Monday, August 19, 2013

Tips to Creating a Successful Luxury Bath

 Exquisite Penthouse Master Bath

10 Tips to Creating a Successful Luxury Bath
alene workman, FASID for Dwell Magazine

Great bath design succeeds when people think about how they want to live and function in their private sanctum.  Everything is critical to the vision the owner/design professional wants to create in this very personal space.

It is all about creating a wish list along with the basics that will allow you to create the outline to proceed.

Zen Modern Bath
1.  Know your design style by checking out what you see in magazines, on the net or other media- Is it modern, spa like, transitional or traditional?

2.  Think about the size of the space and come up with a great layout.  Do you have room to create his and her baths or private, separate water closets for the toilets?

3.  Include a qualified professional designer, architect or certified bath designer with the experience to get you where you want to go.

4.  Don’t be afraid to make a statement. Create interest or drama in design, color, or material use.

Private Home Powder Room
5.  Look for wonderful, interesting rich materials for floors, walls, cabinets and counter tops.  Go for exotic woods, stones with unusual finishes like leather-ed and flamed marble tops or add some inlaid floor patterning.

Renovated Bath
6.   Go for great bath lighting which is critical to successful design and making you look good.  Get this done properly and professionally.  Make sure the vanity has eye level side sink lighting combined with upper lighting.  Include accent lighting in other bath locations.

7.  Always anticipate storage needs and build that in to your designs.  The biggest luxury is being able to find the right place to put everything away neatly.  Plan your custom cabinetry based on these needs.

8.  Think about what will make this room special.  Is there a sexy free standing tub, a place for some highlighted great art or is this bath a relaxing retreat with a great chaise lounge? 

9.  Think about the items that you will need to make this bath a true luxury space.  Have you included a hand held shower at a large tub for personal use and easy cleaning?  Are there dual shower heads with an overhead rain head? Is there a TV in the shower with music controls?

10.Don’t forget to include those truly pampered personalized items like heated floors, a fireplace or a private morning bar area to make that first cup of your favorite coffee?
The Ultimate Bath

As with all good design, a great bath needs expertise, knowledge and planning. A functioning, well designed and beautiful bathroom is a true luxury.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Online Blogging for Dwell Magazine

As a new, new venture for 2013, I have been asked by Dwell Magazine and the national ASID organization to begin a blog for the online Dwell site.  So far I have 2 posted articles.  The most recent, April 2013, has been picked up by J Robert Scott company on their Facebook page.  This article discusses a new generation of materials that I see available for the upscale, luxury market.  Click on the J Robert Scott site below to see their post.


To directly link to the Dwell blog, click on:

The above photo shows a guest bedroom from our recently completed project were a wonderful new product from 3Form company allows the back lit headboard wall  to glow without seeing the source of light.

The rest of this newly published project is featured in  the Spring 2013  issue of Florida Design Magazine.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 Tips on Timeless Luxury Design

My design philosophy is always to create luxury design that is timeless.  This means the overall design can stand the test of time and be seen just as current today as tomorrow with a feel of sophistication that incorporates beautiful, interesting materials in a well thought out environment.

Based on my knowledge and experience, here is what that takes: 

1.    Look at creating a design that is based on function and problem solving since luxury is all about the personal, custom approach to a design solution.

 2.     Always design the “bones” of the interior, (walls, floors, ceiling designs) to be permanent since these set the stage of the overall design. 

3.     Create an architectural background with important detailing that gives uniqueness and definition to the home, including creative and proper lighting solutions. 

4.     Use natural materials like stone, fine woods, and marbles that convey a sense of strength and everlasting beauty. 

5.     Choose furnishings with interesting finishes that add to the overall character of the home like unique woods such as anigre, African  Bubinga, Wenge or stone materials mixing in onyx or unusual marbles. 

6.     Choose materials or fabrics that are durable yet have rich textures or color tones that are inviting and can feel delicious. 

7.      Use your knowledge and expertise to guide decisions for color and furnishings.  Never follow the “color of the year” but rather the direction should be focused on what relates to preferences. 

8.     Stay clean and always refine without too much clutter. Overdoing anything tends to become weary quickly.  Luxury is often seen through fine line and clarity. 

9.     Luxury is also conveyed with consistency in design throughout the home, inside and out.  Stay true to the architectural elements you create or are created by the architect. 

10.  Timeless luxury design can be contemporary, modern, traditional, transitional or casual eclectic as long as it is well done with quality details and well thought out choices. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Changing Design Scene

As a professional interior designer for over 25 years, this past year has seen the biggest and most rapid change in the design scene in my memory.

What is the difference today, and what can we do as designers to help our clients deal with the added importance of the new reality in all our lives?

  • We are all seeing the economy improving on a path of continued slow growth for years to come whoever wins the election.
  • Money is now being spent more carefully therefore how dollars are apportioned in a design project is still an important factor in a successful design.
  • Design oriented web sites offering everything and promoting a "you design it" mentality is confusing but empowering everyone.
  • For our clients, cost  consideration in selecting product is paramount in helping meet their goals.    Is it more about style or name brand?
  •  Clients still want designers who are open to listening to their wishes and needs and incorporating those into their designs wherever possible.
  • For the designer, the amount of design detailing and product quality level must be discussed openly so expectations are understood in advance.
  • Designers need to be upfront in discussing  their ability of meeting the expectations of  the client.  
The value of the  interior design professional is more important today than ever before.

As the professional, we need to continue to help our clients through the design process with creative yet practical design solutions, clear communication, and clean transparent business practices in a relevant, forward thinking way..

Friday, December 2, 2011

Designers Value as Client Advocate

Many people come to our firm not fully understanding our value to them as their project advocate.  As designers, we constantly need to update and educate our potential clients as to what we actually bring to the table for them.
  1. Our first job is to help the potential clients see that in addition to creatively designing their    homes or companies, we are artists, engineers, facilitators, leaders to other team members, creating the overall project aesthetic, and running the project as a business through complete purchasing and installation.  
  2. We act on their behalf and are a true advocate. We meet  budgets goals and have fiduciary responsibility helping them to choose wisely in purchases.
  3. We are problem solvers that  work to improve their lives or work spaces.  We push boundaries and discover new and better ways to solve interior challenges.
  4. We are a resource of new and unusual materials that can be used in exciting and unexpected ways.
  5. We are experienced collaborators with our client and other design team professionals, always working to get the best result for them to meet their goals.
    Combined, that spells great service and value in our role be be their main advocate.  We have their best interest in our view starting with the initial conversation and ending at the final installation being the last to walk out the door.

    Thank you for reading along again and I look forward to our next meeting.

    Warm Regards,

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Designer Extraordinaire Profile

    Being a National spokesperson for the world wide organization ASID (the American Society of Interior Designers), the extracurricular job has offered me opportunities to speak to editors and writers from all over the globe who seek out information about issues on interior design.

    One such writer of the design blog, has interviewed me several times on different issues. Since she found the information so helpful, she asked if she could do a profile on me for her blog.

    Please read her profile by going to the site:

    Thanks for reading along.


    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Knowing How to Hire an Interior Designer

    As a national spokesperson for the American Society of Interior Designers, I am often contacted by editors and writers to give them information on many design subjects.

    In the past, I have written myself on how to hire an interior designer and now I have been interviewed and quoted on this important subject for a new blog.

    The writer is not an interior designer but writes and researches her topics well.

    After these interviews, she asked to write a profile of me and my firm that will be posted on her blog shortly. I will forward that link on my next blog.

    Please visit this site on "Hiring an Interior Designer", shown below. The next article in this series has several images of my design work.

    Florida Designers Win Lawsuit to Stay Licensed

    Please read this important Federal court decision allowing Florida interior designers to keep their license and continue to protect the health, welfare and safety of their clients.  This has national consequences for all practicing designers and ID students.  We applaud the decision.

    Circuit Court Upholds Florida’s Interior Design Licensure

    ASID Declares Locke vs. Shore Decision a Victory for Florida Businesses and Interior Design Community

    WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2011)
    The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and its members support the United States Court of Appeals Eleventh Circuit on its decision this week to uphold the State of Florida’s interior design statute.

    The Court unanimously affirmed last year’s District Court decision that Florida’s licensing requirement for interior designers practicing in commercial settings is constitutional. The statute does not prevent any designer from performing the work they currently do but expands the scope of work for those who meet additional requirements. Interior designers practicing in residential settings in Florida may do so without a license.

    “We are very pleased that the Court upheld the state’s interior design statute,” said Director of Government and Public Affairs at ASID, Don Davis. “This decision ensures Floridians will continue to benefit from the high quality of services the interior design community provides.”

    In a well reasoned opinion, the Court rejected, among other things, the Appellants’ contention that the Florida legislature’s safety concern does not provide a rational basis for the license requirement.

    Believing in Florida’s right to maintain and enforce legislation that serves to protect the public safety and consumers, ASID filed an Amicus Curiae Brief with the Court in support of the proposition that Florida had a rational basis for regulating commercial interior designers. The National Council for Interior Design Qualification, which administers the national qualifying examination recognized by the state, also submitted an Amicus Curiae Brief in support of the state’s position.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Big News! Big Kitchens Are Back

    As an interior designer of homes for high net worth clients, I have seen  increased requests to have  kitchens and some baths enlarged to meet the requirements for many hi tech appliances and gadgets.  It seems that my recent clients are not alone in their needs.

    A recent published article from the American Institute of Architects describes this recent trend as the economy has begun to improve.   As they note, I too am seeing more space needed for ports and electronic devices in  the kitchen, bath and morning bars off master baths, and media/family room centers.  Everyone has at least 2 iPads, iPhones and a gambit of items to plug into a power source.

    In a recent interview a national reporter wanted to know if there was truth to the trend that the master bath jaccusi style tub was being replaced by a large shower.  My answer is-- absolutely!  Everyone wants the mutiple body sprays, overhead rain showers, double shower heads and a TV with sound systems.  Big is back and this is now the luxury location.

    Please see the link below to the AIA article for your review. I'll forward my interview next when it is published.">

    Wednesday, March 23, 2011

    Interior/ Exterior Lighting for a Home

    Recently interviewed by an AP writer for USA Today , I realized how pertinent this article may be to you when looking at the  exterior lighting design in your home.  As a National Spokesperson for the American Society of Interior Designers, I thought you may like to read the article and the quotes from me that were used.

    Please go to the site and click to read, or just see below.

    "We have seen outdoor lights absolutely replicating indoor designs," said Anne Robert of, a website that focuses on home trends.

    "Outdoor lighting is a mood setter. It can make or break a design just like it can indoors."

    The abundance of products lets you make outdoor spaces more functional, said Rich Young of Outdoor Living Brands in Richmond, Va. "It allows families to extend the square footage of their home," he said. "With the right light, you can extend the evening for dining or reading or other activities outdoors."

    When choosing fixtures for outdoor entertaining areas, consider how much light is necessary, said Alene Workman, a spokeswoman for the American Society of Interior Designers. A table needs to have sufficient light so diners can eat, whereas a conversation area may need only soft mood lighting.

    Be creative with table lighting, recommends Krissa Rossbund, a senior style editor at Traditional Home Magazine.

    "Gone are the days when people hang a chandelier over a table and call it lit," she said.

    She suggests hanging two small chandeliers instead of one large one, or buying a chandelier at a flea market and painting it a bright color.

    Outdoor chandeliers come in a variety of styles, from mission to modern. Manufacturers also offer many candle chandeliers for outdoor areas that don't have electricity.

    For seating areas, choose a weighted outdoor floor lamp, said Workman, who owns an interior design firm in Hollywood, Fla. "There are wonderful new outdoor lights that are almost art pieces themselves," she said.

    Colored lights, illuminated furniture and subtle fixtures designed to blend with nature will be popular this year, according to design professionals.

    Workman expects to see the use of color increase, and "I don't mean Christmas lights," she said. Landscapers are starting to incorporate subtle red, blue and pink lights into their work, she said.

    Color is particularly appropriate if you are planning a party, Rossbund added. It's "a fun way to change things up," she said.

    Some homeowners are adding a bright pop of color with light-up patio furniture, Robert said. The battery-powered chairs and tables are available in a variety of colors.

    International designers like Modoluce and Neoz have created lines of plastic tables and chairs that are lit from within.

    Avanzini has a line of wood furniture made with glowing light strips. It helps create a lounge look that Robert thinks will be popular this summer.

    "With the rise of staycations, we will see a lot of designs adopting a real bar-type lounge attitude, with perhaps more extravagant and festive pieces," she said.

    Moonlight USA sells decorative outdoor illuminated globes, which can glow white like the moon or cast light in a rainbow of colors. The company also makes a tabletop for the globes. The clear acrylic disc has a cut-out center that allows it to rest on top of the globe so it can function as a table.

    "The color is very robust," said owner Anke Kondek. "It's a wow effect."

    Homeowners wanting to light a more natural setting may go for a softer, more layered look, said Beth Webb, an interior designer in Atlanta. She favors the custom copper-and-wood pieces made by The Outdoor Lights in Cumming, Ga.

    Company president Chris Wakefield has created lights that cast a warm glow around fire pits, dining areas or outdoor living rooms. Some of his more popular items include punctured copper cylinders that create a firefly effect, stamped copper lanterns and illuminated, artificial birdhouses. The lanterns can hang from a shepherd's hook or a tree branch.

    Before buying lights for reading, lounging or dining, the professionals recommend making sure that pathways and steps are properly lit for safety.

    "You want light to help you navigate spaces near or around steps," said Jeff Dross, director of education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting.

    He and the other experts warned against making outdoor spaces too bright. They suggest using subtle light that is aimed towards the ground wherever possible.

    "For most tasks you only need low light," Dross said. "Avoid that glare. Glare forces you to think you need more light than you do."

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    What I Can Do For You

    My role as an interior designer has greatly expanded over the last 10 years as our  designs have become more complex and detailed.  This is due  to more intricate technology, a need for leadership and coordination over other design and trade team members and more knowledgeable clients.  Most prospective clients want me because I understand the  big picture, share their goals, and act on their behalf as their advocate so that the project gets completed as we have envisioned.

    We create the interior back bones of a space before any finishing materials are selected.  This often includes the floor plan layout , furniture plans,lighting plans, electrical plans, multi layered ceiling designs with up (indirect)  and down lighting( direct), wall elevation design, staircases and railing design, custom interior doors, moldings and door casings.

    We act as the team leader for all the other design professionals hired by the client.  This  typically includes  the architect, builder/GC, landscape architect, lighting designer, audio visual company, engineers, etc.   Most often we do drawings for all team participants so they understand the requirements of the project, even if they end up doing their own final drawings for permits.

    We oversee all design elements during construction and act on the clients behalf throughout the process including administration and orchestrating our installaions.  Even though many sub trades work for the builder or GC, my team does the detailed drawings so that the work can be completed  per our master design.  (In Florida, an interior designer cannot act as a general contractor unless we have that license).

    Being the last out the door on our design projects requires an enormous amount of problem solving and coordination.  I’d say I am more like the captain of a very large ship.  Ahoy!

    Thanks for reading this since it is my mantra.  I’m a big communicator and like to have my role understood.  Most people come to a design firm expecting a decorator.  We do that too but that is only a small part of the game.   That’s why our clients love what we do.  We make a daunting process fun for everyone.

    The Sketch

    Here is one of many sketches done while in the process of designing an 11,000 square foot home along with the photo taken of the master bath after the home was completed. Our sketch presentation is  remarkably positive  since it’s easier to erase on paper than replace if we’re not in sync with the client.  (That has never happened).  This is part of our master plan presentation to our clients so that they understand our design clearly, long before anything is built or purchased.

    The initial sketch presentation along with materials used in the space is unique since most firms do not take the time or forethought to completely design, draw and plan a project in advance.  It is based on my commitment to communicate clearly to our clients so that they become excited and  understand the outcome before they need to spend any money on furnishes or finishing.  It makes them appreciate that “we get it” early into the process.  That is the beginning of trust.