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Kwinter Design, photo by Yale Wagner

 

What are the 5 most important questions to ask an Interior Designer before hiring them? Here’s five tips to help you start off right on your next design project.

1) TIMELINES: Do you have time to work on my project? How long, do you estimate, will it take to complete my project?

2) MONEY: How do you charge for your services- is there an hourly rate, percentage on purchases, signing fee, per room rate- or some combination of these?

2) BUDGET:
Do you think the amount budgeted for this project is sufficient to complete part, or all of the room?

3) STYLE:
Can you work with my few existing pieces of furniture that I would like to use in the project? Do you think the pieces I already own would work well in the new design? If not, please let me know your thoughts.

4) INSTALLATIONS & DELIVERIES:
Who accepts deliveries of furniture and inspects them?
If there is an installation of drapes/wallpaper/paint, etc., who oversees it? How is this billed?

5) DESIGNER:
Who will I be dealing with on a daily/weekly basis, from your office? Is it mainly the head designer or an assistant/intern?
Please specify who is in charge of the design.

 

Something we missed? Comment with the questions you think are crucial when it come to hiring a designer.


 

Welcome to a new blog series highlighting influential women from friend to the famous. These women have a common thread of being influencers in their field and a love of the arts. Our first edition features Kim Smiley, Founder of Sapphô Jewelry and the Empathy Effect, a 365 day social experiment, and the posthumously trending Frida Kahlo. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Kim in Toronto and viewing her beautiful creations. I was struck by her wide range of overflowing talents. Her enthusiasm is contagious and she, like Frida Kahlo, seems bigger than life in what she is accomplishing.

The Empathy Effect has taken Facebook by storm, her jewelry line is beautiful and charitable at the same time and that is just the tip of the iceberg. What struck me most about Kim Smiley, was her warmth and sense of “Sisterhood”. She’s one of those special people who you can connect to immediately. In a parallel universe, I believe she and Frida Kahlo would have become fast, and enduring friends.

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Kim Smiley

When I was 8, I had a bright pink and red striped bathing suit. “Red and pink don’t match. You clash,” a couple of kids said. I didn’t care. Non-conformity was in my blood. Frida and I are similar that way. She had a devil may care style and sensibility that permeated everything about her: personality, philosophy and painting. High contrast, bold juxtapositions, seemingly surreal.

Frida had no limits. “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” Despite her transcendence, Frida’s feet were firmly planted in the world. She empathized deeply with everyone, perhaps because she endured so much suffering. Frida would often say, “I was born a painter.” I always felt the same way.
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Self Portrait with “Bonito” by Frida Kahlo, 1941

Myrica Bergqvist Design

Myrica Bergqvist Design

The Layton Earrings by Sapphô Jewelry

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Frida Kahlo and Doctor Juan Farill

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Apartment 46

Shem Tov Rings by Sapphô Jewelry

livenUPdesign

livenUPdesign

James Nares

James Nares

Toronto based Innit Designs

Toronto based Innit Designs

Traditional Mexican Weaver

Traditional Mexican Weaver

Photo by Conde Nast Travel

Traditional Weaves

Kahlo's Dresses

Kahlo’s Dresses

Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti

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Me and My Parrots, 1941 by Frida Kahlo

The Altmann by Sapphô Jewelry

Temperley London

Temperley London

Temperley London Pre-Fall 2015

Temperley London

Kwinter Design

Kwinter Design

Photo by Conde Nast Travel

Traditional Weaving

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Frida with Fresh Flowers

Valentino

Valentino

Ugo Rondinone

Ugo Rondinone

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Frida by Nickolas Muray

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The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened by Frida Kahlo

 

Find more inspiration at:

NEW YORK BOTANICAL GARDENS TEXTILE AND GOURD CARVING DEMONSTRATIONS: ARTISANS FROM CHIAPAS AND OAXACA
August 11–20: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. (exception: August 15; 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m. & 4–6 p.m.)
September 10–October 12: Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.; Thursdays & Fridays, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Women artisans from Chiapas and Oaxaca demonstrate their age-old techniques in weaving and embroidery. Using the backstrap loom, these textile artists evoke ancient motifs with natural dyes, striking a beautiful balance between traditional and contemporary. In August, visiting artisans also carve and draw graceful designs onto gourds, or jicaras, communicating their personal and communal stories of celebrations, myths, and folklore.


FRIDA KAHLO: THROUGH THE LENS OF NICKOLAS MURAY, WITH TRADITIONAL MEXICAN COSTUME FROM THE TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA
Jun 10 – Sep 7, 2015

Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray comprises 50 photographic portraits of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo taken by Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray between 1937 and 1946, capturing the exceptional breadth of Kahlo’s persona from the photographer’s unique perspective as her friend and intimate confidant. The exhibition includes pioneering color images whose lush, saturated colors highlight the elaborate wardrobe that was an intrinsic part of Kahlo’s identity during the 1930s and 40s, when political idealism and national fervor were at their height among her circle of urban intellectuals.


 

My design philosophy is and long has been to emphasize comfort, yet ensure that chic remains a constant. Keeping these ideas in mind creates two guideposts that lead to timeless, yet exciting, fresh and easily adaptable spaces.

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Kwinter Designed Larchmont Residence

Like many in the design community, we also believe that your home should reflect your style. One simple suggestion to accomplish this is to mix custom pieces with high-quality modern and vintage furnishings to create a design that gets better with time.

Need some inspiration? Find a way to visit a design showroom – most cities have them and you generally can get into a showroom without having to be a recognized interior designer. Or check out the classic works of Karl Springer, Frances Elkins and Samuel Marx as well as more contemporary greats such as David Hicks, who helped set the design / style bar for an entire era.

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Kwinter Designed Woodstock Residence

I generally start the design process by working with clients to identify where they are in life and where they aspire to be. This helps set us on the appropriate and correct path. For younger clients, I also like to ensure that they incorporate that youth into their design, even if it’s a traditional house on the outside. Few things please me more than when the door swings open to reveal interior design that surprises and delights every guest.

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Kwinter Designed Dining Room

Wallpapers and other wall treatments are sensational ways to create focal points as well as serving to elongate and heighten spaces. This technique is a great way to create statement rooms and highlight unique architecture.

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Kwinter Designed Manhattan Dining Area

Choose your focal point and think about color. But keep in mind that walls painted white look great when hanging art and the art does not need to be expensive to look good. Even small spaces can have the grandest style.

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Kwinter Designed Woodstock Residence

Additionally, window treatments help polish and finish an overall room design, particularly if you take views and light into account. We advise clients to avoid fads and trends that will quickly go out of date. For long-lasting quality, impact and functionality, consider splurging on custom designed window finishes. Keep in mind that you don’t have to break the bank to create beautiful design that will endure.

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Kwinter Designed Westchester Residence

Here are 3 quick ideas that may help:

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#1

Think simple and clean. No need to overcomplicate the design process.

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Kwinter Designed Contemporary Living Room

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#2

Have a color scheme in mind and stick with it. Create a rich look by using shades of the same color.

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Kwinter Designed Purchase New York Residence

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#3

Buy fewer items of better quality. Be green and shop vintage. As I mentioned earlier, vintage furnishings can enhance classic, timeless design.

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Kwinter Designed Larchmont Residence


 

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From Friday, April 24, through Sunday, April 26, 2015, The New York Botanical Garden hosts its 23rd annual garden ornament show, Antique Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room. Visitors can enjoy the Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Get tickets here, and see some of our favorite pieces below.

1950's Maurizio Temepestini Iron Chaise Lounges for Salterini

1950’s Maurizio Temepestini Iron Chaise Lounges for Salterini

Monumental Willem De Looper Painting, "Summer," 1977

Monumental Willem De Looper Painting, “Summer,” 1977

Bath stone armorial hounds, English, early 18th century.

Bath stone armorial hounds, English, early 18th century

Life-size cast iron deer on base. Greg K. Kramer & Co.

Life-size cast iron deer

1970's Italian Scrolled Rattan Cocktail Table

1970’s Italian Scrolled Rattan Cocktail Table

1950's stone orchid pots

1950’s stone orchid pots

1970's French Steel and Marble Rouge Dining Table

1970’s French Steel and Marble Rouge Dining Table

1960's Max Gottschalk Leather and Steel Bench

1960’s Max Gottschalk Leather and Steel Bench


 

contemporary-bedroom The master bedroom of the Brendan Kwinter designed Woodstock vacation home is light and luxurious, and includes an Avery Boardman custom headboard, David Weeks Studio Chandelier and art work by German photographer Edgar Esser. View the complete home in the current issue of House & Home Magazine.


 

We had such a fantastic time working with House & Home Magazine for the May cover story! The Hudson Valley Woodstock retreat of the founder of Charlotte’s Book is like a luxury camp. Here’s the cover and a couple teaser shots from the article – we can’t wait to share more! ‪

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A rustic envelope contrasts beautifully with modern furnishings.


This kitchen — part of a Hudson Valley, New York, weekend house — makes a stunning first impression with its wood beam ceiling, crisp cabinetry and large skylight. “The island is L-shaped and extra-large, making it a natural and comfortable gathering spot,” says designer Brendan Kwinter-Schwartz.


Stylish Guest Bedroom – a fun and contemporary space for friends and family. Located in New York state’s charming Hudson Valley, this guestroom has a hip vibe thanks to modern artwork and hits of energetic colour. “The dark grey grasscloth wallpaper on the single wall gives the room drama and depth, and also makes the touches of white pop,” says Kwinter-Schwartz.

Captions via House & Home online.


 

Spring is here, though we are not yet feeling it in New York. “Burr-ing” this in mind, we’ve put together a cool list of seasonal favorites to bring a little shine into your wardrobe and home.

Opening Ceremony – Grunge Zip Front Platform Oxfords

Kwinter Design

Kwinter Design

Herve Van Der Staeten Furniture

Herve Van Der Staeten Furniture

Kwinter Design

Kwinter Design

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Caitlin Moran Of Glitter Guide

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Giambattista Valli – Lanvin – Chanel – Edun

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Bend Goods // Photo via Houzz


 

We’re excited to announce Brendan Kwinter-Schwartz on the cover of the May issue of House & Home – available for download April 11th.

 


 

We suggest you check out a super cool store out of lower Manhattan – Best Made Company® . These fellow Canadians specialties are knives and axes, but you’ll also find them a great resource for home goods. We recently visited their TriBeCa location …

 

 


Shop the site for home goods.
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bestmade


 

There’s something about keeping live flowers that helps me forget about the bitter cold. I recommend anyone fighting off the winter blues to run out (seriously run; it’s literally freezing outside!) and purchase something green for your home. Potted spring bulbs will come to life sooner indoors than their outside counterparts, giving off a beautiful show of the coming season. Be sure to choose Fair Trade Certified flowers and plants.

In the meantime, here’s a tropical orchid I have at home – maybe it will do the trick!

Stay warm!
‪#‎Love‬ ‪#‎WarmThoughts‬