Design Tips From the Pros

Times are tough, and most of us aren’t going to be selling our houses or spending a bundle on major makeovers for a while. But the more turbulent it gets out there in the big, scary world, the more our homes become a haven. Why not make yours as cozy and comfortable as it can be? Here are some ideas and advice from local designers that can help brighten the mood — at least indoors.

John Krenek

Spruce Design and Décor

Signature style: Mid-century modern meets global. I always use a neutral base with color — like vivid 1950s West German pottery — as accents. I believe everything in a room should be used and enjoyed.



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 Click on the gallery below to see design tips from John Krenek.




laura angelini-designed bedroom

Laura Angelini

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Design signature: I often turn to nature for inspiration, and use soothing colors to create peaceful retreats.


Spend a day repairing all the little annoyances in your home, like stuck windows, doors or drawers — or clean out a messy closet. These little things really deplete your energy, and dealing with them usually doesn’t take much time once you get started. Call in a handyman to help with minor repairs if you need to.

Make your bedroom a truly sumptuous sanctuary. Paint it a rich, beautiful color, and use the best sheets and pillows you can afford. Make sure you have good lighting — ambient for mood, and task for reading. Sconces installed on each side of the bed cast a warm glow, and free up space on the nightstands, too.



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Clark: patterns
A mix of patterns enlivens a room, but play it safe and stay in the same color family

Guy Clark

Guy Clark Interiors, Inc.

Design signature: I’m crazy about wallpaper. It can really liven up a boring room, as well as hide defects. And I hate black, so if I want something dark, I’ll use the deepest navy or purple, something with a luminescence that comes through as a surprise.




 Click on the gallery below to see design tips from Guy Clark.







Piteo: colorful rugs jazz up an area
Use a colorful rug to define an area, or to jazz up a space that’s otherwise monochromatic. The new synthetic area rugs are very affordable and come in every style

Helen Piteo

Helen Piteo Interiors

Design signature: I like earth tones, and furnishings somewhere between traditional and modern, but basically I’m a chameleon — I just orchestrate the taste of my clients.


 Click on the gallery below to see design tips from Helen Piteo.




Gerry: wall of mosaic tiles makes a statement
A wall of mosaic tiles — whether glass, stone or ceramic — makes a dramatic, modern statement. Mosaics come in all colors, in glossy or matte, and are backed with mesh netting that makes them easy to install. They’re quite affordable and very durable

Catherine Gerry

Catherine Gerry Interiors

Design signature: My focus lately has been on conservation. When I begin a project, I ask, “What can be reused, refinished, rebuilt or refabricated to get the best effect for the lowest price?”







 Click on the gallery below to see design tips from Catherine Gerry.




Bard: learning to declutter

Getting Organized

Professional declutterer Johanna Bard can help

Stuff. Most of us have way too much. This rising tide of possessions has spawned 45,000 self-storage facilities across the nation — that’s about two billion square feet, housing our spillover. For those of us living with what feels like two billion square feet of clutter in our homes, there’s a newly minted professional: the organizer.

Johanna Bard, who is based in Milan, is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and a natural neatnik. “I was brought up in a chaotic household, and having my room orderly was a way to cope,” she says. Her business card declares she is “Non-Judgmental, Respectful, Confidential, Objective” — qualities that hint at the psychological aspect behind acquiring, and (more to the point) ridding ourselves of surplus possessions.

Bard: before decluttering
The clutter, before

Getting organized with Bard begins with a consultation. “I’ll visit, and give a rough idea of what’s involved, and then I get down and dirty,” she says. Overcoming resistance about throwing things out can be hard. “But most people find it emotionally draining and exhilarating at the same time,” Bard notes. Once the culling is over, she helps organize what remains. “My main job is teaching, helping people keep their lives simple.”

Bard’s own secret mess? “I have an inch of clutter on my desk,” she admits. “But it’s very close to where it’s supposed to be.”
For more information, visit or contact Bard at 845-901-2445.


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