Luxury Design is for Every Home

I recently caught up with Beth Krupa, an expert luxury home interior designer. She has brilliantly transformed the homes of my clients into functional, modern spaces that still feel warm, natural and inviting.

She will be featured in East Coast Home & Design magazine in the February edition and participating as a panelist at the Women Empowering Women networking event this coming February 25th at the Stamford Sheraton. Here are a few questions I posed to help my clients on their design journeys.

Aside from using more expensive materials, what differentiates the luxury design process from the design process that mid-range home buyers go through?

For us, what differentiates the two is the amount of help and service we provide. A more luxury design process includes the walkthrough, generally weekly meetings to go over new design selections, construction floor plans if needed, on site assistance with contractors and written specifications for them to have clarity about the project. We then specify every item, fabric, trim, furnishing, window and floor treatment, lighting fixture, accessory, etc. We then procure it, track the status of delivery, manage placement, etc…and take full responsibility to correct any damages or problems that can arise. We even end with a celebratory big reveal champagne party if that’s what the client enjoys.

A more mid-range home buyer might prefer to work with some of their existing pieces, and/or have a consultation with a plan they can implement themselves. This client would be more apt to buy at retail rather than take on the expense and time involved with customizing. The selections are more limited if they don’t work with a designer, but the results can still be amazing if they have a good eye and enjoy shopping. Most of the luxury clients appreciate the deep pool of resources we can provide that the vast majority don’t know exist. They want us to use their preferences but trust our direction. They don’t have the time or the desire for shopping, and they appreciate that we control the process and project.

Experienced designers who enjoy working with clients with various budgets know how to manage the scope of the project, so the mid-range client can utilize their design advice without the full process the luxury design client needs, thus avoiding costly mistakes.

Can you tell me the latest trends in high-end design that you see most often in Fairfield County?

There is a huge return to antiques, but done in a more modern fashion. We love to mix them with new and contemporary pieces and utilize them strategically instead of a roomful. We love a room to look collected and not overly designed.

Another trend that has been around but has real staying power is pale, soft, neutral walls and changing accessories and pillows seasonally with bright pops of color. Design is more fun and whimsical than it has been in the past. An unexpected element is a fun conversation starter. Mixing metals within the same space is expected now. Mixing texture and warmth with hides or Mongolian lamb pillows, for example.

Have baby boomers had an impact on the concept of luxury and what defines it? If so, fill us in.

Baby boomers who are currently working with designers are looking to the younger ideas and not stuck in the old patterns and ways of doing things. This impacts the younger client who is also no longer looking at old rules or ways of doing things. Boomers lean toward uniqueness and design for themselves specifically, and are not drawn as much to labels and brand image.

Buyers in every price range often want to create a luxurious feel to at least one room in the home. What advice would you give someone on a limited budget?

Paint, paint, paint. Nothing changes a room with more impact and the least expense. Changing light fixtures has a huge return too and there are many great online resources at lower prices. Update pillows and accessories. Change out a rug and opt for something more minimal and on trend like a hide. De-clutter and think minimal and fresh. The basic rule of thought is to take away anything that doesn’t define or romance your space.

For more expert design advice and services check out Beth’s website, bethkrupainteriors.com.

House Inspection Checklist

Smart homeowners learn how to examine their homes. Houses should be inspected on a quarterly basis so that minor problems are detected before they become major projects. It is a good idea to get your entire family involved, especially your kids. Children will enjoy learning to see the details of a home and how the various parts contribute to the integrity of the whole house. Kids can also help take pictures of your home each season and note the changes over time. Walk through and check these areas every three months:

  • Check for water penetration, cracks, and leaks in these areas:
    • Roof
    • Chimney
    • Attic
    • Water valves
    • Pipes
    • Dishwasher & ice maker water lines
    • Crawl space
    • Leaky faucets
    • Washers
  • Check for proper water drainage in these areas:
    • Grading alongside exterior walls
    • Exterior drains
    • Sump pumps
    • Gutters
    • Downspouts
    • Driveway
  • Ensure adequate ventilation and clean debris from these areas:
    • Attic vents
    • Air vents
    • Forced air ducts
    • Crawl spaces
  • Inspect these areas for deterioration, signs of termites, or water penetration:
    • Exterior siding
    • Exterior trim
    • Exterior caulking
    • Windows
    • Window trim
    • Deck
    • Fences
  • Ensure these areas of your home are in proper operation:
    • Automatic garage door
    • Heating & cooling system
    • Water shutoff valves
    • Fire extinguishers
    • Smoke & carbon monoxide detectors
    • Electric outlet covers
    • Water purification and softener filters
    • Water heater pressure and temperature relief valves
    • Air conditioning filter
    • Steam system safety valve
  • Perform a thorough cleaning of the following:
    • Range hood filter
    • Range burners
    • Wall-mounted heat pump filters
    • Clothes dryer lint screen
    • Air intakes
    • Garbage disposal with vinegar ice cubes
    • Appliances
  • Add or replace gutter leaf guards if necessary
  • Keep gable vents open if you don’t have ridge vents
  • Leave chimney dampers open if your home is not air-conditioned
  • Seal drafty doors and windows
  • Prune shrubs near house siding and AC units
  • Make note of any deteriorating or insecure wiring and call a professional to address the issue (do not touch or attempt to fix any wiring on your own)

Home Maintenance Checklist for Spring

Have fun with Spring chores by getting the whole family involved. The following landscapers can help you as well:

Marcos Landscaping (203) 219-8657, nufiomarco@yahoo.com
Sebastian Landscaping and Snow Removal (914) 433-1735
Peter Pali Mansonry and Landscapes (203) 274-5332, www.peter-pali-masonry-landscapes.com

April

  • Do your interior spring cleaning and remember to reuse, repurpose, and recycle
  • Vacuum ceilings and interior baseboards, moldings, doorways, trim, garages, and closets
  • Clean the wall hangings and frames
  • Pressure wash the deck, patio, and driveways
  • Clean and condition your outdoor grill
  • Wash exterior windows & screens
  • Put caddies & trashcans through the dishwasher
  • Schedule for an electrician to inspect and fix any wiring and other electrical issues. Do not attempt to fix anything yourself if you are not licensed
  • Prune branches and transplant dormant plants

May

  • Have your home inspected for termites and other structural pests
  • Open pool and clean patio furniture
  • Fertilize lawn and make sure to use an organic fertilizer

June

  • Perform your quarterly home inspection (see my House Inspection Checklist blog)
  • Vacuum refrigerator condenser coils
  • Plant annuals