A one-of-a-kind outlook on life

A leopard rug, dark walls, mirrors and antique family crystal take this Cami Weinstein-designed billiard room beyond the ordinary.
A leopard rug, dark walls, mirrors and antique family crystal take this Cami Weinstein-designed billiard room beyond the ordinary.

Photographs by Marc Weinstein/Color Group

To get a sense of interior designer Cami Weinstein’s singularly stylish approach, you need only glance at her portfolio, or if you’re lucky, spend a bit of time in her charmingly eclectic 1920s Chappaqua home.

Both spotlight the way she can tap into a variety of periods and styles, of hues and textures to create surroundings that are instantly livable but far from ordinary.

But perhaps the most telling – and whimsical – way is through a late-June post on her blog. Accompanying a simple snapshot of a pair of eye-catching pumps is this comment: “These shoes satisfy all of my loves – heels, flowers, cheetah – fashion, gardening, decorating!”

Indeed, the shoes are at once daring yet elegant, cutting-edge yet classic, respectable yet playful.

And there you have it – a look into what Weinstein’s work is all about.

Style through the years

Over some 20 years through Cami Weinstein Interior Design, Weinstein has been tapped for Manhattan apartments and homes in Westchester, the Hamptons and Los Angeles.

Projects have included a star-quality home theater for a property in the Hollywood Hills and a distinctive Scarsdale kitchen, where chandeliers dripping in crystals add an unexpected touch. Then there’s the home office where lavender upholstery adds a fitting backdrop for mod accents from shapely lamps to kicky, studded furniture.

And while Weinstein may focus on residential work, commercial and hospitality assignments offer her another creative outlet. She’s particularly proud of work on the Akonia, a pair of commercial buildings on Bedford Road in Katonah that were redone with an eye on a contemporary point of view.

No matter the project, though, Weinstein begins each in the same way.

“I like to sit down with people,” she says. She wants to find out goals and preferences, budgets and expectations.

A good project, after all, needs a strong foundation.

From there, the fun really begins – and the palette can take shape.

“I probably am known for my color,” Weinstein says. “I love color. I love different color combinations.”

And it’s not just in her client work. Her own home, she shares, has hosted a red breakfast room and a chocolate-brown bedroom.

“I love it,” she says. “It’s fun, and it’s just paint.”

But it serves a deeper purpose, she notes.

“It makes you feel good when you walk into a room that has some color in it,” she says.

More and more, she adds, clients are willing to try out new shades.

“They’re starting to dip their toe in color,” she says.

She’s not pushing brashness but rather exploring options, as they differ for each person and space.

“I like to work in a lot of different styles,” Weinstein says. “I don’t think I could be a designer known for one look.”

For Weinstein, it’s all about the collaboration, helping clients get what they want, not imposing a preconceived idea.

“I’m not that kind of a person, so I’d never be that kind of a designer.”

The Weinstein way

Over time, Weinstein has come up with a number of approaches and tips that she says can help anyone who’s looking to refresh his or her home.

And a big one is stay true to yourself.

“That’s really a very important thing for people to realize. Don’t go with the latest trends… go with what you love,” she says.

The goal is to offer something timeless but fresh – and unique.

“Why do you want what everyone else has?”

Weinstein also suggests buying quality, investment pieces when possible, as over time their value will become more than clear.

While Weinstein will use online resources – and applauds how much more is readily available to designers today – she still likes that personal touch.

“Because I’m such a visual, touchy-feely type of person, I really like to see it.”

Projects, she says, can range from simple to complex. It’s the nature of the field, and yes, she will confirm one construction truism.

“Kitchens are torture,” she says, before adding with a laugh, “I don’t know if I should really say that on the record.”

Early days

Weinstein, who has a bachelor’s degree in the fine arts of painting and printmaking from C.W. Post College, Long Island University, has some 30 years in the design field. Her related experience was as an art director and creative director for giftware companies before she turned to interior design.

Today, services available through Cami Weinstein Interior Design range from creating a design concept all the way through the completed project.

With her understanding and appreciation of architecture, construction and furniture periods and styles, Weinstein brings a lot to the table – and customers often come back.

“I have a lot of clients that are repeat clients,” she says, noting some date back more than 15 years. She’ll do multiple projects, residences or in some cases, family members. “I’ve watched a lot of my clients’ families grow.”

And sometimes, projects are a Weinstein family affair, as the designer will team up with her husband, Marc Weinstein –a veteran photographer who heads up the local firm Color Group – to work on commercial projects, get advice or even create work for the family’s Montauk home, a getaway for the Weinsteins and their two sons, now in their 20s.

They will, Weinstein says, choose a few of her husband’s photographs to hang.

“We pick out a couple and I frame them,” she says.

In both their homes, she shares, she integrates her love of “livable luxury,” mixing a flea-market watercolor next to fine art, for example.

It all speaks to the overall atmosphere.

“There is no room in my house that’s off limits.”

Always fresh

Keeping up-to-date on her field is important to Weinstein.

“I’m probably obsessed with design,” she says. “I read and look at things that have to do with design every day. I think you have to be up on all the current trends but also history.”

To that end, Weinstein has long delved into her own love of the arts, with countless visits to museums and galleries fueling her ideas. But she’ll just as easily find inspiration in a trip to a botanical garden or in her own escape, painting, which she now does for pleasure.

No matter the source of the inspiration, Weinstein says certain things remain true.

People are trusting her to work on something very dear to them – their homes.

“I think that your home in the end is still your refuge,” she says. “I think they’re going to be appreciating that more as things get more and more frenetic.”

At its heart, Weinstein’s designs are all about how having surroundings that reflect your interests and lifestyle can provide not only enjoyment but also sanctuary and the space to create a well-lived life.

When asked if she has a favorite time during any project, Weinstein has a ready reply.

“It’s pulling it all together and seeing it all in,” she says. “Once it’s all together, I think I get more excited than my clients.”

Perhaps, but we bet it’s more likely a draw.

For more on Cami Weinstein and her work, visit her site, camidesigns.com, or blog, texturebycami.wordpress.com; or call (914) 238-5978.

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