hether approved cocktails for a perfect hamptons bar - darci hether new york

cocktail crush... spring spirits

martini-ready for spring! darci hether approved cocktails for a perfect hamptons bar - darci hether new york
cocktails, anyone?

 

i looooove spring almost as much as i looooooove cocktails — and now i can get a taste of both! a few weeks ago, i blogged about crafting the perfect home bar, and i've swooned over cocktails before, but nothing compares to how excited i am that it's finally time for spring drinks! because you know what that means? summer is around the corner...

bridgehampton wet bar - hamptons home bar - darci hether new york
bridgehampton wet bar

this winter feels like it lasted far, far too long. i mean... we got 12" of snow on the first official day of spring! give me a break!

snowy winter days

if i don't look happy it's because i'm not... (but it was great for snow angels!)

when i started to get fed up with winter, i decided it was time to do a cocktail countdown to spring on instagram. these are the swoonworthy (and sip-worthy!) cocktails that made the cut! (click over to the 2nd image to see the recipes)

 

7.

 

6.

 

5.

 

4.

 

3.

 

2.

 

1.

 

and with that, it was spring!

want some tasty spring cocktail recipes for your home bar? check out this beautiful book:

take a sip of spring with this beautiful book of cocktail recipes
it's essential!

 

here's a toast to warm weather, fresh flowers, and spring cleaning! because you know what those means? soon it'll be time for sandals, summers in the hamptons, and adventures on the beach... cheers to spring!

 

is it spring yet? - darci hether new york

 

cheers ~ darci

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darci hether

5 myths... about interior design

darci hether

in my 20 years working in the interior design industry, i've heard a lot of myths and misconceptions about working with an interior designer. i decided it was time to debunk some of the most common interior design myths!

i love design reality tv shows and glossy shelter magazines as much as the next person (maybe more!). they highlight some swoon-worthy interiors, which got me thinking.... wouldn't it be interesting to know what really goes into making them? the real world of interior design is a complex business complete with its own language and jargon.  a world filled with twists and turns you might not expect from those beautiful glossy magazine spreads.

i talked about some of these myths last week on facebook live and i addressed several of the questions i get asked frequently. i think it's important to address some of the elephants in the room when it comes to hiring an interior designer. i'm passionate about what i do and my industry.  i want to share that passion with you!

so pour yourself a glass of bubbly and get ready to meet some elephants! (kidding... well, not about the bubbly. i don't kid about that.)

 

 

designer showhouse bedroom - darci hether new york
designer showhouse

1. interior design is "fun"

don't get me wrong—i love my job. but let me paint a picture for you: i'm at a dinner party and someone asks me what i do for a living. i tell them i'm an interior designer, and they respond "oh that must be so much fun!!"  it is, but there's a misconception that all we do is shop with our clients, pet fabrics, and look at pretty things.  this is a small glimpse into what we do. in reality, that 'fun' part is only about 10% of the job. the other 90% is all business: managing projects, vendor and contractor communications, placing orders, filing paperwork, checking measurements, coordinating a team, tracking the process, and billing. that 90% is what makes the project actually a reality, but it's all behind the scenes. so yes, i love my job and i do think it's fun, but it's also a lot of hard work!

 

 

tribeca kitchen with pot filler, wolf oven, metallic backsplash, and mixed metal finishes - darci hether new york
tribeca kitchen

2. the consultation should be free

the purpose of an initial design consultation is to see if we will mesh (think of it like a first date!) . my goal in a consultation is to be completely open with you about what i can do with your space. i want to provide solid design advice and inspiration and point out things you may not have thought of.  i hope to open your eyes to exciting possibilities.

when i meet with a prospective client, i want to freely share all of my knowledge and experience, down to the smallest details. partly, that's to empower you to decide if we're a good match, but that's not all. sometimes a consultation with one designer can spark an idea or raise a problem that helps guide you toward something new, even if that's with a different designer. (also just like dating!)

whether or not i'm the right fit for your project, i want to make sure i'm leaving you with a lot of valuable, solid, concise information, so you can feel comfortable and confident moving forward in your design process.

 

install day timelapse - darci hether new york

3. reality tv timelines happen in real life

nope! as much as i wish every project finished as seamlessly as depicted in a one-hour episode... that just doesn't happen. as a potential client, if you were to call me today, during our discovery phone call, one of the first questions i'd ask you is "why now?" are you needing to get your home done by the holidays? are you planning to host a fourth of july party? do you want to show it off to family over thanksgiving? i want to have an honest and realistic conversation upfront about your timeline.

the simplest of projects still take time when everything goes smoothly. for instance, here in nyc, condo or co-op boards have an alteration agreement packet that has to be adhered to before any type of construction can even begin. for these types of renovation projects, drawings have to be done, the scope of work has to be written, and all of the contractor licenses and insurance have to be submitted.... and that's just to begin the approval process! and this process can take several weeks to several months!! even the most straightforward interior design project with no renovation can take time. custom furniture, especially upholstery, has a very long lead time. 

keeping things running smoothly is a big part of an interior designer's role.  when things go wrong, this is where an interior designer adds a lot of value. on a project a few years ago, we created drawings for a kitchen gut renovation based off of the building's official plans on file with the city — namely based on the location of the gas riser. can you guess where this story is going?? once demo began, it was quickly discovered that the gas riser was in fact 18" away from where it had been noted on the official building plans. all of a sudden we had to completely redesign the kitchen layout after the cabinetry order had already been placed and demolition had begun. it all came together beautifully in the end but it added about 4 weeks to the overall project!

surprises happen, and that’s why you need a skilled designer who is able to manage the project and pivot around the hiccups.  a designer can come up with a resolution that’s going to move the process forward and eliminate any worry for you

 

park ave south living room with built ins - darci hether new york
park ave south

4. an interior designer won't reflect my personality

as a designer, when i'm working with a client i want your personality to shine through! when an initial call comes in, one of the things i ask a potential client is what they liked on my website that prompted them to call. maybe it's the clean lines of my park ave project, or the casual chic of my bridgehampton home. but if your aesthetic is more about heavy tassels and bold color palettes... chances are you wouldn't be calling me. 

one of the first things i do when i start working with a new client is to ask tons of questions to get a feel for your way of life. we'll talk about your likes, dislikes, the feel you want to have. do you like to entertain formally? or are you more laid back? is it all about cocktail parties and hosting your business associates? or is your home all about relaxing and decompressing? ultimately, how do you want to utilize your space and what mood or personality do you want to evoke? armed with this information my team and i set out to create the perfect oasis for you, reflecting who you are .....but i always like to throw in a little bit of a wild card: something surprising that goes a little bit beyond, but adds that extra je ne sais quoi to your home.

but the place where a client's personality really shines is through the accessorizing. one of the first things we'll do at this stage is what i call 'shop from home.'  this is where we'll discuss what meaningful or personal items you'd like showcased in your home. whether that's art, an antique toy collection, a sentimental vase, pillows, or photographs. i've often asked clients to send me a dropbox link to photographs they've wanted to display in their home but haven't yet, and we'll shop for frames for the prints. it's our priority to make the space about you, your family, and your needs!

 

 

bridgehampton master bedroom with wooden beams, 36" round ligth fixture. masculine design. - darci hether new york
bridgehampton master bedroom

5. hiring an interior designer is expensive (and an interior designer only relates to the interior of my home)

when you're hiring an interior designer, we're not just thinking about the interior dimensions of your home—we always measure the hallways, corners, freight elevators, door frames... because what good is a beautiful design if we can't physically get that stunning custom sofa or 6-burner wolf range into your space? here in new york city, that can be a big challenge. everyone remembers the scene in 'friends' with ross shouting "pivot" and the couch gets stuck in the stairwell! when you hire an interior designer, you get the peace of mind that those mistakes will be avoided and handled professionally so you don't have to suffer the consequences.

this can be true when you're not in manhattan as well! on my bridgehampton project, for instance, there was a very large, round light fixture we were set to install in the master bedroom (photo above). it was about 32-36" in diameter, and we knew ahead of time that the only way to get it in the space was to hoist it over the balcony and through the sliding glass doors. it would not have fit through the hallway, and it would not have fit through any of the other bedrooms doorways. thanks to my team and extensive measurements and planning, we were able to avoid a sticky situation.

one of my objectives as an interior designer is to relieve the strain of a renovation off your shoulders. my team and i manage the project from top to bottom, place and track all of your orders (oh so many orders...), triple check measurements, coordinate a team of industry professionals (that i've vetted carefully!), and consolidated all of your billing. this saves you time, money, and oh so much stress. (more time for that glass of bubbly?)

so is hiring an interior designer more expensive than doing it yourself? that depends! how much money do you think it would cost you in whiskey, marriage counseling, and therapy bills? (i joke... sort of.)

 

 

central park west kitchen black and white floral wallpaper - darci hether new york - interior design
central park west

is it worth it?

well, that's up to you and your circumstances.  if you're looking for a striking, well-designed home, an interior designer can be a valuable asset. you're not just hiring someone to "make pretty"—you're hiring a project manager with extensive expertise in the field, connections to stunning pieces and professionals, with a strong vision and the ability to create a space that is surprising and beautiful.

the kind of help a designer can provide is more varied than you might think! every designer works differently, and while our specialty is full-service design, that's not always the right option for every project. for other projects, we offer a ladder of services with a lot of possibilities to suit your needs.

full service - this is our specialty! i love providing that showstopping, turn-key moment. our full-service design manages the project from top to bottom so you don't have to. we'll handle every twist and turn through the process, saving you time and money. i've talked about my full-service projects on the blog before: if you want to learn more about what it's like to be a full-service client, check out the behind-the-scenes on my recent florida project!

designer-on-call - this is ideal if you feel confident managing the project, but want a professional consultant on hand. we'll be available to help prevent costly mistakes and guide you toward choices that will suit your space and your lifestyle. you're in control, but we're here to help. this could be as small as a one-off consultation to get you started, or it could be a full-scale design with you in charge of placing the orders and implementing the installations.

finishing touches - your home is almost done but just needs that extra little push with decor, accessories, lamps, and more to take it to the next level. we help you select artwork and shop for your finishing touches that will style your home to impress.

do you have any questions about working with an interior designer? would you like to learn more about our process? comment below or contact me!

cheers ~ darci

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spring cleaning... kitchen refresh

upper west side kitchen

once again it is snowing outside.  it is predicted we will get 12"-18"(!!!) - and it feels like winter is never going to end.  in trying to ignore our current outside weather, i'm getting ready for warmer springtime weather and that refreshing feeling of new beginnings by starting my spring cleaning. nothing beats that feeling of standing back and admiring a well organized, sparkling clean kitchen!!

i like to design kitchens that are light, bright, full of simplistic details and seamlessly uncluttered......like in this upper west side kitchen renovation, it's all about chic, bespoke simplicity.

upper west side wood and glass tile kitchen with pot filler - darci hether new york

the sleek cabinetry, the clean counters, the sparing accessories... everything there is discretely hidden away, showcasing the beautiful contrasting materials we selected for the space. the blue-green glass tile, high gloss wood cabinetry, and polished marble countertops reflect the light from the windows and create a feeling that is soothing and warm.

upper west side kitchen textures - darci hether new york

 

 

spring cleaning

freshening up your kitchen doesn't have to be tedious!  here are a few of my recommendations to get you started. in addition to your basic seasonal tidying up, a spring refresh should focus on switching out seasonal decor, replacing heavily used items like linens, and welcoming spring with fresh and clean aromas!

 

freshen up kitchen decor spring cleaning - darci hether new york

adding seasonal plants and fresh linens will make your kitchen feel fresh and clean right away. plants not only are a great piece of seasonal decor—they freshen the smell of the room. i also recommend replacing dishcloths and kitchen linens regularly.

a. wreath // this mixed eucalyptus wreath is a great way to add some spring freshness into your kitchen. with a refreshing eucalyptus aroma, it will brighten the space and keep it smelling beautiful.

b. brass mister // keep your plants watered in style with this lovely brass mister. this is a far cry from a cheap plastic spray bottle—and the brass will patina beautifully over time.

c. planter // this stunning bronze pot by designer suzanne kasler is the perfect stylish home for a countertop plant.

d. apron // an elegant dove grey apron is the ideal couture for any chef de cuisine.

e & f. linens // i always recommend my clients stick to white or grey linens, and refreshing your linens will make your kitchen feel that much cleaner. i love these grey dishcloths (e) & towels (f).

get clean - freshen up spring cleaning - darci hether new york

when we think about spring cleaning, it's easy to forget that the tools you use can be beautiful too! here are some of my favorite products to get you started.

a & b. meyer's soaps // these products are eco-friendly, elegant, smell beautiful, and work even better. i absolutely adore the lavender surface scrub (a), and this set of basil soaps (b).

c. kitchen gloves // i love the fresh spring color of these bright green kitchen gloves! what a cheerful way to kick off your spring cleaning.

d & e. brushes // so much more than just a sponge, i love how efficient and elegant these vintage-inspired brushes are from food52. the dish brush (d) is great for flat surfaces and has a comfortable handle, and the glass brush set (e) is the perfect gentle tool for wine glasses, champagne flutes, and hard-to-clean delicate vases.

 

get organized - kitchen organization - spring cleaning - darci hether new yorkwhile i always try to create a space that is as functional as it is beautiful, as it becomes more 'lived-in' you start to realize what you need in order to keep it organized. these pieces are a great way to help define your kitchen's storage and get ready for spring.

a. trash can // this steel, fingerprint-proof butterfly trash can is one of my favorites.

b. dustpan set // this vintage-inspired french hanging dustpan & brush set is the perfect example of the marriage of form and function. it's elegant, clean, and simple.

c. drawer insert // these tool alignment inserts from williams-sonoma are a great way to keep your drawer organizers even more organized—everything has its place and it won't shift around.

 

nourish the palette - kitchen decor - darci hetheri absolutely love a cookbook that doubles as a stunning coffee table book. gather & graze, by celebrity chef stephanie izard (and top chef's first female winner), looks just as beautiful as it is delicious. and the recipes are just to die for—pork belly frittata? grilled confit duck legs with nectarine kimchi? swooooooon. it comes out april 3rd, so pre-order it now! (i just did)

happy spring!

cheers ~ darci

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behind the scenes... my insta-famous foyer

lady kitty spencer in the gallery/foyer of my park ave project
lady kitty spencer - via instyle uk

imagine my surprise when i saw that lady kitty spencer—princess diana's beautiful niece—was recently featured in instyle in the foyer of my park ave project! apparently, the british royal was in town for new york fashion week and took instyle behind the scenes at the ralph lauren show.

because they were going behind the scenes, she was also photographed putting on finishing touches in the bathroom...

lady kitty spencer in the bathroom of my park ave project
left: instyle. right: my park ave bathroom

... and snuggling up with a mug of tea in the bedroom.

lady kitty in the bedroom of my park ave project
left: instyle. right: my park ave master bedroom

but seeing her in the apartment's gallery/foyer space got me thinking. i've blogged about the bedroom & bathrooms before, but the stately foyer is one of my favorite parts of this chic park ave apartment, so i thought i'd do a little behind-the-scenes of my own!

this apartment was purchased as an estate property (code for total gut renovation required). we ripped up all of the flooring, moved a couple walls, spent ages taking down horribly dated wallpaper, and completely renovated the two horrendous old bathrooms.

gallery/foyer floor in progress - park ave - darci hether ny

it was decided early on in the design process that the foyer was going to act as my client’s gallery space to highlight their incredible art collection. to that end, we wanted to clearly define the space. we added drama to the ceiling with the installation of a gorgeous high gloss wall covering and show-stopping light fixture. but the greatest delineation of space came through the installation of a super chic patterned tile floor utilizing two different stone finishes.

once the specification of the stone colors, finishes and sizes were finalized and the painstaking calculations were buttoned up, my team got to work laying the tile.

after all of the tile was installed and grouted, we took it one step further by having it diamond polished, providing an extremely smooth, seamless finish that just glowed. with the floors completed, i finished this space off with some bright accessories that pulled pops of color from our client's fantastic art collection.

then it was time for the big reveal!

park ave - gallery - foyer - pops of color in this stately and masculine park ave apartment - darci hether ny

i hope lady kitty enjoyed her stay! and if you want to learn more about this project, check out the incredible bathroom renovation, my tips for crafting masculine bedrooms, and be sure to take a look at the rest of this stunning apartment.

 

cheers ~ darci

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built in wet bar with dark tile - upper west side - darci hether new york

cocktail crush... contemporary home bars

built in wet bar with dark tile - upper west side - darci hether new york

anybody who knows me knows i loooooooove a good cocktail, and it got me thinking about what makes a home bar an entertaining essential.

to me, there are few things more impressive than mixing your guests the perfect drink. i've featured this upper west side pied-à-terre bar before (check out the renovation recap), and whenever i look at this image it reminds me how frantic it is to have a glamorous, stylish place to mix ones favorite concoction!

last week, i blogged about using restaurant design as inspiration for your dining room. this week i'm all about the bars!

the bars of my dreams

bars in brass and grey with stunning details - darci hether new york
left: terre - alicante, spain. right: herzog bar - munich, germany

i love finding my inspiration from visiting gorgeous, swoon-worthy commercial interiors. these bars epitomize bold elegance with the dark greys, brass, and high drama. they're not home bars—nor should they be—but that doesn't mean your home bar can't make the same kind of statement.

the wet bar

a classic wet bar is truly a wonderful thing. it's versatile, elegant, and fantastic for entertaining.

dark grey and brass wet bars - darci hether new york
left: wilson fuqua & theresa rowe. right: unknown

i love the grey cabinets and brass hardware in both of these home wet bars. the contrast amps up the drama... and oh how i love some visual drama!

hide-away built-ins

built in bars in dark brown and grey-blue
left: juma architects. right: chango & co.

i love creating custom built-in hide-away bars for my new york city clients. in new york apartments, where space is at a premium, a hideaway bar helps define a sophisticated, elegant space without the dedicated square footage. with a hidden bar, you can keep it visually out of sight when not in use, or show off to your guests with your bespoke bar and a craft cocktail.

do you want all the joy of a home bar but be able to hide it away from your guests when not in use? these options are for you!

statement tile

statement tile backsplash for a home bar
left: ali budd interiors. center: unknown. right: raili clasen & eric olsen.

i love using stunning statement tiles, and these tiled backsplashes certainly don't disappoint! if you want your bar to really pop, a bold tile backsplash can make a really big statement. depending on the tile you use, it makes an entirely different statement. the black tile against the brass shelves would be a perfect look to complete a masculine bar for a refined bachelor. and the bar on the right is ideal for the hamptons!

bar carts

bar cart decor, accessories, & styling
left: joanna lavén. center: unknown. right: kayla seah - not your standard

if your space doesn't allow for a wet bar or an elegant built-in, that doesn't mean you can't have something beautiful for your entertaining pleasure. a curated, stylized, classic bar cart is sure to impress! bar carts can be a great way to give the feel of a bespoke bar, but they have a small footprint ideal for new york city apartments and they can roll away. they can still make a beautiful statement depending on how they're styled! pay attention to the bottles and bar accessories you choose to display, since they will be very visible.

stocking your bar

stocking a home bar doesn't have to be tricky. i like to keep it simple. while it's nice to have most of the basics, you can still keep it minimal. i like to be able to whip up a "house specialty" cocktail or two at a moments notice. if you have the ingredients on hand for a select number of delicious cocktails, you don't have to have a "fully stocked" bar.

my personal go-to is a manhattan.

a classic manhattan - NYTimes cooking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nytimes manhattan recipe

can't decide on a signature recipe? check out this book:

i love this book for a comprehensive list of cocktail recipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the essential cocktail: the art of mixing perfect drinks

get the look

if you're ready to let your home bar make a statement, here are my recommendations!

get the look - contemporary bar - darci hether new york

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a. matte gold shaker // b. cocktail picks // c. coasters // d. cocktail book "the essential cocktail" // e. bar cart // f. travel cutting board // g. mixers // h. glassware // i. whiskey stones

 

and as a bonus: anything on this list is the perfect gift for any cocktail-loving person in your life! (hint hint)

cheers ~ darci

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contemporary restaurant interior - Vaucluse ny

get the look... chic restaurant design

contemporary restaurant interior - Vaucluse ny
vaucluse

a chic, upscale restaurant design can be an exciting starting point for a contemporary dining room. taking your cues from restaurant interiors gives you haute style to go with your haute cuisine. food for the eyes as well as the stomach!

two of my favorite restaurants here in new york, vaucluse and nougatine, are the perfect place to start—and totally swoonworthy. not to mention delicious!

more than just the food, what drew me to these two restaurants is the way in which they go above and beyond in their attention to detail in the design elements. they're rich, detailed, thoughtful, and warm.

vaucluse

i try to get to vaucluse fairly frequently. in fact, i was there just last week for a pastry class. i absolutely recommend it. it was so much fun!

this dining area and bar are absolutely stunning. i love the stark contrast in the two-toned striped rug. it defines the space, and adds visual interest. the details here are so rich and elegant. everywhere you look, there's so much to take in. the metal details on the dining chairs, the rugs, the upholstery, the arched brick ceilings... amazing!

dining area at vaucluse ny - contemporary restaurant interior

the bar at vaucluse ny - contemporary restaurant interior

everything here feels custom—the cut of the rugs, the detailing on the bar, the fabric choices, even the pillows. it's a very thoughtful space. i've blogged about light fixtures in the dining room before, and i absolutely love the ones at vaucluse. the way the curves of the light fixtures echo the custom banquettes and architectural features adds to the overall effect of the space.

and you know what else is amazing? their food. seriously.

scrumptious food photography of vaucluse nyc
via: @vauclusenyc

be still my beating heart! their instagram is absolutely worth following.

nougatine

one of my other favorite restaurants is nougatine. it's a jean-georges restaurant, so you just know it's going to be phenomenal. their prix fixe lunch menu is absolutely a hidden treasure. this is one of my favorite places to get lunch with clients! in fact, i was just there a few weeks ago with the clients from my recent florida project.

this restaurant design is just as gorgeous as it is cozy. i love the staggered pendant lights, the clean lines, and the yummy color palette. the whole space makes you feel like you're inside a box of truffles. my mouth is watering just at the thought!

jean georges nougatine ny contemporary restaurant interior

jean georges nougatine ny contemporary restaurant interior
nougatine

where vaucluse is all about the details, nougatine is all about thoughtful simplicity. the recessed lighting and the oval lighting track gently lead your eye around the room and accentuate the built-ins and architectural features. the soft lighting and textures make you feel cozy and at home.

the flooring here is particularly stunning. it adds texture without pulling focus. the effect is like a pebbled leather—so warm and inviting.

and even more amazing? this food.

scrumptious dishes from jean-georges' nougatine nyc
nougatine

... please pick your jaw up off the floor.

get the look

when you're ready, i have some recommendations for how to get this look in your dining room.

ready? no? i'll give you a minute. take your time, i'll wait.

a. bud vase // b. wine glasses // c. pillows: black & white, grey, grey & gold // d. cheese plate coffee table book // e. black rimmed dishes

1. dining chairs // 2. pendant lights // 3. dining table // 4. striped rug

when your dining room looks as gorgeous as these spaces, you won't mind dining at home. but when the mood strikes, make a reservation to take in the ambiance in person at either one of these extraordinary restaurants.

 

cheers ~ darci

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beachfront patio in this florida panhandle beach house - darci hether new york

design reveal... florida beach house

beachfront patio in this florida panhandle beach house - darci hether new york
finished photos by Jean Allsopp

the cat's out of the bag on this florida beach house! the project was just featured on home bunch and i'm so excited i can finally share these photos and a little bit of the behind the scene of how this project came to be what it is today. this project was an absolute dream to work on, and with clients that were a dream to work with!

when my clients bought a gorgeous lake-front lot with gulf views in watersound beach off of 30a, in florida's gulf coast, they called on mets adams studio and gulfview construction (otherwise called the "A team" by our clients) to collaborate on this brand new, ground-up construction project in a stunning gated community. they wanted a comfortable and elegant oasis that they could enjoy for years to come.

one of my favorite things about new construction is watching the house come together from the studs up as a reflection of my client's specific needs and aesthetic. unlike with a renovation, there really are limitless possibilities!

grab a glass of bubbly and take a look through these progress and finished photos.

design brief

the starting point for this design project was a beautiful, heartfelt design manifesto written by my client, in which she talks about wanting her home to be at once luxurious and casual. she wrote, "we want our home to leave a lasting impression on those who visit."

“our home will have a well-designed layout for relaxing or entertaining indoors or outdoors, enhanced by the lake and gulf views. this home will be beautiful—using a soothing color palette and quality finishes, a touch of modern or playful elements where they are not expected. It will be comfortable, not formal. this home will evoke positive energy—one that encourages great conversations, laughter and warmth.

“it will be a showpiece, a jewel ... but not pretentious. good wine and friendly dogs are welcome here. we do not believe exquisite design and décor are exclusive from comfort."

with the above directive from my clients in hand, we started by creating mood boards. then, i pulled the main architectural materials that would start to bring those words to life. the mood boards depicted watery, soothing, and relaxing imagery in colors of soft green sea glass, delicate blush colored flowers, creamy orange colored creamsicle, and accents of sandy starfish... all the gorgeous colors that are found throughout watersound beach. since the views are one of the most striking parts of this property, i drew on the colors of the water, the beach, and the sunset in order to marry the inside and the outside!

while all of the beautiful material selections were getting buttoned up, construction was getting underway!

the kitchen

darci hether watersound beach kitchen renovation progress

during a site visit, i was able to show our clients firsthand a sample of the beautiful watery arabesque patterned backsplash that would wrap the walls in their large chef's kitchen. the soothing color and movement of the gulf waters were my inspiration behind the tile choice for this backsplash.

darci hether watersound beach renovation in process - kitchen design

all of the custom designed cabinetry was installed and ready for the pièce de résistance!

luxe florida beach house kitchen with light blue tile, chandelier, wolf range, and pot filler - darci hether new york

voila!

there were so many incredible design elements that we attended to in this kitchen but my personal favorites were the custom range hood we designed and, of course, the stunning backsplash! because we were employing such a beautiful architectural material, i designed the many other elements of the kitchen to be more subtle so they wouldn't compete with the shining star of the space.

the living room

work in progress at the watersound beach living room - the drywall goes up - darci hether new york

once the contractors install the living room windows and dry-wall, my clients and i were really able to fully appreciate the grand scale of this room! ….not to mention the view!

florida beach house living room with natural light and blush accents. - darci hether new york

 the living room is full of natural light, with breathtaking views of the gulf. i made sure that the furnishings and materials used here were of soft, sandy hues with organic curves, and i used touches of accent colors that mirror the colors found in nature just outside the large paned windows.

i talk about how versatile blush is in a color palette in last week's blog post, and here it is in action!

the master bedroom

watersound beach master bedroom in process - darci hether new york

luxe florida beach house master bedroom with tufted bed, bench, mirrored dressers, and a chandelier. - darci hether new york

my goal with the master bedroom was to create a peaceful retreat for the homeowners. the word “serene” kept popping up in our conversations about this room, and i think we delivered! inspired by the glassy blue waters of the gulf, i selected a watery-blue textured wallpaper to add a softness to the room, and a break from the bright florida sunlight. i love how the texture of this silk wallpaper gives the room so much dimension, and swathing one's walls in a soothing color or material is one of my favorite ways to turn a bedroom into a serene retreat.

watersound beach master bathroom swatching process - darci hether new york

florida beach house luxurious spa master bathroom with a double vanity, deep soaker tub, shower, and light blue walls. - darci hether new york

stepping into this master bathroom is like stepping inside a jewelry box. the gorgeous mosaic flooring and inset on the shower wall were made of beautiful white marble with the outline of the pattern containing light reflecting soft green glass chips. the whole place just sparkles! i selected classic and elegant fittings to continue the spa-like feel, and make this bathroom feel elevated but still casual and comfortable. i think it's so important to keep bathrooms feeling timeless and airy!

third floor rec room

construction at the florida beach house

if the first two floors were all about sophisticated and relaxed entertaining, the third floor was all about creating a super fun, highly casual space!

florida beach house rec room with colorful accents in green, blue, and lavender. a perfect kids retreat! - darci hether new york

my clients purchased a beautiful piece by local artist francisco adaro, and it was the perfect starting point for the color palette in the den. it informed all the upholstery and rug choices, and his beautiful abstract painting has that perfect je ne sais quoi.

built-in kids bunkbed in our florida beach house project. shiplap walls, blue accents, and built-in shelving. - darci hether new york

what's a casual beach house without great spaces for young’uns to flock to and escape the parents? this top floor bunkbed kids bedroom and rec room was the perfect place to really play with brighter colors, patterns and textures. to up the fun-factor, i amped up the intensity of the color palette, and i designed a bespoke built-in bunk bed with added shelving to emphasize the roof line. i love seeing the raw space next to the finished product here—the white ship-lap walls really emphasize all that gorgeous florida natural light.

 

the guest bedrooms

guest bedroom color palettes - watersound beach, fl - darci hether new york

florida beach house guest bedroom with blush accents and light blue walls. - darci hether new york

florida beach house guest bedroom with a wicker side chair and blue accents. - darci hether new york

these two first floor guest bedrooms are the perfect, serene place for our clients to host their guests. i opted for blush accents to play off of the soft blues in the first bedroom, while the adjacent room features soft greens and sandy tones, tying in the aesthetic of the whole house.

the stairwell

stairwell construction at the watersound beach property - darci hether new york

the white ship-lap walls in this three story stairwell tie in that casual beachy vibe, and i love the way the open curves of this light fixture fill out the space. lighting is such a great way to emphasize the lines of a space.

the bathrooms

watersound beach, fl bathroom swatching process with portholes - darci hether new york

blue florida double vanity master bathroom and wallpapered powder room - darci hether new york

these porthole windows in the secondary master bathroom (left) and powder room (right) are so much fun. in the powder bath, i custom designed the vanity to keep with the warm, beachy wood tones. and how gorgeous is that patterned grasscloth wallpaper? the soft brass accents pop beautifully and overall add another dimension to this space.

florida living

watersound beach before after indoor outdoor living - darci hether new york

florida beach house patio with an outdoor brick fireplace and spiral staircase - darci hether new york

while i truly love all of the soothing colors, chic furniture silhouettes and quality finishes that we incorporated in the design of the interiors, the jaw-dropping view became one of the most important parts of the house. indoor/outdoor living was so important to my clients. i designed this patio to be a comfortable place to relax in front of the fire on cooler nights. bonus: who doesn't want an outdoor tv area overlooking the beach? swoon!

cheers!

i’ve said it so many times before to anyone who would listen but i’ll say it again here. this project was truly a labor of love and i count it as one of my career highlights. working on amazing projects and with such fun and thoughtful clients never gets old…… and the location wasn’t bad either!!

celebrating the completion of our florida beach house. time on the beach with a glass of champagne! - darci hether new york

our happy clients and their adorable dachshunds
our amazing clients on watersound beach

of course, we had to celebrate completing this project within view of the beach. my clients and their adorable dachshunds certainly seem to be enjoying florida beachfront living!

want to see more? check out the full portfolio page.

 

cheers ~ darci

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contemporary living room with a blush pink couch and navy accents

color crush... blush pink

contemporary living room with a blush pink couch and navy accents
andrea parisio

blush pink interiors are the trend of the season - who knew? while i don’t consider myself a *pink* person—i’ve never been the girly girl—i find myself noticing this soothing (dare i say fun?) color popping up all around me.

in the past, i would consider pretty much any shade of pink to look childish or unsophisticated.  however, i’m a big enough person to admit when i'm wrong. done well, blush accents can be downright chic!

are you ready to be inspired? grab a glass of sparkling rosé and enjoy the eye-candy.

i was wandering around the upper east side when i came across the stunning mansur gavriel storefront on madison & 59th. it certainly got me thinking!

mansur gavriel storefront madison ave

mansur gavriel madison ave interior
mansur gavriel

i love how surprising this interior is. it might not work in a residential space, but it certainly pops! there's something about the color in this space that just makes me happy and excited, and, as it turns out, that's not by accident. the psychology of pink is fascinating. it's considered to be a soothing, calming color. it makes you feel warm, safe, and nurtured. and who doesn’t want to feel nurtured while trying on some super fabulous footwear??

for me, i’m always seeking out something a little more luxe and calming. exhibit a: check out these insanely gorgeous, muted blush accents in these stunning restaurant interiors:

blush accents in restaurant interiors
left: maxim tsiabus. right: unknown

want to bring that feeling into your dining room? i just love these two subtle blush dining rooms.

blush interior accents in the dining room
left: cecilie ingdal. right: yana demidovich

ok, it’s time to top off your glass of rosé and get ready to swoon over these chic and luxurious blush living rooms. i love how versatile this color is! in some of these, you'll see it's acting like a neutral against a much darker accent color.

blush living room accents
left: westwing. right: marianna hewitt
blush living rooms
left: anthropologie. right: @my_london_home
blush doorway entry and sofa with green and wicker accents
left: pömpeli. right: amy bartlett

i just love the blush and green. complimentary colors are so important, and in this case they're so serene! not to mention that pink door and wicker baskets look straight out of the hamptons.

do you remember the blush bathrooms of the 1950s? i've certainly renovated my share of them. but not these blush bathrooms. they are modern, simplistic and in a word, breathtaking!

chic blush and grey bathrooms
left: unknown. right: crosby studios
contemporary blush bathroom
olesya fedorenko

wow. i tend to design interiors where the school of thought “less is more” is in play when considering the use of color or bold pattern and to that point it doesn't take much to add a little blush into your room. take a look at these subtle vignettes for some inspiration!

blush accents in the living room
left: unknown. right: simply mars

are you obsessed yet?? here are my suggestions to add a little more pink into your decor!

blush shopping list

a. armchair // b. trays // c. throw // d. ottoman // e. jewelry box // f. plates // g. sofa // h. pillows: silver, foil, shag // i. side table

so ... is it just the wine or are you blushing?

 

cheers ~ darci

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muted palette restful bedroom with built-ins and orchid

design secrets... 5 bedroom hacks to cure insomnia

muted palette restful bedroom with built-ins and orchid

the secret to a restful bedroom might not be what you think! elledecor asked me for my advice on designing a bedroom to help get a better night's sleep. the design of your bedroom should be helping you sleep (definitely read this article from cnn, life changing) here is how i approach crafting a serene, sleep-inducing, insomnia-curing bedroom.

 

1. create boundaries

stress is the biggest enemy of a good night's sleep. for workaholics like me, not having your phone in the room creates boundaries, and it means you have no choice but to unplug and unwind. i never bring my phone into my bedroom, and it's the best habit i've ever created. instead, keep a tray or basket by the bed for a book or notebook, and keep your space clean, simple, and decluttered.

dark and serene bedroom with wood paneling, muted palette, and soft lighting

central park west

2. lighting

lighting creates the mood, so the best way to keep your bedroom serene is by controlling the light. stray light from outside will keep you awake, so i like to use blackout shades as a simple way to block it out. i recommend pairing a high-end blackout roller shade with luxurious drapery panels to create an elegant and functional window dressing.

during the daytime, you need a good overhead light, but when winding down at night it's important to have soft, warm light. sconces and recessed lighting that creates a soft wash along the wall will help you feel serene and relaxed.

overhead and sconce lighting in the bedroom

left: fifth ave. right: park ave south.

3. simplicity

i like to keep my color palettes in the bedroom soft and neutral, and dark walls can help create a calming atmosphere. steer clear of too many trinkets or clutter and keep the decor simple. i prefer soft textures, and steer clear of busy patterns or bright colors. choose minimal and refined linens and draperies. i love a beautiful cashmere throw!

neutral color palettes in the bedroom

left: bridgehampton. right: central park west.

4. seating

it's important to have a secondary space to read or put on your shoes. i like having somewhere i can relax and unwind with a book and a scented candle.

bedroom seating areas

left: central park west. center: fifth ave. right: park ave

5. serenity

i always keep fresh cut flowers on my bedside table and dresser. they add a little bit of light and life into the room, while still being calming and serene. i also like to keep a scented candle or a room spray in a soothing scent like lavender close at hand.

fresh flowers on bedside tables to add life to the bedroom

left: sutton place. right: park ave.

ready for a good night's sleep? here are some of my favorite serene bedroom essentials.

get the look... serene bedroom decor

a. duvet // b. tray // c. carafe // d. candle // e. pillow // f. throw // g. sconce // h. vase // i. table lamp

 

sweet dreams!

 

cheers ~ darci

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