Know your design history

Designing spaces requires both knowledge and creativity. When you are thinking about designing your space, it’s important to think about the history of its style as well as the direction you want to take, writes WAG Wares columnist Cami Weinstein.

Designing spaces requires both knowledge and creativity. When you are thinking about designing your space, it’s important to think about the history of its style as well as the direction you want to take. If you move into a Tudor, Mediterranean or contemporary home, then research earlier homes in that style. Consider what you liked about it and how to update it for today’s living. Be especially aware of this is in the kitchen and bathroom. Oftentimes you can “push the envelope” and create modern spaces within a traditional framework.

When designing spaces, I like the tension of opposites but it must be carefully calibrated.  Masculine and feminine, casual and elegant, light and dark, old and new.  Adding the opposite sensibility in your space creates a sense of timelessness.  Color is often a unifying theme in my business. I work with clients to figure out what color palette appeals to them and which style direction they want to go in.  I work in a variety of styles and combinations, leaving design open to many directions.  

We create many different apartments and homes for clients and each is unique so we don’t use a design formula. For example, when designing a beach home we don’t drag in every shell and anchor motif we find. Vacation homes are becoming homes to be enjoyed and used throughout the year and our designs for them reflect that.  Apartments often have space issues and are another area where every inch is considered and utilized in our designs. We’ll choose furniture that has storage capabilities. Cabinetry and closets are well worth learning about and investing in, because they can keep all of your items organized and within easy reach. A well-designed kitchen should not only be beautiful but should be functional, whether you choose a traditional or modern approach. 

Looking at both contemporary interior designers and famous designers of the past can inspire you in your own home. Visiting show houses and gardens and taking house tours can trigger your imagination and give you ideas on how to decorate your own home.  These visits and learning experiences can also help you solve a design problem area in your own home. I remember going on a house tour in Charleston, South Carolina, and the layouts of several of the homes we toured immediately triggered the knowledge of how to solve a layout issue I was having on a project. That leap could not have happened so quickly if I had not reached out to learn about home design in another area of the country. 

Seeing and learning about all the current design trends is inspiring but refrain from putting all of these trends in your home at once, because nothing can date your home quicker than overuse of trends. The following come to mind — sliding barn doors, ship lap siding, Edison bulbs and vessel sinks — to name a few trends that have been overdone lately. Each of these design trends can still look interesting and fresh if used sparingly and if the design complements the style of your home. 

A current new trend that is actually quite old is the use of wallpaper in interiors. Wallpaper is having a resurgence.  There are so many different types to choose from — grass cloth, oversized florals and murals. These new wallpapers are getting a boost from digital technology, which is making it more cost-effective to use them in home design.

In whatever style you choose to design your home, make it uniquely yours. Reach back into history and look ahead to create your home and design it for current living.  Look at design rules of the past and know where to break them and where to adhere to them. Enjoy the process and keep your home current by periodically tweaking it and moving around some furniture and artwork pieces and bringing in some fresh flowers and plants. Add texture. And don’t be afraid to live with colors you love.

For more, call 914-447-6904 or email

More from Cami Weinstein
Tricks of the trade from a design pro
Cami Weinstein, WAG’s new Wares columnist, offers readers some tricks of the...
Read More
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *