Design Ideas Proposed
I've been thinking long and hard about certain features that I genuinely love within the design community. There are trends that I don't like, some that I do and then they're others I wish would stay. Maybe because we live in New York City, but a lot of our design decisions really do get influenced by our location. Naturally, you would think, but in reality this is because we are surrounded by so much here, the cultural diversity is a huge part of why NYC is such an appealing place. This exposes us to different ideas, while the "elite" life all around with the mega luxurious hotels and residential buildings makes us want to continue the tradition, though soften it a little bit so that our spaces feel opulent, though warm and cozy like any other you would see in the suburbs, for example.
Design Ideas We Love Proposing Clients
Designated Rooms - I know the open-floor plan feature is huge and so many people buy homes looking for this specific style. At Synonymous, we are keen on the exact opposite. I've had this pressing feeling for years about how it's so much better to have designated rooms in one's home instead of one huge space with very minimal walls. This thought began as here in the city we've got amazing townhouses built as early as the 1800's. I gather loads of architectural ideas from older homes, and their rooms are all separated, which is not a bad thing like some would think. I love the idea of walking into a room and feeling that it is a separate space, delineated and standing on its own.
Pantry Cabinets - Ohh, I don't think you understand my absolute obsession with cabinetry and built- ins (of all things, right? HA). I LOVE them and the more encompassing the design, the better. I've been really into pantry cabinets because they feel like such a treat. You know, opening those doors and finding a mini kitchen inside is a dream. Aside from walking pantries, pantry cabinets in the kitchen, laundry or utility room to store more than just food are genius. The idea is to include a countertop, a sink (if possible or depending on the purpose), drawers, yes drawers are a must, some shelves and storage on the doors if you can manage it. You can create a pantry cabinet categorized as a "station" in the kitchen, such as "Coffee / Tea Station, Cocktail / Smoothie Station or even a place to store your stationary supplies. The possibilities are endless.
Lighted Built-ins - We see this a lot in commercial and hospitality spaces — the lighted built-ins look. I really do love the look and for spaces like a library, home office, anywhere really, lighting up built-ins with LED lights adds a gorgeous ambient light that you can't get with just overhead lighting, table and/or floor lamps. Depending on how the LED's are placed (above- below the shelve or within the shelf), you end up with a different feel.
Limestone Facade - Limestone is one of my favorite natural stones after marble and I love it as the facade of a house, more than wood, I dare to say. A soft colored stone (Indiana Limestone is such a lovely option) as the material for one's home looks sophisticated, elevated, making the entire structure look so chic and graceful. I also love mixing finishes and as limestone can sometimes appear to be cold, coordinating it with other materials like wood or brick is such a nice play on finishes.
Creamy Walls + Cabinetry - White is a classic that won't date, but so is creamy-ivory. I find off-white walls and cabinetry appealing because the stark white look is starting to feel just that — stark. We think creamy walls look so elegant, inviting, warm and cozy. I like options on the warmer side right now, with a hint of taupe, almost, like Edgecomb Gray or Swiss Coffee by Benjamin Moore. If you manage to find the perfect in between white and cream color for your cabinets that doesn't read yellow or brown, then you've hit the jack-pot. A few good ones are Classic Gray or Dove White by Benjamin Moore and Shoji White by Sherwin Williams.
Sheer Curtains - Growing up my mom had sheer curtains in our living room to let in the light because it was a very small apartment. I've always considered this look to be classic and incredibly useful. Sheer fabric gives us the convenience of letting in the light, while most importantly diffusing it in such a beautiful way. This is the main reason why sheer curtains are genius. I tend to like them even more than the popular wooden roman blinds and specially for city apartments, wooden blinds can feel a bit too rustic, so the next best alternative are fabric ones. As for drapery, I like using a nice fabric with a blackout liner for nighttime privacy and then sheer curtains right in the middle for day time convenience.
Dressing Rooms - My new favorite space to design, yep! These are such a treat and if you can add one to your home, please do. Could be mistaken for closets, but dressing rooms are so much more than that. They are a state of mind! HA, kidding, just wanted to sound dramatic. In all seriousness, though, dressing rooms encompass built-in wardrobes, an island if you have space for one and our favorite is including seating so that it feels as if you're in a luxury boutique right from the comfort of your home. Now, it is important to add that we are not fans of open wardrobes, meaning that we prefer wardrobes where all built-ins include doors so that the clothes are nicely concealed behind just to eradicate the issue of messy clothes on those inevitable mornings where we all seem to rush. I also love the idea of including open shelving where appropriate and a completely separate storage solution for shoes — shoes and suits are the perfect display pieces, so consider open shelving for these, instead because they always look good. If you really want to go all out, then attaching what I like to call a "Showroom" to your dressing room would be incredible. I haven't seen this anywhere, or at least not in the context that I am referring to, I think a lovely display area or room where you will strictly use it to display beautiful pieces from your wardrobe is luxury at its finest. What a dream!
Varying Shiplap Displays - During these past few years, shiplap has been huge! Despite having a relatively contemporary hospitality approach to design, we actually do love the farmhouse / rustic touch that shiplap offers. Since I love interpreting things differently, I thought to use shiplap in spaces, though laid out in unusual ways instead of the popular vertical or horizontal orientation. I envision creating designs with shiplap where some planks may be laid vertical, while others horizontal with varying widths in the same wall. We've got no example of this because we have yet to see it done.
Concealed Kitchens - Specially within open floor plans, I don’t like the look of a utilitarian space like a kitchen to take center stage in a room. I rather it is nicely concealed so that it feels more like a lounge than a place where meals are prepare. I don’t necesarily mean to completely conceal everything like in this example, just to make thouhtful design decisions that will fuse the kitchen with other spaces.
Subtle Upholstered Walls - There’s just something about softly textured and padded walls that is so cozy. I love them in small spaces, behind beds, in an office or cinema room.
Tonal Spaces - I tend to design tonal spaces, where most colors seem to resemble each other with the same saturation and/or the use of one dominant color in varying shades and textures. The look is incredibly soothing, subtle and serene, which is exactly what I always hope our designs are. Injecting a few touches of highly saturated shades does break up the balance slightly, which we recommend so that a space doesn’t feel boring.
Oversized Vases - I can’t even begin to explain how much I love vases. I remember at only 8 or 9 years old, they were one of the accessories I enjoyed seeing the most while shopping with my mom at the 99 cent store. The same thing goes fr sculptures. I find the bigger the vase the better as you can use them to fill an odd space, though I simply like anything oversized.
Sinks With Marble Fronts - We love farmhouse sinks, like a lot, specially within a modern space as it softens the look (see our design board below for an example), as well as sinks where the fronts are covered in marble. A different and interesting approach is what we suggest :)
China Cabinets - Maybe because I have one and when I scored the antique beauty on Craiglist completely FREE (yes, I know), I fell in love. China cabinets are gorgeous, add a touch of history, character and old-world flare to a new space. What I enjoy the most are the intricate details on antique pieces. I stare at mine a lot, seriously. I was so lucky to find this cabinet that had been in the previous owner's family for over 50 years. I've only got the top half of what was an immense two-piece set with a buffet on the bottom. It is so big, taking up a great deal of space. If you consider adding one to your kitchen, it will make such a cool statement when paired with transitional or modern cabinetry.
The list stops here, but the design features that inspire our designs are extensive, believe me. Wishing you all a lovely day!