Residing in the Northeast means you relish in the extensional hope that the winter eventually ceases, the hyacinths pop out of the ground to brighten your neighborhood in welcoming spring and if you are anything like myself, you personally understand what F. Scott Fitzgerald said when remarking “…I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” For summer is a time to slow down, wander the farmers market for the latest pastry trend and shelf the renovation ideas that were discussed with your clients in the spring. At least that was how summer went in the past.
The summer of 2022 for Marisa Orlich Interiors seemed nothing but full steam ahead for every and all projects. The kitchen cabinets ordered in January? Arrived! That client who moved houses? Hello there! Can we do window treatments, change light fixtures and work on the kids’ rooms? The building permit waiting to be approved by the New York City Building Department. Approved! The starter pistol went off and it was construction right from the gate.
- Bachelor pad kitchen… The design of this kitchen was simple, in the sense of it being an almost direct replacement. The main layout change was the relocation of the fridge from one wall to another, resulting in more storage space. We also took down a portion of the wall leading into the kitchen, creating a sight line from the home entrance; making the space appear larger. Much of design in this post pandemic climate is how you handle expectations, and to my chagrin, the client’s contractor demoed his existing kitchen in May, just as the materials began to arrive. That would be well and good, had the contractor allocated time off other jobs to be there to install the kitchen punctually. This is where I encourage clients to have open conversations with their contactor, find out if their project is to be completed from start to finish or if the contractor is simultaneously working on other clients projects, that will take them away. So we waited, for the contractor to arrive and the subcontractors of plumbers, electricians and framers to install their specialties. Until finally one day, they laid down the gray lvt, or luxury vinyl tile that was to mimic slate floor. Cherry cabinets began to line up like little toy soldiers, and the kitchen was actually taking shape. Once the quartz countertop was installed, you could truly see where the color inspiration came from, and how the stone tied all the colors together. Keeping in mind the clients eclectic style, I chose a green ceramic subway tile for the backsplash. My latest lust is black matte fixtures, and we were able to incorporate such in the sink faucet, and cabinet hardware. While the month long project turned into five months, that seems to be the new norm- extended project times due to delays from contractors or materials. In the end, the bachelor pad kitchen is sleek, stylish and a bit more homey than it started.
- New house, new design style… To me it is an absolute treat when a client calls you back to work on another project. Already the relationship is established, and you have an idea of their sense of style. So when a client calls after buying a new house, it is a blank canvas to begin a whole new story. On our punch list was: sourcing a variety of new light fixtures, sprucing up the powder room and kids den, and adding window coverings to all the bedrooms. I look at light fixtures as the ability to add personality and art into a space. I keep in mind the individual using the space and how much light they need. I source in a way that makes the light fixture chosen feel stylish and functional. Therefore when you come across a twenty foot entry way, you know what you are looking for needs to have a wow factor and also give off an immense amount of light. Choosing an eight foot light fixture may be intimidating but it is the scale you need when such an expansive space needs to be filled. As the home is transitional, but incorporates more traditional features than modern, I knew an updated crystal fixture would be a great solution. The crystals are round rather than teardrop, and have smaller crystals speckled in to add volume. Taking inspiration off the chandelier in the entry, the powder room fixtures are also embellished with strands of cascading crystals on the flush mounted ceiling fixture as well as the two sconces flanking the sink. A enchanting robins egg blue wallpaper, adorned with cranes, lines the walls. Just down the hall in the kids den, the walls get a delightful update with a wallpaper who’s background is soft cream, and foreground a twist of light tan braids. The room is tied together with a cream and navy rug, a surprise find from a big box store. Throughout the house, cellular shades were added to the windows for privacy purposes. To dress up the rooms without fabric window treatments or drapes, vignettes or faux roman shades were added for a more sophisticated look. I tend to source rugs for teens rooms from big box stores for the sheer fact that they are going to get worn and messed on from soccer cleats to after school snacks. As we divert into the teen rooms, our mission was to find fun wallpaper that would have you never knowing these started as builder grade bathrooms. For one daughter, I choose the subtlest purple vinyl wallpaper that had a silk texture. Doing a complete turn, the other daughter’s bathroom features pink and gray cheetah print vinyl wallpaper in addition to a newly painted bright teal vanity. So a bit of paint, a paste or two of wallpaper, a shiny chandelier and some roman shades complete our new house summer reno.
- A year of waiting… What do people love more than waiting? What about waiting with no plans of knowing when your construction will start? Worse? I tend to think so. Than what splendid news was it when my clients received word that the architectural building plans sitting on the New York City’s Building Department desk (for close to a year) were approved. In the interim of all this waiting, I had been sending chosen light fixtures, boxes of tile and rolls of wallpaper to the jobsite. I encouraged the client to move forward with ordering furniture as lead times were still a concern, and with the arrival of the balmy June days the contractor began the demo. All was set for a smooth schedule only I threw a few curve balls at them… I decided we needed more overhead lighting, and asked for a soffit surrounding the perimeter of every wall to be built. This soffit would house LED light strips that would bounce the light off the ceiling and cast it back down to brighten the room, it would also include LED lights in the bottom of the soffit. So sheet metal was cut, and wires were snaked, a wall was built to separate the living room from a newly designed bedroom, and tile was laid. Tile design was reimagined, quartz countertops were selected and I chose towel colors. The floors were stripped of their gym floor looking orange stain, and were replaced with a warm chocolate brown satin finish. Glass shower doors were ordered. A crew of wallpaper hangers arrived and spent the days hanging rolls upon rolls of paper. Plush carpeting was rolled out to cozy up the master bedroom. Warm hues chosen from the Benjamin Moore Historical Collection adorned the walls, and before we knew it I was scheduling the first round of furniture to be delivered. While we are a punch list away from the client moving in, Marisa Orlich Interiors’ first New York City project is one for the books.
Here we are, the middle of October, with the smell of fall lingering in the evening air, and happy homeowners enjoying their newly designed spaces. Proper planning and the right tradespeople are what takes good renovations to great renovations. As these projects did not happen over night, much research and meetings went into their vision, I am happy to stand by each end every design that we created this summer. Onward to the fall holiday decorating!