How You Can Create Family-Friendly Living Spaces


Designer Carey Karlan of Last Detail shares her best tips for creating stylish and family-friendly spaces.

Family rooms located in the main traffic area of the house are becoming more formal. Designed with higher-end fabrics, and finer carpeting and décor, they tend to be high-style and a little higher-maintenance. Though they have TV’s, sound systems, and perhaps a game table, you would not expect to see toys scattered on the floor in these rooms. These areas are becoming more adult-only family rooms: distinct from formal for-guests-only living rooms, and are theoretically for the whole family but really styled as the new comfortable living rooms. Therefore, the real family-friendly spaces have moved to basement levels or the bonus rooms above garages.

User-Friendly Living Rooms That Double as Family Rooms

If you have older children, try to create an adult-style family room off of the kitchen. With a JD Staron custom wool and mohair carpet, cream sofas, and polished case goods, this is an example of the adult family room becoming the “new” user-friendly living room. You could entertain comfortably in this room and yet enjoy the relaxed vibe of the kitchen/family room layout.

Cozy and Comfortable Family Rooms 

This family room is also right off the kitchen but is family-friendly because though the kitchen is white, bright, and sparkling, this area is much cozier and enveloping with its dark walls, strong stone fireplace, and thickly woven carpet. It’s a warm cocoon that envelops you in comfort. The sofa is quite large and relaxed, a great spot for everyone to pile on. The coffee table is oversized and extremely durable. It’s distressed wood finish will only get better looking with time. Great for games, magazines, and books galore, and casual dinners in front of the fire. Nothing is too serious. There is a large unique “personality” chair which suggests this is a room to have fun in. The club chairs are swivel chairs, which is practical for TV viewing and relaxed for socializing and taking in the water view. There is a large bookcase to showcase a revolving display of children’s art, collections and family pictures. The pops of orange are invigorating and happy.

All-Purpose Family Room

An alternative family room for everyone is a downstairs “man cave.” This is an all-purpose family room that is truly for the enjoyment of the whole family and close friends, a multipurpose room for everyone to pursue different interests using the same space. There is a game table, homework area in the bookcase, display case for children’s art, TV, sounds system, an open floor plan which allows plenty of room for active games and rough housing, and a music corner.

The fabrics are extremely durable. Crypton fabrics and leathers are the best to withstand heavy use and spills. The carpet has a pattern, which hides dirt and stains. There are also a large, easy-access custom storage cabinet for toys and games that makes clean up a cinch.

On the basement level the amenities are upscale, though, including a bar area, a bathroom, French doors to the yard, and a stone fireplace. Case goods such as the storage console and the bookcases are built-in, contributing to the finished feel of the room.

Related: How to Create the Perfect Guest Room for the Holidays

4 Firewood Tips to Help You Stay Warm This Season

Here’s how to keep your Hudson Valley home toasty all winter long with fire-burning tips from The Cord King in Dover Plains..

It’s that time of year when you’re feeling the post-holiday letdown, and counting down the days until spring weather. But sadly, that’s still a few months away. So, how can you stay warm and cozy, and not break the bank? With a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Jeffrey Viola, owner of Cord King in Dover Plains, says you’ll save money by heating with firewood. “Wood keeps your home at a higher temperature than oil, propane, or electric, and for less money.”

However, you must obtain, dry, and store the wood. “It’s peace of mind that no matter what happens with prices and crazy weather events, your heating supply is in your backyard.”

Types of firewood

“Seasoned means air-dried with a moisture content of 20% or less,” says Viola. “It’s cut and split, and allowed to age and dry with solar energy and wind. Kiln-dried is dried in a lumber kiln and is drier than seasoned. It’s sterilized to kill bugs or mold.”

Obtaining firewood

“Some people cut and split their own trees or call a logging contractor and order a truckload,” he says.

Storing it

“Allow air and sunlight to get to the wood. It will dry naturally on its own,” he says.

Plan ahead

“Order wood a year in advance so it has time to dry,” he says. “Wet wood will burn, but it just takes longer and is less efficient.”

Snap Bomb Wedding Pics With These Red and Pink Bridesmaid Dresses



Kyla Gown in Bobbinet, $260

Amelia’s Bridal


Show Me Your Mumu

Godshaw Goddess Gown in Rustic Mauve Crisp, $218

Carrie’s ClosetSHOP



Milly Crepe Dress, $270

Bella Bridesmaids 
Westport and NYC


Shane Tulle Dress, $270



Jenny Packham

Bridesmaids Style JP1041, $235

Bella Bridesmaids 
Westport and NYC

Stand out With These Floral-Patterned Bridesmaid Dresses


DB StudioChiffon Floral Print Dress with Spaghetti Straps in Pink Print $120
David’s Bridal
Reformation Madeleine Dress in Bernadette, $
ShoshannaMidnight Mariella Gown $
Plymouth Dress, $280BHLDN

Gorgeous Green Bridesmaid Dresses to Fill Your Friends With Envy


Jenny Yoo 

Kiara Chiffon Dress, $280

Westport and Nyc



Tiana Silk Dress in Green, $1,135


Wtoo by Watters

Sawyer Jumpsuit in Melody Georgette, $250 

Amelia’s Bridal



Bonnie Allure Chiffon, Tulle, and Lace Gown, $119 


The Prettiest Purple and Blue Bridesmaid Dresses Around


Bridesmaid dresses you’ll be proud to show off.

Crisscross Off-the-Shoulder Mesh Dress
Style No. F19951 in Regency
(available in 46 other colorways), $150
David’s Bridal, Yonkers

Dessy Collection Strapless Jumpsuit
Style 3066, $240
Bella Bridesmaids 
Westport and NYC

Monique Lhuillier Beckett Navy Crêpe Jumpsuit, $290, and Monroe Light Blue Chiffon Gown, $300
Bella Bridesmaids
Westport and NYC

The Colorful Wedding Jewelry You Need to Pop on Your Big Day


Sydney Evan

Yellow Gold Rainbow Daisy Eternity Bracelet, $7,855
Neiman Marcus,
White Plains

Photos courtesy their respective companies

Wilson & Son

Diamond and Emerald Necklace, $3,960
Wilson & Son Jewelers,

Michelle Fantaci

Open Hoops, $3,995
House of 29,


14-Karat Rose Gold Smokey Topaz Ring, $375
Holsten Jewelers,


Ruby and Diamond Ring $4,650
D’errico Jewelry,

Mount Kisco

Doves by Doron

Paloma Apatite Necklace With Diamonds, $2,450
Landsberg Jewelers
Rye brook

Moritz Glik

Bracelet With Sapphires, $8,520
Peridot Fine Jewelry,


High Luxury Earrings, $40


Honoring the Legacy of Today Media Publisher Ralph Martinelli



This January 2020 issue of Hudson Valley marks the beginning of our 49th year as a publication and the brand it has become. It’s an incredible milestone, one that has been hard-earned and is well worth celebrating. As we look forward to the future of this magazine with great anticipation, there is only one thing we would change about the horizon that lies ahead.


A few weeks ago, Ralph Martinelli — not only our Group Publisher and champion, but also my uncle, friend, and mentor — passed away at the age of 57 from the effects of a major brain injury. Ralph left us at too young an age, and while we would have liked nothing better than to have him and his leadership by our side now, he leaves behind, both personally and professionally, a powerful legacy and countless cherished memories.


Ralpg with his brother Robert F. Martinelli, president of Today Media; and their late father, Angelo Martinelli, former Chairman of Today Media


Ralph started here in the circulation department, and grew to become Publisher and a Partner. He was the guy who envisioned the possibilities a new magazine like Westchester could be, and how to lead the transformation of Hudson Valley into a celebrated regional brand. He was passionate about this region and knew there was a great story to be told. He knew the readers would be there and the businesses, too. He loved magazines and believed in the medium.



Most of all, Ralph truly cared. He cared about his work, and he cared about those he worked with. Ralph had an easygoing nature that was endearing to people. In the time since his passing, it’s remarkable to see just how many people cared for him, and the number of those whose lives he has touched.


Richard Martinelli, Secretary/Treasurer of Today Media, with Rob and Ralph

Stories and messages have come in from all parts of the country — from those closest to him to those who worked with him, did business with him, and played golf with him — and the message was always the same: They all felt they knew him, could relate to him, and that they really loved him and felt he was looking out for them.



The thing about Ralph is that as much as he was a successful and ethical, even virtuous, businessman, he was equally good-natured and fun. Ultimately, he left an indelible impression on me and so many of us to dream big, play hard, and be kind. And while we may no longer have Ralph to turn to for daily advice as we continue to grow as a publication, we have other things that are almost as valuable. We have the incredible legacy he left, the sterling example he provided, and the invaluable wisdom he shared with us along the way about how to properly serve a great community, and how to do it with such elegance and sprezzatura.


Ralph with nephew Michael A. Martinelli Jr., Group Publisher, Hudson Valley Magazine

Related: Ralph Martinelli, Westchester Magazine Publisher, Dies at 57

Kelley Redl-Hardisty


Kelley Redl-Hardisty partnered with her father in the self-storage business in 1982, in the industry’s early days. “We were pioneers in the region and state,” she says. From initial locations in Fishkill, Wappingers Falls, and Highland, the company has expanded into 14 properties covering three counties and 775,000 sq ft and is now ranked among the Top 100 Operators by the national Self Storage Association.

As co-owner, Redl-Hardisty is responsible for guiding the expansion and build-out of existing properties, including a 64,000-sq-ft temperature-controlled building in Beacon. She has served on the Board of Directors for the New York State Self Storage Association since 1994; and was recently elected to the National Self Storage Association’s Board of Directors. Her community recognition includes the Our Lady of Lourdes Legion of Honor and MidHudson Regional Hospital’s Community Leadership Award.

With several board affiliations and appointments, she takes pride in supporting local organizations such as Miles of Hope, Dutchess Outreach Inc., and United Way. Her open-door policy extends beyond her office: “Anyone in the community can call me for help, mentoring, or direction at any time.”

How did you integrate your own vision, leadership, and/or management style into your family business?

I am fortunate that my sisters — as my family and business partners — are similar to me in our views and approach. We independently run and control the companies that we oversee, which makes us each final decision-makers. As equal partners, we share the vision of a clear hierarchy of leadership.

We all agree, understand, and respect each other’s roles and decisions, which is the ultimate goal for the success of a family business. And we set that tone throughout the company. I believe the managers see themselves as empowered and respected. Many have been with us for over 20 years.

Do you have a mentor?

My husband has always been my mentor and a shoulder to lean on. He has encouraged me and supported me in all my decisions and endeavors; and that is how people are inspired: by good and positive energy. So my words of advice are to pick your life partners well. The people you surround yourself with will make you or break you; and that is the secret to success.

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Melinda E. Martinez


At Marist College, her alma mater, Martinez leads a dropout-prevention and college-access program that provides comprehensive services to 341 students in Poughkeepsie city schools, ranging from fifth graders to high school seniors. “We help our students excel in and out of the classroom through tutoring, mentoring, social-emotional workshops, financial literacy workshops, parenting classes, employment readiness programs and college preparation,” she says.

During her five-year tenure, the program has achieved high school graduation rates of over 90 percent. Of the 40 Marist students she employs, several are LPP alumni. “It is heartwarming to see my former students excel at my alma matter and serve others,” she says, adding that her students “teach me how to persevere, how to find creative solutions, and how to have fun — they show me the latest dance moves and fashion trends.”

As a board member of the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement, she leads workshops for women of color and top executives of color from Fortune 500 companies. In 2019, she received the SUNY Orange Community College Sojourner Truth Leadership Award.

Why and how are you “paying it forward” by empowering local youth and rising professionals?

Because it is my duty to do so. As a Latina from an impoverished community, I had limited opportunities and access to resources. My parents made sacrifices for my siblings and me; and I was fortunate to have teachers, counselors, and mentors invest in me. They developed my academic, social, emotional, and career skills.

I pride myself in being a first-generation college student. Therefore, I feel it is my responsibility to provide others, especially youth and people of color, with opportunities and resources to thrive.

What do you know now that you wish you had known then?

When I was younger, I struggled with my sense of self-worth and had identity issues. My peers made fun of me for taking Advanced Placement classes. I felt like I had to be one person in school and another person in my neighborhood. However, I learned to navigate these worlds. Overcoming obstacles has taught me how resilient and strong I am.

That is why I remind myself daily that I am strong, smart, and beautiful. That is also why I make my 2-year-old niece state these affirmations. I want her to know her strength, take pride in her intelligence, and own her beauty, inside and out.

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Our Excellence in Nursing Awards take place on May 1!

Our Best of Hudson Valley ballot is open through March 31!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

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