I returned to interiors naturally in 2001 as a third generation decorator who grew up in the business. The tradition began and remains with the endlessly creative and expressive women in my blended families including two grandmothers, my mother, an aunt and a cousin. Both nature and nurture prevailed as my appreciation of design and the decorative arts were fostered early on while observing them at their trade and in their decor boutiques from the early '80s on in Winter Park, Palm Beach and Manhattan.
I remember noticing special details in the beautiful homes we visited over the years. My love for them wasn’t solely about how they looked but also about how they felt. The homes I adored most were welcoming, comfortable, warm, eclectic and full of life stories and mementos. I began to learn about the greater world at large from the personal interests expressed through these spaces and it was these exposures that led to my deeper curiosity about art history, color, textiles and craft.
Later as a teen I was known to redesign my room to the resignation of my mother who had her own ideas about the old Victorian she was reviving. Always a hands-on gal, one Saturday she came home to find me hauling a massive 13 foot wide carpet roll over the banister 20 feet up. Easily over a hundred pounds, I could have hurt someone or myself but at sixteen I was determined to live in a raw artist/dancer's studio flooded with natural light. I pulled everything out to expose romantic and rough wood floors, took down the drapes and painted the walls canvas white. It was my perfection and despite getting into trouble that the family still talks about, it remains a fond memory of place and a unique 'Room of One’s Own.' It was also the beginning of an interest in manifestation and change with the idea that your environment is primary in support of your personal life endeavors and desires.
While interested in interiors, I headed to Clark University in Massachusetts for college. There I explored my liberal arts interests in Archaeology, Art History, studied English Lit, Psychology, Writing, Communications, worked in the library archive department, wrote for and co-edited the school newspaper, and continued the decorating antics redesigning every college space I lived in over the four years. I graduated in 1997 with an open but unclear idea about a career back in New York and floated into advertising. Over four years in account management on large brands by Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, I had some solid work experience and interesting opportunities but it wasn't a fulfilling fit. Still designing for friends on the side, I finally heeded the call and went back to school for formal training.
In 2001 I attended the Parsons School of Design, Interiors AAS program and reset my career path first working for Sheila Bridges Design. As an Office Assistant, I picked up on more of the day-to-day interiors business and learned local resources for specialized projects. While brief, the experience was an excellent primer from a singular eye, author, talent and multifaceted designer and business woman. Eager to learn more about architectural design, I joined since closed Aberdeen Properties - a residential building business in Connecticut. There I spent two years on private residential projects alongside architecture firms Shope Reno Wharton, and Roger Ferris + Partners - both experiences served as excellent on-site educations with architects and the building trades putting a few more practical tools on my belt.
In 2004, entrepreneurial spirit took hold and I opened Studio K interiors in Brooklyn. With the rise of design blogs and very new budget friendly internet resources like Apartment Therapy, decor8, domino, Design*Sponge and Style Court, the idea was to offer clients more accessible and affordable renovation and design advice compared to the often unattainable $100K starter budgets as was the "Old Guard." Four years in, business was good, fun and growing with notice and then the financial crisis of September 2008 hit. Wall Street crashed, the recession started and Studio K Interiors shut down. It was heartbreak to loose my everyday joy.
By Spring 2009 I was refreshed and happy to join the talented pool of residential designers at Lillian August, an inspired retailer and large design center in Connecticut. Located in a converted 100,000 square foot Bauhaus warehouse, LA is filled with incredible furniture, homewares, textiles, art and decor. Every week was a new inspiration and any idea was possible because there was access to everything. The range of projects was diverse and included city pied-a-terres, townhouses, beach cottages and country estates. Lillian August is also where I honed my interior styling eye learning tighter skills from some of the best designers and merchants in the business. After three Designer/Trade Manager/Store Co-Manager years, I was ready to run a studio again and this time with a name that described my approach more clearly.
Freestyle Restyle is an affordable interior design therapy, decorating and styling service that honors the elevated purpose, comfort, beauty and sentiment of home. Seventeen years later, I'm doing work that is inspired by spirit and what I've confirmed to myself with each passing project is that home is definitely where my heart is and I truly love making clients happy in theirs. XO,
Freestyle Restyle is a loud, proud, financial and moral supporter of the following organizations and institutions: #aclu #amnestyinternational #aspca #blacklivesmatter #emilyslist #greenpeaceusa #moveonorg #newyorkpubliclibrary #naacp #now #npr #nrdc #nyclgbtcenter #nyimmigrationcoalition #pflag #plannedparenthood #silviariveralawproject #southernpovertylawcenter #ulstercorps #wnyc #womenrisingorg #womensmarch
Current Instagram photo projects are: #littlecitylove Exploring my recently adopted Hudson River town of historic Hoboken, New Jersey with Hubs and ASPCA rescue mutt Jonesy; #countryhousecrush Capturing my favorite historic homes in the beloved Catskills/Hudson Valley region of Upstate New York where we gleefully abscond on weekends to renovate a cabin, build a veggie garden, hike, bike and commune with family and friends whenever we are lucky and able.
Interior Design, Redesign, Decorating, Styling & Project Management
Hoboken NJ, New York NY, Ulster County NY, 2012 - Present
Lillian August Furnishings & Design
NYC Trade Manager & Private Interior Design Services
Norwalk CT, New York NY, 2009 - 2012
Studio K Interiors
Interior Design, Decorating, Styling & Project Management
Brooklyn NY, 2004 – 2009
Aberdeen Properties, Inc.
Project & Design Manager
Greenwich CT, 2002 - 2004
Sheila Bridges Design
New York NY, 2001 - 2002
Parsons School of Design, New York NY
Interior Design AAS, 2001 - 2002
Dean's List, Spring 2002
Clark University, Worcester MA
Bachelor of Arts – English, concentration in Communications & Writing, 1997
Living Arts Writer & Editor, The Scarlet, 1995 - 1997; Copy Editor, The Scarlet, 1994 - 1995